Friday, December 13, 2019

Perhaps I'm strange for a reason

Through the years I've had cause to wonder whether I might be "slightly autistic", or maybe have Asperger's (now known as autism spectrum disorder).  I'm not a "huggie" person, yet I don't really mind if someone hugs me.  I am socially awkward.   It's hard for me to look a person in the eye; I have to force myself to do that.   Often, I do not feel empathy when I ought to, although I had endless empathy for the little girl we babysat for five years; I even cried with her when she was sad.  I know when some event is an awful, devastating thing, but the feeling just isn't there for the general population.  I don't (can't) cry at a funerals... not at anybody's funeral, ever.  I feel awful about that, because I know you are supposed to cry at the funerals of people you love, and I always wonder if others think I'm terrible. 

I've lived this long without people killing me, so I won't be going for a diagnosis; but I'm fairly certain I have some aspect of autism spectrum disorder, and I think it may be getting a little worse as I age.  Various noises have always bothered me, mouth noises for instance.  This is not easy for Cliff to live with, nor, for that matter, me, because I often don't mention when something bothers me.  So he might be innocently eating nuts (or anything crunchy) while I'm sitting right beside him crunching just as loudly on the same food... but HIS crunching drives me crazy.  I sit there mentally lecturing myself, since it makes no sense that I feel this way.  There's a name for this problem, by the way:  Misophonia.  

Monday used to be my favorite day of the week:  I didn't understand it at the time, but when my kids were at home, I got the most incredible relief when they left for school.  They weren't bad kids except for the normal "sibling wars", so there was no reason for me to be so relieved once they left.  I felt guilty.  Somewhere along the line, by the time they were in high school, I figured out that my relief was for the silence that filled the house after the kids turned off the television in the morning.  

Some people, Cliff for one, can put a radio on their favorite station and leave it playing in the background all day long.  I can't do that, even if every single song is hand-picked by me!  After a half-hour or so, it's all I can stand.  I love to read, but if there is any music or conversation or television noise, I can't concentrate at all.  I need silence.  

And yet, in the evening when Cliff is in the house, I have no problem with the television noise, although if he's watching football (or Two-and-a-Half Men) I might put on a headset and listen to a podcast. It's like I'm programmed to be able to stand the television in the evening, but not during the day.  

Maybe Waylon Jennings wrote this song for me!

Today I'm thankful for my husband.  He's lived with my very strange mannerisms for fifty-three years and still loves me like crazy.  If nothing else caused me to believe in God, this one fact would do the trick:  two people, one with whatever it is I have and the other with a lot of baggage, from totally different backgrounds, somehow met, merged, and lasted this long.  Only a higher power could have made this marriage work. 

Yours truly,


  1. Remarkably, I can relate to this. Other people chewing doesn't bother me as much, but I can relate to the need for silence. I can't stand having music on in the background, or a TV. I prefer silence. When I am with groups who do have background noise going on; whether I like the music or not, I am always a bit uncomfortable. It sort of grates on my nerves.

    I am not a big crier at weddings or funerals or movies. I seem to be getting more emotional as I age, but not much.

    I always thought I was strange in these aspects; you have a point.

  2. I know I am strange. We are waiting on paperwork to fill out for Steven. They are going to be testing him for Autism. His doctor feels he is high functioning if he is. I have several friends that are "on the spectrum"

  3. Good or bad, the misophonia and lack of empathy must be inherited traits then. I've always blamed the lack of empathy on just being self centered, but when half the Army is now considered PTSD victims and I'm like "suck it up buddy", maybe there is more to it. I am empathetic toward animals which is odd.

    As far as misophonia, you can imagine the self control needed when my wife is a fan of corn nuts! If anyone has a damn cup of Sonic ice I just go the other way. And someone clipping fingernails may as well be poking me with a sharp stick.

    I didn't get the gene that requires silence. Probably because I'm pretty capable of tuning out whatever I don't care about.

  4. We are all unique and wonderfully made and I believe we are all here for a purpose...even though you think your are strange. Take heart in the fact tht God made you precious in His sight!

  5. I honestly don't think any of your mannerisms are particularly strange, Donna. You simply have personal quirks, like everyone else. I share some of your traits - I'm extremely socially awkward (more so as I'm getting older), I can't comfortably look someone in the eye, I like complete silence when I read. Certain noises bother the hell out of me.
    I never show my emotions in public but I'm extremely sensitive and sentimental.
    We're all "strange" in our own way.

  6. I used to crave the silence when my kids were little too. My husband would get up and turn on the tv and I would turn it off, and him on, over and over this went for years. He didn't get that I needed some quiet time too. Now that my kids are grown and long gone, I need the noise of the radio or tv. Even when I am reading or I hear too many noises! I wish I were a bit more like you with not showing emotion or crying. I cry at the tv, the news, over books, just talking in general about something gives me tears. ugh! Can be quite embarrassing at times.
    I think we all have our quirks and we can't all be "crazyish" can we? Maybe we are in our own ways, But, I don't think you are strange at all, even though I only know you from your blog.

  7. I have family members who are "on the spectrum" as it is called, and we have SO many friends with children who are on the spectrum or are themselves. There are some that I am around very often, and I have begun recognizing the signs in other people. My sister with the genius IQ very definitely is on the spectrum (probably Asperger's) but she has the biggest and lovingest heart! I have OCD and some social anxiety and awkwardness, which was worse when I was a child but only because I learned to ignore ut and deal with it as I got older. If I do not fall on a far end of the spectrum, I am not far removed. And I hope you don't take this wrong, but I have always thought you were probably on the spectrum. That is not a bad thing, you understand! Whether you are or not, you are so very special just the way you are! You aren't strange, you know. At least, no stranger than anyone else. You are real and interesting and smart, and you have such wonderful insight into yourself. I think there are many, many of us who are older who have never had our quirks and idiosyncrasies diagnosed but who have a pretty good self-awareness and know we fall somewhere on that particular spectrum. Embrace it, I say and keep on being who you are!

  8. I've always loved how self-aware you are, and how you've surrounded yourself with your "tribe," those people who love and appreciate you just the way you are. The title of your blog is "Just Me" and that's true of all of us. We can only be who we are, no more and no less. I am highly social, and an outgoing introvert, but I have my own issues. The composite of who I am is "just me." xoxo

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