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AspieGenius
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28 Feb 2011, 5:43 pm

Hi All,

First of all, I am new to this site and I hope that this is the correct place to put this question.

Secondly, as English is not my first language, I hope for your understanding of any misspellings or wrong use of words.

I am a 39 year old man, who is in dire straits on understanding myself, and I am hoping to find some answers from others who may experience similar dificulties as I.

Being a self diagnosed HFA (the closest diagnose that remotely exemplify my perceived symptoms), I am having trouble grasping the effects of my HFA and am in need of tools to cope with them.

My intellect is what I would describe as normal, I have no extraordinary math skills or musical skills. I speak several languages and I find words easier to cope with than numbers.
My grades at school was above average and I have never had any problems getting or holding down a job. I have had several long lasting relationsships and have been married as well. I am doing very well financially and manages my life completely on my own.

What is extraordinary about me, is that seem to have a special gift that makes it very easy for my to figure out, how to solve incoherent and unrelated issues, by making up a radical, but simple solution, to many business needs. In other words, I get more ideas daily than the average NT do in a lifetime. And I also have the ability to make them happen as well. I have a "no bars hold" strategy, which means that I go into a new business idea with absolute certainty that it will be a success and around 70-80% of my ideas actually make it in real life.

If you know of the term "Bricolage" (putting odd things together in a new way to create a novell solution to a known problem), that is actually what my brain is prewired to do. I do very well in managing tasks and even teams of people, and have shown remarkeable results as project manager on complex IT projects, working with Fortune 500 companies.

All this is not to brag, at all, just to give you an idea of the dilemma that I am about to present!

My private social life is my challenge. I am a very open and empathic person (allthough I should say sympatic, due to my HFA), and I make friends very easily. I am outgoing and smiling, have no problem with keeping eye contact etc. I do talk about my favorite topics a bit longer than the listener seems to have interest in them, but I do not think that I push people away.

Since childhood, I have been a lone wolf, I used to play in the playground very early in the morning and head home when the other children came out to play. I hid in my home, when the kids came to ask me out to play and I found no pleasure in "playing" with other children. Actually I have never played in my life, as I can recollect, it has always revolved around a task of figuring something out. I used to spend my days at the library, reading books and getting answers.

My teen years resulted in being part of a group that did drugs, so I can't really remember much of what I did from 15-18 years of age. I do not think that I have developed any symptoms though, as it was primarily hash (cannabis) that I smoked. But the relationships where based on smoking cannabis and doing silly things. I think of it as a way to escape the turmoil of being a teengaer. I had girlfriends and went to parties and all that as well.

In my twenties I became focused on my professional career in IT and I was appointed IT Manager at age 27, with a team of 6 people. I performed very well and got a lot of credit for this as well. I was in the same relationship for more than 10 years until we divorced 4 years ago.

Since then, my life have been on an emotional rollercoaster. I find it very hard to attach to other people, I have had a 3 year relationship after my divorce, but it was as if I was trying to fit into this realtionship, which included a child of hers as well, and no matter how much I tried, and even though I loved her and the child, I felt that deep inside, it was not the right thing for me. I convinced myself that I was just adapting to a new environment and tried to settle down with them.

But as I have a significant need to be alone, it become an increasing problem for me to spend time with them. I simply felt drained of energy, by being "forced" into being attentive to their needs and it even came to the point where I was unable to feel or describe my own needs. I became absurbed by being a good "parent" and a good "husband".

6 months ago, I came to the brink of losing my marbles, as I felt like I was living somebody elses life, fitting a role that did fit me on the outside, but tore me apart on the inside. I became distant, reclusive and even depressive. I choose to spend more and more time in my home office, just to get some peace of mind. It finally resulted in my being forced to move out and into my own apartment, the needs for solitude was that strong. This ended the realtionship all together and she felt very abanded and hurt, which made me even more sad and sick of myself.

I have no close friends, i do have some friends, but it is always (and have always been), in conjunction with some special interest, e.g. motor racing or playing games etc. So it is more of a kindship of minds than that of kindship of real emotions of connectivity.

