How may I help you?

I am not a fan of shopping, I am not as bothered by shopping in the city as I am in town. Everyone knows everyone here and you can’t go down an aisle without having to have another conversation. It’s more small talk than I can manage in a week, let alone a 20 minute trip to the store.

The thing I do enjoy though is being helpful. It’s a compulsion. I cannot see someone trying to reach something without helping, looking at a product without giving my advice, or chiming in on a subject I can hear people discussing next to me. I tell people if they look nice when they come out of the dressing room (only if it is sincere) and if I see something that would look nice on someone I’m shopping near I tell them.

I cannot stop. It is the only Social interaction that I actually enjoy. I know it’s broken and many times I’m thought weird or pushy, but I don’t even care at that point because I enjoy it so much. Sometimes it’s appreciated and the camaraderie can carry on through the whole mall if we bump into each other again.

I don’t know why it’s fun for me, and it’s only ever positive. I don’t push my way into conversations or do anything that would be deemed inappropriate — it’s just this burning desire to be helpful. It’s a sickness. It’s even worse with people I love. I hate parties, but I would be happy to come to your house before the party and help you get ready. Being needed is a drug for me. I cannot tell you anything in my life that makes me feel more whole or happy than when someone needs my help.

I don’t understand why, I used to think because it was the only way that I was allowed to express myself in the stringent fundamentalist upbringing I had, but I don’t know if that’s the cause. It could be adult child of alcoholics, codendent to the core? I’m not really sure. Maybe it’s just the reward of being wanted was so unfamiliar to me that the rush of being asked fed something deep within me?

Anyway — I’m guessing it has something to do with my autism, I just don’t know if it’s just a “me” kind of thing, or if any other autists carry a similar trait?I guess it’s not the worst thing in the world, I just wish other things made me as happy, or feel as wanted as helping does.

Like what you read? Give Heidi Turner a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.