1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Featured Going to the places that scare you

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by grommet, May 10, 2019.

  1. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard

    Messages:
    2,611
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    Karma:
    +6,734
    Im doing exposure therapy at the moment for a comorbid panic disorder. I have to go to places that scare me. I spent an hour in a busy pub by myself today, reading a novel. It felt like a major victory.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Winner Winner x 3
  2. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    473
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Karma:
    +781
    I don't seem to be able to communicate as well as I hoped because NTs so often cannot understand me. I can speak to aspies directly and clearly and they always seems to know what I saying. So being concise isn't helping me with the general world.

    I want to reply, "Fine." when asked how I am but it feels like a lie and I feel twisted when I do it. To actually answer the question I would need to be honest if I didn't feel well or I might not know how I was feeling - I often don't know what the emotions are that I am having. I am still trying to figure out what 'hungry' feels like, I just start to feel hollow inside and know that food usually helps.

    If I could parse the "How are you?" question in a way that allowed me to answer and feel honest, maybe it would be easier for me, I have to think about it. I just wish you could come to a place to get what you need and both you and the person serving you were pleasant but didn't ask you about your life. That would be wonderful if I knew I would never be asked about my life. Most of my stress is from not knowing the answers about myself and knowing I am supposed to say something. That they will be disappointed if I get it wrong and maybe things turn quite badly even. People can grow angry and yell, even hit you if they think you did something wrong. This is a real thing. I find it safer to stay back avoid interaction if I can.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    473
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Karma:
    +781
    I did not know there is a such a thing as selff-checkout. Maybe my library does have that. It would help so much. I would go online and check now. Thank you very much :)
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  4. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    473
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Karma:
    +781
    They do have self check out! Thank you, thank you. This will help so much.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Useful Useful x 1
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  5. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    473
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Karma:
    +781
    I think this is a very good idea and I just went online to Amazon and looked at Pilot's kneeboards. I am a wheelchair user so I would have a good view of notes I was holding with one of these. Thank you
     
  6. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    473
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Karma:
    +781
    I had a therapist suggest this to me. I tried it some but it was just too uncomfortable. I think bright lights or loud sounds are always going to be painful for some people, others won't be able to be comfortable in certain places. But yes, doing exposure therapy would make being in those places easier.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
    • Like Like x 1
  7. tlc

    tlc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    876
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    Karma:
    +949
    Never heard of a library with a self checkout. The ones where I live now are ok. The one where I used to live was very small and the librarian was nosy or bored or both. She always refused to start up the user computer system, and when I asked to use it she would say "just tell me what you're looking for and I'll help you find it". Well the thing is often I don't know what I'm looking for, I search for random things and results lead to another search, and after enough times I find something interesting.

    I don't mind going into store checkouts or other places of business, as it's a business transaction and it doesn't have to be anything personal.

    Places that scare me are places with cops, lawyers, and other authority figures hanging around. I avoid such places whenever possible.

    And I love to go up over the bridge where it's not much besides desolate wilderness, you can drive for a long time without seeing civilization.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. H-Kath

    H-Kath Member

    Messages:
    50
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2019
    Karma:
    +126
    I can relate quite a bit. I couldn't order food for myself until I was a teenager. I think I was 14 before I could handle going to the same fast food restaurant every day for lunch and ordering from the same register. Ordering from waitstaff was very hit or miss until 18. I couldn't send food back or correct a mistaken item until I went on an anti-depressant/beta blocker combo in November.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  9. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,712
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2017
    Karma:
    +4,658
    Some days are better than others.

    I'm not particularly comfortable with some interactions but have an idea that some folk rarely mean what they say anyway and social rules dictate interaction will be at arms length in places like stores or libraries.

    By that I mean if a cheery store assistant smiles at me and greets me with "How are you today?"

    It isn't a literal question. They don't want anything from me other than a smile and a "great, thanks" and carry on with my business.

    That's that 'arms-length' interaction dealt with. Finished. Over.

    I like libraries. By definition they're quiet.
    I'm left alone to get on with it.
    Should I require the assistance of someone who works there,
    I politely relate fact to them , they answer with fact in hushed tones.
    They're not trying to make me feel good about my visit to chase sales (unlike a store)

    Those that provide a service generally play a role.

    If you can get an idea of what that role is, it might be easier to speculate how you'll be treated or what you may be asked.

