Did I Crack The Code? Seeking Opinions!

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GypsysOdyssey
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04 Oct 2007, 10:30 pm

Well...this is really long, so I might break it down into a couple of posts. I'm quite verbose, but I'm not sure where to start with this intro and general gathering of everyone's opinions on the matter I'm about to outline. So let's start with the basics. I'm a 25 year old female from America. I live with my parents and our menagrie of animals in Michigan. I work in internet small business, as a craft artist and currently trying to bridge the gap between ametaur and proffessional writer by actually getting paid for my works to be published for a change. That's the outside picture.

The inside picture is quite different. The stuff hit the fan when I was about four years old and started nursery school, and it just got worse until I was taken out of school in seventh grade and put into home schooling. At six they diaganosed me with ADHD, which seems to have been the popular answer to behaviour problems in the late 80's. When puberty started, the lack of social skills and disruptive behavior and a myriad of other problems were joined by a few motor and vocal tics. That quickly got me diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome at age 11. At 13, OCD, anxiety and Depression were added to the list.

It got worse, and slowly it started getting better. Well, some of the things. The tics are barely noticable now, at least not to someone who doesn't know what they are for me. But it seems like other things have gotten worse. Namely, my social skills and interaction with other people. Once I stopped riding horses at age 17, three years after being run off the tri-state Hunter/Jumper circut when I came forward about being molested by my coach, I kinda stepped out of the social race. I dated. I worked. Neither of these have went well. I do enjoy chatting online with people, it feels "safe" I guess this way. And other then very badly wanted to get married, I don't have much of a drive to be around other people. My last job ended within two weeks, after being ripped to shreds by my other female co-workers.

I've known that something wasn't "right" for several years now, when it seems like I'm not growing up emotionally, but being tossed into all these situations that I'm supposed to be able to handle. I have a way of agitating people when I talk to them, and even my parents have a habit of yelling at me that I'm bothering them. But the thing is....I never understand what I said wrong. While I can be fairly witchy during PMS, generally when I approach people it's with good intentions. When someone seems like there's something wrong, I work like hell to find out what it is and usually get rewarded with being yelled at. Obviously friendships have suffered, even online ones! I've burnt enough bridges to cross the Nile, though as part of trying to "get it together" I'm trying to undo some of the damage I've done over the years.

So where does the whole Aspergers thing come into the story? Well, one of my OCD-ish interests is fandoms...the following of a TV show, movie, literatary work, comic book, anime, etc. And one thing I enjoy greatly (and also have used over the years to help train my writing abilities) is RPGs. My favorite current TV show (other then ER, which I don't count as current since it's in season 14, but I digress) is Boston Legal. Which happens to have an Aspie character on it, whom someone in my RPG group was going to play. So I looked up Aspergers on wikipedia and well, the sirens went off.

So there's the back story.....more next post



GypsysOdyssey
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04 Oct 2007, 10:30 pm

Post two

Okay...so I've been doing some reading on AS and have found that I meet the criteria. In one test floating around the 'net (the disagree/agree thingy) I scored 43 out of 50. Over 32 is considered in the range for AS. So then I sought out the human angle. I know a few people in a doll collecting forum I'm on that are Aspies, but frankly I haven't had the guts to say anything to them. Another read through of the wikipedia article and I ended up here!

Trying to keep my mind off a loved one who is seriously ill, I spent most of this afternoon reading posts and articles on this sight. More and more, I found myself feeling like there are people out there who DO go through life like I do. Even the more odd habits of mine, other people seem to share them! It's an amazing feeling, and a feeling like maybe I can unlock the secret of my adult-life problems and can get it together better then I have it now. Or at the very least enough to live up to my potential and get married. Social involvement still isn't too high on my list.

I do exhibit a mindblindness in public, which most people interpet as me not caring what people think of me. And I don't anymore, considering the diasters I've had in work, love and friendships! But I seem to say and do things probably best not in public. And at home, well, I have a way of embarrasing my parents, whom I live with, with some of the things I say and my actions.

I don't know if you can quite say I have narrow interests, but it probably boils down to three categories: fandoms, collecting, and animals. In fact, I generally prefer animals over people. Seriously. I didn't cry when my grandmother died. I didn't cry when my aunt died. (her funeral is Saturday), but I've been crying all day over my sick puppy. And I still cry about two of my beloved dogs who were euthanized...5 and 3 years ago. But anyways, I am obsessive with my interests, though I'm trying hard not to be, and they often occupy my mind. Thankfully I'm drifting out of the religious obsession I had most of my late teens and early twenties! That was very conflicting, though if it's Aspergers type behavior it may explain the intensity. Intensity to a point where I drove plenty of people around me crazy!

