Monday, August 24, 2015
We've all had it, that itch, the one that won't quit, the one you can't scratch "in polite company", the one on your foot while you're driving. Maddening, ain't it. Welcome to having Asperger's, OCD, or any of the forms of Autism that cause obsessions. Welcome to "the itch".
It seems all of my tribesmen have their own itches. Make no mistake. You can't have just one. Our "standard options package" comes with one for every occasion. If it can be pondered, it can be obsessed over. Entertainment, hobbies, peoples' body parts (noses, eyes, ears, hands, feet, stay with me here folks. It's a "family show".) The objects of obsession are limitless. If we love you, bet everything you own, we obsess over you or something about you. If you dislike us, we may even obsess over the "why" and "what did I do". Personally, I've found that declaring those in the latter category as "just an asshole" tends to give me a scratch that is perpetually effective. Accurate or not, it works and "gets me through the day" when those folk are encountered.
Scratching it? Wish it were that simple. I can't reach far enough up my nose to get to my brain. These can be "scratched", but here's where the real trouble starts. Scratching these requires mentioning, touching, staring at, or some other socially awkward behavior toward the object "in the crosshairs" to get a fleeting moment's relief.
We fight incessant battles between a runaway mind and our will. We don't want to "scratch". Try telling someone at work or school "you have such unique, interesting ears". The momentary horror on their face can be rather entertaining, but there are definite "long term costs" to such behavior. None of us suggest indulging in "a good scratch" on a regular basis. I don't care how much awareness and acceptance there is out there. The average neurotypical isn't aware enough for that.
Those who love us most find things they value more than "the itch". We can even reach an acceptance level with our closest where our itches are "out in the open" with them. Sometimes, we can even share a laugh.
Welcome to our war. The first shots are fired when our eyes open in the morning, but may not stop when they close in sleep. We even itch in our dreams.
Outnumbered and out gunned by an enemy that never sleeps, this is one of our wars. We resist, evade, medicate, and most importantly, cling dearly to those to whom our itches don't matter.