Something besides Asperger’s

~ 1 ~

I want to believe encouraging thoughts.

Such as that life is positive, that I am capable of communicating with people successfully and enjoyably, that I’m not weird or at least don’t have to be weird, that I can engage others and have it go well. When you’re pessimistic and negative about yourself, it’s not necessarily the case that you want to be that way, rather it’s a defensive posture based on real world experiences of social interaction bitch-slapping you into shameful submission. Of course I’d like to feel positive and be optimistic about interacting with others. You think I wouldn’t? But then reality, real world experiences occur which  douse whatever little spark of optimism I might have had.

And how’s your day going?

~ 2 ~

I went to the store to pick up some prescriptions. On the way to the pharmacy dept, I crossed paths with:

(A.) a hipster – I can’t stand hipsters, because I feel inferior to them, for their ability to have crafted a noticeable image for themselves; for their ironic thick framed glasses while I’ve had to wear glasses most of my life not by choice and I’m sure it’s hurt my chances to be found attractive; and for their thick beards while I’ve always had thin scraggly facial hair; silly jealousy on my part, but regardless of my insecurities regarding hipsters, most of all I just can’t stand their pretentiousness.*

(B.) two separate HB’s (hot babes, i.e. attractive women) – makes me feel like crap, too, because as a non-douchebag kind of guy there’s no way that I’m going to approach them or say anything to them, instead telling myself well she probably doesn’t want to be bothered and besides she wouldn’t want a guy like me hitting on her, etc. Negative self-talk. Of course, those thoughts don’t appear in my head in the same way I just wrote them, above. It’s more like a lightning fast, quick flash of beliefs  through my mind in a split second.

That’s the Gatekeeper, the silently sly negative presence in me – not a literal presence, of course; and more of an insinuating attitude or mood (a flashmood, there’s a new term!)  than a voice, really – inside your head and inside your heart, tearing you down, holding you back, disparaging you, discouraging you, frightening you then turning around and comforting you after you’ve caved in to him. With all of that crap holding me back, I couldn’t even let myself notice girls much but instead try to hide it, worrying along the lines of: did she see me staring at her or lusting after her and will she be pissed or disgusted by it? Just keep going, bury it, repress it, you suck and you’ll always be alone because no way is a cute girl like that going to accept someone as broken as you.

Phew.
~ 3 ~

I’m always feeling embarrassed and self-conscious when I pick up my scrips because they’re psych meds and I’m ashamed of it. I want to get in and out as quickly as possible.

Take these and you'll be happy
So next, I’m standing in line at the pharmacy, waiting my turn . A customer ahead of me was at the counter to pick her scrips. My eyes were moving around, not staring at anything or anyone. Then I noticed the woman at the counter glanced back at me. How to describe the look on her face as tshe looked at me? It was a look of judgment. Examining me and wondering. Slight disapproval. That’s how my Gatekeeper interpreted it, anyhow, and told me that’s what she was doing. My Gatekeeper inferred that she was disapproving of me because I probably had a negative look on my face. maybe I was frowning or sad-looking or something. People have sometimes wondered why I had such a negative look on my face, most of the time when i wasn’t even aware that I had. So, I’ve become sensitive about it, and whenever someone seems to be examining me, I become self-conscious and worried that I have one of those sour looks on my face. It’s just how my face is. But it becomes a self-defeating cycle.

Next, my turn at the counter.

I gave the clerk my name. He had two scrips ready. I needed three. I really didn’t want to have to come back on Monday to pick up the third one when it’d be ready. I had wanted to make only one trip. It’s annoying. I should’ve called ahead of time, but (a) I thought I would be inconveniencing them by calling and asking if my scrips were ready because I know how busy pharmacy techs get** and I didn’t want to be a bother, and (b) I forgot, anyway.

I went ahead and purchased the two scrips that were ready.

He said, “…it’s going to be ten dollars would you like to sign up for our automatic refill plan we call ____ when they’re ready or we call you if there’s a delay in refilling ___ medication or we call and tell you if we couldn’t refill a prescription for these are these maintenance meds do you ___ want me sign you up?”

