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Joe90
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29 Mar 2011, 3:15 pm

I am mildly affected by AS (diagnosed), and I was also diagnosed with Dyspraxia - but I call myself an Aspie, being that I am clearly on the spectrum. I also have HAD (high anxiety disorder), but I have self-diagnosed that as a separate disorder.
But I think it's hard being me, because I am very self-aware and very, very self-conscious (I think that is due to my high anxiety disorder). I do feel very NT when I know how self-aware I am, but the trouble is, being an Aspie who is too self-aware can be more challenging than how the average NT feels. Generally speaking, if an NT is self-aware, they know better not to intentionally do anything embarrassing, and they know what's embarrassing and what isn't, and very rarely make a mistake of humiliating themselves. But with me, although I do know what is embarrassing out in public and what isn't, I still sometimes forget that I'm being embarrassing, then I feel strongly embarrassed afterwards.
For example, sometimes when I'm walking along with someone, I tend to shout instead of just talk at a normal volume. Other people seem to talk at a normal volume, but I tend to shout - as though I'm on stage. And sometimes I shout out personal stuff what you don't really want everybody to hear.
But luckily I've never stimmed, so I don't do that when I'm out. We all stim sometimes, but I don't do the type of stimming what's commonly known in Autistic people, like flapping hands or excessively rocking backwards and forwards, or anything what looks un usual to other people.

Also, I find social events more harder than anyone because of my paranoia. I have an Autistic friend, and he's a little more Autistic than I am - he's self-aware enough to be an independent adult, and he's got a lot more confidence than me in a different way, but he does swing him arms about a lot in public and he walks really fast, with his body in a position as if he's about to charge, and his arms swing really bad when he's walking - and he does look different to others - but that's not a problem to him. He doesn't care what people think, and paranoid thoughts probably haven't even crossed his mind. He even goes to more social events than I do. He goes to the bar at nights with some mates (who also have special needs aswell), and he doesn't really care if there are rowdy youngsters in there who judge you on any little difference you give out. And I think life's slightly easier in a way when you're an Aspie (I'm NOT saying it's easier in every way, but it does take a lot of strain off of your mind).

It's easy for some to say, ''oh just don't worry what people thinking of you any more, starting from tomorrow'', but it's not that simple for someone like me. Like most NTs, I'm afraid to look different, and I try to avoid looking different - if I can help it. Somebody said, though, that the more you try really hard to be someone you're not, the more you actually show vibes. (Is that true??)
The trouble is, this paranoia puts me off from going to somewhere where it's likely to be the environment what I do my best to avoid. It's my cousin's 18th birthday next week, and she's invited me to go to a really loud bar - the type of place where you have to be really social and be able to enjoy the atmosphere, to fit in there - otherwise you will get really bored and nervous. These sorts of events make me nervous, because it's going to be a Saturday night, in the roughest part of a rough town - where there are always fights going on outside, and plenty of drinkers and girls who are tarted up..... No thanks! That sort of place ain't for someone like me! They'll all eat me alive, I reckon! :(
I think I'm paranoid because I think too much.


Anyone relate?


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Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
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29 Mar 2011, 3:33 pm

Your not paranoid at all, I also don't like going to bars hell I haven't even tried alcohol yet. I might not be on the same level as you with this, but if you feel this hurts just tell your cousin the truth and I'm sure she will understand.



daydreamer84
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29 Mar 2011, 3:39 pm

I can definitely relate! I have GAD generalized anxiety disorder and AS. I was just thinking about how in a way I wish I didn't read as much as I did about nonverbal communication and body language. It's so hard to focus on what people are saying and figure out what "messages" people are sending with their eyes or arms at the same time! At the same time I have to remind myself to fold my hands while sitting and not do something strange with them and to smile and nod occasionally but not too intensely or too much. I should occasionally make/say "listening noises and phrases...these should be varied (not just yes , um hum, but also "wow," "really" and "interesting", I should have expression in my voice when I make said noises. I should move my eye muscles (orbicularis oculi) when I smile bcs if I only smile with my mouth it looks fake. I have to remember to shift my gaze to the person I'm speaking to (I've looked at one person while speaking to another in the past). I should make eye contact intermittently not too often or too seldom . People should make eye contact when they have a moment of mutual understanding or when they are emphasizing a point (now I have to think “am I emphasizing a point? Should I make eye contact now?") I'm exhausted just writing about this let alone actually interacting with people! Ahhhhhh social anxiety...........I know your pain. :( I'm not ashamed of having AS but I've spent so long trying to act normal it's almost become a compulsion.......I'm just hyper aware of all these annoying little things.

