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gurug
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02 Nov 2013, 4:50 pm

I am 58. I have discovered recently that I has Asperger's. I am weighing the pros and cons of announcing that I have Asperger's. I don't have any data. I invite any of you to share your insights, observations and experiences in regards to this matter.



Nan
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02 Nov 2013, 5:02 pm

gurug wrote:
I am 58. I have discovered recently that I has Asperger's. I am weighing the pros and cons of announcing that I have Asperger's. I don't have any data. I invite any of you to share your insights, observations and experiences in regards to this matter.


I'm roughly the same age, was formally diagnosed last year "on paper" (I had a tentative diagnosis for years). The only reason I "announced" was at work when I requested accommodations, which my supervisor called "the company doing me a favor."

Otherwise, I see no reason to discuss with anyone in general. If there's a specific person and you have a specific need, why not? But otherwise, why do you feel you need to?



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02 Nov 2013, 5:52 pm

It depends on who you're disclosing it to and why. With immediate family, yes. Supervisors at work, yes. The cashier at the grocery store, no. Mass e-mails to everyone in your department at work, no. Most people don't really care about your diagnosis, but every now and then there's someone who does, and is eager to share your journey with you. Unfortunately, on the other hand again, we sometimes have a hard time figuring out who will be receptive and who won't.

But the way I look at disclosure is that it gives people a frame of reference for potentially understanding you. They might not, but you can give them the tools the need, and that's why I'm in favor of sharing that information with relevant others.



PowderHound
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02 Nov 2013, 6:11 pm

I would only tell people if you really think it will help your relationships with them. Most people wont't know what Asperger's is, or they will have misconceptions about it. Telling people might feel liberating, and it's not something you should have to hide, but in most cases I think keeping your diagnosis to yourself is best because of the many stigmas that go along with both Asperger's and just even having any psychological condition at all. Humans strive for homogeneity even though it's heterogeneity that made us.



IdleHands
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02 Nov 2013, 6:32 pm

Since this question is akin to an inquiry about a gay person coming out of the closet; I am going to recommend all ASD to take the same approach. Force people to accept us for what we are and make them understand why.



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02 Nov 2013, 6:46 pm

I wouldn't. Not unless it was of medical significance. I think if you can get away with it, its better to be thought of just as yourself and not take on the negative stigma of the label. There shouldn't be a stigma, but its there.



IdleHands
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02 Nov 2013, 7:34 pm

How do you propose we remove that stigma? By continuing to hide?
Many of us are born with gifts; gifts that go unwrapped due to the very stigmas placed on us by society.

Just my belief, but QUIT HIDING! I promise I am coming from a good place. I only want the best for all involved parties.

I think a lot of our "negatives" only appear when we are forced into the NT template. My mind does not think NT, I don't function NT. Compare me to most Aspies and I am NT amongst the ASD. Compare me to the NT and force me to function NT and I am an anomaly.

As far as I know we are only ASD because we are judged against NT norms. What if what we are was determined by our own people?



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02 Nov 2013, 7:55 pm

IdleHands wrote:
How do you propose we remove that stigma? By continuing to hide?
Many of us are born with gifts; gifts that go unwrapped due to the very stigmas placed on us by society.

Just my belief, but QUIT HIDING! I promise I am coming from a good place. I only want the best for all involved parties.

I think a lot of our "negatives" only appear when we are forced into the NT template. My mind does not think NT, I don't function NT. Compare me to most Aspies and I am NT amongst the ASD. Compare me to the NT and force me to function NT and I am an anomaly.

As far as I know we are only ASD because we are judged against NT norms. What if what we are was determined by our own people?


You make a valid point here, but the approach you recommend is very idealistic and comes at a cost that most people are not willing to pay. It also requires a great deal of unity and organization to work. I think that coming out of the closet is a great analogy, but the majority of gay people I've known don't go parading around with a big gay flag for two reasons: they shouldn't have to, and they don't want to put up with more discrimination than they already do. If someone is willing to do what you recommend, good for them, but I can't recommend they do it without knowing that people will judge and discriminate against them. I really think that pop culture is a better route for humanizing Aspies right now, and it is happening.