As a child, they didn't call me a "little proffessor", but they did call me a "walking encylopedia". I once embarrased a teacher when he tried to challenge my photographic memory. (Don't have that as much now, but then again I landed on my head several times since then during my riding years) I was very obsessive as a child, picking one topic and studying it feverishly. Usually they seemed to last about a year or two. I still do that....but with less intensity then in childhood. But still enough to be filled with useless information.

One behavior that drives my parents up the wall about me is that I often neglect tasks. Not on purpose, but I just don't think of it. I can pass a sink full of dishes and never will it occur to me that I should put them in the dishwasher. And then when I'm yelled at for not doing it, I always get upset, wondering why someone didn't TELL ME to do it if they wanted it done! It's like that on alot of things. And I had to laugh when I read on a post here I'm not the only one who will wear the same pair of jeans several times before washing them. In my room I have dirty clothes in the hamper, clean clothes in the closet, and usually a pile of "between" clothing on a dresser or desk.

The biggest Aspergers problem I don't have is lack of imagination. In fact, I have too much sometimes. I tend to have biazarre thoughts and generally do not gain popularity by expressing them. I easily come up with stories, and alot of my thought process when I don't have to concentrate on something is working out stories in my mind before I write them. I'm also artistic with abstract painting, sewing, embroidery, etc.

So.....um.....does it sound like I should be having a talk to my doctor about this?

Wait for part three...questions!



GypsysOdyssey
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04 Oct 2007, 10:31 pm

Part Three...Final Part...a Few questions!

Okay, let me conclude my intro-inquiry with a few questions:

1. Given what I've written above...are we looking at Aspergers WITH Tourettes or Aspergers INSTEAD of Tourette's? The motor tics I have now are very minimal...biting my lips, a twitch in the corner of my mouth, and twisting my hands around. Sometimes I will bend my neck to one side or shift a shoulder. But I'm not entirely sure it's like, involuntary. It feels like I should do it, so I do and I know I am doing it. Other actions, like tapping a foot, my hands on my legs, or a pencil on the desk, I don't know if they count as tics or not. And while I can have a foul mouth on me when I get a hair crosswise, I don't have cophraligia.

2. Has anyone else on here been misdiagonsed or discoverd on their own they may be Aspies? How on earth do you broach this with family? Or the doctor? I'm kind of afraid to say anything to my parents about it.

3. Do you guys mind if I hang around here and try to figure this out by talking to you guys? Of course, I gotta talk to my doctor and stuff too, but it might be a good way to find out just how likely it is. Given what I've read today...it's pretty likely. Downright probable.

4. Are there any Aspies that seem outgoing when forced into social situations and then are like cows for the slaughter at the hands of people who will turn your naivity and confusion when dealing with people into a weapon against you? This would be the story of my life. I avoid social situations, then I go into one and jump in with both feet very eagerly and then I get knocked on my butt. :/

5. Is there anything other signs that would give me an answer whether this is Aspergers behavior or not? Sites I should look at? Tests I should take? Odd behaviors that are signals?

6. Do you ever experince moments where there is suddenly too much light, too much sound, too much movement? I had an attack like this a year ago that was quite severe and ended in a major meltdown. And then about a month ago it happened again, to where I was almost frozen and couldn't even stand to be touched. This behavior especially baffles my parents, though I've always had problems with becoming "over stimulated".

I guess that's enough questions for now...just trying to take it all in. Thanks for listening to my ramble. I'm going to go read somemore and I might post in return some more. Until you guys kick me out at least. Though I can say one thing, I am not an NT by any means....and maybe that's not as bad as it sometimes seems.



siuan
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04 Oct 2007, 10:45 pm

HOly sh*t.

I won't lie and say I read every word of that, verbose was an understatement :wink:

1. Foot tapping, pencil tapping, both actually normal "tics". As for what your diagnosis could be, you can speculate better than we can.

2. I think a lot of people have found Asperger's on their own. Just bring it up to the doctor. Are you seeing a therapist?

3. Hang out, join in! There are quite a few here just wondering and not sure.

4. Sounds familiar.

5. Take the Aspie Quiz here http://www.rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php

6. Frequently.

No one's going to kick you out.


