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Dessie
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17 May 2011, 11:36 am

Hey everyone,

I kind of need some advice. If anyone can help me, that would be awesome!

The first time I heard about Asperger Syndrome was during my Intro to Psych class in college last semester. I had to do research on Autism for an assignment and I came across AS while I was doing that. The more research I did, the more I thought "Whoa, that sounds like me!" It was like I'd finally found the explaination for why I'd always been so different from everyone I knew my own age. I really feel like I'm right. I know this is the answer. I know I have Asperger Syndrome.

I don't know how talk to my mother about it.

My mom knows how I've always felt. She's been there for me pretty much always. She was always there everytime I was picked on or tormented by my classmates. She knows how much trouble I have in social situations. I really need to talk to her about this. I've been keeping this to myself for weeks, and somehow its kind of exhausting.

I worry, that if I tell her, she won't believe me. I worry that she'll say I'm overreacting, and that she'll repeat her famous "you're going through a phase, you're a late bloomer, you're just shy, you'll grow out of it" speeches.

I'm 18 years old. I don't think she's right about that anymore. I don't see myself "growing out" of this.

So, I could really use some advice. I'm bad enough at explaining myself as is, but I'm afraid that I'm going to come across as some kind of crazy hypochondriac. Or I won't be able to say what I mean clearly. :(

Has anyone been in this situation before? Do you have any advice?



Megz
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17 May 2011, 12:32 pm

Yes, I was recently in that exact same situation. I found Asperger's and realized it fit around the beginning of this last December. I didn't know how to tell my mom. My mom is always very supportive of me, similar to what you described. I was trying to figure out a good way to tell her, but it ended up just coming out just a couple of weeks ago. She told me her friend's grandson was diagnosed with Asperger's. I thought about it all the way back to my place and when I got home I sent her a long text message about all the reasons why HFA or PDD-NOS is a better fit than Asperger's (developmental delays, lack of verbal skills, et cetera). She asked if I learned all that stuff in class, and then I just told her. It was in a text message, which I know is not the optimal way to do these things, but that's what happened. She is still very supportive. I don't have much advice, but just the encouragement that I stumbled into that conversation with no preparation whatsoever and it turned out ok. Good luck :D



wanderinggrl
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17 May 2011, 12:46 pm

I know how you feel, it is exhausting to not share with anyone. I’ve been researching asperser’s for about a year now and still haven’t brought it up to my parents. For all of the reasons you mentioned above. Always being told, “you’re shy, you’ll grow out of it”. One way you could bring it up to your mom is to get her to read some of the information that you relate to. You could explain how your experiences fit the information she read. It might help give her a clearer picture of asperger’s and take some of the pressure off of you to explain everything. Hope this helps. Good luck.



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17 May 2011, 1:01 pm

Sometimes it might take a parent a while. And you might want to do it in stages. 'Yes, I'm starting to think I might be on the Asperger's spectrum. I've read some stuff and I'm going to read some more.'

And, it might take your Mom some time to wrap her mind around it. And kind of like the Mama Bear protective instinct, she doesn't want anyone saying anything negative about her child, and that includes you! Curiously

Yes, being on the Asperger's / Autism Spectrum is more permanent than just a 'stage,' and in that sense in a way, is 'bad news.'

But, it gives a conceptual framework where you can better understand yourself, it gives you a potential tribe so to speak, and it gives positive role models of those on the AS have learned to engage with society, not just conform. And so, in that way, it is 'good news.'

----------------------------

I would have recommended as one stage, in large part for your Mom's peace of mind, to consider getting formally tested. But . . . well, for starters, I'm 48 years old and you can probably guess how I was treated in 1980 when I first say a psychologist at age 17 and no one really that autism was a whole spectrum blending into 'normal' (no such thing as 'normal' anyway :D ). In general, three, four bad experiences, even within the last decade, I find psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, etc, to be egotists, prima donnas, people who have to be 'right,' people who love to hear themselves talk, people who have their own issues and are perhaps trying to take the high road and both help others and help themselves, but the result ends up rigid and dogmatic (losing that light touch that different things work for different people at different times, of course they do)

I mean, just to lay my cards on the table. (and plenty of people disagree with me, and that's perfectly fine)

Other people have had good experiences, and more power to them. But a fair number of those of us here at Wrong Planet have had negative experiences with mental health professionals.