I often find myself in trouble in social situations, because I say what I mean/feel, and that seems to bother some people and we get into an argument. My own family often says that I come across as arrogant towards them, but my intention is always to say things the way I see and understand them, and not to put anyone down. So I get quite hurt when they react in this manner. People close to me often describe me as odd, but in a good way. I have no problem telling other people my thoughts and feelings, even when they may react as if "Did he really disclosure that about himself?" manner.

The irony is, that I am a self employed management coach that specializes in understanding people, their potential and their talents. I even teach other people how to be better towards themselves and others and how to make a team achieve amazing goals. I have a talent for doing so, and I have even written a published book on the subject.

It feels like I have a talent for making everyone around me feel great, giving them hope and energy, and helping everyone all I can, financially and intellectually, to achieve their dreams. And at the same time having trouble fitting in, whenever I am not in control of the subject of discussion. I hate small talk and gossip, so cocktail parties, conferences and seminars are nighttmares for me.

I often get people's recognition of their gratitude to what I have done for them and that makes me feel real good inside.

So my self confidence is sky high, but my self esteem is still low, due to the fact that I have a strong feeling that people like me, because of the way that I can make them feel, and not for the person I am inside. Hope that this makes any sense.

And finally to my questions:

Am I just quirky or do I fit the symptoms of HFA/Asperger's/PDD-NOS?
(I have taken some tests and they clearly lean towards HFA, but I lack a lot of the symptoms as well).

Is it possible to feel true empathy, love and compassion or is it just highly developed sympathy, for people with Autisms?

Does the Executive Function anomaly result in pure social skills, such as not understanding why people react the way they do, when I cannot for the love of God, figure out what I have said/done wrong?

Please share your thoughts and experiences, I would love to get some feedback from you.

And sorry for the length of this post, but I "think" that I am an autistic and this is my favorite subject :0)

AspieGenius



crazymaney
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01 Mar 2011, 3:18 pm

Hi Aspie Genius!

I am brand new here as of today and hope I'm doing this right! Anyhow, I am fascinated by your posts b/c my husband sounds VERY similiar to you! My son (not his) has just recently been diagnosed with Aspergers and I believe my husband might be as well. He also describes himself as just average or slightly higher than average IQ, great eye contact, friendly, speaks several languages, worked in a couple of fortune 500 company's and currently is the Most requested speaker around for helping people better themselves both financially etc.... He is ALWAYS sought out by people the local movers and shakers who are amazed at how clearly and simply he presents ideas. He was married previously for 16 yrs with 1 child and we have been together for 5 yrs.

I have no help to offer you as I am learning too. I just never reach out to anyone via the computer and thought, screw it! I'm going to! I guess I just want to ask you to please keep posting b/c it's helping me. Thanks and good thoughts.... :)



AspieGenius
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02 Mar 2011, 5:56 am

Hi CarazyManey (love your handle),

Thanks for responding to my post.

I am glad that you find this information helpful and please feel free to ask me any questions you may have, and I will answer them as well as I can.

Having answers is not a requirement, the mere discussion of subjects sometimes leads to enligthenment, when different views are expressed.

/AG



YippySkippy
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03 Mar 2011, 3:34 pm

Whew! There are a lot of aspects of your personality, abilities, and history to consider in your original post.
Some things about you (trouble with personal relationships, enjoyment of solitude and problem-solving) suggest that you do have Asperger's or HFA. I have a hard time imagining someone with AS performing the job you describe, though, due to its social component. However, as the saying goes, "If you've seen one person with Autism, you've seen one person."

The other thing I would add is that not being talented with math/science does not mean you don't have Asperger's. In fact, your skill with languages is probably your "Aspie" gift. I am self-diagnosed as well, and am hyperlexic. I could read at three years old, and earned perfect scores on the portions of my college entrance exam that dealt with grammer and reading comprehension. I am not at all good at math.

Hope this helps at least a little.
By the way, your English is better than the great majority of native speakers.



Darey
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06 Mar 2011, 2:23 am

Hey there I had a terrific job am very HFA, not so ironically in IT also, even managed a small team as well.

Had a great career and was very good at my job.

I met a man and we married.

When that broke down it broke me.

