"Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see, It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out, It doesn't matter much to me." "No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low. that is you can't, you know, tune in but it's all right. That is I think it's not too bad." ~Strawberry Fields by John Lennon,Paul Mccartney.
I can relate very well to the lyrics in this piece. I have felt this way my whole life. I feel like as if I am living with eyes closed so to say. That no one really understands what I feel except those in my Aspergers group. Yes Aspergers. It is a form of Autism, I am Autistic. I accept it 100% because I always knew I was different. A lot of people don't know this about me..I guess because I "pull it off" as they say. Even as a young child of 3 years of age. I guess most people would not remember being 3, yet I do. I can remember names,dates,places,numbers,textbooks everything that is being said to me I can repeat back to the person even months later. It is like my mind records things and never lets me forget them. In ways in can be good. My mother told me that at age 2 I was reading the childhood encyclopedias. By age 3 I know I was different. I didn't talk like the other children my age. I remember my mom taking me to the mall to go to the toy store to pick out any toy I wanted for my birthday. I remember going into the store, and BAM!! That's when it hit me. The lights, the noise, the people all talking at once hitting me left and right. My body and ears felt like it was on fire. I just remember reacting like a scared animal. I ran I hid under one of the shelves with my hand on my ears and rocking. It was that typical fight or flight response we all have. I guess mine was to flight rather then fight (laughing). I can remember my mom looking at me with a puzzled look. After some coaxing from my mother she was able to get me out and held my hand as we walked the store. I could see the children talking to their parents, laughing, enjoying themselves. I on the other hand was so overwhelmed with the sensory stimulation that I could barely even make nosies. My mom would say "See, look at that teddy bear. Do you want it?" "Tell mommy." I couldn't do it. I just looked at her. She was patient with me. After about 30 minutes of trying to get me to pick a teddy bear and get me to talk to her. I finally left the store with my first love. Oliver. He was a stuffed animal. Medium in size, heart's on his cheeks a blue one and a pink one, a sailor hat, and sailor outfit. I got his name from the book Oliver Twist that I had read the week before. I was so happy. Once in the parking lot, I was finally able to get away from the noise and I gave my mom a big hug. Oliver and I became best friends. Oliver believe it or not showed me as I look back now as an adult how routine my life was and is even now. Oliver went EVERYWHERE with me. I guess he helped me to not feel so "unsafe" so to say when out of the environment of my house, see everything looks different to me. Things you see normal I don't. It's like LCD but without taking the drugs. On a bad sensory day everything is all messed up, things are so loud it's like someone turned up the volume and forget to tell me how to lower it. Lights are super bright like the sun, even my body can't handle being touched. It's as if all of my 5 senses gained some sort of superman/superwomen power. So in theory Oliver was the only thing didn't change, and hence helped me to feel "safe". I remember one time I was about 5years old, we had to go to Coney Island Hostpital in Brooklyn, New York because my great grandmother was very sick. So I brought Oliver along with me, again what esle is new! I had fallen alseep in the ER, We finally got home about mightnight. My mom got me ready for bed, and as I was laying down I looked over and realized at that point Oliver was gone!!! Well, let's just say it felt like the world was crashing down around me. I let out a scream that I swear was going to wake up all of NYC. I started to cry and cry "I want my Oliver, I want my Oliver, I can't sleep without Oliver. I always sleep with Oliver.First you say goodnight to me then you say goodnight to Oliver. I can't sleep without Oliver." I was shaking and crying. Almost as if my body was going through withdrawlers. My poor father drove all the way back to Brooklyn at 1230 in the morning. He finally got home at 1 in the morning, with Oliver in his hand. I was still crying when he came into the bedroom. He handed me Oliver and I was finally able to relax my body. I developed more and more routines as I got older, because things started to get more complicate. From that day on we always made sure if I went with Oliver we left with Oliver. It's almost like OCD but different yet the same. If that makes any sense at all. As I got older fast forwarding to about 12 years of age Oliver become less needed, I found another coping mechanizem. My computer. I first got my computer from my mom and dad when I was 12. My computer become my new routine. Oliver was still with me of course only I just slept with him rather then bringing him with me everywere. I would wake up in the morning the first thing I would do was put my computer on, go to the bathroom, go online, eat breakfast, then shower