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Waterfalls
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05 Feb 2014, 8:23 am

JCJC777 wrote:
Ok flame away... But I do seem to be high-functioning by external measures; I succeeded in my career (tough industry, retired early, rich, after business sale), marriage still together after 25+ years, children growing up well, even have a few 'friends', now doing some voluntary work that people say thanks for.

I high function in social situations to a point; I can do a few hours of complex social.
However I normally crash in any longer period. e.g. a weekend away with wider family or friends; it becomes too complex, different agendas, can't keep everybody happy, can't achieve my aims, I stop functioning well, go into a shell, am told I am being unpleasant because I'm not being 'nice'.
Those crashes hurt.

I also face other multiple problems;
my marriage is mostly very difficult; I guess I just do not give her the fun an NT male would. My interests take a lot of time.
I get very little/zero social connection with anybody, which hurts.
I don't enjoy life much.

I just wondered if anyone else out there in a similar life situation?
Thanks for any thoughts

I am in a very down place in my head now, but externally, yes. I am high functioning. It's wonderful because gives me choices and experiences that would otherwise be impossible.

There is a downside, though, people not believing, not taking me seriously. And that really nice people walk over and make fun of me based on expectations they have that I do not meet.

I don't crash from being social the way you and a lot of people describe, rather, I crash from trying to be social when I have it (usually gently) pointed out to me that I've messed something up, missed something the other person expected a high functioning person to know. I am crashed hard right now from this.

Odd as it sound, though, reality is that the people I don't fit in with are, just like me, wanting connection and acceptance and recognition. They're just used to getting more of it, or need less. And most people do not have to hide so much of themselves and work so hard to make connection happen, that effort and the worry about failing is what makes it so exhausting. If it could be less of a struggle, if it could be less often I'm failing, I think the crashes would be less. Maybe wouldn't happen at all. Don't know if this is the case for others but I think it is for me.



quivara
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06 Feb 2014, 7:56 pm

Hi, you all..

Well, I've been dealing with this "mild/high-functioning" ASD dilemma for some time. (I'm 61.) A fellow member here has shared many helpful things with me, some of which I've asked her to post to you - a clinical study for one.

I'm rather where you have been, or still am so, in many respects. IQ 152, have a JD, MBA, a 2nd biz masters (all top league schools w/honors) plus tons of foreign travel, languages, and high-level work success. Am "unemployable" now. And, once upon a time, I looked quite lovely and was, polished and "well-dressed" (designers). All that didn't help me a bit as I tried to go "out and about". The social thing did not click, almost instantanously, with nearly all groups I dealt w/in my prime. With small groups huddled during breaks at professional meetings, I would approach, smile, nod & listen and try to wait for a break in conversation to add my 2 cents, break the ice and introduce myself. "They", the NTs, almost instinctively perceived me as different. (I like serious 1:1 conversations with intellectual/spiritual equals.) So, I worked harder on my "hair and nails" as such was/is considered important. No luck.

After some serious study and reflection, I came how to learn "work a room" but escape as necessary. ( I truly can't do it for long or often.) Go bold up to a group (think acting/showmanship) grab even a stranger by the arm (or pat them). Say "Hi, good to see you again"!, or "Hi, how are you doing"? (Hand shakes as necessary, bold temporary eye gaze). Then say "Well, you're still looking great"! (or, some such bull). Then, if w/for a female, "You look marvelous, my dear - you keep getting younger"! (Between females, "I just love your hair, where did you get it done"?, or such.)Then notice the food, the bar, another group and say (for distraction) "Ah, the cheeses look irreversible", or other such dumb stuff as a ploy to get away. Then move on and repeat the process. If, there is no one to talk to as you wish, breeze away, thanking the hosts 1st, saying you are invited elsewhere also and you had such a lovely time (plus more compliments even if made up). Regardless, always leave early and arrive a bit late. Never get too serious unless your companion wants to and you can fine a private corner. NEVER express depression/dissatisfaction. Avoid politics, religion and ASD as topics. Leave 1st, per above. Always be well-groomed and dressed, slightly above the norm required. Keep at least a half-smile on your face always.Don't drink too much. Don't brag much. Compliment always. Distract/escape before any meltdown/collapse. Groups/meetings differ. Adjust your strategy accordingly. Gracious escape is always possible.

