“Let us consider that we are all insane. It will explain us to each other; it will unriddle many riddles…”
I am a Bottom-up thinker. I must group specific concepts together to form a larger idea. Specific to general. For Autistic people abstraction and generalizations present trouble. “I can not see the forest for the trees,” is a prime example of what I mean. I see the individual trees, individual leaves, different textures of bark, and all the colors present. Once I take that all in then I can start to conceptualize the forest.
I always have to focus on one step of a larger problem. Once I complete it to my satisfaction I will move on. I do this while eating all the time. Meat first, then vegetables and finally the starch. That’s what I consider a meal. Even if it’s mixed together I will pull it apart.
Being a visual thinker, pictures are employed in my thought processes. Words are less concrete and hold little substance. I think more in pictures than words . One word can have multiple meanings or examples. The word “cat” illicits many pictures. I don’t see a concept of a cat. I see different breeds and even individual cats. The more examples I have the better I conceptualize.
It’s much like a puzzle, I fill in here, I fill in there until I can see the image.
Socialization is also carried out in defined, separate steps. Autistics use logic to work out socializations and emotion can be separated from the issue. We have emotion but we also have the ability to compartmentalize.
For me to interact with you I must scan my brain for a similar experience. Then I must consider all the possible outcomes. Finally, I will make the most logical decision for the situation.
For example, I have to plan my conversations ahead of time. I see a person I know, then I see the topics that they like or relevant news and then I choose to most logical thing to discuss or relevant way to act. Otherwise, hurr durr awkward moment or I will accidentally say something in a blunt, to the point way that will offend you.
Also, please don’t expect me to know your name unless youve told me a dozen times. I do not see faces with discernible detail and all persons with a similar physicality look the same to me. I mean ALL people. I could never describe you to a sketch artist. I usually put names to a voice or hair. I can’t tell Keira Knightly from Natalie Portman. I only know that you have a nose, lips and two eyes. I am face blind.
Things that surprise or shock me throws me off. When I am surprised I get so nervous I forget how to react properly. This means, never ever, ever, ever sneak up on me. It’s like having a mini heart attack. This results in not having time to think about outcomes and I come across as rigid or confused. I’m thinking one thing and showing a vague unidentifiable expression that isn’t congruent to how I feel. It takes a lot of work to keep myself synchronized.
The moral of this story is understand that we are different. Do not expect the same interactions as with NTs. You will not receive what you expect. But if you take the time to get to know how we work then we will make sense. Opposite isn’t a bad thing.