btw I also have trouble modulating the volume of my voice...like you described. I'm usually too loud...and when I try to be quieter sometimes my voice becomes inaudible!

In terms of going to bars I absolutely can't stand them (noisy + crowded = bad!). I've just told people I know that I don't feel comfortable in those places and don't go to events in bars or clubs. Maybe you could just tell your cousin that you really hate bars and ask if you could do something separate with her for her birthday. I've done this and people usually react favourably to it.



IceCreamGirl
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29 Mar 2011, 4:06 pm

When I became self-aware, there was good news and bad news. The good news was that I changed my behavior. The bad news was that I became extremely embarrassed about my past. Sometimes I still feel embarrassed about it.



Joe90
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29 Mar 2011, 4:28 pm

IceCreamGirl wrote:
When I became self-aware, there was good news and bad news. The good news was that I changed my behavior. The bad news was that I became extremely embarrassed about my past. Sometimes I still feel embarrassed about it.


I know what you mean there. I used to be a bit unaware when I was a child aged between 11 and 15, and done some things what I frown upon now. I remember when I was 14 I went through a weird phase of hating pregnant women (it was just a weird obsession I had got, but thankfully grew out of very quick), and once there was a pregnant women standing near me in the bus stop and I was with my mum and I said quite loudly, ''oh I hate pregnant ladies!'' and my mum was like, ''ssshhh!'' even though the pregnant woman didn't look like she heard - but she might have. Shouting out those sorts of things without really meaning to is rather embarrassing, I admit.

And last week my uncle brought up some videos he had filmed of the family a few years ago, when I was about 13 - and I noticed I kept ringing my hands as though I was really, really anxious about something, although I didn't get anxious much back then. I must have grew out of intensely ringing my hands because I looked at some later videos of when I was about 17 and I wasn't doing it then. I am more anxious now than I have ever been in my life, but I don't nowhere near ring my hands. I only started ringing my hands around the age of 13 - I didn't seem to do it at any other times in my life.

I know people say to me ''oh you can't change the past - just forget it'', but sometimes I think, have others forgotten it? Do people look at me and think, ''oh there's that girl who did so-and-so a few years ago - I remember that and I remember what she looks like.''


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SammichEater
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29 Mar 2011, 7:04 pm

Joe90 wrote:
IceCreamGirl wrote:
When I became self-aware, there was good news and bad news. The good news was that I changed my behavior. The bad news was that I became extremely embarrassed about my past. Sometimes I still feel embarrassed about it.


I know what you mean there. I used to be a bit unaware when I was a child aged between 11 and 15, and done some things what I frown upon now. I remember when I was 14 I went through a weird phase of hating pregnant women (it was just a weird obsession I had got, but thankfully grew out of very quick), and once there was a pregnant women standing near me in the bus stop and I was with my mum and I said quite loudly, ''oh I hate pregnant ladies!'' and my mum was like, ''ssshhh!'' even though the pregnant woman didn't look like she heard - but she might have. Shouting out those sorts of things without really meaning to is rather embarrassing, I admit.

And last week my uncle brought up some videos he had filmed of the family a few years ago, when I was about 13 - and I noticed I kept ringing my hands as though I was really, really anxious about something, although I didn't get anxious much back then. I must have grew out of intensely ringing my hands because I looked at some later videos of when I was about 17 and I wasn't doing it then. I am more anxious now than I have ever been in my life, but I don't nowhere near ring my hands. I only started ringing my hands around the age of 13 - I didn't seem to do it at any other times in my life.

