Autism and Socialising

I avoid socialising like the plague because I am socially challenged, phobic, whatever. However, on occasion, I’ve forced myself to be sociable in order to try and fit in, often with disastrous consequences.

This was one such occasion..

Sometime in the 1990s

I found myself agreeing to meeting up with my work colleagues for a drink.

Needless to say, NIGHTMARE!

I don’t remember how I got to the pub. What I do remember is feeling all those fight or flight symptoms that my body produces when it thinks it’s in danger.

The danger of having to walk into an unfamiliar building.

The danger of having to locate my work colleagues without the aid of a mobile phone.*

The danger of having to act ‘normal’.

I walked into the pub. I was possibly only standing there for a few minutes, but it might as well have been hours. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t see any familiar faces. I was aware I was being stared at. Plus, my shoes were pinching the shit out of me. I was just about to adopt the flight aspect of the stress response when I saw one of my colleagues waving at me.

Flight was no longer an option.

There were seven girls including me. I say girls – we were all in our 20s but I was the oldest. I was also the only one who was married and who had children so I was already on a different ‘page’, as it were.

I refused a drink. This was met with some funny looks. I mean, who refuses a drink in a pub, right?

I sat fiddling with stuff in my handbag and concentrated very hard on not throwing up.

No doubt somebody offered me a crisp. It was a pub. People offer crisps. It’s what people do.

I’d have said: ‘No thanks’.

I’d have thought: ‘I’m actually struggling to swallow at the moment, so I might choke on the fucking thing and one of you might have to do that humping me from behind move to get me to cough it up. That or phone for an ambulance.’

Not that I overthink things at all..

I just sat there trying to nod and smile in the appropriate places, as you do.

After about five minutes (which felt like five hours) a man appeared in front of me, smiling, and said, “Hi, (my name) you remember me don’t you?”

All I could manage was a vacant stare.

I’ve had random people approach me in the street and say stuff like, ‘SMILE LOVE! IT’LL NEVER HAPPEN!’ so I wondered if this was one of those times?

Or maybe he was pissed?

The difference was that THIS man knew my name and was coming out with details about me.

My brain was working overtime trying to place this person. Why couldn’t I remember? What was wrong with me? Was I having a stroke?

What happens when I’m stressed is that my words don’t come out right. I mix them up or say something I don’t mean to say. Or the words don’t come out at all. I need time to process before I speak in social situations. There was no time here. I was in a situation and my brain couldn’t handle it.

My body went into panic mode.

I could feel the stress response flooding my entire being. My face was burning and I could feel cold sweat running down my upper arms. You know those embarrassing sweaty patches that appear on the underarms of your shirt? That. With bells on.

My heart was thumping out of my chest.

My mouth was dryer than a camels hoof.

I wanted to vomit.

I needed a really BIG wee.

My eye tic kicked in.

My body was reacting as if a drooling tiger was standing in front of me. I was powerless to stop what was happening to my body. Nor could I run from it. I had no option but to endure it..

In the background, I that noticed the other girls were nudging each other doing that giggling thing that a lot of girls do. They looked at me, then they’d look away and giggle some more.

*confused face*

I wanted to run as fast as my size fours would carry me but I couldn’t move.

During fight or flight some people run, others fight. Some just freeze.

I froze.

I’m a freezer.

Freezing is generally a primeval attempt to stop a predator from seeing you. The problem was that the predator had not only seen me, but was tucking into my innards – theoretically speaking. I think this means that should I find myself in the direct line of an articulated lorry – I may quite likely be run over.

I don’t remember anything after that, as is the case with anything traumatic.

Some of you might read this and think ‘Traumatic? Oh get a grip you silly cow!’

I get that it sounds ridiculous but you’ll either understand this or you won’t but the definition of traumatic is deeply disturbing or distressing.

To me, it was traumatic and my body reacted accordingly.

Some days later, one of the girls confessed that they’d asked the man to act as if he knew me – for a laugh.

I was the joke.

Am I missing something here?

Were those girls being funny?

Or were they being mean?

To this day, I don’t know.

I never went out with them again.

Why would I want to?

I didn’t understand their language. They literally giggled at EVERYTHING, which I found irritating. I don’t giggle. If something is funny, I laugh. Sometimes until a bit of wee comes out. Granted, some of this is down to a compromised pelvic floor but mostly it’s because I laugh from my belly. Giggling to me is like water crackers, as in, what’s the point?

So, I was being publically humiliated and apparently it was hilarious.

I get that I am different. I’ve always known it but I’ve tried my hardest to fit in. The trouble is that the harder we try to fit in, the more we make ourselves stand out.

Back then I didn’t have a clue why I couldn’t fit in.

Now I know it’s because I’m autistic.

I’m the misfit.

The odd one out.

Or I was..

Then I found my ‘tribe’.

People who get me.

People who understand everything I say and do.

People who don’t look at me as if I am a moron.

People who will read this post and think, ‘Yeah, me too!!!’

People like me.

I go back through my life and wonder, could have done things differently? The answer is no. My brain will always react the same way because it’s wired up differently to the neurotypical brain. I am what I am and all that shit and as Gloria Gaynor says, ‘What I am needs no excuses’.

Me, the reboot, doesn’t push myself to socialise like this anymore. These days, I reserve my energy for people who deserve it. I no longer say yes to things I don’t want to do in order to fit in. I no longer make excuses, nor do I have to provide an explanation why I don’t want to do something. I politely decline the offers (not that there are many) and mentally high-five myself for putting myself first.

I bang my own drum
Some think it’s noise, I think it’s pretty

I Am What I Am ~ Gloria Gaynor








How To Survive Being Married to an Aspie

‘In one word, what’s it like to be married to an Aspie?’

OH: ‘Eventful’.

