Wednesday, 26 October 2011

You Can't Possibly Have Aspergers

I was in a meeting today and someone told me about their cousin that has Aspergers.  The person was pregnant and concerned because Aspergers runs in her husbands family.  So I outed myself.  "You know, I have Aspergers."  And the response I got was typical.  "No you don't.  You can't possibly have Aspergers.  You know how to talk to people."  And that is the story of my life.

I have Asperger Syndrome.  I've been officially diagnosed.  And it manifests itself in many ways.  I'm sensitive to touch.  I struggle to find friends.  Social interactions are stressful.  I take everything literally.  I love to be alone.  I have meltdowns.

But if I tell anyone I have Aspergers, they don't believe it.  I've had psychologists tell me they think I've been misdiagnosed.  I'm going to let you all in on a little secret.  I'm really good at faking it.  I've mastered how to look like an NT (Neuro Typical) in virtually any situation.  And while that has helped me become, as my therapist put it, "wildly successful", it also has its drawbacks.

In the real world, I'm a successful business woman.  I manage a team of people and we get things done.  What most don't know is that every night I come home from work and need hours to decompress.  I sleep a lot on the weekends from pure exhaustion.  Its really tough pretending to be normal 40 to 60 hours every week.

And this week is tougher than most.  Today, I was told I would no longer get administrative support.  My assistant is my lifeline.  She is a support in place that helps me be successful.  She understands my Aspergers.  She books my flights during the least busy times.  She manages my calendar.  She makes sure I have transition / alone time at the appropriate times, so I can cope with the real world.  She is the reason I can function at this level.

Unfortunately, I am so good at faking being normal that my leader thinks I'm being a princess.  He thinks I shouldn't need such a high level of support.  And this hurts.  I would give anything to be able to function independently.  I hate myself for having to rely on my assistant to get me through my days.

After he gave me the news, I cried my eyes out.  I want to be able to do things myself and I want others to understand there are certain situations when I need support.  People in the disability world understand.  Unfortunately, I live in the real world where most people don't understand and I find it difficult to explain to them my inadequacies.

I'm a successful business woman and I can't manage my calendar.  There I said it.  I can't do it.  I've tried so many times and it always ends in tears.  There are meeting invites streaming in and calendaring conflicts that arise.  And time never stops.  People are constantly wanting to schedule things.  Its the never-ending project from hell.  Its overwhelming.  In the past, I've been so overwhelmed with the calendaring that I can't do my normal work and my performance suffers.  

I don't want to go back to that place.  I just don't.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Nainital in Pictures

 My first train ride in India.  What an experience!  The 7 hour train ride ended up being 12 hours.  Arriving in Kothgodam. 

 Man grilling me some corn.  He served mine with lime and salt.  Yum!

 TC's favorite.  Waterballs!  Usually served differently in each locale.  These are filled with onions and potatoes.  The cup in the upper left is holding the spicy water. 

 Breakfast.  I thought I only had one egg, but there was a surprise egg once I lifted up the egg holder.  Two boiled eggs for breakfast!

 The Lake.  I believe its Naini Lake.  As Tal means Lake.  Hence, Nainital.  As per usual, my Hindi is horrendous and any attempt to pronounce leads to much confusion.

 Bottles hung from trees to shoot with airguns for 20 Rps.  Honestly, when I saw these bottles all I could think was - How on earth did they get those tied out on the side of the mountain?!?

 Telescopes.  These were at Himalaya View Point where you could pay to view the majestic Himalayas.  As TC put it, "This is a fraud"

 An Indian tourist dressed up in traditional Nainital dress.  People actually pay to dress up in this clothing and take their picture.  And they have to give it back.  These stands are everywhere!

 An Indian tourist posing as he "climbs the Himalayas".  I'm pretty sure this is probably his facebook profile pic now.

 Wow.  A shocker to me.  Look at all that luggage!  I've traveled 30 days in India with one bag.  This seems excessive.

 Traffic jam!  Local man getting out of his car to direct traffic.  That's one thing I love about India.  People just take control of the situation and get things done.  No traffic police required!

 So many choices for snacks and the only one I could have was water.  Diet soda is just not a concept here!

 Someone's laundry just siting on the side of the road.  Aren't they afraid someone will steal it?

 One of my favorite tourist spots of the trip.  CAVES!

 I was so excited to explore these caves.  I was on my hands and knees at times and racing through the caves.  Good times!

 Post sightseeing snack.  Onions in vinegar.  They look disgusting to me, but TC ate them like they were candy.

 Mosque in Nainital.  I love the symmetry!

 Elevator in the hotel.  My first thought was - What a beautiful elevator!.  My second thought - There is no way an American could fit through those skinny doors.

 Lodging in Nainital.  Arif Castles.

 Driver stopped to get directions to our lodging in Dunagri.  I was nervous.  What do you mean our driver doesn't know where to go?!?

 Apparantly, they needed to gather the whole town to figure out directions.  The more people that congregated the more nervous I was that we wouldn't reach our destination.  Really?  You need 5 people to help find the lodging?!? Gah!

 Yay!  We reached our destination in Dunagri.  This was a school for local children to learn English.  As part of the stay, I visited with some of the local children.

 Local color before trekking 1 km up the mountain to the Dunagri Temple

 So many steps to reach the Dunagri temple.  It was fun and tiring.

 Bells at the Dunagri temple

 Amla!!  I was eating at a restaurant outdoors and this boy climbed a tree and plucked this amla for me.  It was romantic and funny.  So 17th century!

 These women work so hard.  I never see men doing this work.  Hmmmm.

 American "Corns"

 Time for a boat ride on one of the seven lakes.  These boats seemed much more appealing than the self-paddle boats.  I like to relax, not work!

 My Slippers

 TCs post-sightseeing dinner.  

 TC and Lakshmal (the driver) discussing the zoo.  Looks like TC needs more information...

 TC and Lakshmal pointing to the zoo.  Its over there.  You need to walk. 

 After a little hike, we made it to the zoo!  Somehow this is the only picture of an animal I took in the zoo.  Strange.  I know.

 This sign means shortcut.  Or so TC says.  I'm a big fan of shortcuts on the way down, but not on the way up.

 High tech Cyber Cafe.  Here TC is checking to see if we have confirmation for our tickets back to Delhi (No, they weren't confirmed - always an adventure)

 Stopping to rest.  My toes are definitely cuter than TCs!

 Lodging outside of Nainital

 Huge hole in the road on our way to our lodging.  Seriously?  Nobody thinks this is strange?  Its a HUGE hole!

 Dussehra celebration in Nainital.  Later in the evening this guy with 10 heads was burned in a burst of flames.

 I was shocked to find out we needed to stop for an hour to let these construction workers finish paving the road to Nainital.  No room to pass.  We had to just wait it out.  I found it a bit disturbing that they have fun with each other by throwing hot asphalt at each others feet.  Yikes!

 Shirts at the Tailor where I got my pants hemmed for 50 cents in 10 minutes.  10 minutes I tell you!

 Temple where I was chased my monkeys.  MONKEYS!  It was all good until I reached the bridge and then the monkeys swung down like some horrific scene out of Wizard of Oz.  They started chasing me.  I ran.  No wonder the locals were carrying slingshots.

Train back to Delhi.  Until next time!