"That's Just an Excuse"

I've had such a pleasant day so far, it was hard to imagine one comment from a friend could bring me crashing so hard. "That's just an excuse." Yes, I get that an invisible illness like Asperger's is difficult for others to understand, since most of the symptoms cannot be seen by the eyes. It's internal, it's mental, it's emotional, and it is not something that other people can share in the experience of, unless they also have Asperger's. My friend has recently taken psychology, so she sort of has an idea of what Asperger's is. But even the definitions she learned are based on male Asperger's, not female (yes, biology makes a difference in presentation of symptoms.) It doesn't help that I have a handful of comorbid disorders: ADD, SAD, PTSD, depression, and insomnia. I am acutely aware of my symptoms and of my limitations. So, when I am experiencing an oncoming overwhelm or sensory overload, I find a way to excuse myself. With family and friends, I generally feel comfortable enough to be honest that my Asperger's is being pushed to its limits. Like today...I was visiting with a friend, and some more of her other friends...people I don't know well...came to visit as well. I don't mind meeting new people, but not more than one or two at a time. More than that, and it gets overwhelming and I have a panic attack. It's not something I have control over, and it's not a fun experience. So, I tried to politely excuse myself, told her that I didn't think my Asperger's could take the commotion today. "That's just an excuse. You don't have to be shy." It's not the first time I've heard it, but coming from her, it kinda cut deep. Like, you know me...I don't use it as an excuse! Yes, I'm self aware and I sometimes make comments that certain things I do or avoid are because of my disorders. But I do so to track my symptoms and try to correct myself where I can. It is also to help those around me to better understand what I go through, to give them the information they need to be able to be supportive. Because I don't have Asperger's/ADD/SAD/PTSD/depression moments...I am going through this around-the-clock, non-stop. Even when I lie in bed at night, my mind is wild with anxieties and self-doubts and fight-flight-or-freeze. So, no...it's not an excuse. It's part of who I am. Try as I might, I cannot change that. Now, to let this roll off my back, so maybe I won't dwell too much on these negative feelings.

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