About feeling useless…

This is a big one. At least for many it is. And that includes me. It’s easy to tie your value as a human being to how useful you are to others and/or society as a whole. It is also then VERY easy to feel useless, when you have some challenges that prevents you from functioning in the same way as others would in specific situations. Typically for people with Aspergers, those situations are – to a varying degree – anything social.

And why is that, I’m often asked. What exactly is it that makes functioning socially so different and difficult with Aspergers. In short, how does it feel to have Aspergers. The closest thing I’ve come to an explanation that makes sense, is as follows: Imagine sitting down in your couch for 10 minuttes. With me so far? Doesn’t sound bad, right? Now imagine for those 10 minutes that your body only works conciously. What that means is, you only breathe if you actively chose to, your heart only beats if you conciously chose to. Your tongue only refrains from falling down your throat and choking you if you actively tell it to. Imagine, after 10 minuttes of doing all that manually, how fried your brain would feel. Being social is to many Aspys similar to that. All of the little social interactions and cues that someone without Aspergers would interpret subconciously, we – or at least i – have to pay attention to. I won’t notice if I’m being inappropriate unless I chose to keep an eye out for the signs that I have had to LEARN means someone is uncomfortable. The same when a situation escalates in terms of agression. And pretty much anything else. Now imagine having to work an 8 hour day like that.

So it’s easy to feel useless. No I didn’t notice that our first date didn’t go as well as I thought, because I was tired when I got there, and missed the signs. No I didn’t notice that I may have just lost us a client, because I didn’t pick up on something being a touchy subject. And no, I didn’t notice that my coworker meant more than just moving those boxes, when he/she pleaded me for help. It’s hard to communicate for me, and as such, more often than not, I tend to just withdraw instead. And I’m willing to bet alot of people who share my challenges do the same.

But here’s the hard part. Forgiving yourself. Yes, you have these challenges, but you haven’t chosen them. They were thrust upon you by varying degrees and proportions of genetics and childhood trauma. We’re sick. Maybe not in the classical sense, but incurably so none the less. And yes, many of these mental challenges and/or illnesses are incurable. But that doesn’t mean it can’t get better. It doesn’t mean that with awareness, and training, the challenges won’t lessen, because they will. Or so I’m told at least. And I chose to believe that. Because unlike my challenges, that IS something I chose. And that choice, is a useful one.

Untill next time

-AA

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