Poll: Are those that are unaware more successful?

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Are those unaware of their diagnosis, more likely to find success than someone who is?
I am undiagnosed and, if WP is to be used a sample, find myself more successful than the 'average aspie'. 11%  11%  [ 6 ]
I am undiagnosed, success level average 4%  4%  [ 2 ]
I am undiagnosed, success level less than average 13%  13%  [ 7 ]
I was diagnosed later in life and if WP is a sample, find myself more successful than average. 13%  13%  [ 7 ]
I was diagnosed later in life and find my success level to be average. 7%  7%  [ 4 ]
I was diagnosed later in life and find my success level to be worse than average. 28%  28%  [ 15 ]
I was diagnosed early in life and find my success to be 'better' than average 9%  9%  [ 5 ]
I was diagnosed early in life and find my success to be average. 6%  6%  [ 3 ]
I was diagnosed early in life and find my success to be worse than average. 9%  9%  [ 5 ]
Total votes : 54

Outrider
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30 Jan 2016, 8:07 am

All over WP I see users who only found out later in life of their diagnosis, and while many of them do say 'So. THAT explains such and such' I notice that many of them actually have a decent amount of success compared to, say, the 'average' aspie/autistic at the same functioning level as they are.

Is it possible those that are unaware of their disability actually find greater success than those who don't?

Could it be something to do purely with confidence/motivation?

Perhaps those that are unaware, while they do still have difficulties and struggles, they are more inclined to believe they are 'normal' and far more dedicated and hard-working in regards to trying to achieve the pre-established ideal of what an 'average' person is supposed to achieve.

For instance I'd say when leaving high school and entering adulthood, someone of no diagnosis simply believes they are 'normal' and have to follow the path of living a normal life - go to university soon after high school, move out, earn their degree, marry their long-time girlfriend they met during the college age, etc. albeit with significant struggle and possibly mild delays in their life 'milestones' here and there.

But an aspie aware of their symptoms, difficulties etc. might just opt to get on the disability payment if they are eligible, guaranteeing their ability to take their time building their life rather than rushing themselves more than they need to. This comfort however could quite possibly delay them in trying though sometimes, couldn't it?

My examples in this entire post are all purely hypotethical and not intended as generalizations on any particular people and not based on any real evidence so far, statistical or anecdote, but that's why I am making this post in the first place:

To ask a question.



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30 Jan 2016, 8:14 am

Something I did not add though is my subjective definition of an 'average aspie'.

My definition is one who struggles moderately to significantly with age milestones typical of their culture, e.g. driving at 16, moving out at 18, marriage at 28, etc.

One who struggles moderately to significantly establishing friendships and/or romantic relationships with others.

One who struggles/struggled moderately to significantly with controlling their emotions, especially in situations that required self-control.

And one who struggles/struggles moderately to significantly with behavour expected of their age - e.g. N.T. level of appropriateness, social skills, independence, other skills, etc.

This definition does not have to be an absolute one and I'm up to debating it.



Shirokitty
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30 Jan 2016, 8:36 am

I certainly think that's possible. I didn't consider autism until just recently, at the age of 24, and it seems like I've had more success than others on the spectrum. This is assuming I actually have autism, of course.

If I were to guess as to why this might be, I'd say it's because it's easy for someone with a diagnosed disorder to say, "I can't do ___ because I'm ___." Furthermore, those around a diagnosed person - including family members - may be more likely to lower their expectations of a diagnosed person. So they may find they get put on SSI and not have to worry about blending in with society at all.

At least with me, I was pretty much on my own. My father would rather call me a loser than think, "Hey, my son is 22 and hasn't ever had a job. Maybe a psychologist can help." Same deal with my inability to get a girlfriend or my driver's license: my father would rather think I am simply a pathetic loser and then go back to drinking his alcohol. My mom, while certainly a lot more friendly about it than my bipolar alcoholic father, is pretty passive about this herself. They both have themselves convinced there's nothing wrong with me.

So instead of relying on my parents or the friends I don't have, I've had to learn body language. I've had to do things I was uncomfortable with, like talking to people even though it used to terrify me. I've had to make myself look like a complete fool plenty of times, simply to get good enough at acting normal enough to fit in. And surprisingly, I've managed to keep a stable job and I know I'll eventually get my driver's license. A girlfriend still seems pretty unlikely, but hey, who knows.

I'm not trying to undermine other people's problems, of course. I realize autism is a spectrum and I'm very high functioning if I'm on it. But I wanted to share my opinion.



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30 Jan 2016, 8:54 am

I don't know how to evaluate how successful I've been. Knowing I have a disability certainly put a damper on my self-confidence, especially in a society that isn't really interested in making accommodations for ASD, so there could be something in the notion that unawareness is helpful. Ultimately though, if you can't do a thing, you will fail if you try, and falsely believing that you can is going to backfire.