Did you have trouble reading that run-on sentence? Good. That’s how I heard it from him, all run together like that. The blanks are words I didn’t catch.

Now, he didn’t actually speak like that. He was not speaking too fast or too low. He spoke in a normal, regular, clear conversational tone. But the run-on is how I heard it. There’s something strange about the way I listen to people. It takes me lots of time to process what they just said and to understand the words they just spoke, and my brain scrambles to define the terms they’ve just used (such as “maintenance” – are these really maintenance drugs, I mean, what if the dosage changes, that’s not technically maintenance is it, or is it?). However, there isn’t enough time for me to do all of that processing and still keep up with the conversation. So, I have to respond in an appropriate time frame. So, I get confused and usually just go along with whatever it was they said since I didn’t have time to understand half of it (most normal people would) but I don’t want to be thought of as an idiot or be a nuisance by forcing them to slow down to my level.

Since the clerk was standing at the computer while he spoke, I thought he’d just click on something to sign me up. Another failure to interpret other people, on my part, because after I paid, he slid a small form in front of me. It was a hard copy of the automatic refill sign up form. It took me a couple seconds to realize it.

He said, “the form ___ I just need you to ___ name ___ phone number or we can text you we email you call you ___ home phone or text message __”

“Okay.” Just go with the flow.

“…your mobile number in case ___ we have to ___ also…

I reached for the form. My brain was sludge. I didn’t have time to interpret everything he just instructed me to do. (My thoughts trying, trying to keep up and work quickly.) I’d prefer that they contact me by text – better than talking – but what do I write down next to the text message check box? My cell phone number, yes it’s just a prepaid phone I have but it does get texts, so do I write down that number? But wait, is there like a separate number or special code you put down next to your number than indicates it’s a text message? I do so little texting that I’m just not sure, and what if write down the number and that’s not the way to do it, he’ll think I’m an idiot – I shouldn’t have done this, said yes, but I thought he was going to just sign me up in his computer.

I wrote my cell number next to the text message check box, and also next to where it said mobile phone. As I did so, I heard him say “uhhh” or “oh!” or “whup!” – something like that, which I took to mean he was stopping me.

“What did I do?” I said. “Show me what I did…” my voice trailing off. I was going into helpless mode, giving up the pretense of control or knowing what I was doing. Just like at K.C.I. airport at the end of my Topeka trip.

“Nothing. It’s okay,” he said. “That’s good.”

I signed the form and slid it back to him.

I walked away, feeling defeated, thinking I’d screwed up somehow. Or that’s what the negative thoughts assaulting me were implying. Maybe it was just my imagination, but even if that were the case, then it being-just-in-my-head was itself indicative that I’m all screwed up! Damned if you do….

~ 4 ~

On the walk out of the store I saw a few more HB’s. (Boy, there are some real MILF’s in my neighborhood). This added to my bad mood. I try to avoid seeing HB’s because of that. Kind of hard, though.

Real life occurs too fast for me to keep up. I wish I had a pause button, like Adam Sandler’s character in Click, so that when spoken to, I could hit pause and take a moment to understand all the words that were said and come up with a non-retarded response.

I don’t think this is Asperger’s Syndrome that I have. I don’t fit the profile. I believe I’m generally able to figure out what others are doing and saying and how they’re behaving, and so forth. It’s more like I have no confidence that I’m interpreting those words and behaviors accurately, though I usually am. It’s also a bit like a very mild autism, in which I’m too easily overwhelmed by the speed of real life and all of the sensory input that surrounds me and distracts me to the point where I can’t wait to get away from it.

I’m still basically socially functional, and I’m afraid I just come off as aloof, disinterested, and stuck up.

Amazing how a simple trip to the store can wear you down. And it just reinforces my tendency to want to avoid going out anywhere. I mean, for pete’s sake, if I can’t even do this without “screwing up” (real or not), how could I go out and socialize? Pfffftt.

~ Footnotes ~

* See Die Hipster Die; it’s a clever blog.

** I’ve read the Angry Pharmacist‘s blog, and it’s funny as hell, but I think I’ve internalized his travails and rants and feel intimidated!

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