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BCTucker
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

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Joined: 27 Oct 2017
Age: 27
Gender: Female
Posts: 29
Location: Iowa

27 Oct 2017, 1:40 pm

Hi there, I'm 28, female, no formal diagnosis, but have considered the possibility of having ASD off and on for nearly a decade, starting about 8 years ago when I took a college course on families living with autistic children. I kept coming home from class convinced that I was autistic. It became kind of a joke between my then-boyfriend and I, and I would sometimes do some stimming behaviors in front of him because I could do it jokingly and brush it off. They were things I'd always done, since I was young - like hand-flapping and little vocal outbursts and jumping up and down when I'm feeling intensely giddy or excited, but I had kind of always known that was weird, and not to do that in front of other people. He always reminded me after a joke about it that I couldn't be autistic because I was so emotional and empathetic and functioned so well.

The college boyfriend moved on, and I finished both my undergraduate degree (animal science) and a master's degree (education), but I also didn't make a single close friend that "stuck" while I was in college. Since I went to college far away from where I grew up and then ultimately moved back "home", all my friends from high school evaporated when I went to college, and all my college friends evaporated when I moved back. I have made two friends that have mostly "stuck" since being back, and have managed to mostly maintained one friendship from high school through both moves.

I struggled with dating after the college boyfriend. I went on LOTS of first dates that I met through free online services, but I would get to the date and either just be so BORED that I couldn't focus on the date or participate once I knew I wasn't interested, or I would feel like I needed to constantly fill the silent spaces with my awkward conversation, so I'm sure I talked about myself too much, talked about work too much, talked about animals too much... I also tend to share personal details about my life too quickly with new people, including sensitive ones. I trust quickly and easily and have trouble distinguishing situations where I should shut up or withhold information, and I don't lie well. I didn't see many of the guys I went out with during this time more than once (if they bored me) or twice (when I liked them and they just wanted to make sure I really was that weird).

After I finished my masters, I found myself in a public-facing job and felt like I was learning how to converse with people better and overcoming some of my awkward social issues. Eye contact has always felt "wrong" to me, which didn't improve in this job. Realistically I think my ability to talk to people was still probably not "right", either. Eventually, the job started causing me daily anxiety and exhaustion. I started having all sorts of physical symptoms that I focused on - strange parasthesias on my extremities like they were burning or freezing or wet or being poked with a hot needle; sensations of being constantly off balance and increased tripping on stairs and anything on the ground (flat piece of plywood, hose, tuft of grass, fresh air); my fingers, hands, and feet started twitching at random, and I would get extreme hand tremors whenever rushed, stressed, or otherwise emotional.

During this time I also managed to meet a guy that stuck - three years so far, we've lived together for two. He's an odd duck, and I've been convinced he's "on the spectrum" more than once since we first started dating, but he's undiagnosed and doesn't know I've ever even thought this (though one of his friend's wives agrees). Still, ASD wasn't on the radar for me when I was having all my physical symptoms.

Often, this forum would come up when I was Googling a new symptom, but I had convinced myself it was something physical. I believed there could be big glaring lesions on my brain or a tumor, but it couldn't just be "bad wiring". After a year of the physical symptoms, I left my full-time job for self-employment and some part-time work outside the home. Not really blaming the old job (it was a planned transition that came a little sooner than expected) but I was also hoping that it would alleviate some of the problems I was starting to have.

Unfortunately, without a routine being imposed on me by someone like a parent, teacher, or employer, I'm terrible at self-motivating. In general, I think I rely heavily on other people's expectations of me to actually function. Employers expect me to be at work on time, so I get myself there. People expect me to be clean, so I shower and change my clothes (when leaving the house...not good at this if no one will be seeing me, boyfriend sadly counts as no one). Customers expect me to deliver their goods on time, so I can and do. But if someone isn't expecting something from me, I just. can't. do. it. for myself. Instead, I fall into learning about something I'm really, really interested in or working on a special project for hours on end, blowing off any other responsibility I may have had (like laundry, dishes, even caring for pets, and personal grooming). The intense interests come and go quickly, though, and change often. Ask me about how many knitting projects I've furiously started, obsessed over for a week, and then abandoned on the needles for a year...

And even then, there are times when I know what's expected, and I still can't do it. Like paying bills on time. Or scheduling a vet appointment for the dogs or horses. Or getting up and doing farm chores in the morning. Even just responding to a communication from someone. Once I miss a deadline, I just feel hopeless, like I can't go back and fix it, and every hour and every day that passes just heaps on more anxiety about having not done it. I get to where I can't check my voicemail or my email or the postal mail because I know I'm failing to meet someone's expectations and I can't deal with it. And often, I've failed to meet their expectations because I was engaging in a special interest, so then I feel even more guilt over the whole deal.

I was starting to think I was just a massive failure at life: terrible at making and keeping friends, unable to keep up with the pressures of a full-time job, struggling with self-employment, disappointing those around me because I can't respond to them, having the utilities threaten to disconnect for non-payment. I actually lost my insurance due to non-payment earlier this year, and went without for three months because I couldn't pull myself together to deal with it. I was spending all day every day wondering WTF is wrong with me? But I couldn't actually get myself to do anything about it besides read. And read. And read. I've nearly driven one of my three remaining friends away with my constant hypochondrias.

