“social”, and rerererererererere…rethinking things

NT? Aspie? ASD or not, whatever. It’s not like there’s a cure, or even really “treatment”, per se. It’s mostly adapting, dealing, learning, compensating. What most (NTs) are able to do intuitively, and don’t have to be (explicitly) “taught” how to do and understand, for ASD folks, that’s quite a different story. Most notably around and impacting social interaction. As I recently heard one person explain it – and paraphrasing from memory – tradeoffs in brain processing power – typically much more adept at other things (e.g. visual thinking, abstract reasoning, verbal processing & words), while sacrificing many of the skills/capabilities that NTs typically have – particularly social related skills – e.g. non-verbal, body language, etc., among many others.

Am I? ASD? Asperger? Whatever. Maybe, maybe not. Seems pretty probable. But when one takes hard critical objective look at DSM-IV-TR & DSM-5 diagnostic criteria (which, incidentally, is intended for properly trained mental health professionals, not laypersons – among other hazards, many words have quite different definitions in their clinical context, as opposed to their common definitions) … well, might be a close call. You’ve, of course, heard of mid-air collisions. Maybe something more like a near miss. Or perhaps a mid-air clip – which is technically a collision, but where either or both craft are damaged, but that damage is not catastrophic. Uhm, … that’s not to say that, whatever/wherever on the NT/ASD spectrum/continuum I may happen to be, it’s not like there aren’t significant impacts and consequences, even if (perhaps barely) not (quite) ASD. Whatever. Some others might have some different theories. Seems “close enough”, in any case, that a whole helluva lot of it quite accurately applies. And, … competing theories? Maybe one, if that, … with a lot of significant/major counter-indicators. May not have enough data to ever truly know. E.g. current DSM-5 includes in part, on ASD diagnostic criteria (paraphrasing from memory), some things to have evidenced in early childhood – and there may no longer exist the evidence or (sufficiently reliable) memories to rather to quite positively assert, or refute, existence of such traits in early childhood. Seems to be kind’a odd to define criteria on a condition which says it must’ve existed before some (young) age X, when, after the fact, it may be impossible to tell if, before age X, it was, or was not then present. Whatever, that’s how the criteria presently stands. Not that I’m horribly concerned about exactly what the criteria is or isn’t, so much as more general understanding, and practical aspects/implications – if/as relevant (if at all).

So, … social. Biggest issue for me is “I suck at social.” Aye, what a lovely “positive” attitude to have, eh? (Yeah, I’m positive I suck at it. ;-)). But really, not that horrible – but “bad” enough – or more so ineffective enough, that it has major impacts. Could go into more detail on that – have certainly at least touched upon it – and continue to learn more there. Fix? Work-around? Let me (maybe?) come back to that later.

After spending a whole lot of time and energy trying to “fix” that, adjust, work-around, etc., bringing into it the absolute best I’ve been able to do – all I’ve learned from professionally lead communication classes, various well recommended techniques, etc., etc., and applying it all as best I can, the results have been … damn nearly identical. Well, certainly at least in terms of any perceptible difference I can discern in results, anyway. So, to say that’s been disappointing would be a major understatement. More accurately, it hurts like hell and continues to hurt like hell. And also keeps feeling like I’m beating my head hard against a wall, quite highly repeatedly, and just hitting more and harder, and hoping for better results. Yeah, … quite sucks. Also, highly discouraging, when I really can’t see any differences! Maybe they’re there, but I completely fail to see them. But, dang hard to have any clue as to what is/isn’t working, or what works better, or worse, when one can’t see the difference at all. It’s like trying to fix something via a feedback loop … except the feedback loop is absolutely and completely absent. Yeah, … it ain’t workin’ too well.

So, rerererererererere…rethinking things. Yeah. Analyze to death. Well, sometimes it pays off. Or sometimes a rather to quite different perspective or take on it helps a whole helluva lot. Or some of both. Whatever. One way, or another, eventually come up with some – hopefully better – but at least different thoughts/ideas. Now, of course, too, the other thought that also often comes up, is friggin’ give up – don’t even f*ckin’ try – at all – just not worth it. So damn hard, and painful, and really exhausting and draining and … still doesn’t work worth sh*t – at least for me, so … why bother? Well, that’s a quite defeatist attitude (even if it might be a too damn accurate one?).

