Asperger, or not... Would it be such a big deal?...

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Domisoldo
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12 Aug 2012, 8:37 pm

First, please forgive me if my english is not perfect : this is’nt my first language.

I’m in my late thirties, and last winter, I’ve stumbled upon the idea that I might be an undiagnosed asperger. I was reading a book written by one, who wished to me as I bought it «a good trip into another human continent». The thing is, reading that book, his «continent» didn’t look that strange to me. In fact, it was rather familiar. I have since taken a few tests and quizzes online, and they all label me as an asperger. How accurate are these tests? I don’t know what to make of it. I’m actually quite good at social interactions: I’m a stage artist, and a politician (yes!). But I must admit that it didn’t come that naturally to me. I had to work hard, and was thrown in the social pool almost violently, so I learned to swim. And I need my time alone. I love solitude. I can spend days, weeks... alone, and never get bored. And when I stay away too long, I find it stressfull to come back to people, and it takes me some time to adjust to that stress again.

So I don’t know if I’m an asperger, or if I’m just emotionnally and socially awkward. There would be plenty of reasons why I would be that way, apart from asperger syndrome. Let’s just say that my childhood wasn’t an easy one.

I wonder : should I investigate further, with professionnals, in order to get a real diagnosis (or not)? Would it change anything? Do we need a diagnosis for every personality type there is? Isn’t asperger just another shade of what it means to be human?

I have always found it difficult to connect with other human beings, and felt very anxious about it when I was younger. I since have found some comfort in the thought that I share this problem with several billion others...

Sorry for that «less than clear» interruption. I’m just thinking aloud...



Gomenasai
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12 Aug 2012, 8:41 pm

Legitimacy of random tests are questionable, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to get official testing.
In the mean time, I'm sure you'll fit in here.



Samian
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13 Aug 2012, 12:22 am

It sounds like you function fairly well but still wondering about a diagnosis?

I can relate to that. I've discussed my concerns about AS with my psychlogist and she agrees that AS explains my experiences in life and growing up very well. We started off talking about social phobia - then I brought up that I'd seen a film about a guy with AS that was like the story of my life. She didn't see it in me at first - she was expecting the lower functioning symptoms but in the end she agrees it fits. I don't have a living relative who can really describe what I was like as a child - something that I understand is possibly required for a formal diagnosis.

I would only persue an official diagnosis if I needed one for medical benefits which I don't. It could work against you in some countries depending on the medical insurance schemes etc.

I can also relate to thinking that my upbringing could have contributed to some of my issues. I would speculate that If I had a different family I might have had fewer troubles or at least more comfort with the same troubles.

where you go from here is up to you. For me just knowing that AS is what I'm dealing with makes enough sense of things - I know what I need to work on. Reading about peoples experiences on this site is a big help. I've worked on my anxiety and social skills - both have been a big help.



Domisoldo
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13 Aug 2012, 4:51 pm

Thanks for your answers and welcoming words.

I'm very puzzled. Such a diagnosis would explain a lot of things. And it would make sense of the fact that, as a kid, I could never do well in a group. I do better now, but it's still a challenge. I even got kicked out of the scout movement at age 10, because they said I wasn't sociable enough! I admit I have trouble with conventions when they seem arbitrary, but otherwise, I was a very quiet girl, respectful of others, so it didn't really make sense. Also, my brother had some diagnosis in the autism spectrum as a kid, I don't know exactly what because I'm younger than him and it's a big taboo in my family. But it's seems to me that he is a high functioning autistic, or maybe an asperger... If heredity has a role, again, it would make sense that I'd be somewhere in the spectrum too. As a kid, I was very lonely, and didn't make friends easily. But again, I always thought it could be explained by other factors : being different is never popular. I was, I think, an over-gifted child. School was extremely easy. I could read before I even started it, and reading I did : 3 to 5 novels a week since age 8. Before that, I had read all I could in the children section at the local library. That doesn't leave much time for socializing. Also, we were moving a lot, and I switched school many times. Not good for socializing, again. And life at home was extremely unpleasant, which would explain why I would hide away in in my books. That and other things would set me apart.

