Videos

Atheism and Aspergers

Disclaimer: We are not saying that everyone who is an atheist is autistic, nor are we saying that autistic people are more or less likely to be atheists.

If you suspect that you may be on the spectrum you should contact a trained psychologist and discuss the matter with them.

None of the information provided should be used for diagnostic purposes, we are not trained medical doctors and the information provided is for entertainment purposes only.

Join me, the Godless Iowan, Black Sofa, and Staggerson Jagz for a discussion on Asperger’s and Atheism. About a year ago I was diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, what used to be referred to as Aspergers. Since that time my entire life has made a whole lot more sense, especially in regards to my religious faith and ultimate deconversion.

Both Black Sofa and Staggerson Jagz have their own unique tales to tell in this story and I hope you will all tune in to watch the discussion. Links to their channels can be found below.

Staggerson Jagz:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCckX_ZpWlDcj-2ERh9uSZUg

Black Sofa:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGoFzTR-1TTcjBJkj4AXjxQ?view_as=subscriber

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An Aspie In Iowa

An Aspie In Iowa: ASMR Freaks Me Out!

So tonight I watched a few ASMR videos on YouTube. I don’t really want to go into what these are so I’ll leave the explanation here. I’ll also post a couple of example videos so that you have a good idea what these are.

and…

Now what you are supposed to get from these videos is a pleasurable tingling sensation in your spine that makes you feel tranquil. These videos are immensely popular and I have seen numerous testimonials speaking of their usefulness. Well….that was not my experience at all.

Let me tell you, I get a tingling sensation….well tingling isn’t really the proper word for it, I feel like someone is trying to rip my spine out of my back and beat me over the head with it. The feeling that I get from these videos is about the worst feeling that anyone could get without setting yourself on fire.  We watched a video of a woman clicking her fingernails on various items and I literally had tears in my eyes and wanted to run from the room.

At first I would think that this has to do with my autism but my wife who is also an aspie gets the pleasurable response that everyone else raves about. A quick google search found other autistic blogs and websites proclaiming the positives of ASMR and so I’m guessing it’s more or less just me. No real big deal, I’m used to being the odd man out.

I think though that perhaps this does have a lot to do with my aversion to touch and since these videos supposedly stimulate the same nerves that respond to light touch then it is no wonder why I had such a bad reaction to them. I would rather be stabbed than to have someone lightly touch me, I don’t want to sound hyperbolic but to be lightly touched feels, to me, like I am being violated in some horrific fashion.

I guess it only makes sense because I like strong touches. I also like strong sounds, preferring a bit louder than normal speech over any type of whisper. Whispering drives me absolutely insane and makes me sick to my stomach when I hear it. Perhaps this is due to the deceptive nature that whispering is meant to convey much of the time and the amount of times in my past that I knew, or at least assumed, that people were whispering about me.

Anyway, I’d like to send this on over to you folks, my readers. Does ASMR elicit the feel good pleasurable sensation in your mind or are you as turned off as I am by this invasion of obnoxious noise upon your mind? Let me know in the comments. Thanks!

General Information

New Articles On The Way

So I’ve been writing again which is good and I hope you’ve enjoyed the newest articles from myself, Jennifer, and all the others who have submitted entries. I’ve had some new ideas that I will explore over the coming weeks.

1.) BS News report

This is a satirical take on the news of the week from my own unique point of view.

2.) The return of A Pentecostal Atheist Bible Study

3.) Deep Thoughts

Subjects may include science, medicine, paradoxes, riddles, basically anything that gets me thinking.

Anyway, keep on the lookout for these new articles as well as other posts in the future.

Thank you so much to everyone who has read so far, I appreciate you all.

Side note: What would you like to see more of in this blog. Any suggestions and help will be greatly appreciated.

Matt

The Diary Of My Mind

My Name Isn’t Sam, Though I Am Atypical

So today I had the pleasure of seeing someone who assumes they understand autism because they watched the TV Show, “Atypical” on Netflix.

