Springingtiger's Blog

Mature Autism – People Who Need People

I recently received a nice message from a friend on Twitter telling me that I make a difference to her son. At the end of last year when I was considering suicide in a logical sort of a way I received several messages, again telling me I make a contribution. As the song says, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” I needed people and I was lucky they were there.

My problem is that I forget I need people, or more accurately other people do not really occur for me. I know they are there but they do not really impinge upon my my consciousness except – I suppose – as an extension of myself or as an object of my attention like a tree or a painting. I do not feel connected to people and that they have thoughts and feelings of their own only occurs by logical process. To a great extent it is only when someones’ intervention directly impacts me that there is any connection and then it is because of the effect on me. Does this sound callous? It is not supposed to. I don’t particularly want to be so disconnected, but it’s the way I am. The support I have received really has helped me again and again and sometimes I am aware of that.

While writing I keep an eye on my social networks and have just found a moving post “This is how my son shows compassion in an Autistic way “ . I find this truly impressive, most of the time I am unaware of others’ difficulties and when I am aware I am frequently unable to work out of what I am aware. I am aware something is wrong but it can take me a long time before I can calculate what it is. I have written before about the sense of looking at the world from within a glass box, I don’t know if I conveyed how agonisingly frustrating it is to have so much information without being able to organise it into coherent meaning. It is like the sensation of having a name on the “tip of your tongue”, but rather than one piece of information what is missing is the key that will make sense of all the information I’m receiving. It is the sense of almost having the answer but it only just being out of reach. The frustration is agonising to the point of being physically painful, invariably it precipitates a physical reaction.

Perhaps I’m feeling sorry for myself because I have been having one of those weeks where nothing makes much sense, the words I hear have difficulty carrying meaning to my brain, I see things occurring but I’m not sure what is happening or why. I just described it to someone as, “one of those weeks where the symbol of a jigsaw makes sense even if little else does” and it is very much like having all the pieces of a puzzle, realising its different from the picture on the box, but being unable to see the difference.

Now awareness of others suddenly kicks in. Some of the interchanges we have with parents of ASD kids on the world wide web can be quite acrimonious, but I realise that perhaps it is because our world is terrifying to “normal” people – it would scare the shit out of me if I had the sense to be scared! Most people need a world that makes sense – I think we’d all like a world that makes sense – but they are aware that their kids live in a world that much of the time makes no sense and it terrifies them because they cannot understand how anyone can live in that world. Logically I suppose they are also saddened that they cannot share the world in which their child is living. – But what do I know, I’m making this up as I go along? – My world is not really a world you can understand, I don’t think I understand it, I don’t think I understand me. This is why my mind has so many routines and sub-routines, it means I continue to function even when I am unable to understand. During one period of savage depression when a student, I started to go to High Mass frequently not because of any spiritual comfort, but because the incense and music and colour provided a place of stability that engaged all my senses. The Mass was one of the few things that stopped the chaos in my head. The rituals and routines in which I engage daily provide a foundation and structure which continues to make living possible. Do I need them on a good day? Perhaps not, but they remain in place because they have a deep logic which overrides the logic of reason and continues when reason cannot.

I use people, they are essential to my functioning environment, I do need people. I don’t always appreciate them as I should and I am sorry for that. The song may say “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”, but what it should say is, “People who have the people they need there for them when they need them are the luckiest people in the world.” I think I am incredibly lucky and – at the moment – aware enough to be grateful.


5 Comments so far
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Honestly, I think what you said about your connection to other people often hinges on the effect on you is just that – HONEST. I just last night realized how much this is true for my son, and here you are putting it into real words that make sense. I get these glimmers of understanding of how his brain works, and then an adult like you touches on the subject exactly and it helps immensely. It reminds me not to take things he does so personally, because he has ZERO intention of, in his manifestation of what you describe, disobeying or being defiant.

I think of my son as very pure in his thoughts and actions. Yes, he’ll point out that someone is fat, short, or has a big nose. But there’s no judgment behind it, and we should all learn a lesson from that. This child will never be racist, hateful, or mean for the sake of being mean. I aspire to that myself.

I selfishly hope you are around for a long, long time. You have taught me much, and I’m quite sure there are numerous other parents of ASD kiddos out there who feel the same way.

And I hope your week gets better. 🙂

Comment by asdmommy

You are not selfish, I too hope I am around for a long time!I am glad your son has got his diagnosis young – plenty of time to learn to adjust.

Comment by springingtiger

[…] Mature Autism – People Who Need People February 14, 2011, 17:45 Filed under: asperger’s syndrome, autism, social media | Tags: AS, asd, asperger’s, asperger’s syndrome, autism, information processing, personal growth, sensory processing, Stuart Duncan […]

Pingback by Mature Autism – People Who Need People « Springingtiger’s Blog « WorldWright's …

You have come to be one of the people I am happy to have in my life – even if you do say things that make me really wonder if I have been a non diagnosed adult autism man since I stopped being a pain in the ass child! I keep wondering too whether, as asdmommy puts it the simple purity of asd reactions would be less noticeable in a world that wasn’t built on so much bullshit and dishonesty – the number of times that I have listened to ‘honest’ non asd people saying one thing in front of someone and then saying completely the opposite when they are out of earshot (can you kill someone with earshot??) Watching Eastenders is a classic soap that displays this to a T.
We, as the grown ups, have been bought up to react as social creatures, learning all the sad ways of our past mentors, as well as some good ways, but if you look round at the world of today you can easily see that there is a lot of work to be done before clarity and honesty are the norm rather than a choice – a choice made sometimes on the spur of the moment based on fear of saying something that might be ill received or that might be not what others think.
There are so many words we use – fat being a good example – that are judgemental – which asd people grow up seeing as just descriptive words – the fact that they hurt others is down to society and its poor and distorted teachings.
I shared this blog of yours on all my blogs because it is yet another example of why you should stick around till old age – you have a lot to offer the world m8!
PS – I spent years of my life trying to find an orderly life for my head by seeking religion of one kind or another – I was even an alter boy! Nothing really helped and it was only by finding my inner core and the drives that distorted my pathway of now that gave me space to be a real version of me that allows me to say this to you.
I have a small group of friends who help me to remain balanced and who bring me back to balance when my life starts to rock, as it did this last week – my children are amazing too. Without my friends and my children I would have been dead years ago.
Here’s to friends and family who add positive reality to my life every day!

Comment by WorldWright

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