So, a couple bits. One I thought of about a week ago. Rather than try so damn hard (I do tend to push myself hard), and expecting so much of myself – particularly where those “goals”/”aims” might be exceedingly difficult or perhaps even “impossible” or “unattainable” for me, instead, go and stretch for things that are within, or nearly within reach, … with a bit of a stretch. Stuff I can do, or nearly do. I’ve noticed in reaching (and perhaps even in nearly reaching) such goals, … well, they tend to positively motivate me. Whereas trying to stretch/reach for stuff that I’m absolutely nowhere close to touching … well, that mostly ends up feeling highly defeating, draining, and not at all encouraging. Okay, so there’s that bit – sort’a the “baby steps” and “stretch goals” approach – but (nearly) reachable stretch goals. Certainly one thing to do/try/consider.

But another thing I just thought of … well, yesterday now – yesterday evening it was. I was thinking, what’s worked for me in the past. Notably socially. It’s not like absolutely everything has been complete and total failure … okay, sure, “wins”/successes damn rare and few and far between, but a count significantly above zero. So, there is/was something there! But what, what worked, how did it work? How can I learn/build from it? :-) Yeah, sure, exceedingly rare. But, … that’s still a whole helluva lot better than nothing/nada/zilch/zero/zip/bubkes. So, what happened, and how might I learn from that / leverage that? Well, the old adage/advice “be yourself”. Yeah, I didn’t have to do anything in particular at all – just be myself. Okay, … that’s easy enough for me to do. But, what else, what happened, how’d things get started? Typical scenario, they were interested in me – attracted to me. No, not some mere appearance thing – pro’lly slight ‘bit above average there, but nothin’ that’s gonna be winning me any contests. No, it was much more about who and how I am, than mere appearance. They found me interesting, intriguing, … generally “different” in a way they found positive/interesting/attractive. Got their attention, and drew them to me (and most of the time that was a good thing). Okay, yeah, sure, I’ve always been rather “different”. And, I guess some folks pick up on that (probably a lot of folks, really, to varying degrees), but, for at least some that works out as a positive for me, as it draws them to me. Sure, doesn’t guarantee things will go great from there, but it’s a helluva good start.

Anyway, thinking further on that. How can I leverage that? How can I have that work as more of a factor so folks can notice/perceive that I’m “different” – and, as feasible, well represents what/who/how I am, and works to attract them? I really don’t know yet … going to have to ponder that one some more, maybe do some experimenting, … who knows. The other thing I was thinking, might also be anywhere from somewhat, to perhaps even highly useful, as a useful “discriminating factor”. Okay, “different”, whatever. That’s gonna have some people backing off (or even running away), yet attracting (at least some) others. And, if that correlates rather well to those who’d want to back off from me anyway, and those that would be or continue to be interested and want to get closer, well, that could be a good thing, … a very good thing. Just think of it – sooner and earlier repel those that wouldn’t wanna be/stay/get close with me anyway (certainly a timesaver, if nothing else), and attract much more so, than not, those that are more likely going to want to be/stay/get close to me. :-) Maybe, among other bits, perhaps need to be more myself – further differentiate myself from the “crowd”. Stand out, as who/what/how I am, rather than trying to do a (probably piss poor) imitation of an “NT”. Well, seems like a fairly good theory anyway. Definitely warrants further investigation. Even if the number attracted is small, if the probability of “match” is quite significantly higher, that could be a major net gain. Still, too, got to think about when/where/how. E.g. where do I meet these folks, and around doing what? The few circumstances I can think of where this has happened in past, are not things I typically do these days (e.g. being in school in teens and 20s isn’t something so fitting for 50 … but perhaps there are other thing(s) that would be as, or even more fitting).

Who, me, analytical? You kind’a noticed, huh? Yeah, sure – among many other things also.

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