Now if you have been reading my blog for any period of time you will know that I actually enjoyed the show even though I thought it had a lot of flaws. My main issue with the show was that it would give people the idea that they knew more about autism than they actually do. Well my assumption came true today.

I’m honestly not upset with this person because I think if I were in the same situation I would think the same thing. I’ve watched shows on the Middle Ages and felt like I knew more about the Middle Ages. I watch documentaries on paleontology and believe I understand more about paleontology. So why wouldn’t a person believe they know more about autism by watching a show based around an Autistic character?

However, at the same time, the inner workings of my mind are much more specific than anything you could gather from this show. While I do connect with some of the situations on the show, I am definitely not the clueless and inept character portrayed in the show. I am not Sam anymore than I am a Sheldon or a Rainman. My mind is my own and no one else’s mind works exactly like it.

Autism is a spectrum disorder and the actor portraying Sam is portraying a single solitary person on the spectrum. He is no more indicative of the whole than James Brown would be indicative of the whole of music.  You could not say you understand all of music by listening to a single song. This is the same with Autism.

Over the last several months I have made friends with many folks on the Spectrum. Some are verbal, others are not. Some can write beautifully and eloquently, others in short snippets. Some speak in poetry, others in an incredibly academic way.  Some are interested in romance and love while others never give those things a second thought. Some have loud and violent meltdowns, others meltdown almost entirely in their minds. I have never met a single autistic person who I could point to and say this person is exactly what Autism is and looks like.

It’s sad really. I wish the show did a better job at portraying a strong character with ASD. However, it once again portrays the main character in a comedic fashion. Sam is little more than Sheldon with less physics knowledge, he’s Rainman with better communication skills. He is a shell of compressed stereotypes that won’t lead you to a better knowledge of autism than you had from the very start.

If you want to understand autism, speak with someone on the spectrum. I think you will find that most of us are open about it. You will find that what bothers many of us the most is that we are constantly told what autistic people should be and how we should act or think. Many of us have spent a large period of our lives attempting to fit into society and then we find out that we are autistic, only to be told that there is a new mold that we must attempt to fit into. Well it doesn’t work that way and it never will work that way.

I am not Sam. I am just me.

The Diary Of My Mind

A few things about me…

  1. I hate driving. Driving is something that I do to get to work, doctor appointments, and the store, but I hate it. Driving causes me a great deal of anxiety, there is just too much going on around me to be calm. In the back of my mind I am always fearful of getting into a wreck or breaking down on the side of the road.
  2. I hate brushing my teeth. Just the feeling of the bristles going through my mouth gives me the chills. I do brush my teet but wouldn’t if I could get away with not doing it…
  3. I hate Velcro. Just the thought of the sound made when someone pulls apart velcro freaks me out. This was bad when I was a kid who couldn’t tie his own shoes until he was 8. 
  4. I hate having anything on the back of my hands or neck. This is especially true with sticky or oily substances. It freaks me out and I instantly have to stop whatever I am doing and go wash up. 
  5. I hate sunny days. The light is too bright and it gives me an awful headache. So when everyone else is happy about the clear sky, I’m trying to figure out how to work underground for the day.
  6. I love thunderstorms. Nothing on earth is better than listening to a loud thunderstorm as I drift off to sleep. I even slept through a tornado that tore through our backyard once. Storms calm me down incredibly well.
  7. I love anything to do with history, especially the Pre-WWI. I love learning about the napolianic wars, the Vikings, the mayans and aztecs, etc…I also hold a very special place in my heart for pre-history as well.
  8. I love Star Trek. With Spock being my favorite character of all time. I associate a lot with Spock and remember wishing as a child that the vulcans would return and take me home with them. Everyone around me seemed to exist in such an illogical fashion that the vulcans were the only ones possible of being my true family.
  9. I love zombie films. This is my absolute favorite genre of film and I’ve seen about 90% of the zombie films in existence, The original dawn of the dead is my absolute favorite. I think part of my love for these films stems from the idea that the whole world was out to get me as a child. So in my mind, zombies are society and the survivors are those who dare love outside of societies rules. Anyway, I love this genre of movie!
  10. I love Oscar Wilde plays. He does such a great job of pointing out the absurdities of “normal” life and makes fun of it all. I wonder if Wilde was an aspergian? It would explain a whole lot.
  11. I have a love/hate relationship with music. Sometimes I love music and it can calm me, other times it does nothing but overwhelm me and I can’t stand it.
  12. I have a love/hate relationship with friendships. I want friends but I can’t stand having them. Friends are exhausting to me. Always wanting to invite me places, ask me for stuff, and pop in with little warning. This kind of stuff drives me crazy and I really don’t think there is an answer to this issue.
  13. I have a love/hate relationship with deodorant. I wear it, but at the same time I am highly sensitive to fragrance. I’ve actually had my armpits crack and bleed due to using the wrong deoderant. Even now I am likely to forget it at least once per week. It’s annoying!
  14. I have a love/hate relationship with politics. I am absolutely excellent at picking out winners and losers in political campaigns. I knew Donald Trump would win the day he announced. I’ve never supported him but I took a lot of flak and was insulted pretty bad by those on the right who said it was a joke and that there wasn’t a chance he’d win the election, let alone be the nominee. Still waiting on those apologies guys…
  15. I have a love/hate relationship with Ketchup. I love ketchup on French fries, and that’s it. I hate the taste of ketchup in anything else. Just seeing someone dip something in ketchup, outside of French fries, makes me physically ill. It’s weird, but that’s me.

