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Undiagnosed - Part Four

Asperger Traits that I can relate to.

Sensory overload
This is something that I have experienced on a few occasions, mostly it’s auditory overload. There has been times when I’ve had to ask somebody “is it loud in here”? Which is confusing because you would think that somebody would know if it’s loud or not. The problem I have doesn’t seem to be with the volume but more to do with there being too many different noises at the same time. So for example being at home when I was younger I remember that I was experiencing auditory overload because the television was on, somebody was talking, the dog was panting, my niece was playing with her toys and I could hear somebody cooking dinner in the kitchen, everything individually was happening at an acceptable volume. I knew I was feeling horrible and I knew nobody else was feeling the same way because they all seemed to be comfortable and so I asked “why is it so loud in here”? To which the reply was “it isn’t”. I felt like screaming and telling everybody to just stop talking but obviously I didn’t do that, instead I had to walk out of the room and just go stand in a bedroom where it was quiet. The same thing happens whenever I go to a pub, with my friend, for a drink or to a restaurant which I never do. When in a pub, depending on how busy it is and some times where I am sitting, I can feel very anxious and I find it very difficult to have a conversation because I don’t seem to be able to concentrate on the person I'm supposed to talking with because I can hear absolutely everything that is going on in that pub. I can hear every glass clink, I can hear everybody else's conversation around me, I can hear every chair squeak, every door that opens, everybody shouting at the bar for drinks and of course all of this could be happening over the sound of loud music. In this environment I tend to shutdown, I lose interest in whatever someone is talking to me about and I absolutely don’t want to speak, all my energy is going into just keeping it together. It was in a situation like this that started to realise that I’m not great at eye contact, I think that because I'm experiencing auditory overload I find myself focusing on peoples mouth’s so as to try understand what they are saying even if I cant hear them properly.

I avoid everything, I avoid going outside a lot which means I’m basically a shut-in. I’m not quite an agoraphobic but I definitely feel safe indoors in a way that I don’t when I’m outside. I’ll go outside only when absolutely necessary i.e. for work but as soon as work is over all I want to do is come home and lock the door behind me. This probably gives you the impression that I am depressed but I’m really not. I thought I was at one point because I just couldn’t make sense of my life, I was so confused about why everybody seemed to be able to handle life in a way that I haven't been able to, but that passed. I’m not particularly happy either though I’ve just kind of accepted that this is how my life is. I’m lucky in so many other ways, I was raised in a good home with a good family, I have a job that allows me to rent my own place without claiming benefits but growing old alone is a scary thing to contemplate but I will because, as I say, I avoid everything and this has left me alone.

I panic even if somebody knocks on my door, who on earth could be knocking on my door, what do they want, I don’t want to talk to strangers. I desperately try to avoid my neighbours too, they probably think I'm ignorant but the reason I avoid them isn't because I don’t like them it’s because we live in the same building and if I say hello to them once then I’m going to have to say hello every time I see them and this just increases the chance that I will say something stupid or weird or nonsensical out of sheer panic.

I have hobbies that I avoid doing also, I used to love fishing as it’s a solitary pass time and I found relaxing but I never go any more as it’s not really all that solitary as the places near me are usually quite busy and there is always the risk that I’ll end up in a conversation that I don’t want to be in and wont know how to get out of it.

When I need to walk anywhere I have a fear of bumping into somebody I know or used to know in case they want to have a casual chat. I can’t do casual chatting, I can have an in depth conversation about certain topics, so long as it’s something meaningful in which I have opinions but I can’t do casual pointless chatting mostly because I don’t know how to end the chat. I bumped into an old school mate in a shop one time and he was a very friendly person who I liked a lot even though we weren’t actually friends, he was more like a friend of a friend. He chatted away thankfully he controlled the conversation but all the while he was talking, all I could think about was how do I get myself into these situations and how do I get myself out of this one without being rude. I made some efforts to chat with him but I was struggling and panicking and in the end I made my way to the counter to pay for my stuff and left without saying goodbye. I knew I had made a mistake as I caught him, out the corner of my eye, giving me a weird look as if to say why have you just walked away in the middle of our conversation which left me feeling completely dejected.

Do I have Asperger Syndrome


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