tales by the unexpected

My story, my tales, my life

Categorie: How it feels

How it feels: Love

This article is written because in a book was stated that a mother doubted that an autistic could actually love, or be able to fee love, or be able to be a father of a child (which is an act of love, for me).

First to make this work, we have to find a definition of love to work with. I will take a look at philosophical concepts for this.

In Philosophy, they distinguish love as 3 concepts: Eros, Philia and Agape.

Eros is the desire. This is were the english work erotic comes from. It means a passionate, intense desire for something. When seeing the word Eros and that erotic is derived from it, most will make the natural leap that it is most often used for sexual desire. The desire to just be with someone and to miss them when they are gone, to me, also falls under Eros. Eros, the god, is where cupid is derived from. When Eros shot his arrow, you felt an intense desire for the person you, and you fell completely in love. You couldn’t be away from that person. This intense desire is Eros.

Next is Philia. With Philia, you will make the natural leap to all words ending with philia. Most of them have a negative connotation, but philia in itself isn’t negative. Philia means a fondness and appreciation for the other. This is the phase of a loving relationship where you like to be in eachothers presence, where you just like eachother. Where you like to be in eachothers company. Philia is a friendship. Friendship can be something short, like a business friendship that only lasts as long as the deal is on, or something that takes up your whole life.

Agape is the concept of loving all equally. A sort of universal love, like  a love for humanity and that you would never harm another human.

I think with these 3 concept we can begin to see if autistics can love. Autistics can feel passionate and desire for something, be it a subject or a person. I will use myself as an example. When I am in a relationship I don’t think about myself. I always try to take the other person into account. For example: when I buy something for myself, I will always try to buy something for my partner as well, even when it’s with coupons that I got for a special occassion, like a birthday. I will always take my partner into account.

I also show love in small things, like doing to dishes or bringing her coffee. Just telling her I love you, or putting extra effort into cooking and dressing up the dinner table, with candle lights. Forgiving when a person has made a mistake is also an act of love. My partner and I are both humans that make mistakes, some graver than others, but if you are a good couple and you truly love eachother than you forgive (up to a certain extent).

I like being with my partner, otherwise I wouldn’t be in a relationship. I couldn’t be in the same room or be in the same village with a person I don’t like or love. I have a period of at least a year when a relationship ends to put the memories and the emotions at the back of my mind and still then. When my partner told me that my ex was pregnant, that threw me into a shutdown. Although she has been abusive towards me, something inside me still loved her. It is weird to admit this, but yes, I feel something for my exes still, not for the abusive one, but for the other two, yes. I am not afraid to admit this. Loving a person and wishing them well doesn’t end because one person doesn’t want to be anymore. I would still do a lot for my exes if they asked, but as another kind of love. More like friendship.

I will try to treat all humans kind and in the same manner. I will not harm them, unless they have harmed me, but I am not flawless. I will make mistakes.

But as you can see, if you take all these things into consideration, autistics can love. Maybe even more so than neurotypicals, as I have still to meet the first neurotypical that couldn’t get a new relationship in a year because he was still not over his last relationship.

How Autism Feels: gift giving

I used to not like gifts, as in suprises. I still don’t. I don’t know how to react if I get a suprise gift that I wasn’t expecting. I just don’t like surprises.

This is in any aspect of my life. I really hate surprises. Bus 5 minutes late, my bowels will start acting up and I will start calculating in case I have a bowel attack, or I will visualize the whole track to see where I can go to the toilet.

Back to gifts. I have had suprise gifts in the past and only recently started using a simple thing: I write a list of things I want. Plain and simple. I don’t think this is rude at all, as the gift-giver knows that he/she will know that I will get something which is useful to me and which I will be happy with. In this way they will know that I will truly be happy, and it saves me from having to react in a certain way, when I actually know that I have a different feeling. I can’t act in those situations.

There is still room for surprise, for example, when I ask for a dvd of a series (I will probably ask for season one) and if they have more seasons, you can buy me more.