Thank you for reading this post. I love reading and responding to your comments so please, do so below. 😎

The Diary Of My Mind

Shut Downs and Emotional Turning Off

Since I was a child, I’ve experienced what is commonly called a shut down. Basically this means I stop talking, get completely quiet and I look completely emotionless. Behind the scenes, in my mind, there is a lot going on. I am generally trying to work through something that requires my complete and total focus.

Things that might cause a shut down

  1. Stress
  2. Anger
  3. Sadness
  4. Problem solving
  5. Being Insulted

The fifth one there is actually a big one. If I’m insulted I almost instantly shut down. Now shut does can lead to a few results. With the other four, I can generally get over them fairly easy with some coping mechanisms I’ve developed over the years. Number one is a bit hard to deal with but removing myself from the situation, even for a few minutes, seems to work fairly well.

Number five though is another story.

When I am insulted my mind rushes and I am faced with several choices,

  • Vacate, it’s not worth getting worked up over.
  • Emotional outburst, often ending with their feelings hurt worse than mine ever were.
  • Turning my emotions completely off.

The third choice there is, I believe, a holdover from all the bullying that I went through as a child. My mind developed a defense system where I can completely turn my emotions off towards a person or a group. If this happens, that person is more or less dead to me.  Eventually I have to deal with the pain of this type of shut down but that can be months or even years into the future. 

I’ve had friends who were fairly close to me, one day they said something that really bothered me, or did something to me in an insulting or mean fashion. I turn off the emotions and then I don’t care if I ever see that person again. Maybe years down the road I’ll remember them but rarely do I feel bad for a friendship ending in this fashion.

For example: My ex used to scream and throw things at me. Usually this would lead to me having a meltdown lasting several days. Eventually, this occurred so frequently that I simply shut off my emotional response to her. We stopped talking and eventually got divorced. A shut down helped lead me away from an abusive relationship. 

People might find my shut downs odd but they have helped me in numerous ways throughout life. The peace that can be found in a completely emotionless experience is therapeutic in a way. Helps me sort or what needs sorting. 

Do you experience anything along these lines? I wonder how prevalent this is as a coping mechanism. Let me know in the comments below,

Eat Me

Eat Me #2: Stores, Stress, Sleep Issues and Storms

For last weeks article, click here.