and get dressed. I would come home from school and I would be in my room from 3pm when I got him until 9pm when I went to bed. I only came out of my room for dinner. I really never spoke to my parents much at all. I guess you are wondering didn't they think anything was wrong with me?! Of course they did. I went from doctor to doctor from age 5 until age 12 when they told my parents I had ADHD (Attention deficet Hyper Disorder) as the first axis and I had PDD-NOS (Pervesive develomental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) as axis 2. PDD-NOS is on the Autism specturm. Autism is a spectrum disorder meaning that there are different levels of servity. Think of it as a number line. Classic Autism or Kenners Autism or Low Functioning autism is on the left of the number line then you go from there. Mild Autism, High Functioning Autism PDD-NOS and then Aspergers. Some doctors will say that High Functioning autism is aspergers. Personaly I don't bunch it togather and would wish they wouldn't either. A lot of my friends who I speak to that fall all over the specturm also are tired of people bunching things togather or trying to box us or say we are rain man. I guess that is why I wanted to write a blog about my Autism and Autism in general. So I was digonised with PDD-NOS and ADHD. At age 13 I went to High School and was in special ed classes and some main stream classes as well. Kids are kids and so they pick on you if your in special ed. Why? I don't know. I guess because it's easier to pick on people that may be different, to feel better, to show off..Who knows why. It never did bother me much. I wasn't really much into making friends anyway. I was more of the study hard person, more mature for my age then most. Social things were never really intriging for me. So the less social things I had to do the happier I was. Inbetween my days off from school and some days after school, I went to a lot of therapy places for my Autism. Speech, physcially therapy, ect. Speech therapy was always the hardest for me. They (the doctors there), are really nice, but it was always stressful for me. They wanted me to look into their eyes when I talked to them. They would point to their face and say my name. They would call my name and see if I looked at them in their eyes, ect. Eye contact for me is very hard. I would say about 85% of my friends in my Autism group agree. We talk about that all the time. It's just that if I look at you in your eyes there is too much information for me to take in all at once. I don't understand facial experssions very well, and so if I have to look at you in your eyes I'm not going to be able to listen to you. I can't do both. So after weeks and weeks of being told to look at them in their eyes, I found a way to make everyone happy. It was an accendent though! One of the therapist Robert (I think that was his name), said "Jess,Jess,Jess,look at me just for a moment." I looked at his nose right where your farhead meets your eyes, and wouldn't you know it! He thought I was really looking in his eyes!! Well, let's just say that everyone was very happy. So even today, I don't look at people in the eyes. They all think I do. (laughing) that's fine with me. It's easier. Physically therapy was a lot eaiser for me to deal with. They helped me to write (hold my pencil better), they trid to stop me from walking on my toes, I use the word TRY because it's something many people don't know about people with Autism. Balance is hard for us. I have to think when I balance myself. Even getting in or out of the shower I have to mentally think about it before I do it. When I get up from a chair or couch I have to mentally think about it before I do it. When I walk I'm thinking about my feet. So walking on my toes helps me to feel more center. I don't do it as much as I used to, I do it on and off now. It's not as bad as it was. Then there was the normal therapy. The one were you go into a room with a therapist and just talk. I think that had to be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life! Again, social just isn't my name. It was very hard for me to sit there and try to think of something to say. So a lot of times Robert (yes the same person from before) would start off with what they call an open ended question and let me try and answer it. Sometimes I was able to get out a few sentences other times I would talk for a while. It was hard. After on the way home my head would be killing me. I guess it was a stress headache. Not sure. Robert also had a computer, so a lot of times it was easier for me to talk to him if I was on the computer at the same time. It allowed me to have that "oliver" effect of feeling "safe" when my envoirment was different. I would sit in his office on the computer and he would talk first then it was just easier for me to pick up the conversation. After months of therapy with Robert I was finally able to talk to people outside of my family. Going forward some years by the end of high school, I had made some friends, some of which I am still friends with today. Fast forwarding some more I went to college, and was able to have a GPA of 3.85, I am also part of the National Deans List, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Soceity, and have made more friends.