Ah, our own worlds are truly the main escape. For me it is nature, animals, reading, poetry, art, fine music, theater, opera, plants/gardens, fine cooking/meals, botanical centers, special parks, prayer, etc. Learn to live in your own worlds & be happy there. In your life you may be lucky to join with but a few who enjoy the same things & are on your wave length. Still, you have the possibility of a great internal life and something to share with the world - in your own good time and your own way. Do not despair. Manage the others caarefully and create you own worlds, your own mark. Read/watch "Auntie Mame"! Live!



Jensen
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07 Feb 2014, 7:35 am

This is about people at the very high end of the spectrum. A rather new field.

http://www.asknz.net/uploads/2/9/3/7/29 ... ectrum.pdf


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Rocket123
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07 Feb 2014, 2:15 pm

Jensen wrote:
This is about people at the very high end of the spectrum. A rather new field.

http://www.asknz.net/uploads/2/9/3/7/29 ... ectrum.pdf


Jensen – Thank you SO much for sharing this. What an excellent read.

This following tidbit resonated with me:

Quote:
Having a label that cognitively explains rather than morally blames one’s shortcomings, opens the way to make sense of the many perplexing situations that have happened in one’s life, to make more realistic plans from knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses, which traits can be developed or changed, which can be compensated for and which must be accepted and coped with.


If you have other articles to share, please do.



Quintex
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07 Feb 2014, 8:20 pm

There really needs to be a definition of "high functioning" here.

Can I live my life comfortably, independently and happily? Yes I can and I do.

Can I fit in with "normal" society seamlessly and invisibly? No I can't.

I will annoy people, drive them to anger and be confused about what just happened. I don't get bullied because I am very intimidating in stature and apparently present to others as aggressive and angry.

I make 90% of my income from what would be considered non traditional sources (I am an artist). I also hold a "regular" part time job for the other 10% where I actually deal with the public, mainly so I have to get out of my own little domain and forces me to participate in the rest of the world.

With the help of my conservators (which have become more of my business managers) I am now in the top 20% of income earners in my Province, which I consider successful and obviously "high functioning."

Could I maintain a stable romantic relationship or hope to have a family? The answer is a resounding NO! When I am myself in my own environment past partners have referred to me as selfish, boring, arrogant, stuck in my ways, unthoughtful, cold, emotionless robot, etc. Pretty much the cliche Aspie. I am 50 now so I really don't think that I will ever have my own family and I accept this as a reality.

On the other hand several other family groups have accepted me as a member and they support me in my life. I have also had the full support of my two brothers who act as my conservators and they accept my life choices.

I am not lonely, I do not hide from the world, in certain circles I am considered the best of the best. There have been serious misunderstandings with repercussions along they way, but nothing that couldn't be fixed with the help of my family and friends. I have never forgotten what I am but I sure am not going to let it stop me from being comfortable with my life and to do the things that make happy.


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Rocket123
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07 Feb 2014, 10:19 pm

Quintex wrote:
Could I maintain a stable romantic relationship or hope to have a family? The answer is a resounding NO! When I am myself in my own environment past partners have referred to me as selfish, boring, arrogant, stuck in my ways, unthoughtful, cold, emotionless robot, etc. Pretty much the cliche Aspie. I am 50 now so I really don't think that I will ever have my own family and I accept this as a reality.


My wife often tells me similar things (that I am selfish, stuck in my ways, unthoughtful, cold, emotionless, etc.). Also, the word romantic is pretty much meaningless to me (I don't understand the concept). It makes me wonder how I have been able to maintain a relationship for so long.



KingdomOfRats
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08 Feb 2014, 1:43 am

Quintex wrote:
There really needs to be a definition of "high functioning" here.

there is a formal definition of high and low functioning,its purely related to IQ.
high functioning is any IQ after a certain point [sorry,not sure what it is], and this has a knock on effect on the presentation of autism and the probable outcomes in life.
low functioning is any IQ before that point,and again this has a knock on effect on how the persons autism presents and the probable outcomes in life.

whether right or wrong have personaly believed 'independant' to cover several things,one being someone who lives away from the family home and two being someone who has a drive to do things for themselves;whether they can or cannot do so.