    You'll never know for sure until it happens but I've never yet had to deal with a gregarious, gossiping, animated, loud library assistant or a checkout clerk that whispers, half smiles and only relates facts.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  10. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard

    Messages:
    2,611
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    Karma:
    +6,734
    True! Exposure isn’t going to make a rave pleasant for me ;)
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Funny Funny x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,139
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    Karma:
    +10,460
    I have to make myself be concise, otherwise I ramble a lot and give too much detail, repeat/go on and on, overshare or say things I really shouldn't - too much info!
    I do understand what you mean, but I don't think that "I'm fine" has to be a lie. I take the question to be about my health, not my emotions. If I'm not sick, which is 99% or the time, I'll answer "I'm fine" and that will be a truthful answer and it doesn't feel like a lie. If I'm not feeling well, then I say "not too good", but then they want to know why or to express sympathy, and this is the kind of interaction I really want to avoid. I don't want to have to explain why I'm not feeling well.

    I think that "are you well?" would be a much better question to ask and easier to answer.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,217
    Joined:
    May 22, 2017
    Karma:
    +3,763
    Checking out in stores or anywhere makes me feel anxious.
    I know the "How are you doing? Find everything alright?" is coming.
    I just get by with the least interactions possible. Usually an OK.
    Maybe a small smile. And keep my eyes on what I have to do to check out.
    Take out wallet, get money or swipe a card. Keep it simple.
    I still feel they know I act "different" or maybe it's because I'm self conscious I just feel that way.

    By the time I was diagnosed, the suggestions of scripting seemed useless.
    Just couldn't get into it. Maybe younger people can.

    I've went through that waitress thing too. Come over and even sit down!
    Perfect way to ruin a meal.

    The salon people like hair dressers or massage therapists do tend to tell their life story and try
    to get you to tell yours. If I just sit there not really getting into the talk, they ask if I am alright.
    Yes.

    I've been prone to panic attacks too and did exposure therapy.
    It has helped with certain things like eating in a restaurant full of people and shopping.
    Some days are better than others. Anxiety seems to have a mind of it's own.
    One day can be pretty good and the next I don't want to leave the house.
    All the exposure therapy in the world has never helped with driving though.
    I do drive, but, I start tensing up as soon as I start going to the car. :confused:
     
  13. Pinkie B

    Pinkie B New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Joined:
    May 5, 2019
    Karma:
    +74
    I never knew that making scripts was an aspie/autistic thing until I got diagnosed. I just thought it was normal "thinking before you speak."

    I'm living in Japan right now and I have to plan EVERYTHING I say because I often literally don't even know the right words so I have to piece together what I want from vocabulary I have and hope that it makes enough sense that I can get what I need.

    Interestingly, in Japan it's considered bad manners to engage your customers at checkout. The idea is that everyone is busy and their personal lives are none of your business so don't hold them up with small talk. I bet you'd like it here ^^

    But being here and being illiterate and only able to speak and understand about half of what goes on around me has taught me a few things. For one I am totally not afraid to write down notes of what I want to say to someone and if I get frustrated or hung up I will literally just hand them the paper. I call it (and this sounds terrible when you translate it to English) "White Privilege" which is where Japanese people automatically assume that because you're white you're a dumb foreigner and can't figure anything out on your own and they're just going to have to do it for you anyway. So it works out for me because even though I usually get hung up more because of the social anxiety than the language, I never have to explain that to anyone and they just automatically help.

    I also do that thing where I get worked up for days over something and make it into a big deal in my head. I write these lists of things I want to do each day and I have this trick where if I don't finish the list, I recopy it onto the new day. That way I'm always aware if I keep missing something or putting it off. If it happens too many times in a row I break it down into smaller easier chunks.

    For example in Japan you don't donate your used clothes, you sell them to "recycle" shops who sell them for money. It's really embarassing because, for example, I sold 3 sets of business outfits that I grew out of (Yup. 30'somethings grow out of their clothes. It's called getting fat) and had to wait for 10 minutes while they evaluated them. I was offered $0.90 and $0.20 for two pieces and zero for the rest. You're all, "Wow. I'm wearing rags that literally are worth less than rags."

    But because I knew this was going to be stressful, I broke down selling my clothes into 1. just walking past the store. And after I did that 2. I sold my *business clothes* because I knew they would be the best received and be the least likely to get rejected or get told that I shouldn't sell garbage or whatever (how do I know what's valuable? I'm getting rid of it!). Now that I know what the process looks like and I've been successful once, 3. I'm ready to go back with the rest of the pile. This whole process has taken me a month because I need to recover between each episode.