LaetiBlabla
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30 Jan 2016, 8:58 am

I found out one month ago, that i was on the spectrum.

i have spent 33 years of my life asking myself :
- what is it with me, what do i not do correctly?
- am i stupid, why do i spend so much energy in trying to socialize and get nothing out of it?
- why am i always judged "bad" while spending a lot of effort in adapting?
- what is wrong with me? Not understanding who i am (how can you achieve your happiness if you do not know who you are?

I have felt guilty all my life for something that was just not my fault. I have spent a lot of time just trying to understand alone.

Yes, not knowing helped me to continue struggling, and achieve some kind of apparent success. But now that i found out:
- how can i trust people who, during 33 years have hidden to me that i look awkward, behave strangely? Some even perhaps guessed i should be autist and didn't say. Even psychologists not telling me...

Now it will not be possible i trust anybody, because of 33 years of lies, which caused me having bad self-esteem as i thought that not being able to socialize like others was "my fault".

It is only one month ago that i learned i was on the spectrum, so maybe my view will change. But that is the way i feel now. Result is that i don't want to go and meet others anymore. It is a feeling of disgust for my wasted life full of effort headed in the wrong direction. :?

It was the first time in my life that i have suddenly understood everything. That's quite a good thing to know who you are. :)



Last edited by LaetiBlabla on 30 Jan 2016, 9:11 am, edited 2 times in total.

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30 Jan 2016, 9:05 am

In the US, most people don't move out of their parents' house at age 18; we don't have Youth Allowance. The average age is more like 25.

In urban areas, kids don't usually get their driving licenses at 16. In rural/suburban areas, many kids do, but many kids don't. Licenses for those below age 18 are severely restricted in many cases. Insurance rates for those under age 25, with less than 3 years' driving experience, are extremely high.

As for my level of success: average, leaning towards below average, for a person of my age and environment. I've been a clerical worker all my life, even though I have a college degree.

I was diagnosed with various things, including autism, when I was very young.



Last edited by kraftiekortie on 30 Jan 2016, 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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30 Jan 2016, 9:08 am

Not for me, I chose: "I was diagnosed later in life and find my success level to be worse than average."

Even though technically I tick some of the boxes for things the averagely successful person is supposed to do, I did them with a lot of struggle, and often much later than the average person, at least the average NT person.

I didn't get my driver's license until I was 32, having failed at 17. I didn't move out until I was 27, in a time and a place when that was actually a shameful thing and not the normal path for normal people. I was given hell for that. I did marry at 27 but my marriage turned out to be a disaster, not exactly a "success."

I never had kids, I failed in my education, I flunked out of higher education, I never got a real career going, I had actually some talent in more than one area and although I tried very hard, I never became successful in those things, even though I'm good at them. I couldn't cope with the usual working world. I did become self employed but what level of "success" can you say that is when I've still only kept my head above water and only manage to barely make enough to live on, even when working hard? I also never got to have enough income in my life to buy a house. I'm 54 and live in a crummy apartment with neighbors ruining my sleep and my health; that's a lovely old age to look forward to. I may be living independently but it's not much of a quality of life, so I would say I'm below average in "success" in life.

Success isn't just about hitting milestones or doing things that on paper look like you've been a successful perosn who has attained goals. It's also about how well you're doing in those attainments, and in all of mine the story is "pretty badly."

For all of my life prior to even hearing about such a thing as Asperger's, I didn't know there was anything causing my being unable to meet life's challenges as robustly as normal people do, I was NOT looking for anything to blame, I just knew I couldn't seem to operate properly even when trying DAMN hard to do so. I didn't know what was wrong with me but I knew I was a fck-up even when trying not to be.

So yes, I spent all of my life "unaware" but yet only too painfully aware that even though I assumed I was supposed to be "normal," I was failing at life constantly.


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Fnord
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30 Jan 2016, 10:10 am

Had I known earlier in life that I was "disabled", I may not have tried as hard as I did to succeed. My life has been a struggle, and I spent most of it proving those labels that other people tried to put on me (i.e., "loser", "retard", "stupid", et cetera) were wrong. Perseverance was the key - I never gave up on myself, even when everyone else around me did.

My diagnosis informed me why my life was filled with turmoil; but through all the turmoil, I learned to Never Give Up.


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ToughDiamond
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30 Jan 2016, 10:21 am

BirdInFlight wrote:
Success isn't just about hitting milestones or doing things that on paper look like you've been a successful person who has attained goals.