Then, an acquaintance from a retail job I had in college, who is now a therapist, posted an article on her Facebook page about how autism is different in girls. I read it and identified a little bit, but kind of tucked it away in my brain since it came up during my busy (and mostly functional) time of year. Now that I'm back into my "down time" of year and I have too much time on my hands, I'm back to researching my "wtf is wrong with me" issues. I'm not sure what triggered it, but I remembered her shared article, and wanted to read it again. I couldn't find the one she shared, specifically, but I DID find the "checklists" of autistic tendencies in females. After highlighting a shocking portion of the lists that I identify with, I find myself here, wondering. I'm not ready to totally dismiss all the physical symptoms yet, and since regaining insurance I plan to see a Dr soon to start the process again (because the anxiety won't let me rule out a brain tumor or MS just yet) but I am wondering.



AnonymousAnonymous
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Joined: 23 Nov 2006
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27 Oct 2017, 2:36 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet! :)


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Silly NTs, I have Aspergers, and having Aspergers is gr-r-reat!


xatrix26
Sea Gull
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Joined: 7 Oct 2017
Age: 42
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Location: Canada

28 Oct 2017, 2:02 am

Hello and welcome! You sound like you're in the right place because many of us in these forums suffer from much of what you've described in great detail.

For myself I also suffer from many Autism-typical problems like severe social anxieties, lack of eye contact, extreme sensory perception and intolerance, failing to meet an NT's (neuro-typical) expectations (very stressful), obsessive special interests, incontinence, severe anxiety in general, depression, self-harm, stimming, etc. etc. The list goes on.

Be as honest as you can here and you'll find many commonalities with many people here. :lol:


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*** Severe High Functioning Asperger's Syndrome ***

Keep calm and stim away. ;)


fluffysaurus
Snowy Owl
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Joined: 3 Oct 2017
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Location: England

28 Oct 2017, 11:37 am

Hello
When it was first suggested, strongly and with the emphasis on the negatives, that I was Aspie, my research wasn't deep enough, lots of rubbish about us not having feelings,and I thought my eye contact was good. It was a random artical 15 years latter by a female Aspie that opened my eyes, normally I have little in common with other women, but there were loads of thing that were me, I mean that I'd thought were JUST me, that turn out to be common amongst female Aspies. Since being on this sight, just after I got my diagnosis, I've noticed haw varied Aspies are compared with the standard descriptions of us. When I was assessed she told me things about how I came across that I had been unaware of, so I would recommend going for an assessment when you can, but prepare yourself for learning some things that might be uncomfortable, I believe I would have found it easier to adjust if I had been warned, I had thought my difficulty would be in persuading her I wasn't wasting her time. It's only been about seven weeks since my assessment and this sight has been a lifeline, I think you may find it helpful too. :)



BCTucker
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

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Joined: 27 Oct 2017
Age: 27
Gender: Female
Posts: 29
Location: Iowa

30 Oct 2017, 12:04 pm

Thanks to those who took the time to read my novel! My new insurance starts Wednesday, and I've found a psychologist I think I'd like to see. I had been planning to find one anyway for the anxiety issues, but she also specializes in autism/aspergers and women's issues, so I'm thinking it might be a good fit with how I'm feeling now. Since I've been considering this possibility for a few weeks now, so much of my entire life seems to suddenly make sense...and not at all in a negative way! It's like being given new permission to accept all these things about myself that I thought were not right.

In making an appointment with a psychologist, is it acceptable as an adult to go in and say "I think I have Aspergers because I read a list online" or is it better to just go for the anxiety and see what comes out?



fluffysaurus
Snowy Owl
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31 Oct 2017, 7:00 am

In making an appointment with a psychologist, is it acceptable as an adult to go in and say "I think I have Aspergers because I read a list online" or is it better to just go for the anxiety and see what comes out?[/quote]

I think you should ask for an assessment for an autism spectrum disorder, afterwards they should be able to tell you whereabouts on the spectrum you are, eg. Asperger's. Don't worry about having having done some research, as in order to ask for the assessment, you have to have sort of diagnosed yourself in order to know to ask for it.

I didn't mean to sound as if my assessment was negative because it was amazing, my first experience of someone actually getting me :D But finding out that my emotions don't show on the outside was a shock, I had thought I was expressive and that other people just didn't care when I was upset :( which is completely hypocritical of me because I knew I could never read other peoples emotions. I am getting used to the idea now :)



BCTucker
Tufted Titmouse
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Joined: 27 Oct 2017
Age: 27
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Location: Iowa

01 Nov 2017, 10:00 am

Update: I was able to email the psychologist, mentioning I had phone anxiety and my general concern about the possibility of an undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder, and she responded today letting me know she can see me the week of the 13th. She hoped that wouldn't discourage me, but it's perfect. I love having lots of advance notice of things.

I certainly appreciate the advance warning about what I might learn about myself, too. I'm trying to stay really open and focus on how learning whatever I learn will ultimately be really positive for me in getting along in life.



fluffysaurus
Snowy Owl
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01 Nov 2017, 12:15 pm

Wow that's really quick, my appointment took 10 months to come through. Good luck :)



BCTucker
Tufted Titmouse
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Joined: 27 Oct 2017
Age: 27
Gender: Female
Posts: 29
Location: Iowa

16 Nov 2017, 2:56 pm

I have an appointment! I was able to get one for 11/27, and the psych is respecting my phone anxiety and communicating via email. Anxiously waiting for answers of any kind.

Regardless of the outcome of the appointment, reading others' experiences here has been so helpful for me and I'm grateful to everyone who shares here. Since coming here, I've been able to be easier on myself for a lot of what has frustrated me for many, many years.