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kerryt84
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11 Apr 2007, 5:56 am

Hey, I know this isn't some kind of diagnosis website, but I've always known I haven't been 'normal' and read about asperger's and it sounded quite familiar. I'm too worried to go to the doctors though in case he laughs (obviously he wouldn't, but I still worry about that) and tells me not to be such a hyporchondriac. So, basically, I just wanted to ask you guys what you thought and if you think you might be over 50% sure then I might go as a formal diagnosis would really help me have an easier life. Also do you have any advice on how best to get a diagnosis? Here is a list of the things I do that make me think I have asperger's, sorry it's so long and I value anything you have to say - good or bad.

From Kerry (I am 22 now)

Social communication
 I have always found it very hard to make and keep friends, even since a child. I find that I do not have much in common with my peers and find it quite stressful to organise meetings with friends. When I was a teenager the few friends I did have I alienated because whenever they tried to meet with me I would agree and then get so anxious I would cancel. I find it a lot easier to interact with children, and feel very comfortable around them. When I was in my late teens I frequently spent time with children many years younger than me rather than beings with peers my own age. Now I do not have many friends and those I do have I am slowly losing contact with because I still find it stressful arranging to meet with them.

 I am sure being bullied has something to do with how I interact with other people and make friends. I was bullied in primary school on several occasions and throughout secondary school. Even in sixth form and at university I felt bullied on many occasions, usually because I was seen as different or weird.

 When I get particularly nervous in social situations I find that I can stammer on certain words, and even when I am relaxed I very often can’t think of words I want to use.

 I get very nervous when making phone calls, and generally write down a list of what I want to say and rehearse it a few times before I actually make the call.


Social understanding
 I find small talk very difficult and often feel anxious when having to partake in it. I find I don’t know what to say or how to respond to the other person and come away feeling like a fool.

 In some situations I find it very hard to empathise with people, even if it is something I would expect empathy for. For example, minor illnesses or injuries and when someone has had a bad day or is upset about a personal matter.


Imagination
 Inability to think in abstract ways – my boyfriend often asks me to imagine something and because I can’t as it is too abstract he gets very annoyed. For example, he asked me ‘how much money would someone have to give you for you to cut off your little finger’ but I just can’t imagine someone asking that and it really confuses me deeply trying to think about it.

 Adherence to routines and schedules – I have always been someone who makes up a lot of schedules and timetables, I love structure and following a plan. I have strict routines in the mornings before work. I don’t mind too much if I am given plenty of advance warning that my routine will change, but I get very anxious and stressed if it is changed without much warning. When going on holidays I like to plan itineraries and stick to them, if I don’t I feel very anxious again.

 I find I have difficulties with my short term memory and often forget things that someone has only just told me. I have to write things down or I forget them.


Secondary traits
 Problems with depression and anxiety – especially in my teenage years I went through long periods of depression and as a result was taking anti-depressants and seeing psychologists for several years. I have always suffered from anxiety, particularly when my routine is broken or in certain social situations. I used to refuse to go into school when I was about 8 because I was so worried something bad would happen to my mum.

 I have always been a fairly obsessive person, but was only diagnosed with OCD when I was about 19. It was particularly bad as a child with rituals taking up many hours of my day. I have it under control now, but in certain situations and at certain times it worsens. I have an obsession with death which I still haven’t dealt with properly and regularly picture myself and others dying and fear death.

 I have heightened senses. Touch-I have been diagnosed with aquagenic pruritus, which is a sensitivity to water (which I have on the palms of my hands and soles of my feet). Taste/smell-I cannot eat anything that is even remotely spicy and have a very limited palette, I am often described as a fussy eater, but get very annoyed and frustrated with myself as I try to broaden the range of foods I eat, but don’t seem to be able to. Hearing-I have very sensitive hearing and this often causes arguments with my boyfriend when he wants to read at bedtime as the turning of the pages really bothers me, I also don’t like listening to people eat. Sight-I have 20/20 vision, but find that a lot of lights are very bright, especially when driving. My eyes water a lot, especially when I am talking and I get hayfever in the spring and summer.



giaam
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11 Apr 2007, 6:10 am

Sounds like me in fact. The Dr won't laugh. Try the link on this site (WP) under 'New Experimental Aspie quiz version' in the general autism discussion. And see the National Autistic Society web page. for how to get a DX.


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Last edited by giaam on 11 Apr 2007, 6:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

SteveK
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11 Apr 2007, 6:14 am

Doesn't sound like AS. Frankly, you sound kind of normal, even if shy. Of course, you MAY have left things out, etc...