I guess the best way to explain my Autism is that when I was younger it was a lot worse. Most of my friends that I have now have no idea what I was like. Hand Flapping, rocking, spinning, ect. Therapy has helped me to control some of it. I still hand flap, I just don't do it alot. But if you get me really really happy, or if I do something really stupid I flap. I don't rock back and forth anymore, but I shake my leg at times and rock slightly if I'm standing to long. The only thing I don't do much of anymore is spin, not that I'm older I get dizy,hahaha. I still have a hard time being social, just ask my friends! I don't call them a lot, but they understand me so they know I'm a nut case (laughing). I have an outgoing personality so I guess that has been a factor with my Autism too. I'm not the shy type so I was never afarid of people just didn't know what to say. I also have a hard time expressing certain things at times. It drives my husband nuts, but he is patient with me. I'm sorry if I seem to be bouncing all over the place and not keeping in line with one specfic topic of my autism blame it on the ADHD!!! But after reading this blog when I post another one you will notice the pattern of my thoughts. The other thing that I find very funny about most of us on the specturm is that we all have our "obessions" I should say or our intense subjects we love to talk about,read about,watch,ect. It's like if I find something I like I want to know all about it. Everything I can about it. I guess it is good in a way. I have learned so much about different things through my life because of this. When I was younger it was animals and the human body. So I know A LOT about dogs,cats,small animals,and wolfs. I also know more then most people about the human body. About, the bones,heart,lungs,colds,virus's,ect. My teen years were also known for (dare I say it ) sex...(evil grin) I guess what esle would be new about a teenager and hormones. But unlike a normal teen, I wanted to know everything I could about both the male and female body. So I read so many book,watched porn,read erotic storeis, read sex help books. It was crazy, I thought my parents were going to commit me for obession with sex. But it died down after my 17th birthday. For whatever reason. As I entered my young adult life I become obessed with psychology. I would need two more classes in college to get a degree in psychology. That is how far my love for it went. There are at least 20 different sub catogiers for psychology. There is also depth psychology which studies the unconuisous mind. I have read things from...freud,Jung,Erickson,Skinner,Watson,and so many more.I guess from the years of my childhood up until now in adulthood the 3 or 4 main things that still intrest me would be my love for animals,psycholgoy, and one aspect of the sexual world that I have seemed to take a liking to having to do with domiance and submission.
I also learned as much as I could about myself with Autism. Some of the things I read I wonder were they get it from. All I can say is if you go to wrongplant.net and read a lot of what people with all forms of Autism talk about it would make a lot of people think twice before they want to cure Autism as if it was something so horriable. I have my problems, who doesn't?!?! I have come a long way since being a small child. I still see that small child inside of me at times. I still have my rough times and their are days that I don't want to talk to anyone and I just want to be in my world, a place I feel like I can be free. Other days I can handle anything, just like everyone esle. I take one day at a time and I just roll with it. I still have my routines even now as an adult. I have my times on my computer, my days I eat certain things for dinner, and shows I always watch (game shows). I think the only thing really annyoing about autism and sensory issues is not being able wear what I want. I can't deal with certain fabrics. They just send me to the moon (so to say not literrally for all my autistc friends reading my blog). Not being able to be around large crowds for more then a few hours, and just being misunderstood at times. The good things that come out of my autism, is the fact that I am very much a rule follower. If you tell me something I do it the way you said it. If you tell me don't say anything I dont say anything. I keep my promises all the time 100% never broke one in my life ever. If I have to be somewere I am there on time, unless of course Phil is the one driving there hahaha or uncle donny is going, then we might be a little late. I enjoy helping people because I really do enjoy helping, with out any hidden motives. I don't have hidden motives, I just say what I want,need,ect. I guess that's a good thing. So I hope maybe some of you learned something about me, autism, and the nutty world I live in!!!