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Prof_Pretorius
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04 Oct 2007, 11:00 pm

~ahem~

The terminally verbose hang out in the ASpie cafe, get ye there forthwith!! !


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MasonJar
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04 Oct 2007, 11:34 pm

1. They all sound like stims to me. I'd say AS instead of Tourette's (but then I'm not the doctor in the family). I have a complete potty mouth, and a few stims (picking my cuticles, bouncing my leg, chewing my lip) but I'm definitely not Tourette's.

2. I'm 41 and I'm discovering that I'm Aspie after discovering that my 6-year-old son is Aspie. "We're so much alike," I would often say.

3. Of all the places for an Aspie to hang out, I'm guessing that this is THE place.

4. I'm great in social situations where I can talk with people who share an interest, or who have a great (and pretty dark) sense of humor. Otherwise I suck at small talk and I generally can't wait to get the hell away from most social situations.

5. The article on Wikipedia is definitely a good one. That's what ding-donged all the bells for my son. There are some great books out there. One of my favorites is "Parenting a Child With Asperger Syndrome: 200 Tips and Strategies" by Brenda Boyd. Even if you're not a parent of an Aspie, some of the descriptions of her son's behavior are dead on. There's an Aspie quiz (don't know if you've seen this one or not) at http://www.rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php. I think it definitely asks the right questions.

6. Sensory issues are common with AS. My son gets way overstimulated when there's too much sound and too much motion around him. And he has major problems filtering out background sound, so he becomes majorly distracted. I tend to get driven crazy by a noise that's not rhythmic, like yelling or random banging. I'm sort of an auditory sensory seeker in that I almost always need music going. It's like I need to feel rhythm to feel "normal". That's probably why I love jazz so much.

All I can say is Hang In There. Ask all the questions you want. You'll find support in abundance here.



GypsysOdyssey
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04 Oct 2007, 11:53 pm

Thank you for your answers so far!

No, Siuan, I'm not seeing a therapist currently. I went through ten years of therapy that didn't do much good because I didn't want to open up. And then our former health insurance decided when I was 15 that I wasn't allowed to have mental health problems anymore. Now we have no insurance.

What, btw, is stimming?



MasonJar
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05 Oct 2007, 12:07 am

STIMMING, from Wikipedia:
Stimming is a jargon term for a particular form of stereotypy, a repetitive body movement (often done unconsciously) that self-stimulates one or more senses in a regulated manner. It is shorthand for self-stimulation, and a stereotypy is referred to as stimming under the hypothesis that it has a function related to sensory input. Stereotypy is one of the symptoms listed by the DSM IV for autism and is observed in about 10% of non-autistic young children. Many people with autism do not exhibit stereotypy. Common forms of stereotypy among people with autism include hand flapping, body spinning or rocking, lining up or spinning toys or other objects, echolalia, perseveration, and repeating rote phrases.

There are many theories about the function of stimming, and the reasons for its increased incidence in autistic people. For hyposensitive people, it may provide needed nervous system arousal, releasing beta-endorphins. For hypersensitive people, it may provide a "norming" effect, allowing the person to control a specific part of their sensorium, and is thus a soothing behavior.

Sometimes self-injury is viewed as a form of stimming. Usually, self-injury is very different from stimming, but people with decreased pain sensitivity may injure themselves because they like the feel of it, similar to other stims.[citation needed] For example, they might like the way their hand feels in the mouth when they bite themselves, while not feeling the pain of the bite. Or they might like pressure on their forehead and bang their head without it hurting, even if they are risking brain damage.


I also wonder if things like listening to the same song over and over is a stim, because I can do that.



GypsysOdyssey
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05 Oct 2007, 12:20 am

Thanks Mason. :)

It's definetly food for thought.



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05 Oct 2007, 3:11 am

Occupational therapy or rehabilitation is the way that I went. I got a DX for free. Your state will often pay for such things to reduce the unemployment rate.



Noa
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05 Oct 2007, 5:27 am

The more you hear other people talking about stimming, the more you will recognize in yourself.

Hmm, that sounds cynical -- I don't mean observer's bias here. You probably stim even more than you realize. But having become an adult without a dx, by now much of your stimming is probably perceived by you and those around you as just quirkiness or fidgeting, or no longer much noticed.

Many Asperger adults are introverts. Many have mixed preferences. Some are extraverts. AS will predispose you to being a stranger to most social rhythms, but it doesn't necessarily make you disinterested in being social.