I think it has a lot to do with the autisic's fragile sense of self and the relationship breakdown smashes everything we thought was solid it breaks the 'rules' (ie marriage is supposed to be forever), and, in the case of autisitc's, our sense of self disintigrates as well.

I split with my ex 3 years ago. I am rebuilding the new me again slowly.

I spent a lot of time analysing the whole situation and learnt a great deal.

Its only now, 3 years on I am even thinking of dating again.



ritalee76
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20 Mar 2011, 4:08 am

I can totally relate ... It is confusing.

People who really know me have actually complimented me on how "adjusted" I am for work / social situations ...

You talking about getting there early and leaving early at the playground definitely struck a chord with me.

I also have the same type of "friends" as yours... Not a lot of bonding and sharing but sharing a hobby or interest... I've learned to be okay with that. I love my friends and they love me even though I'm weird. I've completely taken the mask off with 2 of them and they know when I'm shutting down ... I'll tell them "too much input" and they know its time to go home...

As far as pissing people off with stating what you are thinking, I've played a little game in my head called the "edit" button. I will literally, in the middle of a conversation, pinch my lips together and say "EDIT"... My friends / colleagues think its funny but it stops me from saying the things that would be perceived as mean.

When it comes to dating and relationships, I'm not the girl to ask. I turn every man I date into a crying little girl in six months or less, guaranteed :(



ghostpawn
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02 Apr 2011, 10:18 pm

Doesn't sound like ASD to me. No obvious difficulty with body language, which is a key weakness that seems to link the whole spectrum no matter how high functioning.

My guess, maybe schizoid (wiki that), or just run-of-the-mill introvert genius.

Welcome to WP


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Dinosaw
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04 Apr 2011, 11:47 pm

Schizophrenia is a very serious diagnosis and it should be reserved for an unbiased professional to make. I get annoyed at the careless way the 's' word is thrown around, it appears to be a catch-all diagnosis for anything an apparent majority of mental health professionals and the general population can't figure out.

Aspie Gee, it is my opinion that you may be the beneficiary of some wacky math. Let me present an equation of sorts:

A + MJ = A + pS = pNT

Where the variables represent the following:

A = austism
MJ = Mary Jane
pS = pseudo-Schizophrenia
pNT = pseudo Neural Typical.

(The above "equation" and the following interpretation are something of a 'tongue and cheek' theoretical representation, not intended to be taken as a scientific annunciation)

I support theories that define autism and schizophrenia as opposite ends of a mental disorder spectrum. In my interpretation of those theories Autism is a hyper rational brain disorder (and also a hypo intuitive/emotional brain environment, due to wiring differences, etc.) with the contrasting Schizophrenia being a hyper intuitive brain disorder (and itself also a hypo rational brain environment, due to its being overwhelmed or damaged through drug abuse, trauma, stress, injury, possible genetic manifestations, etc).

Utilizing that interpretative basis you can deduce my "equation's" meaning - smoking dope creates a pseudo schizophrenia in the autistic individual, offsetting autism's limiting effects and augmenting the individual with pseudo intuitive/emotional brain capacity. The possible end result being a temporary 'appearing normal' mind state.

Let me make a STERN WARNING - I do not recommend MJ as treatment as it is documented to create severe schizophrenia/schizophrenic symptomatology in some people. My "theoretical interpretation" above suggests that is why it has an "offset" effect on an autistic mind, but that does not mean I am endorsing such usage in anyone that is not under a doctor's care. My biggest concern for anyone smoking dope is that the neural typical population has a very low tolerance of schizophrenia and many in its ranks appear to enjoy abusing people diagnosed with, or even assumed to be afflicted by, schizophrenia.

I have the same 'gift' as you AG, the ability to see the obvious when no one else can, capable of pulling organization from total chaos, assembling novel ideas in a bricolage process. I attribute those skills in part to the effect that MJ had on me when I was younger, when I had turned to MJ as a form of self medication.

MJ intoxication created a chaotic "mental diffusion" that I would "think through" by applying my innate sharp focus capacities. Those capacities were honed and improved to a point that whenever I was 'stoned', I could behave as though sober, inhibiting the effects of intoxication by strength of will. Afterward, throughout my adult life, and well after I stopped smoking MJ, I found that I retained that heightened focus and benefited through the application of it in my work and worldly endeavors.

