π‘―π’π’˜ 𝒅𝒐𝒆𝒔 π’Žπ’š π‘¨π’–π’•π’Šπ’”π’Ž 𝒂𝒇𝒇𝒆𝒄𝒕 π’Žπ’†?

Now here’s a tricky one. I may still be learning about my ASD but I thought I’d give this one a go.

Take a moment to look around you and pay close attention to what is going on in every direction. I mean REALLY close attention. Focus on those birds tweeting outside, each car as they pass by the window, the sound of the washing machine in the kitchen, the background music on the TV advert and even the random creaks of your house. Now what can you see? The sunlight coming through the window, the movement of the trees outside in the wind, the flashing of the TV screen, the blinking eyes of the other people in the room. Now imagine focusing on all of these different things at once 24 hours a day. Imagine that colours are incredibly sharp to the point that they hurt your eyes and that any noises you hear are all equally as loud as each other. These kinds of sensory issues are very common amongst autistic people but can be very hard to live with. Supermarkets, shopping centres and other large echoey rooms can be completely unbearable for someone with autism, but thankfully a lot of these kinds of place have introduced β€œQuiet Hours” for people with sensory issues so that they can shop in relative peace without the loud hustle and bustle of an average day out shopping.

Autism usually affects a person’s way of communicating too and I’m no different. Socially I struggle to make friends, make conversation and I especially struggle to maintain eye contact. This is not due to the fact I am disinterested in the conversation or that I have stopped paying attention, it is simply because these things put me in a position of anxiety and make me incredibly uncomfortable. I sincerely appreciate when other’s take the lead in terms of conversation and allow me to join in rather than expecting me to make the initial effort. Believe it or not, I like to socialise, I’m just not very good at it!

Relationships of all kinds can also be difficult to maintain for someone on the spectrum. Any friendships I may have had have usually been very short-lived, and now I understand that is likely due to the fact the other person feels they are not getting a β€œfriendly” or equally effortful response from me. This may make me come across as a bad friend, but unfortunately in the past I was undiagnosed and so I struggled to explain why I perhaps wasn’t the ideal person for somebody else to expect a normal friendship from. Romantic relationships can also be difficult for the same reasons.

Lastly, I just briefly want to talk about the obsessive-compulsive side of autism. From the touching of objects a certain amount of times to opening and shutting doors again and again, we autistic people often have β€œrituals” to help us cope throughout the day. These may become more extreme if we are in a place of unease either physically or mentally. These habits become our safety nets and are often vital coping mechanisms for us even though they may seem very strange to people out of the loop. As I have mentioned in a previous post, ASD causes a lot of people to enjoy the obsessive collecting of things we like or that pique our interest. For me it’s vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, books and strong coffees.

Well that’ll do for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post.

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