Knowing what makes me, me is cathartic and it vindicates me. I’m okay that I know everything about cerebral palsy and my neurological symptoms that needed to happen, but I’m not okay with how long it has taken me to get to this stage.
Whilst we all have multiple intelligence, strengths and weakness in different areas, people on the autism spectrum will have extremes. They will be particularly skilled in one way in seeing the world and will be dreadful in others.
Some will think in pictures, others will think in mathematical patterns; I think in words. My mind forms word patterns that create thoughts. When I’m stuck on a thought, I struggle to clear it. I then have to find an answer to move it on and that’s where the difficulty is. Also, because my emotions are damaged I live with anxiety and can carry thoughts that could harm me for days.
I am excellent at remembering conversations that took place decades ago. I think and talk in a linear way. My thought processes are broken down into bite size pieces, so instead of going from A to B, I’ll go from A to Z and back to B via lots of other letters, often out of order.
Because my conversations are extremely detailed, I come across as a perfectionist, but that isn’t the case because I deal with anxiety if I cannot get all my thoughts out. I tend to have to ‘clear the decks.’ I’m not a perfectionist because in everyday life I struggle to function with everyday tasks. I tend to go at snails pace, which annoys everyone else.
When it comes to detailed conversations, I always need clearer clarification on the detail. I tend to have to ask the other person to repeat the conversation, or simplify it. Other times, I don’t recall what’s being said, or even remember having the conversation and that gets me into trouble.
I am also literal thinker, which means I don’t understand jokes, or sarcasm. That’s particularly difficult when someone expects me to get a joke and they look at me, as if I’m stupid. I see things in black and white. Things are either right or they’re wrong.
I am often misunderstood for how I present and that often meets with a lack of tolerance, patience and argument. If I was to have one wish it would be for people to learn about the symptoms of autism, because then their perceptions and attitudes would change.