Sunday, June 23, 2019

I'm turning 40 this year. All my life I've felt I'm an oddball. When my son was 3 he got diagnosed with ASD. Reading and learning about it each day made me feel like solving not only his mystery but also my own. Originally I'm from Latvia, a small Baltic state that been in the USSR till 1991. And you can believe me when I say there were no disabled people in USSR. It was a great shame to be a non-contributing member of the society. If a family had a disabled member they hid him/her well. As a child if I mentioned to my mom that I'm not like other children, that I don't really understand what's going around me most of the time or have strange moments when I'm not exactly myself, all I would hear in response is: "do you really want to be put into a funny house? You are normal, you are like everybody else". Nevertheless each time I behaved not in an appropriate way, as I couldn't read the situation most of the time, I'd be called a weirdo. By my mom. After that she would not talk to me for a day or two as i have had embarrassed her. And being embarrassed was what my mom hated the most. Most strikingly I felt I'm "different" during my teenage years. Everybody in my class seemed to be able to make sense of what is going with them and around them. I did not. I did not have any friends left suddenly. They all found interests that was strange to me. My only interest was reading. I tried to learn about the world from books. I tried to learn from books why people would behave the way they did. I tried to act like people in books and made to look myself as even a bigger oddball. When I was about 20 years old I learned that autism is not only the rainman. I started to suspect that I was autistic too. But there was not much information and my mom laughed the matter off. So I really looked into it after my son's diagnosis.

How I learned to look people in the eyes. When I was about 11years old one of my classmates asked why I never look in the eyes of the person I'm talking too? Why indeed? So I started to make an effort to always stare the opponent in the eye. On multiple occasions after that I've been asked not to, as it freaked everybody out

I don't know how to make friends. That is an absolute mystery to me. If I get a new acquaintance and I like that person I never know how to develop friendship and become obsessed with that person. In result I scare people away. I don't know where to draw a line and what's appropriate and what's not.

I have hard time recognising people out of the usual situations. If I'm used to see a person at certain place and meet him/her in a different place my mind will not register that. A person comes and greets me but I have no idea who he/she is. I mostly recognise people by their shapes and gestures than by their faces. To me almost all the faces look very similar. Unless there's something very unusual about the face I can't recognise it. Family members are different: I can vaguely see their faces in my mind's eye.

My mother still doesn't believe I have autism. She believes my son will grow out of it occasionally too.

I have bachelors degree in analytical economics and masters degree in marketing. But I'm not interested in either much. It's just that number are friendly.

I'm a full time mum. I struggle a lot to be the mum I'd want to be. I'm not a social being so taking kids to busy places is hard. I can't strike conversations with other parents so my kids don't have any playmates. I still try my best and take them to different activities in hope they'll do better then I.

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