I agree. If being successful means anything, it means feeling successful. I never count the job I had as a roaring success, because to me it was an inefficient way of getting money, a necessary evil.



mattdens
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30 Jan 2016, 12:23 pm

Glossing over the obvious philisophical question of "what defines success?", I'd say it depends a lot on the individuals personality.
If the individual is a 'go-getter', an early diagnosis might allow them to adapt how they go about achieving success, whereas not having the diagnosis may force them to take the "old beaten track" which may not be the most ideal path for them.
If the individual is more of a procrastinator then an early diagnosis might allow them to excuse themselves from trying as hard. Whereas not having the diagnosis might prevent them from trying to justify "lowering the bar".
I'd probably put myself in the latter category and do wonder if I had received a diagnosis early on, would I have pushed myself to do things which seemed difficult if I wasn't comparing myself to the general population. Eg, would I have taken my current job in the Police, which involves a lot of responsibility and face to face communication which although challenging at times I am capable of doing or would I have said "I can't do that job" and subsequently continued working in a simple carefree low paying job.
I think it's impossible to say with any degree of certainty as it is with all "what if" questions.



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30 Jan 2016, 1:37 pm

Success for me means living independently, being judged solely on the merit of my work, and having the means to help others realize their own potential.


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individuals should be judged or defined only by their actions and choices,
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LaetiBlabla
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30 Jan 2016, 2:23 pm

I think that "success" is "to be happy", simply because happyness is everyone's most important goal.

Happiness is not something that you can see, it is inside you.

When you need to "show" your happiness, it is probably that you lack it inside. That is why i think judging success on the basis of external signs is nonsense.



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30 Jan 2016, 3:06 pm

Yes, because words mean things.
Labels mean things.
The label given to me was "gifted" instead of "autistic."
In our society, the first one is looked up to while the second is looked down on.
Makes a huge difference.

That said, there have been things I've struggled with
all my life,
and in some areas,
some would say I'm not successful.

I prefer to focus on the areas where I am successful,
and play to my strengths.

Oh, and guess what?
When you're successful ...
you can make enemies for that, too.

I'm still going to focus on being my best self.

...



Last edited by the_phoenix on 30 Jan 2016, 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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30 Jan 2016, 3:55 pm

I think you get a skewed picture here at WP. If they are getting diagnosed later in and are able to post here that means if they are not traditionally successful they at least they survived. Many of the aspies not posting here did not know that they were on the spectrum because they were not disgnosed or misdisgnosed, they were institutionalized, thrown out in the street and thus did not survive.

It is difficult to pass as NT for decades on end when you believe it is all your fault due to no explanation. By the time a lot of us were diagnosed we were burnt out. Not bieng able to do what you used to do to is the reason many sought diagnosis. Getting an explination does not automatically fully recharge you, that can take a long time. Outsiders see a "wierd" somewhat successful person who is now flailing and often think that the person is using the label as an excuse to be lazy.


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30 Jan 2016, 4:43 pm

I was diagnosed only recently.

I have struggled throughout my entire life, knowing that I was different, but not knowing why.

I was always in trouble as a kid, because I didn't understand the rules. I couldn't remember to do homework, or I focused on the wrong aspects of the assignment. Other kids made fun of me but I didn't understand why. Everyone thought I was weird, but I couldn't figure out why.

I was the "bad" kid, I was the "weird" kid. I was the smart kid that was just too lazy to succeed. I wasn't "trying hard enough". I started acting out on purpose to try to become more popular with the other kids. It caused me to get into all kinds of trouble.

I've never been able to handle doing many tasks at once, remembering to do things, or getting things done on time. I'm too much of a perfectionist. I have a lot of talent but have been held back by these problems.

And of course, socializing is a disaster for me. I haven't had a single friend for years. I never knew what I was doing wrong.

I always kept trying, because that's just the way I am. I keep trying new things until something works. I keep coming up with new ideas on how to make things better. Despite all this, I haven't been successful in my life.

If I'd known from a young age what the problem was, I could've come up with the solutions I needed by now. But I couldn't figure out what was so different about me or why I was struggling. Now I'm faced with the task of trying to solve all these problems at a much later point in my life. But at least now I have identified the problem and have the tools I need to overcome my difficulties.



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30 Jan 2016, 10:21 pm

I see this as one of those "which came first" type questions: were we more successful later in life because we were late diagnosed, or were we late diagnosed because our symptoms were milder than many autistics, so we had enough skills to support ourselves but escaped getting help early? And how successful are we? I've read a lot of stories of the late-diagnosed, and many have lives full of divorce, bankruptcy, brushes with the law, long unemployed periods, and being employed at a lower level than our skills merit. I would say my success level is comparable to other autistics, but way, way behind my NT peers.


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