IdleHands
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02 Nov 2013, 8:04 pm

I think the way aspies are being portrayed by pop culture is too idealistic. I don't like the assumptions of aspergers being made every time someone decides to play shoot em up either. Only we can make the world better for us.

I actually had someone query "your not going to shoot up the place?" Upon finding out I am aspergers.



gurug
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02 Nov 2013, 8:14 pm

I had become very happy with who I am before learning that I am Aspie. It is that self-acceptance that I want to share. I believe that I have valuable insights that would be more meaningful to others. Still I don't believe most of this planet is ready for intelligent life and someone should point that out. It is here and in some ways innocent, and not treated very well.

I also think that more people are out there suffering greatly without a means of understanding why. I will come out, but I am taking advisement to understand the probable and also the real consequences. I couldn't lose many people's friendship with this and it might help someone else. My life history is cinders of relationships without explanation prior to this understanding. Everyone should know. I just need to understand how to best express it. Thank you everyone for your replies and I hope that the discussion continues here in this thread.



IdleHands
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02 Nov 2013, 10:57 pm

Harness the power of logic and reasoning to design a customized experience for each person in your life. I may suck at playing social, but when I want to figure someone out I usually end up understanding them better than they do themselves; I still don't care how their day is going or what they did over the weekend. If after having met me the person's life improves, in some aspect, I have done my part. I don't mean every person I encounter, but I often have "projects". I try to counsel in the real world; not on a couch, and I choose patients that don't know they are patients at all.

You want to tell people for the right reasons, which tells me the intellect is there, and some how I know that you will tell many people irregardless; you've made up your mind, the journey is fun. You will find others like you who had no idea. You will answer "why" for so many hurt undiagnosed auties and they will pay it forward because that is what our people do. Our true population will emerge and acceptance will happen with numbers.

An unspoken "connection" forms between you and those like you once you recognize each other for who you are. That feeling of not belonging disappears in many aspects when you realize that, although you are out numbered, you are not alone.

I believe that it is up to those of us that are well versed in living in the NT world to stand up for those of us that remained more reclusive and for those of us that cannot communicate.

Aspergers offers the unique gift of somewhat understanding both sides; maybe we can help mitigate a mutual understanding.

Just be careful, especially if this is fresh news to you: it can come off as a "special interest" to those you tell, particularly if they are very NT. You don't want people thinking you're telling them about "space" again lol.



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03 Nov 2013, 4:25 am

I don't see how becoming unemployed or being thrown out into the street by your family helps end the discrimination. If your condition is not causing a problem at work there is no need to bring it up. That is not a spectrum thing. I believe ones personal life should be as seperate as possible from one's work life.

You have to judge how people will react and that is hard for us. Unlike Idlehands I certainly don't know people better then they know themselves, quite the opposite look at my empathy score on the bottom and that is true of most on the spectrum. A lot of my problems have been caused by well meaning people who thought they know me better then I do. And that might get worse if they think I have some mental disorder. Best for disclosure is people you have known for years and who you will feel comfortable that they will be ok with it. You have to emphasize that the person they have known and liked has always been autistic.

A third option especially at work if there is a problem is disclosing symptoms. For example "I need a quieter area to get my work done" Shows you want to increase productivity. It helps in personal relationships or work that you have proven yourself before.

Not disclosing does not mean doing nothing. There is still things you can do such contribute money and time during your off time without getting into someones face about your personal issues.


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“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


gurug
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03 Nov 2013, 8:41 am

I told my older brother. He took the test, he is autistic. I believe that my sister, my (deceased) father, (deceased) grandfather, an uncle (nuclear physics) and at least one nephew are also Aspie. It is a strong family trait, heretofore undiagnosed. This information has already helped people and I view good as a quantitative value which is increased by each instance. So the only question is maximization and risk. Because of my willingness to take risk (maybe self destructively) I am now in considerations of strategy to maximize the return. I have suffered from a selective verbal blockage on expressing many things because I didn't know why. So I couldn't speak about my constant anxiety and depression because it might bother people close to me. Suddenly, with an explanatory framework, I am unlocking many mysteries of my own mind, and I am able to talk about it because I suddenly understand that I don't have to frame it in an emotional language and that I can just say the truth, because and only because, I now know why.



