Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Undercover Aspergian

So... I've been getting some unwanted attention from the other students on my course. It's meant to be nice attention, but it feels like too much.

I do on occasion try to be funny, and if I do it in  small doses, I can be funny. I have a very dry, ironic sense of humour, kind of black, which works well in a healthcare student setting. I have some days where I feel like being funny, but if it then attracts lots of attention, I withdraw a bit into the background, and stay serious for a few days. I know that if I overdo it, I start crossing lines, and stepping over people's personal boundaries.  (I know this from personal experience...)

I know somebody I've seen posting on Wrong Planet has a tagline which says something like: "If I have offended you, you can be sure it was an attempt at humour." I can really relate to this, and that's why I tone it down.

But, now I'm finding people inviting me to be funny, expecting me to be funny and encouraging me to be funny, and that's awkward, because I need to be on top form to go there at all, and be sure that I'm not going to hurt anybody's feelings. Some days I just want to coast, stay in the background, and have quiet chats with people next to me, I'm not there to entertain.

Then I get this slightly confused reaction, like I'm not being consistent, and other people can't work me out. I kind of feel like an Undercover Aspergian. They start looking at me kind of hard like they're trying to see through me. These midwives are all working on their communication skills 100% of the time, and they are pretty fly now. I've had a few anxious moments.

But then I remind myself that they aren't psychic either, I just have to raise an eyebrow and they'll leave me alone. I end up coming across as super-confident and extremely knowledgeable. Neither of which is what I'm aiming for, I'm aiming to just pass for normal, and instead, they think I have some kind of a super-brain, but they don't see the disability side of things (cos I haven't told them!) I do have a brilliant memory for anatomy and physiology which is a massive advantage, but I have high anxiety levels every day, not about looking after the pregnant women, that's the best bit, but about mixing with qualified midwives and other health professionals, and getting that interaction right. It requires a huge mental discipline to stay 'in character', and not to be inappropriate.

Just realised that I used an acting term about my approach to work. I suppose there is an element of 'acting professional' for all of us, I think it's a bigger challenge for me, but at the same time, I've been practicing roles my whole life.

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