I used my last post to ask for some advice and, I must admit, I was a little disappointed. I got a few likes, but not the answers I was hoping for. However, it was a timely reminder that I shouldn’t let the internet influence my major life decisions. Whatever I end up doing, it’s all me. My choice. My actions. Or lack of.

As it happens, soon after I posted that, I did tell my mum-friend about my Asperger’s. (Obviously, this happened via text, I wouldn’t do something that momentous face-to-face, or worse, on the phone!) Her response was quite positive and since it happened we are still friends, we have spoken in real life, and we have made more play dates.

I was so excited by the freedom I felt that I decided to tell someone else when we went out for drinks! She took it quite well too. It did not end the conversation. Neither did it dominate the evening.

Since then I’ve felt happier about being me again, which ironically has made it slightly easier to socialise in other situations.

I’m not planning to tell everyone, but I’m happy now that I know I can tell someone (other than my wonderful husband) without it spoiling the relationship.

If anyone does have a coming out story to share, either from an Aspie, NT, or other perspective, please leave a comment!

Advertisements

I have a question for you today and I’d really appreciate some answers, whether you have Asperger’s or not!

Since my last post, I’ve been thinking more about Linus’s video (see link in last post) and the impression I make when I’m at social events. For example, at the weekend I went to a child’s birthday party with my husband and both children. There were people there I vaguely recognised from the school run, and one of my (very) few mum-friends. I struggled so much to look at people and make conversation, I felt really awkward!

Luckily my eldest ran off to play with her friends and didn’t seem to notice me floundering. I started at a table with some other mums but quickly moved to the next table where my husband had struck up conversation with another couple who (luckily) probably hadn’t seen me being awkward and not greeting anyone in the school playground.

Now I am contemplating being more upfront with people about my Asperger’s. This is a horrifying prospect for me. How on earth can I introduce this into a conversation? Can I just get a t-shirt saying “I’m not really rude – it’s my Asperger’s”? Or maybe with the slogan “Kiss my Asperger’s”?

Hmm, probably not.

But I might be able to introduce the topic to my mum-friend who saw me being awkward at the party. Maybe?

Is it worthwhile? Or am I better off just trying harder to make eye contact and greet people at school? Should I carry on as I am and not worry about other people potentially thinking I’m rude?

Please help!

I realised as I published my last post that I’ve been quite negative lately. This is not what I wanted when I started writing Acceptable Face*, but with my post-labour hormones all over the place and my continuing failure to just wake up one morning and find everything super-easy, I was feeling low.

Depression, and the low moods you get before life gets that bad, are part of many people’s lives and not limited to those with Asperger’s. This means I can’t blame it on the Asperger’s – which is actually a good thing! I do get fed up of it always being the limiting factor, the differentiator. “I’d be like a normal person if it weren’t for the Asperger’s…”, “I’m mostly able, except for the Asperger’s…”, “I’d love to do that! But I have Asperger’s so I can’t…”, etc.

Today, the weather is sunny and my baby is mercifully with my parents, so I’m able to get some work done and even treat myself to a new blog post! Other things have improved my mood more significantly.

For example, I recently read The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge. Not only is it an extremely good book, it also reminded me of the best bits of being a teenager. It’s so easy for me to look back and remember the depression and anxiety, but I hardly ever think about the good bits. The truth is that alongside my crushing anxiety, I also had close friendships, parents who would give me enough money for trips to the cinema, and an appreciation of beautiful summer days, which is exactly what today feels like.

This morning, while I was eating an early lunch, I watched a couple of YouTube videos from people with Asperger’s, and the first one in particular made me laugh. I used to watch this guy’s videos all the time before I had children. Linus’s comment near the end, about NTs caring about social rules more than they should, made me laugh – maybe it’s just the way he says it. But that video reminded me that it’s easy to worry too much. Yes, it’s nice to fit in and other people do appreciate it, but how much does it really matter? We will always be ourselves, no matter how much we pretend. Does it really have to be the end of the world if we can’t pretend all the time?

*While adding the link here I noticed I’ve been writing this blog since 2011. Wow I feel old! Also, where’s my book deal?

At the weekend, we had another children’s party to go to. My eldest claimed she had a good time, and I hope she enjoyed every single minute. I was ready to cry before we’d got half way.

A children’s party is one of those occasions where it’s really obvious that my child and I take a different approach to socialising than, ooh, say…EVERYBODY ELSE. All the parents were mingling, standing around in pairs or threes or fours. All the children were running around in similar groups. All except for me, my husband, and our daughter. Our baby slept, I wasn’t worried about her, but watching our 5-year-old sitting by herself colouring made me wonder…when will she perceive the gap, and how will she feel about it when she notices?

This gap is one problem I cannot fix. I cannot make her fit in with the other children. I can only do my best to bolster her confidence and support the friendships she has made. Now I feel what my own mother must have felt. A kind of hopeless sorrow, driving me to encourage all sorts of pursuits for my daughter in the hope that her life will be easier than mine was.