I can’t argue with that..

Next, I ask him to describe me in as many words as he can..

OH: ‘No chance!’

‘Er, why?’

OH: ‘Er, because you’ll kill me?’.

I do what I consider to be my ‘girly’ laugh (it isn’t) and tell him not to be a silly sausage but, to be fair, he is danger of ending up under the patio depending on what he says about me..

OH’s Description of Me

Passionate, Intense, Accurate, On edge, Careful, Opinionated, Knowledgeable, Fixed, Driven, Family.

Fair dos.. nothing in this list warrants a swift whack on the back of the head with the garden spade. However, I know how psycho I can be so I thrust the paper at him again..

‘I’ll bury you under the patio IF you’re not 100% honest about my crappy bits.’

OH: ‘I’ll need a bigger piece of paper then’.

I know from his face that he isn’t being literal and that he is, in fact, taking the piss..

A few minutes later, he gives me the additional words..

OH’s Description of Me Continued..

Impatient, Relentless, Opinionated, Unmoving, Indecisiveness, Moody.

I can’t argue with any of these either, though he does say opinionated twice.

‘Oi, Div, you’ve written opinionated down twice!’

He pipes up, ‘Oh yeah, you’re repetitive as well’.

So there you have it.

Straight from the horses gob.

I will be honest here and say that, by rights, I should live ALONE somewhere remote (but with WiFi) because I’m not good at the social stuff. I also like my own space and struggle having to share it. In addition to this, I go through the entire mood spectrum in any given day. I can be happy (ish) but one word out of place will summon Grumpy, Psycho, Nutter, Stroppy, Flouncy, Cranky and Loon faster than you can sing Heigh-Ho.

OH literally doesn’t know where he is with me. I do his head in. Official. I think my indecisiveness is possibly the worst thing for him because when I am overwhelmed, I literally can’t make a decision between having coffee or tea.

‘Do you want tea or coffee?’

“STOPPPP, IT’S TOO HAAAAAARD” *has breakdown*

I’ve just been diagnosed but I’ve known I’m autistic for the last four years and OH married me with that knowledge. Despite my attempts at ‘normal’, he’s always known I’m a weird sod. YET HE DIDN’T RUN?

Being with an Aspie is hard work. My issues are severe at times and I’m a lot to handle at the best of times. I feel slightly guilty because when we met I was still very much trying to fit in (therefore not being me) but over the last five years it’s become a gradual process of being truer to myself. The menopause has played a part in that because I’m too sodding knackered to sustain that level of pretence anymore. I guess I’m lucky because I have an NT husband who admits he doesn’t understand me, yet still wants to be with me.

In the spirit of good will and all that, I’d like to pass on a few tips which may be helpful to NT partners both male and female.

Alone Time

Your Aspie may need a LOT of alone time. Let them bugger off to do their own thing or they’ll be, like, super cranky.


As much as their obsessions may bore the CRAP out of you, it’s a good idea to let them wax lyrical about them now and then. It’s worth it just to see their faces light up, no?


You’ll need SHIT LOADS.


Because I’m crap at verbal communication (and misunderstand things people say to me) we communicate via email when I need to get stuff off my chest. It’s a lot less stressful, believe me.

Learn about Aspergers

I cannot stress how important it is to understand your partner’s autism as best you can. Nobody is expecting you to know how they feel but it helps to understand why they do to certain things and what you can do to support them.

Your Needs

Tell your partner what you need from them. Don’t hint or expect them to read your mind. Write it down if you need to.

You Time

Make sure you do something for YOU. Something that takes you away from Planet Autism for a few hours every week. It’s important because living with someone who is autistic can be wonderful and exhausting in equal measure. Go whack some golf balls about or thrash something non-living. Whatever sorts your stress levels out, right?


When in doubt, ask The National Autistic Society on 0808 800 4104.

Or there is The Aspergers Syndrome Foundation

Sensory Issues

Most Aspies have sensory issues. I am over-sensitive to almost everything but especially to smells. The overwhelming stench of B.O (not mine) at school, still haunts my nostrils 3o odd years later and I REFUSE to indulge in any kind of amorous activity in the morning because I can’t stand morning breath, mine included. It’s like tonguing a  haddock, no?

Slightly whiffy in NT world can be ‘OH MY GOD, WHAT IS THAT FARKING SMELL?! – whiffy in Asperger world. Similarly, overdoing the Paco Rabanne is a no-no. I never said this was gonna be easy, now did I?

Some Aspies can be hit and miss with personal hygiene. It can be a case of CBA or things like brushing teeth hurts due to sensitivity. Me? I can either turn myself prune by over-bathing or forget to bathe for a few days. When I eventually get a whiff of my own undercarriage, I frogmarch myself up to the bathroom and throw myself into the shower until I smell of coconuts.

It’s safe to say that life with an Aspie is never boring. Me? I think I need a NT partner to keep me from floating off into outer space. OH keeps me grounded, or as grounded as I can be.  Sometimes I wonder how he copes with an Aspie wife AND son but he manages it. His escapism is to ‘bust a cap’ in some drug lords arse on his online mafia game. It keeps him sane, innit?

I educate him about what it’s like to live on Planet Loon as best I can but I know he can never really understand what it’s like to be autistic, no more than I can ever really understand what it’s like to be ‘neurotypical’.

Maybe Aspies should wear a some kind of warning system which alerts their other halves when it’s safe to approach them and when they should run for the hills?

GREEN= You may approach me.

Means: I’m in a receptive mood so fill your boots.

AMBER= Approach with caution.

Means: I’m a bit cranky and it could go either way.


Means: I am in full-blown psycho/meltdown mode.  I may become mute or verbally vomit words that make no sense whatsoever. Go, save yourself.

Hope this helps. 🙂

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