Of course, this is particularly obvious and relevant to me, given I suffer from an absolute minimum of two, those naturally being my bipolar disorder and that I am autistic. (Specifically, Asperger's syndrome.) I could go on talking about the things in that article which fascinated me (the perspective on reality, the voices talking, the different take on things allowing for very good processing of data and outside-the-box thinking, various other little things here and there), particularly since several of them are directly relative to me (there was a time I was afraid I could have schizophrenia, though I ultimately concluded I do not, and every professional I've seen seems to agree), but what I actually came here to do is attempt my own.
Obviously, I run a blog. That means, in theory, I already do this on a daily basis: I give you an insight into my mind with every post that I make. Sometimes it has personal details, sometimes it's just an apology for being too busy, sometimes it's just the latest story idea I have, but every post I make here is made with sincerity. Defining my true self is borderline-impossible, but let's say it was. This blog might not be absolutely my true self, since I do filter it slightly...but as far as filters go, my blog here is about as light as it gets.
I share as much as I can. The only lying I can possibly do, then, is basically by omission: things that I think I should mention, but for whatever various reason, have not, at least, not yet. (At least three or four such things are rotating through my head right now. I should get to them eventually, but if I started down that tangent of listing them now, I'd never get to my original intended purpose of this blog. I realize that, being fully honest with myself, that's an excuse, but in this case it's also the truth. I'll get to them if I can.)
The point I'm trying to make here is, generally I do at least a decent job of sharing my experiences with you, my readers (few as they may be), so what exactly would be different? Well, because I'm going to attempt to describe things as I would to a person who asked me about my "disability". This is relevant to my recent thoughts in my job application, if you couldn't make the link. See, that's the beautiful thing. To me, as I was writing this, that was absolutely obvious. I just blogged about how I did a ton of job applications. Job applications contain a tick mark where you list whether you have a disability or not, and I answer yes, albeit a minor one.
So, because of this, I thought about it some, but didn't mention it last blog. Then, I came across the schizophrenia article, prompting this blog. In my head, the transition couldn't have been more clear. Schizophrenia, disability, recent blog about job search. The dots were there, connecting them together. But until last paragraph where I explicitly laid it out to you, be honest with yourself: did you have any idea they were at all tied?
If you are 100% truthful with yourself, the answer is 99% likely to be "no, not until you said it", though you'll probably also think, "in hindsight, I don't know why I didn't". Assuming my thoughts come off clearly enough for you to even have an idea what I'm talking about, this is no surprise. So let's get right down to it. My mind has many oddities, but focusing on the ones that are best branched under my autism, these are some highlights.
If you were not directly told about my disability, you would probably not assume I had one. If you interacted with me, you would probably think I was a bit odd, quirky, unusual. This is deliberate effort on my part. My entire life, I have put effort into trying to blend in and make you not notice all the things I "miss" that others take for granted. Every social cue has been taught to me, one at a time. I needed to be told to do them. I needed to be told why we do them. I needed to have them explained.
And even after I have learned them, I can't always properly apply them. If my concentration breaks for even one second, I'll lose eye contact, until I remember that I am supposed to be making contact. I have to run scripts through my head for every-day dialogs. If I approach, mentally, I have probably played my dialog through my head fifty times, refining it and preparing it for different responses. Do this. If this, do this. If that, do this instead.
Every day, I run those calculations each time I think of interacting with someone. However, thanks to my lack of omniscience, I cannot anticipate every possible situation. If you go off my predicted script, I lose my focus. I no longer have a prepared response. For a normal person, this might happen if you were expecting a question like "how long have you worked here?" and instead got a question completely different like "are you going to the event tonight?". Your brain was focused on the one, so when you got something else, you now have to spend time thinking about that new response and formulating a brand new answer on the spot.
The problem is, for me, this can happen if there's as much as one word's difference between what I expect to hear and what I actually hear. It sounds ridiculous, but I'm dead serious, here: I may have a perfect answer prepared if you ask me, "what are you going to do tonight?" If you ask it of me at an anticipated trigger, if you ask it of me at a time I am expecting you to ask me, then I'll instantly give my prepared response. Yet maybe, you instead ask me, "What are you going to do today?" Or maybe it's "what are you doing tonight?". Those two latter questions are identical in meaning, so surely, I can answer them just as easily as the first.
It is possible...provided I also prepared an exact answer. If I thought, in advance, of those variations in wording, then I'll have prepared my variation in response, which in most cases, would probably be...absolutely nothing, saying the same thing. But I absolutely must have also prepared for that wording. It all must go according to plan. You must say what I expect, at the expected time, in the expected way. If any of those conditions are absent, then I get into the above scenarios where the difference between "are you going to the event tonight?" and "how long have you worked here" means I must think up a new script on the spot.