    So...maybe you could make yourself a list of what you have to do to successfully pick up your book? And then you could practice by doing the easy parts first and then working your way up to the scarier parts? And if you had your script, too, then you'd be all kinds of gold. Here! I'll write you a sample script!

    GROMMET: Hi. I ordered a book?
    LIBRARIAN: Oh, hi, sweetie! What was the title of that book you ordered?
    GROMMET: [Say the title].
    LIBRARIAN: Ok, let me get that for you, hun.
    GROMMET: Thank you.
    <Librarian returns with book. You stand there waiting.>
    LIBRARIAN: Is there anything else I can help you with?
    GROMMET: No, thank you. <hand her your library card>
    LIBRARIAN: <Takes card. Swipes. Prints return receipts etc. Hands things to you> Ok, you're all set! Have a great day!
    GROMMET: Thank you.

    Variations: Librarian might not say "sweetie" and "hun" because she might not be from the American South. She might ask for the author instead of the title. She might not find the book. This is probably the worst variation because then you have to *do* something different.

    Contingent plan:
    ...
    LIBRARIAN: I'm sorry, hun, we don't have that book here. Are you sure you ordered it to this library?
    GROMMET: No, I have to double check. Thank you for your time.
    <You go home and congratulate yourself for doing a Hard Thing>

    Because it is a hard thing to go out and do this stuff! And if no one can understand how hard you worked and cut you some slack for it, you have to do it yourself. My awesome therapist taught me that. She said that it's important to recognize your own accomplishments and reward yourself for doing them. She never told me I had to compare myself to other people. She was like, "look, cooking yourself food and eating three solids in a day is an accomplishment!" So give yourself credit!
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 2
  14. Pinkie B

    Pinkie B New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Joined:
    May 5, 2019
    Karma:
    +74
    (BTW, I know you weren't asking for advice, but I kinda gave it, didn't I? I was mostly just excited. Hope you didn't mind)
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  15. Kirsty

    Kirsty ND

    Messages:
    1,415
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2014
    Karma:
    +2,622
    You sound lost. Are you lost and miss having her support you? If so, I get that, man. :(
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  16. JDShredds

    JDShredds Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    190
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2018
    Karma:
    +543
    Totally relate to all of it, though I believe I've made some growth in handling it better. The thoughts that I can't shake identifying with most powerfully are staring out of the window when the weather is bad because people aren't outside, and standing alone in the middle of the desert. Those aren't analogies for me, they are facts of my reality. I smile when there is a severe thunderstorm, and I live in the desert... so at times I will drive out to the middle of nowhere, climb up on a hill and just... be in the vastness of desert space. Its quite a spiritual experience for me.

    Huh. No wonder I'm so drawn to the desert.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    473
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Karma:
    +781
    Thank you for telling me. As regards returning things, I could not do that until last year. My girlfriend did it so easily I kept asking her how. She said they expect some returns. When I finally did it, it was okay, the clerk did not act angry or make it hard for me. I have returned several things since then, including somne things I bought online. Still very uncomfortable but getting easier.

    I think I understand what you did with the restaurant. I would like it very much if I could go to one at the same time everyday and get the same thing, pay the same amount and sit at the same table. I can keep the same routine for years before I need to change and knowing exactly what will happen helps me a lot.
     
  18. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    473
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Karma:
    +781
    Thank you so much for your reply, it meant a lot to me. You said you were able to politely relate facts and they answered in hushed tones. I wish I could have that. It seems that no matter how economical, clear and factual I am with my communications, I am having people not understand me. Aspies do, but others do not.

    My girlfriend and I are both aspie and we have conversations that others would probably not understand. They are clear and we both accept "yes" or "no" without explanation, unless one is required to go further.

    I can't even have good communication at the bakery I go to. Last week I said, I do not see the cake I was looking for. Do you have coconut cake today, that is why I am here. The then asked if he could help me with something. Ah!!! It is the same for me in other situations as well.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    473
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Karma:
    +781
    I thought that was very funny.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  20. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    473
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Karma:
    +781
    Oh thank you so much. I think you helped me a lot. I started a new Notes file I called Scripts and I copied what you wrote. I will also re-read your advice. I believe I can do anything if I can break it down into steps. I cannot do large things but I have aspie tenacity that means I won't stop doing small things that move towards a goal. I have done many things that way, I guess I didn't realize it. I liked hearing about your therapist. :)
     
    • Winner Winner x 2