Hypnotism? Or brainwashing of some kind?

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NorahW
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12 Nov 2006, 7:47 pm

I know these are extreme, but is there something that could make me believe I have AS and **accept*** it? Why do I have so much trouble with this? Other people are self-diagnosed and have had doctors tell them they're not AS. But they still believe they are. Why can't I believe it all the time and not think that there's anything wrong or bad about it? Hasn't anyone had to go through this or did you always accept it immediately, like I did with social anxiety disorder?

I just want to not obsess about it, to just realize that I'm probably this way and will always be this way and to deal with it, instead of always trying to prove I'm not by going to more doctors. Getting diagnosed once would help, of course, but I don't know if it's going to happen.



SteveK
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12 Nov 2006, 8:21 pm

Nora,

Does it really MATTER? How old are you? I am over 40, and started showing signs before I was 2. I doubt it could have been anything as progressive as brain cancer or some such. Besides, I have had a few brain scans(long story), and I guess there was NO damage or cancer showing. Everything came back HEALTHY! I also have no symptoms one would expect with something like that.

Frankly, with what I know, I am CONVNCED I fit the AS profile.

If I was told I didn't, I wouldn't believe.

If I somehow felt, tomorrow, that I was wrong, I would still be the same person, etc... I'm just glad to know others have the SAME problems, etc...

Steve



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12 Nov 2006, 8:29 pm

SteveK wrote:
Nora,

Does it really MATTER? How old are you? I am over 40, and started showing signs before I was 2. I doubt it could have been anything as progressive as brain cancer or some such. Besides, I have had a few brain scans(long story), and I guess there was NO damage or cancer showing. Everything came back HEALTHY! I also have no symptoms one would expect with something like that.

Frankly, with what I know, I am CONVNCED I fit the AS profile.

If I was told I didn't, I wouldn't believe.

If I somehow felt, tomorrow, that I was wrong, I would still be the same person, etc... I'm just glad to know others have the SAME problems, etc...

Steve


Yes, it does matter. I don't **know** if I fit the profile or not. That's the problem. If I seemed to fit it better, it'd be easier to accept. I now feel like people are going to make me accept something that doesn't fit me. I don't get the "difference" when I'm with NT people that someone with AS should be feeling,a nd I can't tell if I'm in denial or what.



walk-in-the-rain
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12 Nov 2006, 8:46 pm

Are you a different person if you have a different label or are you planning on being a different person? If that is the case than that is really what you need to look at I think instead of what exactly the label is. I had other labels (OCD, chronic depression and a major depression before I was a teen). After my son was diagnosed with HFA then I started to wonder about AS after a while because I had not heard of it before and we actually took our son to three different doctors to confirm the autism. When I started learnign about AS it seemed like things fit together where they didn't quite with the other labels. Other people with OCD could be quite outgoing and not shy and I really didn't think I was depressed all the time - I was actually told I was (lol). Now I do think AS is a better description but for me as an adult there is no need to run to change the label. Are you investing too much of your personality into the label - don't forget too that they are inventing new labels also - so if there is a new label is that going to confound things further.



SteveK
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12 Nov 2006, 8:55 pm

Well, Sophist has that nice quiz. I HAVE changed a bit. I APPEAR a bit more NT, but really am not. Maybe I can help.

AS people are supposed to have, what I call at least, skewed senses. That is just an autistic trait. It means basically that autistics can be annoyed or hurt by different types of input than NTs can. I have typically been affected by different frequencies/volumes of light and sound. That is one thing that affects me even today.

AS people are supposed to have some kind of language "problem". Again, it is an autistic trait.
Normal autistics have delayed or impaired capabiliities. AS people have pedantic concrete speach that is above their developmental level.

AS people are supposed to have impaired social skills. Again, an autistic trait.

All of those have to happen BEFORE 3yrs!

Another autistic trait is focused and almost obsessive interest. With AS, it can lead to savantism(genius level knowledge in a small area with other areas normal or lacking) Of course, if you have enough savant areas, it can be considered genius, and many AS people DO do that. BTW with normal autistics, that apparantly doesn't go far, but there have been episodes where it has shown promise(hence films like rain man).

There are other areas, but I think these are the main ones.

SO, do you fit? I doubt a person merely with ADHD, etc... would.

Steve



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12 Nov 2006, 9:13 pm

walk-in-the-rain wrote:
Are you a different person if you have a different label or are you planning on being a different person? If that is the case than that is really what you need to look at I think instead of what exactly the label is. I had other labels (OCD, chronic depression and a major depression before I was a teen). After my son was diagnosed with HFA then I started to wonder about AS after a while because I had not heard of it before and we actually took our son to three different doctors to confirm the autism. When I started learnign about AS it seemed like things fit together where they didn't quite with the other labels. Other people with OCD could be quite outgoing and not shy and I really didn't think I was depressed all the time - I was actually told I was (lol). Now I do think AS is a better description but really as an adult there is no need to run to change the label. Are you investing too much of your personality into the label - don't forget too that they are inventing new labels also - so if there is a new label is that going to confound things further.