am low functioning autistic and have lived away from the family home for a decade,after being put in a intelectual disability institution by social services as a late teen,after it got shut down was then moved around different residential homes every year as they were unable to cope with self.
am both severely autistic and intelectualy disabled but due to having lifelong severe reactive attachment disorder [made worse by being moved around different residential homes so often] have got a strong drive to be independant more than most who have the same circumstances.
because of the RAD have suffered in silence throughout life when basic needs havent been met;such as needing shoe laces tied-instead of requesting help ended up refusing to wear shoes and went bare foot everywhere was not stopped from going-that was until a few years ago.
requesting for help is like an alien concept to self.

am a paid member of staff of the NHS,because am a service user of the UKs learning [US=intelectual] disability services was offered a job as an interviewer for two areas LD teams last year, interviewing people for their job posts,use a mixture of echolalia,PECS/symbols,AAC and the help from the personal assistant of mine to interview people-its a great job making sure we get only the best people working on the team with us.


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quivara
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08 Feb 2014, 5:13 pm

Dear Kingdom - Greetings, again! It is good to hear of your great work with NHS and your overcoming the limitations of your designation.

If I may be so bold as share that the overall situation may be more than just an IQ cut-off, although that is part of the story. Anyone who has been to Mensa groups, genius IQs, knows most of them don't "fit in" and are not so high functioning in their "real world". They are unlikely all to be ASD, but their social skills are off, to non-existent.

Now, I had the fortune once to spend 4 hours virtually alone with Dr. Grandin, at her invitation, in her office on 12/29/12. She is a known autistic. (I visited on a professional subject but had read most of her books first.) I'm in the "mild/high-functioning" Aspie range. But Dr. Grandin was really off for me (based on the most nominal NT social requirements). I'm not sure of her IQ, still she is a genius in her field and quite super (world-class) "high-functioning" in that area. But, she is "padded" in her environment by protective people and a protective structure. Somehow, after an hour, we came to get along, based on mutual research interests. She was oddly dressed (known), no social "hello" or other pleasantries, next to no eye contact, and I experienced some extreme outbursts from her (some I felt we're planned to test me). She was super nervous/paranoid - in and out of the room many times & making lots of side calls. She is "high-functioning" in her autistic realm with perhaps less than a genius IQ, I don't know. She's near the far end of the AS scale, yet "high-functioning".

I'm at the lower end and can be consider "high-functioning" in more areas and for longer periods than can Dr. Grandin. Still, I can wear down easily under certain circumstances. And, under all best efforts (have tons of beauty and equitte books) still make huge mistakes that cause a melt-down and retreat. So, although my IQ is genius, I mostly don't get it right socially, have certain work problems and much of the range of sensitivities of ASD , if of a lesser degree and less frequency. Thus, I can too be "high-functioning" within my own range most of the time. But, I'm not at Dr. Grandin's level of ASD.

Personally, I know of only two others on the AS and I'd guess them in the mid-range with above average IQ and "in their limited areas" they are "high-functioning" too in their own worlds, but are even less well-accepted, adapted to society than I. They too have plenty of problems due to this.

Consequently, I feel that the "high-functioning" label can be too broad a blanket to use when defining people along the ASD ranges. Some people can, or can't, function too well within any range and certainly not all the time. or under all circumstances. Further, they mostly can only function withing their own limited parameters, thrown outside that, they usually melt. Thus, I posit ranges of functioning within ranges, not a "one size fits all" in functioning quality. Thanks for sharing and listening...



quivara
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08 Feb 2014, 6:43 pm

Thanks, Jenesen, for the article. It can help those that are interested. None one, AS or NT, can function outside their own ranges well fro long.



Tomas73
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13 Feb 2014, 6:38 pm

quivara wrote:
"They", the NTs, almost instinctively perceived me as different. (I like serious 1:1 conversations with intellectual/spiritual equals.)


Snap. ' Just the same.



kw33n
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13 Feb 2014, 9:12 pm

JCJC777, yes, I can relate only too well. I was diagnosed at 37 with HFA as the psychiatrist said "females cannot have Aspergers." Apparently he wasn’t up on the subject or he would have recognized me as a female Aspie right away. I digress. I, too, was very financially successful and even socially successful, if you consider my social position (sat on national non-profit board, lobbied Congress, Junior League and such.) I was the perfect trophy wife, for a lack of a better description. I was married to my (narcissistic) NT husband for 17 years before getting divorced and just recently ended a 6 year relationship with an (ADHD) NT. Ok, I confess, I do apparently need some help in selecting my significant others!