Steve



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11 Apr 2007, 6:19 am

I cant say if you have AS or not - I don't have the courage to get formally diagnosed myself, so this really is a case of the blind leading the blind. That said though, you sound spookily like me. Then again, almost everyone on this site sounds eerily like everyone else, which is what makes it a great place to hang out. I think one of the worst things about having AS is struggling to make sense of the inner confusion one feels when comparing oneself to the "normal" world, and hearing other people, like yourself in this case, articulate what they feel really helps to bring some sense of order to it all.

As far as I'm concerned you're an aspie. Welcome to the club. Feel free to hang out in the "taxonomy/music production styles/guitar amp sound/programming technique" corner any time you want.



shukri
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11 Apr 2007, 6:20 am

SteveK wrote:
Doesn't sound like AS. Frankly, you sound kind of normal, even if shy. Of course, you MAY have left things out, etc...

Steve


Normal? How? Makes me wonder ... maybe I don't have AS after all. Maybe I'm just severely socially retarded, dyslexic, obsessive, geeky and hyper sensitive to certain stimuli. But then, what's the difference between that and AS, given that AS seems to be diagnosed as a suite of matching behavioral characteristics?



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11 Apr 2007, 7:19 am

Sounds a lot like AS to me too. In fact, you seem to have very similar symptoms and experiences to me. I too only got 'help' for my symptoms when I was in my late teens and it wasn't until age 24 that it was realised that I had AS.

As for diagnosis - that is up to you. If you feel that it would be helpful to you, or at least make things make sense, then it is certainly worth seeing your doctor - and you should print out what you wrote and take it to your appointment because that is a pretty good overview of your reasons for feeling that you may have AS.



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11 Apr 2007, 7:27 am

I think you'd be classified with mild AS, though this does tend to overlap with other conditions (social phobia, bi-polar depression etc.), and indeed the fringes of NT 'normality'. I inhabit much the same area and, like you, I've never really been sure. AS is the generic term for people displaying certain colours from a palette of related characteristics. Some of those colours obviously go together, while others clash. Some are also bolder and brighter and more easily noticed than others. It's not a definitive a+b=c diagnosis like, say, going to the Doctor's with measles.

Two of the more recognisable traits are 'stimming' (repeated actions such as rubbing one's hands, tapping feet, chewing pens etc.), and avoiding eye contact when in conversation. Do you do either of these things? Neither is compulsory (! !) but they do seem to be relatively common clues.

Whether you'd get a formal diagnosis could depend on something as simple as which Doctor you see. Also whether you really want to bother. Personally I'm happy here on WP where I have things in common with a lot of people, unlike the real world where I don't seem to fit in.


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11 Apr 2007, 7:36 am

shukri wrote:
SteveK wrote:
Doesn't sound like AS. Frankly, you sound kind of normal, even if shy. Of course, you MAY have left things out, etc...

Steve


Normal? How? Makes me wonder ... maybe I don't have AS after all. Maybe I'm just severely socially retarded, dyslexic, obsessive, geeky and hyper sensitive to certain stimuli. But then, what's the difference between that and AS, given that AS seems to be diagnosed as a suite of matching behavioral characteristics?


Even YOU said enough there that I may wonder about you. Kerry went at such length, and left some things out. I DID say she might have left things out. dyslexia isn't a requirement or even really a symptom though. :D

BTW to the degree she said what she said, it fits me also, except for a couple things, some hit the other extreem(like spicy food), etc.... As for my memory, it used to be better, and is getting better now. That isn't an AS symptom though. I didn't say that she didn't have AS. I said at the end "of course you may have left things out". I was just saying that like obsessions? Obsessed about WHAT? AS talks about interests. Sensitivity? Is it simply things like being more sensitive to light? With me I am more sensitive to changes and to certain frequencies, etc....

Steve



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11 Apr 2007, 8:26 am

Kerry,it does sound like you have traits that are more inclined towards AS than 'normal'
(whatever that may be).I haven't bothered with a formal diagnosis myself but that's
mainly due to my age,47,which makes it impractical for a doctor to confirm childhood
events.I was content just to self-diagnose after reading as much as possible not only about
AS but also other conditions like schizoid personality and comparing all the traits.
You can learn a lot here at WP as well.
Apart from the other traits mentioned by Sociable_Hermit,something else to consider is
that AS often includes 'interests' rather than obsessions,the difference being that you would normally enjoy the interests and find them an escape from the feelings of anxiety.That's not
to say you couldn't have AS and OCD at the same time ! There are so many variations
and possible overlaps,but I think everyone learns to cope better through experience,
regardless of whether they have a formal diagnosis or not.


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shukri
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11 Apr 2007, 10:04 am

SteveK wrote:
shukri wrote:
SteveK wrote:
Doesn't sound like AS. Frankly, you sound kind of normal, even if shy. Of course, you MAY have left things out, etc...