If I was diagnosed AS, it'd mean a totally opposite therapy to the kind I should be getting as someone with social phobia, at least for the social part, which is my biggest problem and where I need the most therapy.

Social skills classes for Aspies: The focus is on "be careful, you might make a mistake with dire consequences". "You don't have good social skills with NT's...we'll help you learn the social rules because you don't pick them up naturally and what you think you know is probably wrong, because of the way your brain is wired".

Cognitive-behavioral (CBT) groups for social anxiety: The focus is: "You probably have all the normal social skills, reactions etc., but because of your anxiety you haven't been able to use them very well; you actually have a falsely negative view of your social skills. In this group we'll help you to gradually get over that fear, by graduual exposures to fearful social situations, acting them out in class and so on." Sometimes people doing "exposures" in social skills classes will actually deliberately do something mildly "weird" in public to try to desenstitize themselves to people's stares, funny looks, etc. (This would never be permitted in an AS group because it'd be supposed that the people didn't even know they were getting the funny looks, or that the action was considered mildly weird.)

Social skills groups for Aspies = "You're different from NT society and it shows in your social actions. You may or may not know this, though you are undoubtedly aware you have problems fitting in. If you want to fit in, hold a job, just go around in society without being arrested, you need to learn to appear normal but you never will be really able to interact with NT's because your brain is wired differently. And since most of the world is NT, you will always be different, whether that's good or bad."

CBT groups for socially anxious people = "You're OK socially except for your fear, anxiety and avoidance; that's a big deal but if you can get over it you'll probably get along just fine socially; maybe you won't be the life of the party if you're an introvert, but you will be able to have normal friendships/relationships with the normal types of problems people have in those."

To be really blunt about it:
Social skills groups for Aspies: Don't trust yourself socially around NT's.
CBT groups for social anxiety sufferers: You must learn to trust yourself socially!

See why an accurate diagnosis is so important for me? If my main problem was OCD, it probably wouldn't make as much of a difference if I was AS or not, ,because CBT would probably work for both. But for social things, an entirely different type of group and focus is necessary.

An example of this happened to me a week ago. I was emailing with a local woman who heads up an AS support network in this area..I'm not sure if she's AS or NT but I don't think it matters for this discussion. Anyway, I was feeling that day that I must definitely be AS, and was asking about getting diagnosed. I forget why but I brought up having gone somewhere with some co-workers the previous night. Her response was very quick: "Aspies shouldn't get involved in the social network at work...there is too much going on, and Aspies won't be able to handle the subtleties and may end up losing their jobs." I asked her about several types of social events in the past or upcoming at work: She basically said I should have declined all of them gracefully except an upcoming Christmas party. She went on to say how I should act at the party, including never talking about myself but turning the conversation back on the other person; I think she thought I'd either get onto a special interest topic and not be able to stop, or that I'd reveal something about myself that should be kept secret, that I didn't know what should be kept secret or what shouldn't, or that I might just reveal something that could be a source of teasing or bullying to others.

This is the exact opposite of what I was told when I was in CBT for social anxiety: There I was told to go to these gatherings; if I wanted and it was possible I didn't have to stay long or say much; but that I needed to get out and de-sensitize myself to my social fears. It was assumed that I would know how to behave at these gatherings; that I would not get myself involved in subtle social maneuverings that I would have no way to get out of, or that I would know how to avoid such traps. That, if I didn't act too fearful, I probably would be considered a normal, probably somewhat quiet person who didn't present an odd appearance and didn't need to be told what topics to avoid.

I hope this is making sense...I have a really hard time explaining this difference to people, especially now that AS has made such a big splash. I think even some people think social anxiety = Asperger's and that if you have social anxiety you must have AS. But having been to groups for both, there's a huge difference in the way social problems are treated.



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12 Nov 2006, 9:25 pm

walk-in-the-rain wrote:
Are you a different person if you have a different label or are you planning on being a different person?


Yes, I am a different person with a different label. AS means I don't do social rules and social things naturally, but have to learn the rules like I learned math. SA only (without AS) means I have the brain wiring to do OK socially, but need to get over my irrational fears and anxieties.

One of my big fears as a socially anxious person is that I don't understand social rules, only think I do. If I also have AS, that would confirm it and mean **knowing for a fact** what I formerly only **feared irrationally was true**.