Another side effect of MJ intoxication was the creation of an "emotional" depth of experience that I lacked in my sober day to day life. It is a well known fact that there is an induced euphoria that is much sought after by some "pot heads". That aspect of MJ lingered on faintly after withdrawal, even to this day, but not to the extant that the improvement in concentration was. I really wish that it were more pronounced, as much as has been the focusing effect, but that wasn't to be.


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Dinosaw
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05 Apr 2011, 10:43 am

Aspie Gee, I hope you read the "edited to death" version of my previous post (as opposed to the version that may get sent to your e-mail).

Writing is for me an extreme effort, one that I actually enjoy, but one that I approach in the same way I do wood carving, with a brutally intense effort to produce perfection. Of course I don't get to "perfect" and I eventually understand that. However, I need to exhaust the desire to reach such a state before I'll accept my work as presentable!

Hope you find that post and find it interesting.


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06 Apr 2011, 7:08 am

ghostpawn wrote:
Doesn't sound like ASD to me. No obvious difficulty with body language, which is a key weakness that seems to link the whole spectrum no matter how high functioning.

My guess, maybe schizoid (wiki that), or just run-of-the-mill introvert genius.

Welcome to WP


That's what I thought.

Oh, and schizoid personality disorder and schizophrenia are not equivalent.



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Dinosaw
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07 Apr 2011, 4:06 pm

MCalavera wrote:
ghostpawn wrote:
My guess, maybe schizoid (wiki that), or just run-of-the-mill introvert genius.

Welcome to WP


That's what I thought.

Oh, and schizoid personality disorder and schizophrenia are not equivalent.


Yes, and the DSM outline for Schizoid Personality Disorder could describe the High Functioning end of the Autism Spectrum as well in some significant ways. One could argue that the definition for SPD is dated and on the wrong track. Such definitions come and go and many change. They don't call it the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for nothing, it's an amalgamation of understanding that is developed and refined over time.

Science constructs its understanding of all subjects with time, through theorizing and experiment, the payout is never in a nice, tidy, lump sum. Just as it took thousands of years to understand 'outer space' it is taking, and will take, some time before science has a full understanding of 'inner space'.

I suggest that if the OP wants to believe his condition is ASD that he be allowed to believe so, is it not his 'inner space' that he is exploring? I do not believe that he should stop there though, he should pursue a professional assessment as well if possible.


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seaside
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08 Apr 2011, 12:45 am

Wow Original Poster, some of those traits do sound spectrum like! (Talent for languages is one not-infrequently-seen AS trait, btw. Also, the ability to make connections, and fluid intelligence can be higher than in neurotypicals)

Anyhow, that's all very interesting... can you find someone an expert in the field to help interview you?

Good luck...



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08 Apr 2011, 12:47 am

Dinosaw:
If one can function quite well socially when he chooses to, how does that make him an Aspie/HFA?

We can't just make light of labels just because they're labels. They are there for a reason. I think it's better he seeks the most accurate label for him (AS/HFA or not) and, of course, a more accurate diagnosis from a qualified specialist.



Dinosaw
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08 Apr 2011, 6:54 pm

MCalavera wrote:
Dinosaw:
If one can function quite well socially when he chooses to, how does that make him an Aspie/HFA?

We can't just make light of labels just because they're labels. They are there for a reason. I think it's better he seeks the most accurate label for him (AS/HFA or not) and, of course, a more accurate diagnosis from a qualified specialist.


I'm not making light of a label, I'm disputing the quick application of any term or diagnosis that begins with the word 'schizo'. BTW, let me quote the Wikipedia SPD entry so that you see what I mean:

"Schizoid personality disorder (SPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of interest in social relationships, sometimes sexually apathetic, a tendency towards a solitary lifestyle, secretiveness, and emotional coldness"

IMHO, that could vaguely describe a person with Aspergers. If you disagree, please tell me where I'm wrong.

Also, please take another look at the OPs post, he did mention some problems with social interaction. It may be that he adapted with time, learned the basic rules and applies them well, could that not be the case?


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