The tests I took online seem to be serious ones. They're the same that are suggested on this page. And the results are crystal clear.

So I'm puzzled. I was even upset yesterday when I first wrote about it. I find it discouraging, to think that maybe I'll always be somewhat uncomfortable in society, or always having trouble to be accepted as I am. I've renounced ages ago the idea of trying to pass as a regular girl. I'm the way I am and trying my best to do my part in the human adventure. Take it or leave it, and if some people can't live with it, I want to know it right away, so I don't try to disguise who I am. Being an artist helps. People will tolerate a certain amount of eccentricity in an artist. Living in a big city, a metropolis in fact, also helps.

So, I really don't know if I fit (fit!) with the diagnosis. Maybe I'll see a professional to have a clearer idea. But I probably won't tell anyone... I don't want to be catalogued... And since, as I said in my first post, I actually do almost well in social situations, it would seem doubtful...



vanhalenkurtz
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14 Aug 2012, 3:25 am

If you think you are, you probably are.


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Rascal77s
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14 Aug 2012, 3:29 am

vanhalenkurtz wrote:
If you think you are, you probably are.


Hey! You stole my quote that I stole from Tony Attwood!



outofplace
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14 Aug 2012, 4:51 am

The self-assessments are meant to be a guide, not an absolute diagnosis. That said, I think they are around 80-85% accurate, if memory serves. I'd also say that if it does not impair your life to the point of needing assistance, there is little reason to get a formal diagnosis beyond your own peace of mind. In the meantime, we don't turn anyone away from here that is honestly seeking answers without being rude or disrespectful to the other people who post. So, my advice is to stick around, join in the conversation and see if the experiences of the people here rhyme with your own. If so, then you just might be an aspie! (Aspie is a slang term for a person with asperger's syndrome.)


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Davinel
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14 Aug 2012, 5:51 am

I dont think it make that much of a difference.. In childhood - yes, but when you are adult.. Asperger is just a label. Diagnosis didn't change anything, you will be yourself with or without it, and regardless of the result.

But i think professional diagnosis is a good thing. I would do it just out of curiosity, if I had such opportunity.



Nikkt
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14 Aug 2012, 6:35 am

Domisoldo wrote:
Maybe I'll see a professional to have a clearer idea. But I probably won't tell anyone... I don't want to be catalogued... And since, as I said in my first post, I actually do almost well in social situations, it would seem doubtful...

I wouldn't put much stock in the reason for your doubting. Aspie actors can, in general, be brilliant at social interaction, because it's essentially...acting.

Hyperlexia is also very common amongst aspies, and girls tend to be picked up later in life as they rarely display disruptive behaviour. I highly suggest reading Aspergirls, by Rudy Simone. You can also look her up on YouTube - it was her presentations and books that most resonated with me.

I self diagnosed four years before receiving an official diagnosis. I had done all the online tests, read as much as I could, but even when I was getting the assessment done I still doubted if I truly qualified. I was incredibly surprised, then, when I was told there was absolutely no doubt that I have AS and that I'm incredibly typical for my gender. And just to give you an idea of my situation - I was reading and writing well before school, was quiet and respectful, labelled 'gifted', can (now) get on reasonably well socially yet crave large chunks of alone time, am studying for my third degree and am also a screen actor. So if that’s typical, there’s every chance you’re an aspie too.

I didn’t feel the need to be diagnosed for years. I was, as you said, just happy to know that others were out there like me and that I wasn’t alone. It was when my University studies became too much and I began to really berate myself at my utter inability to understand relationships that I felt something needed to be done about it. Even then, the diagnosis came as a shock, and I went through a big identity crisis, including, like you, being upset at realising I’ll never truly fit into the world and that relationships will always be difficult. But it seems that you also like diving headlong into life, and I’ve found that after coming to terms with it I’ve become even more ambitious and proactive. Understanding my brain more has given me the tools to work with it effectively.

