I've wanted for awhile to participate in Autistics Speaking Day, but have not been able to since it falls around holiday time, which tends to mean that executive function and language access difficulties are through the roof for me( not helpful that my keyboard is currently messed up pretty badly). As it is, this post will be late, comprised at least partly of disjointed jottings from other occasions, and made possible only by indulgence in a venti latte, which I do rarely for fear of building up a tolerance to caffeine and losing access to its extremely helpful benefits.
Discussions overheard lately, being near Halloween, have now got me questioning to what extent my experience of fear is similar to that of NTs, and from there also wondering whether it's really me that has the problem understanding the nature of emotions after all. First of all, many NTs claim to enjoy experiencing fear. This makes no sense to me. I think this may, however, be partly due to the fact that, as far as I can tell, they experience when visiting a spook alley or watching a horror film something like my normal baseline levels( BTW, I don't find most of that stuff scary anyway, just physically repulsive---this applies to "If I did get scared, however"). They also seem to think handholding and cuddles are both comforting and a benefit to this type of experience. At the point when I would consider myself to be frightened worth mentioning, I'm in full-on fight-or-flight mode, and any zookeeper will tell you, a primate( humans included!) in such a state isn't something good or that you want to try holding hands with! Fear, from an autistic perspective, isn't something you F___ around with for entertainment, but a true force of nature in itself. We always assume that Dr. Banner's transformation to Hulk( which BTW, I see as a pretty good fictionalized representation of an Aspie having a meltdown) is fueled by anger, yet anger without fear to drive it invariably fizzles rapidly. In fact, I do not see how it is possible to experience the two independently. In spite of this, I've frequently had NTs claim I'm lying about my reactions because they "See anger, not fear" in my expression. There is no anger without fear, no fear without anger! Fight-or-flight is ONE thing, not two! Even love, that supposed conqueror of all, is basically only an extension of fear, the expansion or dislocation of one's survival instincts onto to another individual.
Fragment II( taken from a comment I made on another blog a year or two ago---the first sentence may sound a little odd without the context but I'm no longer able to find that):
My opinion is that echolalia really refers to two different if related phenomena. I DO have times when I get a word stuck in a mechanical loop without meaning( sometimes repeating a single word in the middle of a sentence several times, which sounds odd). I do this mainly when fatigued or in pain. But the other kind( used on purpose to communicate) described happens, too, and I think also gets confused with the phenomenon of scripting.
Scripting is *definitely* intentional communication( well, some of it might be fun play from some children), at least from me and I suspect from many others. There is an old Star Trek: TNG episode where they meet a race that cannot be understood even with their Universal Translator, because these particular aliens speak almost entirely in literary allusions---to literature that humans have never had the opportunity to read. This is almost exactly what I did as a child and even into my early 20s, though because by the time I was in my teens I was using Poe, Shelley, and Shakespeare I just got the reputation of being a dramatic goth kid instead of the real truth, that I couldn't find my own words quickly enough (if ever) so I just used the approximately synonymous phrases of others. (I seem to recall a very early Gary Numan interview where he seems to describe this as actually a part of his creative process, but no NT I've heard that read this was able to understand what he was talking about).
Where it bogs down is if one person gets a totally different message from the text, also I believe some small/more classically autistic kids may associate unrelated emotions to the words due to outside happenings at the time of listening to them, e.g. they quote a movie that they were watching when they last felt the particular emotion they are trying to describe, but that bit of dialogue has no relation to what was happening to them at the time.
Fragment III( from a forum post I made):
I would never have met any of my real-world friends and would have been completely isolated as a teen without online socialization. Being around people physically does not lead to meaningful interaction for me. It's not shyness( though sometimes I can feel shyness if I particularly admire someone or need their approval for external reasons), as I don't really fear rejection or think about it much. I just...can't process in that way. For many years I thought I got hangovers from alcohol or from tobacco allergy or was staying up too late. By process of elimination, however, (i.e., it happens even if I don't drink, no one is smoking and I still get normal sleep time, but does not happen if I drink alcohol by myself or stay up till the wee hours absorbed in a special interest) I discovered that, actually, being forced to socialize in person, especially in a group or without other purpose than socialization itself, directly causes physical pain and exhaustion( symptoms almost identical to what is described for alcoholic hangover) and lowered functioning/increased autistic issues( such as mutism and intensified sensory issues) for the next 1-3 days. Sometimes I do want to see my friends or at least support something they are doing, but it requires a LOT of planning and acceptance of downtime.
I don't think I could ever describe to any NT the soothing rush of sensory happyOMGYAY!! I felt at the sight of this display in the store today:
Edited to add: No idea why the link does not work, but the pic is here:http://www.freeimagehosting.net/sad
I know nothing about this line of toys, but I wish it had been around when I was a kid because I would have gone nuts collecting these! Blue and gray and SOFT! My newborn pics have me in blue instead of the expected pink, not because my parents wanted to buck tradition, but because it was immediately obvious from birth even without ever having heard of sensory aversions that I would cry and freak out self-destructively if wrapped in a pink blanket, yet was as calmed and fascinated by blue things as I was distraught by pink. I did get somewhat desensitized over the years (won't get far in life if you can't stand the sight of your own skin), but still often have to leave an area of a store with Valentine or Breast Cancer displays due to overload---it feels almost like the achiness of oncoming fever, and still feel so, so blissful with pronounced amounts of cool blue tones around me!