I will be 48 in a couple of months, am female, and have been diagnosed with Aspergers and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the last six months after a lifetime of misery, self-loathing and misunderstanding. Being so recently diagnosed and not having a clue before (I was one of those people who understood autism to be something similar to the 'Rain Man' experience)..... I just believed I was 'village idiot' stereotype, you know, the simple, always smiling, do anything for everyone and taken advantage of by all under the guise of being for my own good. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety but the wonderful support for this from my doctor and psychologist just made me feel even more of a failure because I couldn't get past the concepts, or overcome debilitating emotional responses and meltdowns.
The problem for me was and is the impossible sense of not knowing how my experiences of the world and life differ from others' after being told throughout my life that I'm too sensitive, too immature, too scatty etc etc. After all every time I tried to explain or question I was told by my Mother from a very early age "that's the same for me, it's the same for everyone just shut up about it otherwise people will think you are stupid"
I have always struggled with touch and sound, The story 'the Princess and the Pea' really resonated with me as a child and I believed I must be a princess because a crease in the crisp white cotton sheets would feel like it was bruising me and cotton flannel sheets created a sort of prickly heat. In my early twenties I went to a hair stylist & had a fringe cut and when it was finished I passed out and as I fled the salon finding a lavatory to hide in I was physically sick and sobbed my heart out. I couldn't understand why and blamed hormones or me just being stupid.
This coping mechanism backfired often but when I was coughing & vomiting blood & getting weaker by the minute, I just dismissed it & attempted to continue chores telling myself that I had a cold and it was just very bad because I had been a smoker. An acquaintance dragged me to the doctor who had me admitted to hospital with a temp of 40 degrees and what turned out to be pneumonia.
Then the time my boss rang me to say he really wanted me to work was I really I'll, I knew my colleagues were probably off sick with hangovers but I'd been vomiting & passing out through the day so refused to drive the 15 miles to work in case I hurt someone. My manager sent someone to pick me up and three quarters of an hour later the water I'd just consumed was in a puddle round my unconscious form. They took me to hospital & it was sun stroke.
However, last night, I had a really good example that gave me a little more insight and understanding:-
I was watching television with an acquaintance, it was rather loud but I could still hear everything around me. A deep throbbing hum sound persisted in my head slowly increasing in volume. I said to the other person, "do you hear that helicopter? Sounds like a chinook! Are they still in service?" He pulled a face shook his head in an irritated way and said "you are just hearing things, don't act so mad!"
I tried to ignore the noise telling myself I was imagining it, it was part of the anxiety etc and A FULL 3 minutes later REALLY! 3 minutes of fighting my senses trying to persuade myself it's all in my head I asked again "are you sure you can't hear a helicopter" he did this sort of smile said yes there was one now then went home he needed to sleep.
These types of incident happen all the time and even without the psychological influence of an insensitive dismissive person putting their opinion forward for me .... The actual experience of hearing something over extreme everyday distractions is like torture ..... A permanent prisoner of the war & interrogation of life events, when a human being uses sound to torture prisoners we call it inhumane but for some it is what our genetics have blessed us with and the price of living in SOCIETY.
I hope this is seen as it is written ..... As a dispassionate observation and revelation of fact as I understand & experience it .... Please do not see this as some sort of 'soap box' statement opinion ..... I know that is hard for NT's
I would love to know if any of this sounds familiar or am I seeing things the wrong way because I used such an emotive issue as comparison because I obviously abhor torture under any guise.