By the way, my bachelor's degree which I got somewhat later at age 28, is in psychology! Yes, I got something out of the field, I somewhat took it on my own terms. And in general, I'd say psychologists write in a more humanistic manner than they practice.

I also learned a lot reading about civil rights, gay rights, etc. The struggle of people both to be included in greater society and also to improve and elevate greater society.

Welcome to Wrong Planet! :D I think you can be a good contributor and a good fellow member, and hope you find this a friendly place.



Dessie
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17 May 2011, 1:55 pm

Megz wrote:
Yes, I was recently in that exact same situation. I found Asperger's and realized it fit around the beginning of this last December. I didn't know how to tell my mom. My mom is always very supportive of me, similar to what you described. I was trying to figure out a good way to tell her, but it ended up just coming out just a couple of weeks ago. She told me her friend's grandson was diagnosed with Asperger's. I thought about it all the way back to my place and when I got home I sent her a long text message about all the reasons why HFA or PDD-NOS is a better fit than Asperger's (developmental delays, lack of verbal skills, et cetera). She asked if I learned all that stuff in class, and then I just told her. It was in a text message, which I know is not the optimal way to do these things, but that's what happened. She is still very supportive. I don't have much advice, but just the encouragement that I stumbled into that conversation with no preparation whatsoever and it turned out ok. Good luck :D


I'm glad everything worked out for you! Thanks for the advice!



Dessie
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17 May 2011, 1:58 pm

wanderinggrl wrote:
I know how you feel, it is exhausting to not share with anyone. I’ve been researching asperser’s for about a year now and still haven’t brought it up to my parents. For all of the reasons you mentioned above. Always being told, “you’re shy, you’ll grow out of it”. One way you could bring it up to your mom is to get her to read some of the information that you relate to. You could explain how your experiences fit the information she read. It might help give her a clearer picture of asperger’s and take some of the pressure off of you to explain everything. Hope this helps. Good luck.


Oh wow....I don't know if I can keep this to myself for a year. I've had a difficult time trying to figure everything out just these last few weeks!

I was thinking about doing something like that (giving her some websites to look at and such). It doesn't make telling her any easier though.

Thanks for the help and I hope everything works out for you eventually!! !



Dessie
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17 May 2011, 2:01 pm

AardvarkGoodSwimmer wrote:
Sometimes it might take a parent a while. And you might want to do it in stages. 'Yes, I'm starting to think I might be on the Asperger's spectrum. I've read some stuff and I'm going to read some more.'

And, it might take your Mom some time to wrap her mind around it. And kind of like the Mama Bear protective instinct, she doesn't want anyone saying anything negative about her child, and that includes you! Curiously

Yes, being on the Asperger's / Autism Spectrum is more permanent than just a 'stage,' and in that sense in a way, is 'bad news.'

But, it gives a conceptual framework where you can better understand yourself, it gives you a potential tribe so to speak, and it gives positive role models of those on the AS have learned to engage with society, not just conform. And so, in that way, it is 'good news.'

----------------------------

I would have recommended as one stage, in large part for your Mom's peace of mind, to consider getting formally tested. But . . . well, for starters, I'm 48 years old and you can probably guess how I was treated in 1980 when I first say a psychologist at age 17 and no one really that autism was a whole spectrum blending into 'normal' (no such thing as 'normal' anyway :D ). In general, three, four bad experiences, even within the last decade, I find psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, etc, to be egotists, prima donnas, people who have to be 'right,' people who love to hear themselves talk, people who have their own issues and are perhaps trying to take the high road and both help others and help themselves, but the result ends up rigid and dogmatic (losing that light touch that different things work for different people at different times, of course they do)

I mean, just to lay my cards on the table. (and plenty of people disagree with me, and that's perfectly fine)

Other people have had good experiences, and more power to them. But a fair number of those of us here at Wrong Planet have had negative experiences with mental health professionals.