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03 Nov 2013, 10:03 am

The beauty of lacking innate social reaponses and interactions is having to weigh every possible outcome. I troubleshoot my way through life. Study people; make them a special interest.

As far as becoming unemployed or thrown out: this is irrational fear and assuming the worst. We all do this mostly because of the way our minds work and a history of being mistreated combined with bad luck. We tend to make things much "bigger" in our minds than they are in reality.

Throw the crutch away. Learn to thrive in your discomfort zone. Our minds can do many things better than NT without any extra energy (math, science, whatever), but we get frustrated when things are difficult. Force yourself to improve where you need to. I understand that many of us will never be fully independent, but many of us are very independent and it seems those of us who never had a diagnosis early in life never had a crutch.

I am not speaking to all ASD; I am speaking to those that can receive what I am saying in hopes they will advocate for those who cannot. I wonder if my kids will ever be fully independent, but I will put exhaustive energy into trying to ensure they are.

I kicked myself out. I was 24 and tired of being in my room on the computer most of my life. I knew how to push my parents buttons so I made the situation uncomfortable enough that I had to seek another way. (This was before I knew what I am.)

Since then I have gotten married, I have 2 kids. I have had good times and bad. I have made a lot of money and I have been flat broke several times. I have to change jobs every couple years because the aspie me starts to show and I get shunned. This is the life we were served; make it better for yourself and do your best to make it better for those like you.

I had no choice but to survive; aspergers did not exist when I was young; I was just a bad kid with no friends that did not get expelled solely because I made straight A's. A couple of times ADHD was mentioned to my parents-they would have none of that. In my twenties with all the panic attacks they said GAD then bipolar. Mountains of xanax (prescribed) later I said to hell with doctors and sobered up. My kids are both diag'd ASD (aspergers)-this started the journey to why, which in turn lead to me being diagnosed.



Sathor
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03 Nov 2013, 10:45 am

IdleHands wrote:
I think the way aspies are being portrayed by pop culture is too idealistic. I don't like the assumptions of aspergers being made every time someone decides to play shoot em up either. Only we can make the world better for us.

I actually had someone query "your not going to shoot up the place?" Upon finding out I am aspergers.


I can't imagine the noise that would make. I've shot a few guns, been around a few others being shot, but to be that close would drive me insane. (Or more likely to find a way to get away from the sound.)

I know (knew?) a guy who was obseesed with guns. I don't think he has ever had his hands on a gun, and that is probably a great thing.



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03 Nov 2013, 12:29 pm

It was almost a year ago, when I first discovered Aspergers (I was diagnosed in May, 2013).

I never officially "self-diagnosed". I simply suspected. I shared my suspicions with my sister and brother. My goal was to confirm whether I exhibited the behavioral symptoms, when I was younger (as I had a lot of unhappy and/or negative memories from my childhood, some of which I suppose I repressed).

My sister, who had never heard of Aspergers, said it was uncanny how closely the behavioral symptoms described me (and my dad). My brother, who had heard of Aspergers before, basically said he knew a colleague with Aspergers and the colleague's behavioral symptoms were much more severe than mine. I told my brother that I was thinking about getting a formal diagnosis and he basically said, “You are almost 50. Does it really matter? You need to get over this and move on.”

Anyhow, I became obsessed with the whole thing, spent hours upon hours upon hours learning more about Aspergers and Personality Disorders and decided to proceed with a formal diagnosis.

After I was diagnosed, I shared the results with a selected number of people. The reaction wasn’t what I expected (it was like, “OK, now let’s talk about something else”). So, I decided to not share it with anyone else.