I think it's like the difference between a sore leg caused by a pulled muscle or a sore leg from arthritis or something that won't go away.



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12 Nov 2006, 9:34 pm

Nora,

She sounds like an IDIOT!! !! !! When I was a kid, I would say the TRUTH a lot, and ask direct questions. Today, I have learned people can't handle the truth. Even though I often appear tactless, I am very tactful. Frankly, I couldn't work as a subcontractor, etc... without knowing that. AS people aren't stupid. There is a wide chasm between social/gregarious/friendly and offensive. I just try to make sure I don't bridge it fully.

BTW, she is just an IDIOT! Tell her to go get a REAL job! Helping others requires understanding the problem, and treating the people like HUMANS!

Steve



NorahW
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12 Nov 2006, 9:39 pm

SteveK wrote:
Well, Sophist has that nice quiz. I HAVE changed a bit. I APPEAR a bit more NT, but really am not. Maybe I can help.

AS people are supposed to have, what I call at least, skewed senses. That is just an autistic trait. It means basically that autistics can be annoyed or hurt by different types of input than NTs can. I have typically been affected by different frequencies/volumes of light and sound. That is one thing that affects me even today.


No, I don't have a problem at all with light or sound. People's tone of voice can bother me if I think they're directing it at me (they're annoyed at me, or their voice sounds happy when they talk to someone else and "meh" when they talk to me. )

SteveK wrote:
AS people are supposed to have some kind of language "problem". Again, it is an autistic trait.
Normal autistics have delayed or impaired capabiliities. AS people have pedantic concrete speach that is above their developmental level.


Don't think I had this either. I think I may have sounded a little older as a kid because I was around my parents all the time and never around other kids, due to my dad's fear of me catching something.


SteveK wrote:
AS people are supposed to have impaired social skills. Again, an autistic trait.

All of those have to happen BEFORE 3yrs!


I do have impaired social skills! But I think it developed at about age 4 or 5. But it's hard to tell, as I was mainly around adults until the summer before I started kindergarten.


SteveK wrote:
Another autistic trait is focused and almost obsessive interest. With AS, it can lead to savantism(genius level knowledge in a small area with other areas normal or lacking) Of course, if you have enough savant areas, it can be considered genius, and many AS people DO do that. BTW with normal autistics, that apparantly doesn't go far, but there have been episodes where it has shown promise(hence films like rain man).


I have hobbies and interests, and am obsessed about "what's wrong with me, why don't I have friends and relattionships like normal people...is it AS or something else". I did have hobbies as a kid that not all other kids had, though I tried to keep them hidden from other kids. For instance, I was the only girl in the 1960's mid-Michigan, apparently, who liked to watch professional baseball games on TV and had a crush on one of the players. That was weird--the other girls were all into the Monkees or that one guy on "Dark Shadows". But like I said, I never talked about baseball, and after watching the Monkees a couple times I could talk about that too if needed. This didn't mean I had more friends though.

SteveK wrote:
There are other areas, but I think these are the main ones.

SO, do you fit? I doubt a person merely with ADHD, etc... would.

Steve


Well, I don't fit on a couple of them, and don't really think I fit the one about interests, as any intelligent, introverted person is going to have a few interests besides socializing even if they're not AS. (I hope they're not going to say that all introverts are AS?) But I do fit the socializing one, and I'm not sure if it's for a developmental reason, an environmental reason, or a combination of the two.



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12 Nov 2006, 9:42 pm

BTW I was isolated from a lot of the "adult" STUPIDITY in society until sometime in the 70s, so I was blissfully unaware. There was little I could say to enrage large groups, etc... Today, there is a LOT. Luckily, I know about 98% of it. The other 2% nobody is too likely to know, and I try to err on caution. I won't even mention how a certain race is named after the color of their skin, and that name is based on a latin word most europeans would know! HECK, MY race is named after a mountain range, and I dislike its sound, especially when used to show a related member by using the latin suffix idicating similarity. But HEY, I have to live with it!

Steve



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12 Nov 2006, 9:44 pm

NorahW wrote:
One of my big fears as a socially anxious person is that I don't understand social rules, only think I do. If I also have AS, that would confirm it and mean **knowing for a fact** what I formerly only **feared irrationally was true**.

I think it's like the difference between a sore leg caused by a pulled muscle or a sore leg from arthritis or something that won't go away.


I was upset at first too. But then, over time, I found out that when I used the AS wisdom & techniques, it became power over things that used to defeat me. That's when I began to accept it. It's not about weakness at all. :)



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12 Nov 2006, 9:48 pm

Norah,

To me, it sounds like you AREN'T AS. But hey, is that so bad? Maybe you have ADD and it is affecting your social life. That is possible, and would fit with your feelings.

