Monday, May 20, 2019

I'm 36 and from the south burbs of Chicago.

I am quirky. (Or weird 💁‍♀️)
I have a strange sense of humor.
I am a bearer of random, mostly useless, medical facts.
I love true crime. Especially serial killers
I am an artist and pretend to be a photographer. 

I am hypersensitive to EVERYTHING. Sounds. Smells (I almost never breathe out of my nose as basically every smell is offensive to me. Even pleasant ones.) Touch. (No jeans ever. No tags. I can feel every seam in every piece of clothing in an almost electrical way.) Feelings. (I can feel a person's feelings when they walk into the room in an almost physical way.) 
I am awkward. Af. 
I am very very very clumsy.
I don't like change.
I don't like hugs. Or touching really, for that matter. 😬
I am anxious. 

I wait tables at a tiny Italian restaurant. I like it a lot. I have a nice little script going and I love my boss and and co-workers. 

A few days before Thanksgiving, my boss turned to me and said, "I can't believe the Holidays are here already."

I stood there thinking for like 20 seconds and finally asked, "Are they someone from your town or...?" As I thought she was talking about customers or friends with the last name Holiday. Ha.

She laughed, "No, Silly . The HOLIDAYS. Like thanksgiving...Christmas...

Facepalm. Ha. 

Not very many people know that I have Asperger's & I'd like to change my anxiety. It's debilitating. Well, my anxiety and extreme need for consistency is likely my biggest struggle. I have managed to recently get on an airplane and take a spontaneous family vacation with the help of my boss and that shows me that there is a chance of overcoming the worst parts of my anxiety which is pretty damned comforting.

Several years ago I began seeing a therapist. It was my first one in several years as I just couldn't find "the one." I liked this one. I was pregnant with my now almost 4 year old son and my anxiety was at an all-time high. At the end of the fourth session, she asked me if I had ever been diagnosed with Asperger's. I literally laughed and never went back. I was incredibly uneducated on the subject at the time. I had this very stereotypical view of Asperger's and Autism. I had zero idea of how different women with Asperger's can present. 

Fast forward 2 1/2 years. I finally found another therapist to help me with the debilitating anxiety and sensory issues. 

After our third session, she handed me the book Aspergirls and told me to read it so we could talk about it at our next session.

I read the first 50 pages that night and felt something I'd never really felt before. I could relate to the stories so hard. It was like an epiphany. 

I was formally diagnosed a few months later. 

My biggest accomplishments thus far? 
Having kids is a sensory explosion and I feel as if I am accomplishing "momming" quite well (NOT PERFECT OR EVEN CLOSE TO BEING BUT...) even though it is often very difficult. 

I wish others knew that the fact that I can make appropriate eye contact most of the time, enjoy concerts, social gatherings, and am mostly able to mask very well does not mean I cannot be on the spectrum. The spectrum is wide and as a child I learned fairly quickly how to study those around me and act accordingly as a way to cope with being unfiltered, awkward and clumsy.

All of the resources around me caters only to children and adolescents. Other than a great therapist, I have had no other resources. 
Something that does help me is CBT and exposure therapy. I have learned many breathing exercises and grounding techniques that help me with panic attacks. 

I would like others on the spectrum to know that they are not the only quirky, very awkward, super hearing, super smelling, super sensing, special interest obsessing, kick ass person out there. They're not alone. 

I wasn't diagnosed as a child because I presented as an awkward, clumsy, anxious girl that threw ridiculous fits about clothes and would rudely correct adults on their grammar. I liked to line up and read dictionaries, encyclopedias and my Mom's nursing textbooks for fun, so I was just kinda geeky. I could make eye contact even though it was hard for me to follow a conversation when I was trying so hard to make appropriate eye contact. I was just "different." 
And honestly, I never would have thought I was either if it wasn't for that book about other women just like me. 

Tldr: 1.I'm 36 and was formally diagnosed with Asperger's or what is now known as Level 1 ASD last year. 

Best accomplishment is actually being an almost good mom. Most of the time. Despite my sensory issues and debilitating anxiety. 

I wish others knew that a lot of the time women present differently than men and the stereotypical view of Autism. 

Nothing around here for adults other than trying to find a therapist who specializes in autistic adults. CBT and exposure has benefited me pretty well.

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