I think a little differently to most people. I’ve always suspected or known it and never really known what to do, or not do, about it.
I am very literal in my thinking, and thus, in my responses. Whilst in many ways that should be an asset, it is rarely so. Unless in a scientific forum, but even then… So often people ask questions they don’t actually want the answer to. How are you today? Can I help you with that? I’ve made some changes, what do you think? Do you like my new top?
I tend to answer them. You could call it thoughtlessness, but to me a question deserves an answer.
I struggle with questions that contain pronouns, that, those, there. ‘Pick that up and put it over there.’
If I am on a train of thought it can take me a long time to re-adjust to the question I have been asked, so that my answer is out of context, or I just fail to answer at all, not realizing I have been asked a question. I struggle if I ask a question and I don’t get an answer too.
My memory is very specific, some things go straight in and others just pass through and are gone before I realise I have forgotten them. If it hadn’t been that way all my life I would be worried!
I can hold an audience of large numbers for whatever given time I have allotted; I get great praise as a public speaker, but struggle massively with small talk. Often failing to even get started in a conversation, or having to talk over people to get started only to leave silence when I finish what I have to say. Too many details don’t help, but they are important to me.
It can be hard to change a point of view until I have had time to process it. Especially when I am trying to see something from another’s point of view, either at the time, or when I am looking to promote what I do.
Does that put me somewhere further along the ‘spectrum’ to most people? We are all along it somewhere. Or is it just my perception of myself?
What I do know is that it has had massive impact on the way I see myself and how I interact with others, or as more regularly, not interacted. It’s probably one of the reasons, or excuses, I used to use to drink too much. Everything was easier if I was numb. I could also hide the lack of belief in my own abilities that had been ever present for much of my life.
Always happy in my own company, rarely feeling alone, for many years I never wanted anything more.
And then I stopped drinking!
I’ve written about that elsewhere and found a clarity I didn’t have before. I found I liked myself, I didn’t suffer from ‘Fear of Missing Out’ anymore. Being comfortable in my own skin meant I could be a better partner for my wife.
I was better at moving myself from the centre of my world and understand the views of others. Less affected by the difficulties I started this writing off with. All those symptoms still exist, but I deal with them better. I get told off now for taking to long to do stuff and not rushing, but I make decisions and comments, generally, that are in better in context and relevant. Thus, I have far less to regret.
I have now discovered that what I have learnt is massively relevant and helpful to other people and I am now learning, slowly, how to make that relevant and meaningful to other people. That feels good, as does helping others.
Whoever you are, never stop believing you matter and can make a difference. What can take time is finding out how. Keep an open mind and keep trying. That’s life, whether it’s just for you or all those other people out there.
Simon Pollard, Countryman and Modern-Day Pagan.