You see a good portion of Asperger people online describing what sounds like moderate to severe hypersensitivity. Even so, sensory issues can also be mild or contingent on your level of anxiety.



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05 Oct 2007, 8:52 am

I think the imagination thing is often misinterpreted (largely because it is a poor choice of word). So far as I understand it refers more to an imaginative approximation capability rather than what we usually think of when we use/encounter the word imagination.

Do you ever notice that when you've just met someone (often even only for a very short time) on only one occasion, people tend to expect you to know whether or not you like them? This (I believe) is because they imagine they know people they've only just met (given the facts available they cannot possibly 'know' the person in order to correlate their 'people preferences' with the traits of the person concerned). The fact that people more often than not end up being right about these initial superficial first impressions, indicates that their imagining is something more reliable than mere fantasy. The success rate goes beyond mere chance.

Think of the kind of imagination that is being referred to as something like an estimating system that allows NT's to quickly feel as though a novel situation or even something as complex as a person, is very familiar to them. It's part of what allows them to be so socially adept and to believe that they can know what is expected of them in novel situations. Where as we tend to create models of others out of the concrete 'materials' (information) available there and then, NT's seem to be able to jimmy together rich imaginings that are not only fairly accurate in allowing them to quickly build rather particular 'theories of mind', but to do so very quickly and even for a great number of people over a very short time. Think about a party where the typical person may meet, and form very certain opinions and rich imaginings (they think they 'know' in some fashion the people they have formed opinions about), about a huge number of people in a very short time. They do this all without even trying - they could probably not stop if they did try. This is why they can usually easily and quickly predict how their behaviour will effect others - even virtual or in fact complete strangers. They are not creating a model (or theory of mind if you prefer) out of the raw materials available to them in the form of the person, they simply do not have enough materials to create with - instead they imagine much of the model, they construct it without the necessary materials, and this I believe is what is meant by 'imagination' in the context of 'people with AS lack imagination'. It is not that we are not creative, it is that we do not imagine into being what is not there to create/construct with. We lack the ability to fantasize usefully to supplement gaps in the available knowledge in the same agile and usually not too inaccurate manner of the average NT.

Most NT's appear (to me) to constantly imagine that situations are more familiar than they are, that they know what will happen next, that they know what someone is like (even when they've just met) and that they know what the people around them are thinking and how they will probably react to particular happenings. Objectively, they really do not know most of these things at all, but their rich imaginings are close enough often enough that it works well for them. Personally I think it'd be better to call it imaginative approximation. It's not always accurate, but much like using your eyes to estimate the number of members in a very large set, it's a lot quicker than counting - hence the speed of NT social interaction, and the speed at which they 'catch on' to what is going on with one another.

So if you in fact cannot 'imagine' other people when you lack the information about them, find it hard to imagine situations you have not been in even though others seem to think you should be able to because they can, if you need to have information before you can feel as though you know anything about anything, then you very probably do have the trait referred to as 'lack of imagination'.



GypsysOdyssey
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05 Oct 2007, 2:59 pm

<<<Most NT's appear (to me) to constantly imagine that situations are more familiar than they are, that they know what will happen next, that they know what someone is like (even when they've just met) and that they know what the people around them are thinking and how they will probably react to particular happenings. Objectively, they really do not know most of these things at all, but their rich imaginings are close enough often enough that it works well for them. Personally I think it'd be better to call it imaginative approximation. It's not always accurate, but much like using your eyes to estimate the number of members in a very large set, it's a lot quicker than counting - hence the speed of NT social interaction, and the speed at which they 'catch on' to what is going on with one another.

So if you in fact cannot 'imagine' other people when you lack the information about them, find it hard to imagine situations you have not been in even though others seem to think you should be able to because they can, if you need to have information before you can feel as though you know anything about anything, then you very probably do have the trait referred to as 'lack of imagination'. >>>

Actually, that makes alot of sense to me. I have a high rate of anxiety in social situtations, even when I seek them out on purpose, because I simply DON'T know what is going to happen. For someone who can imagine stories about fictional people so well, it's hard for me to pinpoint what a real person is going to say or do when I present them with something. I have a vague concept, but the picture in my brain is best described as "hazy grey". And when I do try to make guesses about people I'm often wrong. To a point where I have been preyed on physically, mentally and sexually by people I thought were "good". Needless to say, I don't trust my summation of others at all anymore, and that makes dating kinda rough, though I do desire a husband greatly.