I still believe my daughter is not as afflicted as I am when it comes to self-confidence and social skills, but I can see the echoes of my own behaviour in her now. The tendency to be quiet and shy is still with her, and I know I make a sucky example of how to make friends and interact with the world.

Maybe the lack of sleep is making me feel worse about my Asperger’s. Maybe it’s a touch of PND. This week I am stuck with the fact that there is no escape, for me or my family.

For any woman with a small(ish) baby, or toddler, you’ll know it’s sometimes hard to find time to be yourself, or anything other than a mum. It can happen to dads too, but it’s less likely as they tend to go back to work much sooner. They often don’t take more than a few weeks out of their usual life, and of course, they don’t have the 9 months of pregnancy to adjust their lives around. As an Aspie, the thought of having a baby ‘glued’ to me was horrifying when I was a child, and I’m still finding it stressful the second time around.

But it’s not just having babies that’s consumed my identity. I’ve found through many stages of my life that I get fixated on issues or people and I forget to be me. I subsume my own needs and desires to fit with someone else, or to obsess over something I’m not or can’t do. Is this an Aspie feature? Or just something I’m stuck with that could also happen to anyone?

Why am I thinking about this today? It’s because I recently decided to do more things that I want. For example, on Sunday (Mothers’ Day), I went jogging. I’d wanted to go jogging again for weeks, but I always felt too guilty to take time out from being mum at the weekend. I still feel obliged to try and do most of the childcare, even when my husband is having a day off. He’s quite a hands on dad, but I know he finds the baby stressful and he’s always tired after a week at work. It was so nice to go out though – in the fresh air, nice and early.

Today I’ve got babysitters and I’m doing some work while listening to a podcast. I’ve wanted to listen to some podcasts for months, but it’s taken me a long time to take the plunge and get some headphones. After I got the headphones, it took another month for me to actually take the time to use them! Now that I have, I’m really enjoying the experience!

What else…

Ah yes, I have a book club meeting this week, and a yoga class. It’s taken a while, but I’m starting to feel more like a real person, rather than ‘just’ someone who does the laundry, or produces milk.

Yes, being a mother is wonderful and very important, but there is always more to life.

I’m a bit late to wish you all happy new year. That’s because my new daughter arrived on new year’s eve and it’s taken me this long to feel like I’m getting back to normality. Having said that, I can hear her crying now so hold that thought…

And here I am a day later. So yes, everything has changed, but I’m still the same woman with the same social problems. I now have the same worries I had for my older daughter, but also for my younger daughter. Once again I’m in charge of a little person, with a blank but enquiring mind. Once again, I’ll be worrying about setting a good example – how much of my daughter’s social skills will she learn, or inherit from me?

My eldest is currently giving no cause for concern – largely thanks to outside influences. I still have the headache of arranging play dates and attending children’s parties. In fact we had her 5th birthday just a few weeks ago. I spent most of the party hiding in the kitchen (we had an entertainer) thinking I should be mingling. I greeted people, but I didn’t really manage to mingle. A room full of people and noise, plus my husband was busy setting up for the disco, and no beer or wine, what option did I have?

Now that that hideous experience is behind us (it went well but I wanted the ground to swallow me up), I am free to worry about daughter number 2.

This means keeping up with the ladies in my antenatal group (a bit easier with us all on WhatsApp) and talking to other new mums at Buggyfit. By my standards, I’m doing ok. I find it easier to socialise when I’m sleep-deprived, but it’s still early days.

I just wanted to say, for all the Aspie-mums out there, we’re doing a good job and it’s ok to be ourselves.

 

How does that title make you feel?

Parties are meant to be fun, aren’t they? That’s where tens of people gather to celebrate something or other, and at this time of year there may be mulled beverages too! Not for me of course, I’m still pregnant. And I still have Asperger’s.

Today I got invited to a party with lots of other mums from my daughter’s school. I was invited via an open invitation on a Facebook group – I’m not sure anyone actually wants me there. After all, most of the mums barely know me. I’m still at the stage where I find it difficult to say hello in the playground.

These last few weeks I have been quite pleased with myself for making a mum-friend and arranging a few playdates. Yet when I saw the party invitation I just wanted to hide, then cry. My mum-friend has commented to say she’s looking forward to it. I thought she was shy like me? And yet, she’s going and looking forward to it. I can’t bare the thought of going and having to stay sober. Besides, my husband is out tomorrow and it’s very short notice to get a babysitter.

In truth, even if my husband wasn’t going out, I’d probably still decline. I can’t help who I am, but school is much more socially demanding than I’d anticipated. I don’t want my daughter to miss out just because her mum’s a bit useless.

In summary, I’m fed up of having Asperger’s. Can it go away now please?