Search This Blog

Thursday, 4 December 2014

My experience of autism and introversion.

Hi,
Fair warning I have not studied Aspergrer's Syndrome, autism, introversion and I have no degree in any related field to understanding people. This is not a scientific paper and I speak for noone but myself.

I have always tried to live as though I did not have autism and I genuinely don't know where I sit on the spectrum to introversion. I do know however that I lack the roadmap to social interactions most people seem to have automatically. I liken it to my not having a sense of smell. I don't perceive much of a difference but others judge me differently because I don't react as they do under certain situations and this can lead to massive misunderstandings. Unlike not having a sense of smell though, not having an instinctual sense of social ettiquette is not treated with understanding, There is no "Oh that's why? Okay I'll tell you if you smell good or bad". My mother is a trained psychiatric nurse and she uses my social disability as a reason to try and deny me agency. "Oh the reason you don't want to do what I want is because of a condition you were born with and have no control over, that means you can't make decisions properly so I'll make them for you"

People with social understanding really do not know how to deal with people with no social understanding because they can't seem to imagine what a world looks like without social understanding. That's a problem some people get with my inability to smell too "But taste is ninety percent smell?" they say as though they've caught me in a lie. "How can something so integral to understanding the world vanish and you still function?" Most people can understand the principle though. They can close their eyes to experience a world without sight, they can temporarily experience what it's like to be deaf so they can imagine what a world without smell would look like. Hell that's TV. When you lack a sense of social ettiquette though that goes far beyond anything we can reasonably extrapolate from our own experiences and imagine.

How do you love? How do you make friends? How do you work with people? How do you function in society when society is by its very nature social and you have no sense of social understanding? The same way I understand a machine or physics. Philosophers have been debating the social aspects of life for millenia and I can use that to build a hard learned replacement for social understanding. Like a blind man using touch and sound and his own imagination to build a representation of the world in his head that he can navigate. The issue there though is that the philosophers that can be learned about are generally serious and important, not "Why drinking, dancing and listening to loud annoying music is enjoyable" so I pursue introverted hobbies built on facts and knowledge. There is science behind why media is good or bad. This though leads to the flipside that I and many other autistic people see opinions on fiction as objectively right or wrong as it is the only way we can function. Therefore we end up alone or with friends that greatly irritate us because disagreements are dangerous.

Ironically despite all of this, in terms of the dictionary definition of extraversion meaning gaining energy from other people, I am absolutely an extrovert. I crave social contact and kind of get high from it if it goes well. The chances of it going well considering my condition are slim though. I am at my best where is an objective well of information between us that we can talk about on end should the conversation dry up. I also need to know that debates or discussions can end well.

I know I have problems changing my opinions in discussions or debates, this is because if I didn't know what to think I wouldn't have the confidence to begin or continue the conversation. So please don't make a big deal of it or lecture me. This is how I am and yes it makes me a bit of a dick but until they come up with a way to restore my sense of social ettiquette I am doomed to make do as best I can and that means being annoying to argue with unfortunately.