Traveling with the Aspie

We don’t travel much.  Actually, neither me or Justin have ever been on a plane (or a train).  We do love to explore, though, and we often go for drives just to get out of the house.  We start getting crabby with each other if we don’t.

Since we are childfree (by choice!), we can go anywhere at any time and explore the amazing state of Washington without any problems.  We love to just get in the car and go.  But traveling with Justin has its issues.

Justin has a routine before we go anywhere (even the store).  He probably doesn’t realize he does, but I certainly do.  They say the women usually take longest to get ready, but I beg to differ!  He has to make sure he has the right shirt and pants and belt on, make sure he has the right hoodie, get his shoes, put on cologne, then smoke.  I can’t stand and wait for him, or he feels like he’s rushed and it annoys him (sometimes I am rushed, which I’m working on).  Once he’s finally ready, then I usually get ready, because chances are, he’s forgotten something in his routine, and he has to do it or he gets crabby.

We all know by now autistic people have routines and they have to abide by them or they tend to get irritated and that’s when meltdowns can happen.  But I wonder if this is something that all adults with autism struggle with?  Just leaving the house–does that require certain steps or they just can’t handle it?

Once we’re finally in the car, it’s usually me driving (hello, no DUIs here).  I get comments from him–a lot.  He probably doesn’t realize it, but he will make a lot of comments on the way I’m driving or ask why I don’t take certain roads or why I’m hitting the freeway instead of going through town.  Sometimes it really irritates me–but I remember that this his brain is probably just a little weirded out because it’s part of his routine to go a certain way or drive a certain way.  It’s his Aspie routine, and that’s how he likes it!  It doesn’t piss me off or drive like an ass just because he commented, but I’ve noticed it’s usually every time we drive he will comment on something that’s unusual or unexpected of him.

travel

I know Justin stresses a lot about driving, and he doesn’t drive by himself much.  He’s constantly stressing that his car will break down (even mine, which is completely under warranty and only 4 years old) and it’s the unexpected-ness of it that really freaks him out.  We’re hoping we can find him a specialist to help with this stress and worry he tends to have.

At any rate, I’m curious what it’s like for other Aspies out there to travel.  What is your routine of leaving like???

–TARA–

Physical Touch…the Aspie’s Archnemesis

I asked Justin to write what he feels and thinks about, as most of you know.  He wanted to talk about physical touch and what it feels like from their point of view.

Physical touch what’s that????? really EWWWWW

No really, I don’t understand physical touch.  To me, it just doesn’t really make sense.  I’ve never been one to hold someone’s hand or hug them.  Even in a moment of sadness I just kind of stand there awkwardly saying what can I do to help.  I know I look insanely awkward,  like I want to run the fuck away, but also understand I don’t want to be a douche nozzle. For me it’s really hard to explain why physical touch is so foreign and odd. It kind of feels like someone who touches me could control my every move, and before you say “Obviously, that can’t happen,” well, no shit.  That’s one thing that’s funny about autism.  I am incredibly smart and I have an insane memory about things that I am obsessed with.  But you’re also stuck with these things you do that you know is dumb and not true. Like no shit someone can’t control me they’re not Luke Skywalker.

If I’m having a meltdown, touching me is the worst.  It’s like a hot poker wherever I get touched—even if they’re trying to be comforting.  I start sweating and start to almost stress, because I’m not sure how to react.  This is also what it’s like if you randomly touch me—it almost startles me.  I know you aren’t doing it to be an ass, but it is a little weird to me.  I feel horrible with my wife cause I know she wants to hold hands and touch, but it is so insanely foreign to me.  I think she’s to the point now she does understand and knows I love her (obviously).

People also don’t understand how scary someone touching you can be when you are surrounded by noise and chaos even if things can be calm.  For example, my wife’s boss took everyone on a day cruise around the Puget sound where we live. We were on the top deck surrounded by the other employees she knows well.  Everyone was talking and moving and having a good time.  Their faces were different to me (even though I met them all), but I’m so focused trying to block out everyone else it’s overwhelming.  It can also be scary in public because I don’t know how long to stare at you before I am creepy Justin and you start getting weirded out.

I don’t know what to do with my hands, so I fiddle with my phone, goatee or anything.  I don’t have any idea what body language means—it’s definitely a different language.  If my wife wants  a hug or cuddle she pretty much has to just say “I want a hug, dummy,” before I get it.  If she tries to hug me or flirt with me I’m just like uhhhh….hey, what are you doing?  She has gotten to understand she just has to say it.  It’s almost like knowing only half the language of a place you’re visiting.  Like you know enough to kind of get around and ask where the bathroom is and stuff, but you don’t really know how to speak more than “Where’s the library.”  There are also times someone will say something nice to me and I brush it off its usually cause I had no clue what you were talking about at the time.  My brain processes some things fast and some things I take forever to get.  I also might hear you tell me a joke then when I get home I finally get it, and laugh randomly, scaring the hell out of my wife.

TIP:  If you’re hanging around someone who’s autistic and want to hug them or touch them, just ask.  Physical contact can be tough, so it never hurts to ask them.Capture

More Words from the Aspie Mouth!

I like it when Justin writes blogs for me to slaughter.  I mean–edit (ahem).  I hope that you can find some relation to what he feels, and vice versa.  I’d like Justin to know he’s not alone with this weird brain he’s got, and that I love him no matter how hard it is to get him to speak to people (or to stop talking!!!).

Shit Justin says:

I don’t know how it is for other people, but for me there is more than one factor as to why it’s hard for me to speak to people. One is if I don’t know the person, I will first notice their mannerisms and how they speak.  Then, however they speak, I will mimic them and their cadence because I don’t know how to speak to them.

From beginning to end of a conversation, I really don’t know when to start and when to stop, so I have a tendency to start a conversation and then I will trail off. Sometimes I feel like my brain’s moving so fast I can’t slow down my thoughts.  I do know that when I get excited, I will talk really fast, and that also happens when I get really nervous.  It drove my wife crazy when she first met me because I had so much I wanted to say I had to slow down how fast I was talking.

It’s also hard to know what to do with my hands, and I don’t know if other Aspies have that problem.  I try to focus on their body movements and try to copy them, but if they’re not moving, I start to fidget and play with my phone or goatee.

I also HATE eye contact.  It’s the worst thing in the world.  Okay, well, I take that back. It’s not THAT bad.  But it’s really stressful.  I try to look people in the eye because I know it’s rude, but when someone looks into my eyes, I feel like they can see into my soul or memories.  I know they can’t, obviously, but that’s what it feels like.  I barely look at anyone in the eyes, and if I do, it’s my wife, and only for a minute or two.  It’s not me trying to be disrespectful or being a dick—that’s just how it is for me.  I also feel like a creeper if I stare at peoples’ eyes too much.

Socializing is a weird thing for me—if the conversation lags or if I don’t know what to talk about, I’ll bring up random crap, like family memories or something else weird.  I just don’t know what to talk about.  This happens if I don’t see someone for a while, too.  My best friend in the world and I barely see each other, because it legitimately stresses me out because I haven’t seen him for a while.  I worry what to talk about (though my wife says we don’t ever shut up anyway).

I feel like avoiding socializing altogether is easier.  The day after I socialize or play games or just hang out with people I’m exhausted.  It’s like a physical thing for me.

Are any other Aspies like this too?

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