Steve



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12 Nov 2006, 9:50 pm

SteveK wrote:
Nora,

She sounds like an IDIOT!! !! !! When I was a kid, I would say the TRUTH a lot, and ask direct questions. Today, I have learned people can't handle the truth. Even though I often appear tactless, I am very tactful. Frankly, I couldn't work as a subcontractor, etc... without knowing that. AS people aren't stupid. There is a wide chasm between social/gregarious/friendly and offensive. I just try to make sure I don't bridge it fully.

BTW, she is just an IDIOT! Tell her to go get a REAL job! Helping others requires understanding the problem, and treating the people like HUMANS!

Steve


I think she thinks she is helping, and not knowing anything about me, for all she knows I may make mistake after mistake socially at work and be on the verge of being fired. Also, and another thing that bugs me, is that I think not enough of the people who are doing the helping, know many older adult Aspies, and are basing their advice on what they would tell a 20-something Aspie just getting out into the business world.
If someone is AS and over 40 and has managed to remain employed almost constantly for 20 or so years then of course we'd have picked up a lot of informatiton on how we should or shouldn't behave.

But on the other hand I've heard of many an adult employed Aspie say they like to avoid the social stuff at work (for instance, teachers avoiding the teachers' break room), and have mentioned feeling either left out or downright disliked at work, so maybe there's something in it. And people who are disliked by the boss, are usually among the first to get laid off in a downsizing, even if there's no reason to fire a person.



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12 Nov 2006, 9:58 pm

Does having AS mean having to go into a formal program? The rules you are applying do not necessarily work regardless of what label you have. Being AS doesnt mean not ever trusting yourself around others or patterning your life around that principle. That is what sets you up for constant social anxiety. Many people with AS once they realize what is going on can learn to adjust without formal training. You have made it this far right? Same with social anxiety - for some people there is a program or medication and for others once they learn they are anxious they can take to work around it. I have a label of OCD - I have not had formal CBT - that is not mandatory because it is not something that I think works for me. I have also tried medication which is supposed to be effective for 80% of people with OCD which did not work either. A seizure medication seemed to help the most but I wasn't interested in the side effects. So you are not stuck with either not trusting yourself if you have AS or with forcing yourself if you have social anxiety instead. There is a middle ground. And there really is no reason why you could not have anxiety along with AS - they seem to go together. People with AS existed before formal labels for them and managed. It may not have been pretty but for some of them it may have actually worked out because they didn't have limitations imposed on them because of those labels much like that woman was trying to impose on those she thinks have AS.



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12 Nov 2006, 10:00 pm

Well to be honest I think that woman's advice is pretty ridiculous and should probably be discarded by many, if not most, people who are AS. I know you said you don't know if she's AS or not, but I'm guessing she's NT because that sounds like the condescending manner in which so many NT people view aspies. She seems to be making some very broad generalizations. Her assumption that any AS person is doomed to mess up any social situation at work isn't just self-defeating, it's also wrong. AS vs. not AS isn't the only variable to be taken in account. Remember that there are many different "types" of AS people and a wide range of masking abilities. The kind of work environment and the tolerance level of co-workers also needs to be taken account. Granted I've only had summer jobs so I'm not sure how much my anecdotal experience is worth, but I believe I was generally well-liked or at least tolerated by my co-workers, and circumstances basically forced me to interact with them quite a bit on an almost daily basis. Certainly they found me a bit weird and overly quiet, but I was not in any particular danger of losing my job or anything like that. Labels can be useful, but not if the advice you're receiving refuses to make any distinctions between people who share the AS label. That's why I would advise you to try and specify your plans and goals to you, not some generic AS person (as though such a person can even be said to exist).

BTW Norah, if you're still looking to pursue diagnosis I know of an excellent psychologist in the Seattle suburban area who specializes in AS and knows quite a bit about AS in females. Feel free to PM me if you'd like more information.



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12 Nov 2006, 10:10 pm

Nora,

I knew that stuff before I was 10. You don't have to wait until the business world.
People like the one you mentioned have NO excuse. After all, a person with AS is BETTER able to tell what they can do than just some idiot off the street. The only reason that person is supposed to be there is because she has been there, or understands the limits/potential. And the goal is not to avoid the situation. THAT is easy. The goal is to try to attack it and succeed. I've never succeeded, but I never went away with more enemies than I came with.

BTW it is hard to determine what will work. Out of my jobs, about 70% went as I planned expected, WELL! About 28% went better, but were a surprise! I thought they would be worse than they were! about 2% were BLAZING successes, but the client was just some cheating idiot! The last type happens from time to time. They just wanted a free lunch, etc... So that isn't a bad record! I even made a few friends, etc... I did little to socialize though, and felt out of place there.

Steve