Steve


Normal? How? Makes me wonder ... maybe I don't have AS after all. Maybe I'm just severely socially retarded, dyslexic, obsessive, geeky and hyper sensitive to certain stimuli. But then, what's the difference between that and AS, given that AS seems to be diagnosed as a suite of matching behavioral characteristics?


Even YOU said enough there that I may wonder about you. Kerry went at such length, and left some things out. I DID say she might have left things out. dyslexia isn't a requirement or even really a symptom though. :D

BTW to the degree she said what she said, it fits me also, except for a couple things, some hit the other extreem(like spicy food), etc.... As for my memory, it used to be better, and is getting better now. That isn't an AS symptom though. I didn't say that she didn't have AS. I said at the end "of course you may have left things out". I was just saying that like obsessions? Obsessed about WHAT? AS talks about interests. Sensitivity? Is it simply things like being more sensitive to light? With me I am more sensitive to changes and to certain frequencies, etc....

Steve


Yeah, granted, she could have left things out. Then again, I think it's extremely difficult to give a proper and full description of oneself in a single post. I've often tried writing down exactly what it is that makes me feel like an aspie, and I find it comes out like such a garbled explosion of consciousness that I prefer to rather just read what other people have to say and go "yeah, what she said". Other people never say everything I'm thinking, but they manage to connect a lot of the right dots.

Two things to add..

First, I don't think we should get caught up in very specific details of symptoms, but rather general trends. Take something like sensory sensitivity for example - that can manifest in many different ways. The important thing is that you can recognize the broader pattern, and if you want to get more detailed, combinations and overlaps of patterns. I think that says a lot more.

Second, being diagnosed with any disease or disorder is in itself meaningless. It's what you do with that diagnosis that counts. I've felt far more confident and in control of my life since I came to believe I have AS. I've stopped pretending I can be social ... and the energy I've saved by doing that I've diverted into the things I know I'm good at. So even though I have a dodgy self-diagnosis, it's still doing something positive for me ... I no longer feel like I'm constantly swimming against a current.



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11 Apr 2007, 10:30 am

I think once you are an adult, an Asperger's diagnosis is a little difficult unless your parents can remember specific things about your traits as a child.

I know that lots of people struggle with interaction with others...what looks easy is often a practised skill, but I think with AS it's more to do with an ongoing internal feeling that has never left you. My parents were so concerned about my lack of interaction with other kids they used to park outside the playground every lunchtime...it still breaks my Dad's heart that I didn't play with anyone...but doesn't bother me!



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11 Apr 2007, 10:43 am

kerryt84 wrote:
Hey, I know this isn't some kind of diagnosis website, but I've always known I haven't been 'normal' and read about asperger's and it sounded quite familiar. I'm too worried to go to the doctors though in case he laughs (obviously he wouldn't, but I still worry about that) and tells me not to be such a hyporchondriac. So, basically, I just wanted to ask you guys what you thought and if you think you might be over 50% sure then I might go as a formal diagnosis would really help me have an easier life. Also do you have any advice on how best to get a diagnosis? Here is a list of the things I do that make me think I have asperger's, sorry it's so long and I value anything you have to say - good or bad.


Based on what you wrote, it appears to me there's a very strong possibility that you're an Aspie. You can best seek a formal diagnosis from a clinical psychologist who has a special interest in Aspergers and autism-related issues. Such a person would be likely to have experience with AS diagnoses, and know how to talk with you in a pleasant manner. It can definitely make your life easier to do this. A formal diagnosis would help you as well as others to understand you better, and get a better idea of what is good for you. (What's good for NT's (neurotypicals, non-autistics) is very often different from what's good for us.)



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11 Apr 2007, 12:03 pm

shukri wrote:
Yeah, granted, she could have left things out. Then again, I think it's extremely difficult to give a proper and full description of oneself in a single post. I've often tried writing down exactly what it is that makes me feel like an aspie, and I find it comes out like such a garbled explosion of consciousness that I prefer to rather just read what other people have to say and go "yeah, what she said". Other people never say everything I'm thinking, but they manage to connect a lot of the right dots.


Same here! Frankly, I think if I ever do go for a diagnosis, I will take a list with like 3 examples of every DSM I fit, and common traits I see that NTs don't have. It is TOO easy to mess up. The incorrect word, or a missing symptom could give an AS person an HFA diagnosis, NOS, or nothing at all. I would be happy if it WAS a neurological test.

ALSO, I don't know how much longer my mother will be lucid and/or around. When she is gone, I may not have a living person I know to back up earlier claims. If I got a diagnosis, I would like it to be within the OLD guidelines. Ironically, the new guidelines are too easy to meet.

shukri wrote:
Two things to add..

First, I don't think we should get caught up in very specific details of symptoms, but rather general trends. Take something like sensory sensitivity for example - that can manifest in many different ways. The important thing is that you can recognize the broader pattern, and if you want to get more detailed, combinations and overlaps of patterns. I think that says a lot more.