1.)Stores

I absolutely hate going grocery shopping or any kind of shopping in particular. If I could, I would do all of my shopping on-line. Unfortunately once a week we need to go to the store for food and other items. Jen wasn’t feeling well today, so my daughter and I went to the store on our own. This trip would be even more awkward because our daughter needed a new bra and wasn’t thrilled to be going bra shopping with dad.

So we make our way to the store and it was about three times busier than usual. Already not good but we head on in. We head straight to the section with the girls bras and it is awkward… My daughter picked out one and went to try it on. While she did that I sat there looking at my shoes. Why are the dressing rooms at Wal-Mart always situated directly next to the lingerie? Very Annoying.

Anyway, she found one and we moved on to our other items on the list. Recently, the store we go to updated their entire floor plan, which means nothing is where I remember it being. Being someone who is adverse to chance, this makes shopping even more stressful. I’d go to where I think something should be and then realize I was in the wrong area. It might not seem that bad to most people but to me it is a nightmare.

Lastly, it seemed like everything on our list had someone standing directly in front of it. So I would patiently wait for the person to move on, yet more often than not it seemed like the people were statues just standing there. This drove me absolutely up the wall, I didn’t want to be rude but several times I had to ask people to move so that i could get the item that we came for. Anyway, it’s over, but shopping can definitely Eat ME!

2.)Stress

Today wasn’t as bad as the rest of the week as far as work goes, but the entire week as a whole has been awful. One stressful situation after another. I work in a high stress career, accounting, but generally things don’t hit you left and right. This week though was really bad.

On top of this, many of my old coping mechanisms seem to be working less since my diagnosis. I know that this is psychosomatic but it is very bothersome. The fact that my stimming and quiet moments don’t seem to be working at calming me down has made the days seem to last forever and the stress simply compound. At the moment the only thing that seems to have a calming effect on me is my writing and Star Trek. I’ll go more into Star Trek in a later post, but I’ll only say that the show has an effect on me that almost nothing else does. I’ve watched all of the shows and seasons multiple times but find new things to love each time I watch them.

Anyway, the stress has led me to have some severe stomach issues and headaches. It has been bright and sunny all week which has led to my sensory issues being even worse. As I’ve said many times, I love my brain and I hate my brain, this week I’ve been more along the lines of hating my brain. I’m just glad it’s over and this week can eat me.

3.) Sleep Issues

So I finally got on Ambien which has helped me get to sleep and stay asleep, yet I am no more rested. The doctor and Jennifer believe that I have sleep apnea. So on the 20th of this month i have to go in and do a sleep study. Basically that means that I will go to the hospital, have a bunch of electrodes attached to my body, and be forced to sleep like that so that the specialist can judge whether or not I have Apnea.

In all honesty, I probably do have Apnea but the thought of the test is awful to me, the idea of having a CPAP machine is awful to me, and the whole thing is just plain awful to me. I’ll go through with it and do as the doctors say, but it is not going to be easy on me. I am incredibly stressed about this, How is it that I can’t even sleep right? Anyway, my sleep issues can EAT ME!

4.) Storms

I swear if I see another religious person blaming the severe weather that we have been experiencing nationwide to the wrath of god I will spit. Whether that is the hurricanes, wildfires, or extreme droughts, these folks are completely willing to blame it all on an invisible man, instead of calling it what it actually is, the effects of climate change.

Some people will say they don’t deny that climate change is real only that they don’t believe it is actually caused by man. Well the science is in, it is due to us, grow up or get used to these severe weather patterns.  To continue denying this fact is to leave our children and grandchildren with a worse world to clean up, if they are even able to survive on this planet by that point.

What makes this worse currently is I have two kids that live in Florida. They aren’t expecting to get the full brunt of the storm where they are at but it is still concerning to me. I hope they will stay safe and things remain calm for them throughout the next week. Seeing folks act as if god is doing this because he is pissed off about something, or that this is actually some insidious plot by the government, is incredibly annoying to me.

Science deniers, whether they be religious or conspiracy theorists are doing the world an incredible disservice. It absolutely sickens me that a huge chunk of the American population falls into these two categories. If you do fall into one of these categories, EAT ME!