are we there yet?

It’s nearly Christmas Day. Yes, I am looking forward to the day. No, it’s not because Santa is coming with pressies. But because the Bulldozer is supposed to move out in the afternoon on Christmas Day! Are we there yet? I am counting the days!

I am still hiding in my bedroom and eating in here. I have had a stabbing migraine headache for the last two days now. The stress is mounting to screaming decibel level. It’s not really his fault, it’s just that my senses are too wound up by now – after more than a month of the Extreme Social Brained Bulldozer shenanigans, I just cannot bear his presence anymore. This isn’t an exclusively Aspie phenomenon, not wanting to be in the same room as someone one loathes, that is. But for the hypersensitive Aspie, the effect is many, many times more palpable, more pronounced, more severe. My senses are now on high alert mode, I feel nauseous at the very smell of him disturbing the air within the space through which he travels or in which he inhabits. The kitchen, the backyard, the lounge room as he saunter by. And no, it is not an over active imagination, but rather over active sensory nerves that are firing intensely, furiously. And detail focus cognition can be a curse in such situations – I notice every little thing, which adds to my distress and distaste for this person. The stuff left behind in the toilet bowl, the layer of sticky, goopy black gunk in the bathtub, the greasy handles of cutlery that he has used and failed to wash properly, the mess he leaves behind on the stove after cooking, the flood of water under the sink after he washes up, the coffee stains all over my new white kitchen trolley top, the halved avocado turning black in the fridge,  the rancid smell of his bath mitt pervading the bathroom, and the list goes on and on. It is especially sickening when I have to clean up after him, and he has shown no redeeming quality that may balance out the negatives. He has not once cleaned up the stove, not once washed the toilet or bathroom, or even put away the washed and dried utensils, cutlery and crockery. In the one and half month he has been here, he has only taken the rubbish outside once, and that was suggested by the other person living in the house, i.e. the one I like and can put up with because he doesn’t cross boundaries and he isn’t pushy.

OK, I hear the much bandied term ringing in the silent dense air of cyberspace – “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.” Even my own friends, who know some things about autism still get this mixed up. This is not OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), though so many people, including some professionals, mistake it to be, because of its similarities. There is a subtle yet huge difference. Detail focus cognition means one notices everything – for example, when someone has touched my stuff and the the angles in the chaos are not quite the same as when I left them. I notice, and thus I become upset that someone has had the audacity to touch my things. Or even help themselves to my food etc. The latter reaction is not so rare, is it? Is it OCD if you were upset that someone – a stranger – has been going through your things, or helping themselves to your property? OCD is an irrational need to repeat certain actions, or arrange things in a certain way, no matter what the situation. Aspie detail focus cognition that notices every little change in pattern and position etc just means that the results of those disturbance are more pronounced than in other non-hypersensitive people. If, for example, my lovely baby sister happened to have helped herself to my coffee, I wouldn’t mind at all. If she had come into my room and touched my pencils for whatever reason, I would notice it for sure, but it won’t send me into hysterics that someone had violated my carefully ordered pencil cup. Besides, my pencil cup is not carefully ordered at all. I don’t have an OCD need to arrange my things in rows etc. Some Aspies / autistic individuals do indeed suffer from OCD as a comorbid, but it manifests differently from just being detail focused. For me, I notice the events, because of detail focus cognition, BUT my reaction is based on the situation and context. There is a logical reason to my reaction, and that is that a personal boundary has been crossed or violated. I hope this explanation helps to dispel some common and too pervasive misunderstanding between the two phenomena. 🙂

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