Seventh Post

I mentioned the need to socialise before and it seems such an inherent necessity for most people that I am wondering why that is not so for me. For many people social gatherings seem to recharge their batteries in a way but for me, those occasions drain more energy faster than most other activities. Of course, I have never had a time completely away from any social interactions or influence, that is hard to achieve living in an industrialised country, but I did spend a year working in shifts in a city where I had neither friends nor family and sometimes I went to bed in the morning and noticed that I had not spoken a single word the whole day. And I did not mind, on the contrary, it is rather nice to spend a day in silence now and again. My father is a very extrovert person and he now thinks about participating in a relaxation programme where you spend a few days in a monastery without speaking at all. That sounds really nice.

I have to add, though, that I did have contact with my few friends and family via the internet. I do not know how I would feel if that had not been the case; it is just the direct interaction that I do not seem to need as much as most other people. I have a few very good friends who like me despite or because I am the way I am and – as much as I cherish every moment with them – knowing they exist is often equally satisfying to me. The same is true for my parents. It is not even the fact that I know they are there for me if I need them (that would be rather selfish) but even if they are not always there for me, I still know they are there. That is the most important thing to me. It feels like a telepathic connection where not information or emotions are exchanged but just the reassuring feeling of not being alone, even if those others are not anywhere near me physically and I have no means of contacting them immediately. This also entails that they are – despite periods with very little contact, from time to time – in no way exchangeable; this connection is there because they are the people they are. Five special people. And I cannot imagine what would happen to me if I lost one of these connections. I know I will some day, especially considering that two of these five are my parents, but I can just hope that I am then in a different mental state than I am now. Right now it feels like the existence of the universe’s equilibrium is tied to their life.

The only great loss I experienced so far is my cat, Sylvester, whom I grew up with and who was my best friend for my whole childhood. I still do not know if it was for the better that I was not here when he passed away or if I could have been able to find more peace after giving him a proper farewell. The way it is now, it is still an empty, Sylvester-shaped space in my soul and I doubt this will ever change. I only learned to avoid that area but the pain has not changed in any way. But without diminishing what he meant for me I can probably say that my parents would mean an infinitely greater empty space in my soul and so far, I have found nothing that would be able to repair that damage. But maybe I will somewhere, sometime. So many other people have managed to so it seems to be possible.

Sixth Post

Today I met a friend I’ve known for a few weeks and we went to the zoo.

Sometimes I am wondering if I am really that different; of course, I am stressed when I go outside, people exhaust me, I am laughing at things few people around me think is funny and I never understood the necessity to look at someone in order to listen to them. But I feel… centred within myself and that makes many difficulties from the outside world ricochet from my internal stability centre. I am, psychologically, comparable to the Taipei 101 and its pendulum tuned mass damper: my psychological pendulum offsets instability caused by strong psycho-emotional attacks triggered by outside situations. That and the fact that my closest friends share many of my characteristics sometimes lead me to the impression that my perception and behaviour is totally normal – “normal” in a sense of “like the majority” – and I start questioning my theory that I have Asperger’s Syndrome.

But then, sooner or later, I spend time with someone like the friend I met today and I am once again reminded that there is this invisible barrier separating my way of thinking from those not on the spectrum. I cannot even really define it; behaviours, yes, tics, speech patterns, interests, humour… But there is also this unseizable something which makes me feel that I cannot reach them with my thoughts and I do not truly understand them. I understand the meaning of the words, I understand jokes (not all, but many), sarcasm, and emotions but I understand them like they speak a foreign language that I learned very well. I do not grasp anything intuitively and I do not understand the level that only a native speaker can draw from a conversation. I always feel there is something missing in both directions.

I have tried to compensate that by acting, joking and entertaining, analysing intellectually when my intuition fails me but I came to the conclusion that this only exhausts me. I want to find out how I really am and if this “me” is less socially able but feels more at home with things done and said in social interactions it is a consequence I am willing to accept. This means I have to wash away layers of automatic “outside self” roles and reflexes without adding any new artificial behaviours. I recognise this will be difficult but I believe life is to a great extent a quest to understand who one truly is.

I’ve never been very social, anyway, not (only) because I feel unable to interact meaningfully but because I do not need (not-online) social interaction. I am content being alone and I am rarely actually lonely. So, if I happen to find out that I am actually less socially apt than I pretended to be I would not miss anything. My psychological state of health is not depending on frequent social contacts.

And I am excited of getting to know this aspect of myself which is, right now,  covered by intellectual protection mechanisms.