By the way, my bachelor's degree which I got somewhat later at age 28, is in psychology! Yes, I got something out of the field, I somewhat took it on my own terms. And in general, I'd say psychologists write in a more humanistic manner than they practice.

I also learned a lot reading about civil rights, gay rights, etc. The struggle of people both to be included in greater society and also to improve and elevate greater society.

Welcome to Wrong Planet! :D I think you can be a good contributor and a good fellow member, and hope you find this a friendly place.


I'm actually worried about the "getting formally tested" part. I think thats one of the things holding me back from telling her. I've never been to any kind of psychologist before...I've got no idea what would happen or what to expect.

Thanks for the advice and the welcome! :D I look forward to getting to know this place better! It's pretty awesome!



obichris
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17 May 2011, 2:24 pm

Sharing with my parents helped me.

Specifically, my Mother related things from my early childhood that was consistent with an AS diagnosis. Not only that, she saw some of the traits in herself from childhood. She says that she either had an extremely mild case or too many years of coping, as she doesn't see it as a problem any longer. If either of my parents, I would have thought, before this, my Father was somewhere on the spectrum. He has much more obvious signs (unresponsive when focusing, hand flapping/clapping and other stimming in public, obsessive interests, lack of ToM, etc). My Mother is much more like me. She observes, internalizes, and copes.

However for me, it shows a genetic link and the information about my early childhood was useful for diagnosis.

Sorry, I got a little side tracked. My point is that I would definitely encourage you to speak to your Mom. Even if starting the conversation is hard. Luckily, my family knew nothing of Asperger's. I was able to ask some questions without them having a bias either way. Afterwards I explained it to them and gave them some resources. I almost regretted this, since it brought on repeated calls and text for the next few days about some information they had found and how it realed to my childhood.



Dessie
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17 May 2011, 8:07 pm

obichris wrote:
Sharing with my parents helped me.

Specifically, my Mother related things from my early childhood that was consistent with an AS diagnosis. Not only that, she saw some of the traits in herself from childhood. She says that she either had an extremely mild case or too many years of coping, as she doesn't see it as a problem any longer. If either of my parents, I would have thought, before this, my Father was somewhere on the spectrum. He has much more obvious signs (unresponsive when focusing, hand flapping/clapping and other stimming in public, obsessive interests, lack of ToM, etc). My Mother is much more like me. She observes, internalizes, and copes.

However for me, it shows a genetic link and the information about my early childhood was useful for diagnosis.

Sorry, I got a little side tracked. My point is that I would definitely encourage you to speak to your Mom. Even if starting the conversation is hard. Luckily, my family knew nothing of Asperger's. I was able to ask some questions without them having a bias either way. Afterwards I explained it to them and gave them some resources. I almost regretted this, since it brought on repeated calls and text for the next few days about some information they had found and how it realed to my childhood.



The early childhood info is something I want to talk with my mom about too. I mean, I remember stuff, but I'd bet that she remembers everything better than I do.

I don't think my parents know anything about Aspergers either. If they do I've never heard it mentioned. I'm going to talk to my mom later this week. I figure it will be easier to just talk to her than to have both of my parents in the room (and my sister with her ear against the wall listening in). I still don't know how to start the conversation though. I don't just want to go straight out with it though...I think that would probably be overwhelming. You gave me a good idea though, I think I'll start by asking her some of those questions I've had about my own childhood.

Thanks! :D



obichris
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17 May 2011, 11:07 pm

Hope it helps. I know it's hard, I went to their house three times to tell them before I could bring it up. Questions helped because they eventually asked "what is this for?" which started the conversation.