I know people say to me ''oh you can't change the past - just forget it'', but sometimes I think, have others forgotten it? Do people look at me and think, ''oh there's that girl who did so-and-so a few years ago - I remember that and I remember what she looks like.''


And this right here is why I pretend to have really bad memory. If I don't remember it, it didn't happen, and I've made so many embarrassing mistakes there are very few things I do want to remember.



draelynn
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29 Mar 2011, 7:59 pm

I have a hard time with embarrassment. Sometimes I know I've blown it, others I don't. Either way I have a very hard time with it - I've carried some of it around for decades. I just can't let the humiliation go. And it extends to other people. I can't watch someone being humiliated - I always feel the strong need to step in and stop it. I can't watch movies where humiliation is a major theme - lots of comedies take this route anymore. It makes me so uncomfortable it feels like I'll crawl out of my skin.



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29 Mar 2011, 10:40 pm

I know what you mean. I'm extremely self-conscious and at the same time I'm pretty clueless about how people see me. That is a very bad combination, because it guarantees that I will make embarrassing mistakes. Unfortunately, I am not blind to people's reaction. That is how I know that I made a mistake. I get these odd silences, when people just look at me, and I know that I've done something wrong.

I have to think about pretty much everything that I do or say, so that i won't make some sort of mistake. I hate having to do this, but my instincts are useless.


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29 Mar 2011, 11:01 pm

My anxiety makes me a jerk and I can imagine people must think I am rude and stupid because of my social oopsies I do and they know I am not meaning to be rude so they must think I am stupid. I read posts at Babycenter and it makes me realize how I probably come off as to people. But you know what, I don't even care. Instead it just makes me even more asocial because I am afraid of saying the wrong thing.

And if people remember the things you have said or done back then and decide to hold it against you, they are the sorts of people who hold a grudge and act like you are the same person.

And sometimes my AS embarrasses me. I was in birth class and I kept making people laugh and I didn't know why. Then after the classes, my husband finally told me I kept saying things lot of people wouldn't say and I was taking the questions too literal because of the way I answered them. But I don't let it bother me because I will never see those people again so who cares what they might have thought.

And people laughing, I often wonder if I said something funny or cute or did I say something wrong or are they laughing at me, did I say something stupid. Lot of times I think I am just funny and I make people laugh.


I also talk too loud and don't even realize it.



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29 Mar 2011, 11:17 pm

I used to have anxiety but I changed. I stopped caring about what people thought of me. I mean if I don't see someone much or ever again what should it matter? I mean there might be a little anxiety there, usually I know I can look like a target but I try to not worry about it. I've pretty much given up on trying to get better social skills and just use what I have.


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Joe90
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30 Mar 2011, 6:05 am

Yensid wrote:
I know what you mean. I'm extremely self-conscious and at the same time I'm pretty clueless about how people see me. That is a very bad combination, because it guarantees that I will make embarrassing mistakes. Unfortunately, I am not blind to people's reaction. That is how I know that I made a mistake. I get these odd silences, when people just look at me, and I know that I've done something wrong.

I have to think about pretty much everything that I do or say, so that i won't make some sort of mistake. I hate having to do this, but my instincts are useless.
I like what you said about being extremely self-conscious yet at the same time clueless of how others see me which is a bad combination. That is exactly what I've been trying to say. It is a bad combination, because sometimes it causes others to criticise. My mum knows how self-conscious I am, but then in the next breath she says to me, ''you worry all the time of other people looking at you, yet you go and do something what makes them look at you. You can't be that self-conscious then.'' And I never know what to say to that. There is nothing I can do about it because there are so many ''rules'' NTs live by, especially when they're out in the street, and NTs being so judgemental of eachother at the drop of a hat - it's so confusing to know what's what and how to be.

When I was 10 (although this was a long time ago now), my mum was talking to her friend in the street (who also had a 10-year-old daughter), and, I don't remember this, but apparently I was laying on the floor because I was getting bored - and usually 10-year-olds don't do that any more. My mum's friend's daughter just stood there (she is NT), and she would never lay on the floor in public at that age. And the trouble is, my mum is still friends with this friend, and I know she's probably forgotten about it (I hope so!) I still feel ashamed.


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