And complicating matters is...I am human myself. That means, sometimes, even after having prepared my script a hundred times, running the dialog I'll say multiple times...I may mess up. If I time my words wrong, I can trip up, screwing the whole script up and forcing me to start from scratch. If I say so much as one word different from what I have planned, I'm forced to create a new script. Often, I'll have prepared more than one script, so when the time comes, I'll start one script and then accidentally start using another script I also prepared.
This may be a normal human response, but for the average person, they'll identify the mistake, and then swiftly correct it, usually with some manner of a word override, perhaps with an apologetic, and continue on in their speech as if no mistake was made at all. Unfortunately for me, when I cross from one script into another, both scripts suddenly get completely confused and disappear. I'm forced to start from scratch and think up entirely new ones. All the work I did is instantly lost, and I must put in new work to get there.
This is how I live literally every day of my life. I do this hundreds, even thousands, of times. My scripts are often messed up, which is why I may wander away from a topic, because my script was clear, then got confused. I need time to create a perfect script. If I lack time, my scripts may be unclear, may produce some weird-sounding stuff, may not answer what was expected, and are incredibly vulnerable to being burned again, which will cause stuttering, awkward pausing, sideways glances, all in an attempt to generate a new script.
That is my weakness. I cannot interact well in live-time, because these generated scripts are fragile. When I say "script", it's not just words. It's every facet of communication, verbal and nonverbal. Eye contact, posture, tone, bodily positioning, projection, these are all included in the scripts I have to make. They are things I actively think about every second of every interaction. I had to learn expected uses of them one by one, one automatic script at a time.
That is also my strength. Because I must generate these hundreds upon hundreds of scripts every day, I am very, very aware of many facets of these scripts in others that they themselves may not noticed: subtle pieces of humanity not-often observed. If I wasn't able to notice them, I couldn't stand a chance of producing them, since they aren't produced naturally, so that forces me to have awareness above average.
Because I must generate these hundreds upon hundreds of scripts every day, I am very, very creative. I must imagine every detail. I need to think of several variations on the mundane in order to function, so when applied in a more fictional environment, I have a clear ability to envision environments because I have practiced this skill my entire life.
Because I must generate these hundreds upon hundreds of scripts every day, I am very, very well-prepared. I know how to handle a lot of situations, probably more than your average person, because I have meticulously trained myself to have scripts available for them.
Because of these scripts I make, then burn, and remake, I am very quick to think on my feet. I absolutely must be, because if I wasn't, I wouldn't be able to function at all. These scripts contribute to so many of the things I am "gifted" with. They help with my problem-solving, because I think of things from every possible angle, thanks to how if any angle comes up that I haven't thought of, how my scripts will burn. They help with my comprehension of things like science, because if I wasn't able to ascertain the nature of things, I wouldn't be able to function. They help with my variety of knowledge in language, because if I didn't prepare a script for one particular word, I must restart from scratch.
I think more than your average person, because I have no choice but to think more than your average person. My scripts aren't perfect, thus the myriad of different ways I can screw up and give away I'm not entirely average, give away how there's something about me not the same as the rest of people. My scripts often need regular updating as well. When I was a kid, my scripts were easy because I was interacting with other kids, and the scripts were less complicated since they weren't as necessarily complex. I would enjoy conversing with older adults, because my scripts were flexible enough to be on point.
Yet as I aged, those scripts became obsolete. The dialog between ten-year-olds is completely different than the dialog between twenty-year-olds. And my scripts need to reflect that. Because I have so much to think about, my scripts are often very specific now, out of need to be specific things.
And this is one reason why I tend to jump between subjects a lot. My scripts start out on a specific thing. Then, they burn. When restructured, suddenly, it's slightly different things. Repeat hundreds of times in the course of a few minutes, and eventually, you get a mind which is trying to run three different ideas as one script, rather than separating them out.
So I'm forced to reset. To take my time. To breathe. To relax. To restart anew, focus my thoughts, and dive back in with a new script. Literally every word I ever say is done with this process, this scriptbuilding. It may be automatic for other people, but for me, I must think of every minute detail. It has its advantages, allowing me to describe things in greater detail than most people ever could. It also has its disadvantages, like sometimes missing an obvious word which could say the same thing more succinctly. Since my memory isn't perfect, I can't instantly bring to my mind literally every aspect of human interaction: every word, every thing needing to be done, every tone, every action. So my scripts have those gaps, those holes, in them.
I don't really have a good way to end this insight into my mind. I started with one in my script, one which has been revised hundreds of times, with every single word I've written in here. But by the time I reach the end, here, whatever ending I had planned has long-since had its script burned. That's why so many of my blogs usually have such abrupt endings: there was an idea for an ending, and yet...it never quite worked out that way.
Just like now.