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18 May 2011, 11:22 am

And I think testing is an individual choice.

It's okay to get formally tested.

It's okay not to get formally tested.

Both are valid choices (and even if one does get tested, the psychologist is a flawed human being just like all of us! :D it's not like what they say is etched in stone or anything)



Dessie
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18 May 2011, 7:15 pm

Call this a seriously pathetic update:

I told someone today that I think I have Aspergers...a pretty good friend I've known since high school (one of the few people who has actually continued to put up with me over the years and who knows me reasonably well). Since I hate to talk on the phone for any reason I told him using that Facebook chat thing....and was surprised to find out that he already knows what AS is (apparently the sister of one of his friends has it)! !! !! !

Basically we ended up doing research: looking at some articles, watching some Youtube video's, and discussing which symptoms of AS I have. It was strange to hear that he had noticed many of them (my awkwardness when speaking and my tendency to go on and on and on, the fact that I don't make eye contact, and how clumsy I am) but he never thought I might have AS before. So pretty much, I've found another person who doesn't think I've lost my mind, and who actually believes me. We talked about whether or not it's a good idea for me to have this officially diagnosed (and he thinks it is, I kind of agree, I just don't want to do it yet). And he tells me that he thinks I need to talk to my parents as soon as possible (clearly I agree).

So about three hours later I was just hanging out in the living room with my kitten watching tv and all of a sudden my mom says "What's wrong?" I swear I don't know how she does it but she always knows when something's on my mind.

I had about two seconds to realize that this was probably the nearest thing to "the right moment" that I was going to get. For some reason though, when I opened my mouth to speak, this is what came out: "Nothing."

And she's pretty much like "Okay then."

Well she's still sitting there and I'm thinking how stupid that was and that I'd better say something now. As soon as I opened my mouth I heard this weird hissing steaming noise in the kitchen and my mom got up and was gone that quick. Apparently whatever was in the pot on the stove for dinner had overflowed.

Moment ruined, chances lost. :wall: I'm a moron.

I feel like crap for telling anyone else before I tell my mom...but I think I'm still trying to figure everything out for myself. I don't feel like I could explain myself very well yet.

Maybe I'll have better luck next time.



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18 May 2011, 8:33 pm

I think progress would be a better word than pathetic. You'll find another moment to tell her. Though I don't think you have to wait until you find the perfect moment, whenever you are ready to talk about it is a good time.



obichris
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18 May 2011, 9:27 pm

Like wanderinggrl said... I think this is great progress!

Now you have a chance to say "You know when you asked me what's wrong, well ..." whenever you feel ready.



Dessie
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19 May 2011, 8:50 am

obichris wrote:
Now you have a chance to say "You know when you asked me what's wrong, well ..." whenever you feel ready.


Yes, that is a good thing. I didn't think about that at first.

I guess I did make progress too. I didn't think think about that at first either. :?



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19 May 2011, 3:43 pm

For my mom, it really wasn't a big deal at all. I got home from school one day, and she basically told me this:

"There's this thing called aspergers syndrome, I think you might have it. It explains X, and Y, and Z. Famous people like Einstein and Thomas Jefferson probably had it."

all I said was "I wouldn't be surprised" and "I'll look into it", and that was the end of it really. I've been obsessed with it ever since, but she has yet to mention it again. I don't think it's that big of a deal to her as she already knew there was something different about me. Now she just knows what the name for it is. She didn't seem to be shocked at all (but then again, who am I to notice these sorts of things :lol:).

Personally, if I were you, I would act like it isn't a big deal. If you start to get all dramatic (telling her something is "wrong") and such your mom will take it more seriously. I don't know, maybe you want her to take it seriously, but if you act like it's a bad thing, that's what she is going to think of it. My mom would know enough that if I bring up a topic, that's because it means a lot to me. Just enthusiastically tell her you read about something called AS on the internet, and you think you might have it, but you're not sure. IMO that's the best way to go about it. Hell, tell her about WP and ask her what she thinks of it.


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