I will most probably also write down the store where I saw it on my list, so I make it easier for you to pick it up, because I’m certain they have it. And if I ask for say: a soldering iron, you can still get me extra things, although you don’t have to, as I only put on my list the soldering iron alone, so there is still a little bit of suprise, but just enough that I can handle it.

I think it’s sad that so many unwanted presents end up on ebay. I would never sell them, as I don’t think it’s respectful towards the gift giver, but I will give it to someone whom can use it, when I find that person.

I love it that at my girlfriends parents house (where I now celebrate christmas every year) this is already tradition of writing lists of things you really want.

How does autism feel: Alexithymia

a previous entry in this series, about echolalia, you can find here

 

It is a bit ironic to start an article about alexithymia with the title: what does it feel like.

alexithymia in it’s most basic definition is a lack of being able to explain ones feelings and emotions. It doesn’t make us less empathic, as described in the Wikipedia article on alexithymia. It just makes us want to take care of it practically.

I am the kind of person you would go to, to find a solution to your problems as I think about everything rarionally. I as glad to read about stoicism as in that philosophy, not being able to feel emotions is not pathologized, but seen as a virtue.

It’s not that I don’t see you are distressed, it’s just that I don’t know how it feels, so I don’t know what to do in such a situation.

The same goes for my own feelings. I might act frustrated, but when you Comment on it… I might not know that I was doing so.

How do I know a certain emotion? When I know how it shows itself. I know I’m depressed when I have suicidal thoughts. I know I’m sad, when I am crying. I don’t know how I would describe happy.

I know how love manifests itself, but I don’t feel the physical feelings. To go more into this, I know that I have sexual feelings when something starts to bulge… not sooner.

The thing is that I don’t know if I had this all my life. I don’t think I remember any feelings. Ever.

Is alexithymia harmful? Not to other people. It is to my body, I display physical symptoms instead of emotional. So when something is brooding, I get reflux. When a period was stressful I get bowel problems.

Does it have an upside? Absolutely. I don’t feel emotions. Thanks to reading stoicism, I appreciate it more, as I have the ability to always think rationally. To in any situation instead of first reacting, I have to reflect, or I can go through where others might stop. Or I stop where others might go through, as when I feel a certain emotion, or when I notice certain traits of how I act under a certain emotion, I stop to reflect why this is happening and look for a cause, as most people just feel, and don’t reflect.

Why you wouldn’t want a diagnosis

I have explained to you before that a diagnosis, if you have been waiting for it your whole life, is a blessing. You probably have been bullied up to this point, called arrogant and stubborn. Stuff like that. Knowing then that it’s not something you do, can be a huge relieve. Also, you will have felt out of sync with the rest often world, and your diagnose will give you a sense of belonging.

Now, here are a few reasons why you wouldn’t want a diagnose.

I have known how it is to be seen as able-person, and by the general public, I still am an able-person, until I tell them I’m autistic.

Once I tell them I’m autistic they will treat me differently. They will, if my girlfriend is present, address her more than me. They will talk about me, but not like I’m there.

Although autism-parents are the worst. They can’t seem to fathom that you once were a kid as well. That you know how their kid might feel, or their brother or sister in case of siblings. That you can be an effective translator of autism behaviour. There are 2 reactions: they are grateful for your input. Second one is, they call you not-like-their-child-autistic. As if there are different kinds. I wouldn’t have gotten my diagnose if I wasn’t affected by it as well.

I think autism-parents react that way because we don’t pat them on the back and tell them how hard it is, because we have had it worse… we are autistic ourselves. We know how it feels, how it affects our senses, steers our behaviour. They don’t see our less able moments. They think because we can type that we are neurotypical, or more neurotypical… while we are still autistic and still affected. My work-counselor S. said it the best, not in this words, but this is what She implied: because you are able to talk the way you do, and mask it the way I can, I seem more able than I actually am.

My girlfriend is my crutch now. I will have a counselor only for my autism and to teach me stuff in few weeks, but I have a lot of support from my girlfriend at the moment. I will explain in a later article why.

 

 

 

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