Wouldn’t it be fantastic if Aspergers had an off switch sometimes?

Disclaimer-this is my personal view. I apologise sincerely if it upsets or offends anyone but, as I have mentioned before, there are highs and lows of living with Aspergers and this post is addressing some of the lows in an honest manner. 

Sometimes I wish that Aspergers had an off switch. Not one which would permanently switch it off as there are parts of my Aspergers that I appreciate immensely, such as my strengths in long term memory and language, but a switch which meant you could turn the Aspergers off in certain situations where it does more harm than good. One example, indeed the one that brought about the idea for this post, is over thinking and paranoia. Like a lot of people I have met, both on and off line with AS, I am a huge over thinker. I often spend hours thinking about how a certain situation could have gone differently if I had behaved in a different way. My mind reaches fever pitch thinking in a repetitive loop about situations which have left me feeling awkward and/or guilty. This may be triggered by one specific circumstance but, once my mind is in that loop, other situations from years ago start popping up for me to mull over as well. Quite simply, it is exhausting and mentally draining and it leaves little time for productive thoughts and actions. I know that people without Aspergers can also be over thinkers but, in my case, I believe it’s the Aspergers that has brought about that particular personality trait in me. 

I also wish that I could turn it off in the workplace sometimes. Again, not permanently, as I firmly believe that, if I didn’t have the experience of growing up with this condition, I wouldn’t have the insight that I do into why some of the students with classic autism behave the way that they do in certain situations, such as situations that cause sensory overload or situations that cause immense frustration. However, sometimes it would be nice to be able to multi task at work without getting flustered and making stupid mistakes because I am on the phone but can hear someone talking in the office as well. I work very well when I am doing one task at a time. I love to just get things done and then move on to the next thing. That’s how I work best but, sometimes, I wish I could focus on more than one task at once without getting agitated and panicky. 

Finally, the other situation in which I would love to turn it off temporarily is when I’m meeting new people. I often get misunderstood by people who don’t know me. I know everybody gets misunderstood at times but, at the risk of sounding self pitying, it tends to happen a lot more to those of us with Aspergers and other conditions on the autistic spectrum. With friends and family, I socialise well, although my eye contact can still be off at times. I can act relaxed around them because they know what I’m like and see my positive sides as well. With strangers, unless they work in the same area that I do, with children or adults with learning disabilities, in which case I can instantly chat to them for hours about work, I find it very hard to talk to them and get to know them. If I am with friends or family or my boyfriend, it is not so bad as I can follow their lead in a conversation with someone I don’t know but, when I am doing it on my own, I just fail at it completely. I am not saying that I wish I could be the most popular person on the planet but I would like to be able to make conversation a bit more easily. 

Obviously Aspergers has it’s strengths and I don’t wish for this post to make anyone else with Aspergers feel depressed. Aspergers doesn’t have an off switch and we have to learn over the years the best strategies to enable us to cope with our daily lives but sometimes, just sometimes, I wish there was an Off switch. 

5 Responses to Wouldn’t it be fantastic if Aspergers had an off switch sometimes?

  1. maximusaurus says:

    It’d be nice if a lot of things had off switches; hunger, sadness, anger, loneliness. Ultimately though they are what make us alive 🙂

  2. pienikukka says:

    I often think the same, especially at work. I’ve got the advantage of understanding why pupils with ASD react how they do, but I wish I understood when people were making jokes with me.

  3. Thank you for sharing your honest perspective.

  4. I think many people without asperger’s find the same issues with social situations and meeting new people!

  5. vontoast says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice! Sometimes we just feel the need to have a break from being ourselves even if only momentarily.

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