My emotions still run away with me sometimes, and the world can also become a bit too much. I still have to cognitively work through social encounters and I still need a heck of a lot of alone time. But for me, a diagnosis meant that I could stop hating myself for it all, and once I’d accepted it as a part of me, it all became a lot easier to deal with.

I guess everyone has their own reason for seeking a diagnosis, so whether you should or not will be up to you. I do suggest investigating further on a personal level – read books and blogs, watch movies and YouTube clips, go to conferences and chat with us :). This helped me a lot, both before the diagnosis and most especially afterwards.

Regardless of what you decide to do, welcome aboard!


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Domisoldo
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14 Aug 2012, 5:09 pm

Thank you for the tip about the book. I will certainly read it. As for a formal diagnosis, I'm considering it... Because I'd like to know for sure. I tend to think a lot about how and why I feel or react like this or like that. It's important for me to understand how I'm wired... Also, it would really explain a lot of things, that are otherwise hard to explain. Just considering myself, hum! I don't know how to traduce it... inept? without other explanation, is somehow not very satisfying. :roll:



antifeministfrills
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14 Aug 2012, 6:35 pm

You sound like an introvert. :) Try reading Quiet by Susan Cain.



Domisoldo
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14 Aug 2012, 7:09 pm

Introvert... I don't think so... Expressing myself is kind of part of my job-description. And I've never been shy... Just not always interested in socializing. But when I'm comfortable to do so, I think I'm rather outgoing... I even tend to speak too much and I have to restrain myself on that aspect.



antifeministfrills
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14 Aug 2012, 7:22 pm

'An introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people. When introverts want to be alone, it is not, by itself, a sign of depression. It means that they either need to regain their energy from being around people or that they simply want the time to be with their own thoughts. Being with people, even people they like and are comfortable with, can prevent them from their desire to be quietly introspective. eing introspective, though, does not mean that an introvert never has conversations. However, those conversations are generally about ideas and concepts, not about what they consider the trivial matters of social small talk. Introverts make up about 60% of the gifted population but only about 25-40% of the general population.' Introverts aren't necessarily shy/quiet, despite the title of the book.



Domisoldo
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14 Aug 2012, 7:28 pm

Ah! Then maybe...



antifeministfrills
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14 Aug 2012, 7:41 pm

http://ebookee.org/Quiet-The-Power-of-I ... 49416.html <-- By recommending it to you I'm not saying you're not an Aspie (I don't know), but I am saying that it's an interesting book that may help you to understand yourself better.



Domisoldo
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15 Aug 2012, 12:56 pm

Still going through information about the subject... I happened to be on vacations, having a lot of time to spend on whatever I want... And obsessively looking and ingesting all the information I can get on a subject that arises my interest happens to be one of my traits. An asperger trait?

I'm upset... But I suppose that will pass. It's amazing how much I can relate to the things I read. The way I best (only?) learn by myself. Like not having to go trough the b + a = ba process : I simply realized suddenly I could read the phrases that were under my eye, I remember that moment. Also I didn't formally learned english. I usually say I learned it by osmosis, watching tv... How I start singing softly to myself whenever I'm stressed or upset (but then, I'm a singer). The horrible migraines I've always had, especially anytime there was a change in routine when I was a child. How, however, I'm extremely tolerant to pain, but can't stand having a collar touching my neck. How I used to collect 4-leaves clover when I was a child, easily spotting them - isn't the irregularity in the pattern really obvious? How I'm never sure, when I get to a place or leave one, if I'm supposed to say hi or goodbye to the people that are there (this sounds stupid, I know it is... but I really don't know the answer)... The way I'm, I always said, PATHOLOGICALLY honest. Unable to lie, even when it's obviously the right thing to do. Like when your new boyfriend asks you If you think he's good looking, and all you can answer is that you really don't care about these things and have no opinion (which is true!). Hum! A couple of budding relationships ended right there.

Hum!... Still processing...