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Staff » Blogging AS an Aspie
Matt has Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is writing this blog so that people can gain more of an insight into how people with the condition process thoughts, feel emotions, react to situations and generally handle life.

20 Mar 08 Keeping it level

I had a lesson with the friend I mention in Caring & Boyfriends, and yet again I managed to impress myself. This time, it was a lot to do with my new found ability to self-control more that it was her being nice to me. Although she was really nice and understanding, despite me feeling I was slightly more withdrawn from her than normal?

The first thing I did when I saw my support staff was to give her my notes from last night to read, at least she’d know what had gone on. And although she wanted to help, we had a problem, there is no on-call system for the holidays, and she isn’t aware of anything to do with me & my friend, and how I feel about her. So effectively all she could do was take notes, and give as much generic advice as she had at her disposal. Don’t you love it when a single academic service provider manages to screw up so badly it is the only educational establishment in the country taking the Easter holidays at a different time to everywhere else?

I realised quite quickly that the less I thought about my friend being in a relationship the easier it was going to be for me. I know she said she’d talk to me about it, but that needs to be at an appropriate time, and one of her choosing! Of course, really good theory, until a rather loud friend said “Paper based presents (homework) are the best thing I can do at home” which was replied from another student with “You need some sex mate!” My mind simultaneously focussed on three things, firstly it thought of my friend in the relationship – although, frankly, her sex life is none of my business – and my heart just sank that little bit lower. Secondly, it reminded me of my virginity, and as I looked round the class, and thought of the people I liked, I sharp realised I was probably the minority. Finally, my mind kindly told me I was not in a relationship, so that rules out all sex for a while. Although, as I then thought, it’s not the sex that I was bothered about; it was me being single, and my friend being in a relationship that hit me.

For a lot of the session, I felt as if I could just run away to somewhere and cry, exactly as I’d predicted earlier. However, I was able to maintain my usual happy presence, particularly as I was sitting next to my friend, who effectively told me to be my normal self because she didn’t want to be happy/hyper on her own. Awww, I thought that has some level of sweetness in it.

I was quite nervous for most of the lesson, assuming that according to my behavioural trends, I would end up making a mess of things with my friend. I do wish I could just be myself, but I am thinking way too much about how I should be acting that I can’t even manage that. Right now I hate having AS, but as my friend reminded me last night, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have it, would I?

In addition to all that, I have butterflies filling my stomach, because I know I haven’t told my friend everything about how I feel about her. I’ve told a manager with the service provider about my feelings for this friend more than I’ve told the friend herself. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from this, it’s to tell somebody how you’re feeling while you have the chance, things can change ever so quickly, and that chance may be gone forever! I won’t tell her know however, she’s happy with her boyfriend, and I don’t want to say anything that might upset her or make her feel guilty.

One small irony: as I wrote this the song “Stay the Night” by Ghosts came on, and I smiled at the line “If it’s a question of timing, I’ll wait.” I wish I hadn’t waited earlier, but now I will…

27 Jan 08 Cancellation & Evacuation

It’s a well known fact that Aspies don’t cope well with change. Or is it? I’m not too sure whether it is or not; personally speaking, there are a few examples this week when I have coped extremely well with change. Flexibility must be one of my non-aspie strengths!

The changes begin on Monday, after my Physics exam. I was expecting a nice long three hour lunch, maybe a walk into Newcastle to grab a bite to eat, but otherwise chilling out on my laptop in sector college before my next lecture. No sooner do I go downstairs than I have my support worker informing me I’m going back to the specialist college for about 30 minutes where I can eat my lunch, before being taken back to sector college for my lecture. Marvellous. No chillout time on the internet for me. Did it bother me? Not at all, I’d downloaded my emails earlier in the day, and I had a book to read.

The next change came on Tuesday. I had already been notified of it; well, I had the new plan thrust upon me when I wasn’t supposed to be in the specialist college on the middle of Monday. We were meant to be going for a walk to Teesdale, but due to the snow, and one of the tutors being snowed in at home, we didn’t. Instead, I had an extremely chilled out morning, because the only other student in the session was out at a committee meeting. So after spending 30 minutes planning a couple of routes, I spent the rest of the morning looking into support provided at different universities. In the afternoon, we went out to collect some donations for our fundraising activities.

The changes continued on Wednesday, with Physics being cancelled due to lack of students. Another exam was on, and the majority of students were taking it. Then, I went down to Chemistry after spending some time on my laptop, only to find a room change. After waiting at that room for 15 minutes with a couple of my friends, the lecturer failed to show up, so we went back to the specialist college earlier!

Thursday was even more changes. I slept in, and when I heard the knock on my door, I assumed a bollocking was about to be given; instead, I was informed of an evacuation of the specialist college due to a gas leak, so we all had the day off. Then I went in for a quick chemistry lesson, which was followed by two physics lectures being cancelled because all but four of the students were in a general studies exam!

Thursday night was no better. It was my birthday meal out, and it was arranged so that my keyworker and another member of staff would be accompanying me and my 4 friends, travelling via public transport. Then, one of my friends dropped out. Next, my keyworker was allocated to the overnight assessment student. Then, my manager was the one taking us via the college vehicle. Finally, I was asked to invite the overnight assessment student to my meal.

Friday was the only day this week that went without change…

I felt that I coped very well with all of the changes, and they did not affect my mood or behaviour for any of the week. Oh well, damn stereotypes!

20 Jan 08 Midterm Break

I will say that I didn’t feel like I was being observed by the staff, I felt more relaxed, and in some ways, as sense of normality about the thing. Before the gig, we went for a meal in a local Weatherspoons, and it was nice just to sit and chat. When we were at the gig, it was fantastic, we knew where the staff was if needed, but in the main, we were left just to enjoy ourselves.

Despite one of the reasons for going to the gig was because one of my friends from sector college was there, I felt a bit out of my depth in social terms. I’ve never been to a gig before, so unsure of a lot of things; certainly I was not expecting the drink to be so expensive! Socially, I was completely unsure of myself, but I think I got by well enough.

But at the same time, I kept having mental blocks on things. For example, when I felt I was losing the conversation, I would try and think of things we had in common, but all I could get was “college”. I would have talked about how good the bands were, but I don’t lie, so I didn’t. In fairness, one of the four bands was excellent, the only problem was it was a support band; Midterm Break provided a wonderful anti-climax, and a lot of people (us included) decided an early departure would be a good idea.

Upon reflection, I can think of a lot of things I could have done better. Firstly, noticing my friend from sector college standing in front of me might have been a start. I ended up resorting to texting her, only to text back the words “turn around”. Why I did this I don’t know, normally I would have just tapped her on the shoulder and said hello – I’m a touchy-feely kind of guy. Secondly, it’s well known I fancy her, but for some reason, I didn’t compliment her at all. Thirdly, actually trying to sustain conversation would have been a good idea; but I think I failed miserably at that particular point.

Now an interesting point – most guardians of people with AS won’t let them go to gigs for fear of something going wrong. Yet, I’ve just proven how hard it is with lack of experience. Maybe I would have found it so much easier if I’d been to a few gigs when I was younger?