19 Jun 2019

Still waters run deep

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4 mins

Still waters “You can stay calm with things like this!” a friend once said to me when she called me in an emotional emergency. The precise circumstances are not important, but the situation was very emotional for her. I myself have always had problems with emotions. I found them difficult, confusing and annoying. I couldn’t do much with it. I found it difficult to recognize my own emotions, let alone those of others. However, because of social camouflage, I started to refer to the external characteristics of emotions in other people. Crying, talking loudly, laughing, moving or talking nervously and so on. That helped me in part to recognize the emotions of others and to respond socially acceptable to them.

But, because I couldn’t do much with emotions, I sometimes just skipped them. During conversations with a friend and who are reacting emotionally to something and were discussing it with me, I am often the one who tries to get the facts on the table. This may seem insensitive, but it is not. In those conversations I try to find out what has caused the emotion. Why does someone respond to certain things as they respond?

This often led to the other person’s understanding that what they feel so emotional about is not really the issue. Or that they may have reacted too strongly. I often try to bring the facts to the fore in a different light and thereby calm them down so that they can think about things normally again.

Recognizing emotions is difficult

It may sound strange, even incomprehensible, but it really is a thing; recognizing emotions in yourself is quite difficult. Maybe it’s connected with being sensitive to anything and everything, maybe it’s just because emotions are the opposite of reason. I myself am a rational person; I try to rationalize everything. If it makes sense (to me), I can do something with it. However, if it is not, it quickly becomes difficult for me to deal with.

It has cost me some time to recognize my own emotions and allow to them be there. Because they were so confusing to me, I often put them away quickly. Simply because it was easier for me to deal with them. This is a very bad way to deal with your emotions (I know from experience) and has often caused problems enough in the past. Today I try to give my emotions more space and to experience them. This is a conscious action for me if I notice that they are bothering me. Otherwise I now show more and more to the people around me how I feel. Now that I recognize them better myself, I can do that too.

First action, then reaction

In my life I have unfortunately experienced the necessary accidents. I have generally gotten it right myself, no traumas or something like that. I did notice, when I thought back to those cases, that I actually act in emergency situations first and then “experience” what that situation does to me. That is a natural response for me and I don’t think it is directly related to ASD or Asperger, but my emotions only come later. For example if I am discussing an accident with a neighbor a few hours later; then all of a sudden I start to vibrate and I “frighten” for a while.

A few years ago I would suppress and ignore this feeling. Now I still suppress the feeling in company, but let it come out when I am alone or among people I trust. The delayed response to things that have happened can apply to a variety of situations.

Deep grounds

In the past year and a half I have thought a lot. I have thought a lot about how I actually put it together. Try to understand and understand my own behavior. Possible to explain to people around me. I now manage to do this better and better. Certainly also because I think about it deeply (sometimes). I try to find explanations for behavior that other people notice. I try to be open and honest about my ASD, and to indicate that you can ask me anything. Whether you get an answer, of course, depends: wink: But I always try to find an explanation for helpers about how things work in my head.

Explaining also helps me learn about autism. That also taught me things about how people without ASD look at me. Surprisingly enlightening sometimes! I wonder if there are people who experience the same thing; strong ratio and fewer emotions? Stay rational in emotional situations? And / or have difficulty recognizing your own emotions?

Thanks for reading
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Tags: autisme sociaal-gedrag dit-is-autisme 
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David Westerink
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I am David, born in 1984 and I have Asperger's syndrome.

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