You are right, but a LOT of things can explain levels like those kerry spoke of.

shukri wrote:
Second, being diagnosed with any disease or disorder is in itself meaningless. It's what you do with that diagnosis that counts. I've felt far more confident and in control of my life since I came to believe I have AS. I've stopped pretending I can be social ... and the energy I've saved by doing that I've diverted into the things I know I'm good at. So even though I have a dodgy self-diagnosis, it's still doing something positive for me ... I no longer feel like I'm constantly swimming against a current.


OH MAN are you right there! The last major mistake I made was like 4 years ago. I don't know WHY I even THOUGHT things would change. They haven't in 30 years, so why would they in the next 30? That is one reason I am GLAD about hearing about AS!! !! ! I've made 3 changes. One seems to have cured my depression, one will make me more comfortable, and the other better financially. Oh well, NTs often have a lot of problems I will never have a chance to have. I guess I can look at THAT bright side!

Steve



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11 Apr 2007, 12:32 pm

SteveK wrote:
If I got a diagnosis, I would like it to be within the OLD guidelines. Ironically, the new guidelines are too easy to meet. Steve


Which new guidelines?

I think Asperger's Syndrome must be so difficult to diagnose often, even for a doctor. It overlaps with so many other conditions. And with some traits I feel like nobody really knows when exactly they become actually abnormal, such as heightened sensitivity or having "special" interests. Especially if a child is highly gifted I think it can be expected that it will have have intense interests very different from its peers and still not automatically be AS.
It may be easy to recognize even for the "layman" in the really classical textbook cases, but as soon as it may be just a milder form or if you are in some gray area between non-Asperger and Asperger (which I'm sure exists) then I find one is in constant doubt. Even more difficult if you are a girl because then (at least I've read that) symptoms may present differently and more subtly. Personally I think I'd only believe a diagnosis if it came from Tony Attwood himself :D


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11 Apr 2007, 2:04 pm

I don't know if I do anything that would be described at stimming, I thought everyone chews pens and taps their feet and stuff like that, I do chew my lips a lot though. I am very aware of trying to make eye contact because I know it is polite to do so, but it makes me feel uncomfortable and I would rather not.

The obsessions I experience with the OCD are obviously not things I enjoy doing but I also get obsessed with things that I do enjoy - I love my work and am always working, I find it very difficult to stop. People always express worry about how much I work, but why stop doing something you enjoy?

I don't know if I have AS but I know I relate to a lot of the things that are common with AS and yes, I think what I experience does overlap with other things, life is never that simple to put everything in one box. I don't know if I will try and get diagnosed, I need to research it more and chatting to you guys will help. I have been looking for so many years to find something that might be able to explain why I stuggle with certain aspects of life and why I have never seemed to fit in and if I can at last be able to make some sense of it, it will be such a relief.

I spoke to my boyfriend and he says that if I try hard enough I can overcome many of the difficulties I face, do you really think it is that easy as I have been trying for many years and many things have not got any better?

Just as another general question, but has everyone told their employers about them having AS or do you think it is better to keep it to yourself?

Thanks again for all your comments.



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11 Apr 2007, 5:21 pm

kerryt84 wrote:
I don't know if I do anything that would be described at stimming, I thought everyone chews pens and taps their feet and stuff like that, I do chew my lips a lot though. I am very aware of trying to make eye contact because I know it is polite to do so, but it makes me feel uncomfortable and I would rather not.

The obsessions I experience with the OCD are obviously not things I enjoy doing but I also get obsessed with things that I do enjoy - I love my work and am always working, I find it very difficult to stop. People always express worry about how much I work, but why stop doing something you enjoy?

I don't know if I have AS but I know I relate to a lot of the things that are common with AS and yes, I think what I experience does overlap with other things, life is never that simple to put everything in one box. I don't know if I will try and get diagnosed, I need to research it more and chatting to you guys will help. I have been looking for so many years to find something that might be able to explain why I stuggle with certain aspects of life and why I have never seemed to fit in and if I can at last be able to make some sense of it, it will be such a relief.

I spoke to my boyfriend and he says that if I try hard enough I can overcome many of the difficulties I face, do you really think it is that easy as I have been trying for many years and many things have not got any better?

Just as another general question, but has everyone told their employers about them having AS or do you think it is better to keep it to yourself?

Thanks again for all your comments.


OK, YOU CONVINCED ME! It does sound like you have AS!

BTW DON'T tell your employer. It sounds like you are PROBABLY a good employee, and they should be HAPPY! Tell them, and the FIRST mistake will have them questioning your ability EVEN though you were BORN with this, and it can be VERY positive.

Steve