I can also do a few hours of very complex social activity at a stretch, but it does take a day or two on either side of the event for me to prepare and to recover. When I used to have to do corporate or non-profit weekend retreats I really struggled, but I could usually rally and get through it although preparation and recovery from those were several days if not a week on either side. These social interactions, while doable, are exhausting. I’m so overwhelmed by the end of the cocktail party or company dinner that once away and safe, I become almost catatonic for several hours.

Being married/living with the NTs was hard and I don’t think it was just because of their personal issues. I never felt heard. To this day, I don’t think either one ever understood or appreciated what a toll their social calendars took on me. They were both very extroverted (something I think most NTs seem to be), and they were simply incapable of comprehending that having all these people around all the time was difficult for me. My family of origin was clueless for most of my adult life, but has improved since my niece was diagnosed with autism (which is the event that prompted my own diagnosis.) Even having full-time live-in staff is a bit of a toll on me, I must confess. Fortunately, my staff care for me more than either of my parters and they have really worked with me over the years to be respectful and understanding of my needs.

I enjoy life, but I don’t think that I’ve yet discovered how to live life to its fullest. I often feel that I’ve missed out although I’m not sure on what exactly.



Last edited by kw33n on 13 Feb 2014, 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RollingPandaArt
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13 Feb 2014, 10:59 pm

I wonder if most people over 50 would be considered higher functioning.

My thought is that Aspergers is a developmental issue .. and that with time we will develop more similar to NTs. So if we are older .. then we are more developed.



kw33n
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13 Feb 2014, 11:59 pm

RollingPandaArt, I had that same conversation with my therapist a while back and I finally concluded that I don't think I've really become more NT-like but, rather, I've just found ways to better hide my Aspie-ness. As part of our discussion, I made a list of my most notorious Aspie "qualities" during my younger years with the help of friends and family. I then examined those "qualities" (I refuse to use the word symptoms) to see if I still had them today. Interestingly, I don't exhibit the "qualities" to the outside world anymore for all to see, but the challenges presented, my feelings and perceptions which brought about the "qualities" I used to display were completely unchanged. A case in point, I was never able to look people in the eye while talking to them as a child. I would look up, down and all around but never at the person to whom I was speaking. Looking at someone directly in the eyes was then, and still is, very uncomfortable. However, when I talk to someone today, it appears that I am looking at them directly. I'm not, but they think I am, although what I'm really doing is staring at her "crows feet" and his unkept eyebrows.

In looking at all of these "qualities" from my youth, I found that I still have the same challenges, but that I've modified my reactions to these challenges to better blend in with the NTs. I haven't so much developed as I've just adapted. My fitting in with the NT population is simply my having perfected an award-winning stage performance. :lol:



kw33n
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13 Feb 2014, 11:59 pm

RollingPandaArt, I had that same conversation with my therapist a while back and I finally concluded that I don't think I've really become more NT-like but, rather, I've just found ways to better hide my Aspie-ness. As part of our discussion, I made a list of my most notorious Aspie "qualities" during my younger years with the help of friends and family. I then examined those "qualities" (I refuse to use the word symptoms) to see if I still had them today. Interestingly, I don't exhibit the "qualities" to the outside world anymore for all to see, but the challenges presented, my feelings and perceptions which brought about the "qualities" I used to display were completely unchanged. A case in point, I was never able to look people in the eye while talking to them as a child. I would look up, down and all around but never at the person to whom I was speaking. Looking at someone directly in the eyes was then, and still is, very uncomfortable. However, when I talk to someone today, it appears that I am looking at them directly. I'm not, but they think I am, although what I'm really doing is staring at her "crows feet" and his unkept eyebrows.

In looking at all of these "qualities" from my youth, I found that I still have the same challenges, but that I've modified my reactions to these challenges to better blend in with the NTs. I haven't so much developed as I've just adapted. My fitting in with the NT population is simply my having perfected an award-winning stage performance. :lol:



Tomas73
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14 Feb 2014, 1:54 pm

I suppose I am kind of "high functioning", just enough to not get the help I need, but not enough to succeed in life.

Jensen wrote:
This is about people at the very high end of the spectrum. A rather new field.

http://www.asknz.net/uploads/2/9/3/7/29 ... ectrum.pdf


Great article. Thank you.