Big hello everyone - what now? Would really value opinions!

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Assasta
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05 Jan 2013, 10:56 pm

Hi Everyone,

I should apologise firstly - I've loitered for weeks now and this is the first time I've said hello. I really would value some of your thoughts and experiences on the basic 'now what' question.

Basically my question is:

Is there any point getting a formal diagnosis... and can this impact on a relationship?

... but I'll expand below because I know the personal value of that might differ from person to person.

edit - I apologise for everything below this line... I did try not to ramble... I even numbered and bullet pointed and edited it twice! Sorry!!
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1. My partner told me she thinks I may have Asperger's. I read several books and we both laughed and despaired at the same time! The similarities between myself, and our relationship together, was unbelievable.

2. She gave me some tests to complete, more for her own interest, acknowledging they are not a diagnostic tool!

AQ: 40
Aspie Score: 154 of 200
RAADS-R: 176 total
EQ: 12


3. Given this information, she is wondering 'how to deal' with me, whether I can change, and how she feels about that. We have a fantastic relationship most of the time, but there are times I am a nightmare and do not behave or react to things in a 'normal' manner:

'sensory tantrums' such as when...
...the washing powder makes my clothes feel different
...the water tastes different
...there is noise that overwhelms me but she can't even hear it
...she changes a lightblub and it alters the rooms light
'freakouts' when...
...unexpected changes to our plans
...going to new social events
...I haven't planned an outing to the Nth degree

I can go days not relating to her emotionally as I'm busy with whatever obsession it is that month, not even going out or even getting fully dressed, and going nocturnal (I just cringed when I told you that!)

I sound like a monster but there are hundreds of good things about me, too, thankfully!! ! I can't imagine a life without her, but I want it to be a great life for us both!

So here we are... I don't know what the pros and cons are to a diagnosis for myself. I don't know how to be better for her in our relationship and how a diagnosis may affect this (if indeed a diagnosis was even given).

There are other areas I really struggle in life at the minute (jobs, career, friends, social anxiety) but it's really because of my partner I'm even considering my next move.

I don't know if I'd be more scared of getting a diagnosis or not getting one!



Tim_Tex
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06 Jan 2013, 12:01 am

Welcome to WP!



Assasta
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06 Jan 2013, 12:10 am

Thanks Tim :)



Sylant
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06 Jan 2013, 2:49 am

First off welcome, it's good to have you here.

A diagnosis isn't really needed unless how you feel it's impacting on your life negatively and you want some help, because if you are happy continuing your life as you have it currently all it would give you is a label. I am in no way a doctor, and those tests aren't a diagnosis tool, but you did score quite consistently with what would be considered "on the spectrum".

But again, if you are content with not having a formal diagnosis, then that is all there is, it's not needed. I don't think it would effect your relationship in anyway, even if you were diagnosed you would still in every way be the person she fell in love with.



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06 Jan 2013, 8:06 am

Hi Assasta,

It's all new to me also, I only self-diagnosed about a week ago and it's taking some time to sink in.

But I don't think I'll be bothering with an official diagnosis anytime soon.

So far, the self-diagnosis and the info I have researched are really just re-affirming a lot I already knew about myself, just not in academic-speak.

Personally, I am ...Proud(?) of the differences I see in myself from the mainstream, always have been. If folks want to give it a name, that's OK with me, but I DO feel somewhat empowered knowing that it isn't just me alone, and most importantly that I haven't just been patronizing myself to cover up sheer weirdness.

It isn't weirdness, It's Asperger's, and I'm fine with that!.

BTW 166 of 200. 35AQ.


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Assasta
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06 Jan 2013, 10:22 pm

Thanks Sylant and TedMart,

Sylant I can see there's a lot of truth in what you say... logical, which is probably what I need right now :)

TedMart, I have similar thoughts to you. I love how individually I think about things... proud, as you say, might be the best word I can come up with, too!

I think I've been unsettled by the sudden realisation of how others see me.

That's something I've never understood before. I knew people said I was eccentric, and this used to upset me when young as I was trying so hard to 'fit in' and float under the radar!

As I got older I started to love 'me'... but now, suddently having, not a label, but an illustration I can look at and think: Oh my God, this is how I come across to people... and even this takes so much effort. It's kind of sapped my social confidence a bit because I don't know if my 'act' has been correct - does that make any sense?!

My partner is as Sylant says; comepletely unsurprised and unchanged. It's my view of myself in her eyes that's changed and I guess I'm nervous she may see me as inadequate, or lacking...

TedMart, what made you look into it for yourself? I like how positively you're seeing everything. Mine isn't all negative :)... I've actually taken up habits and coping mechanisms I'd tried stamping out of myself to 'seem normal'... and in fact I'm already much calmer just by restarting a few obsessions and flicking my fingers lol. My partner says I do that constantly anyway even though I really had thought I'd stamped it out previously!

Take Care :)



noxnocturne
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06 Jan 2013, 11:25 pm

Welcome! :)



Sylant
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07 Jan 2013, 1:02 am

I'm not sure what the medical system is like where you live, but if it is inexpensive i'm inclined to suggest you make an appointment to see someone. Not because I think you need help, but I believe it would bring you a lot of comfort getting the perspective of a professional, just so you can avoid over thinking this and harming your confidence with constant self analysis.

As for obtaining a more positive perspective on the world, it all depends on you. Nobody can change how the world looks or behaves, only how we on an individual level see and react to it. I don't claim to be able to do that consistently, but if consciously acted upon, even if just some of the time, it can have a profound impact.

Imagine the times when you were truly happy, it may have been reaffirmed by external stimuli but ultimately all it took was a comparatively small change to alter how you perceive everything around you. That mindset is within everyone all the time, but I believe we're afraid to show it in our everyday life because at that time we are truly ourselves, and at our most vulnerable. But by lowering the barriers we put up, it usually indicates to others that it's alright for them to do the same. Perhaps in that way, on a very personal level, we can all change the world.

At the end of the day though, how the world sees you is not important, because to over complicate the situation by constantly berating ourselves with what they might be thinking is perhaps to overstate how often they actually do think of us in a negative way.



TedMart
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07 Jan 2013, 7:44 am

Assasta wrote:
TedMart, what made you look into it for yourself? I like how positively you're seeing everything.


I spent the last ten years being Sole Caregiver for my Mother who suffered from Dementia. When she passed this May, I was forced to start my entire life over again from scratch, having lost all momentum during that time.

Since I am facing age 50 and alone, I knew that I didn't have time to waste trying to blindly (but adventurously) find my way through the BS of life a second time, so I had to take a good hard look at myself and finally answer some of the tougher questions I had always had in the back of my head.

It wasn't really much of a shock to see my AQ scores because it all made so much sense at that point.

The positivity comes from a long hard life of trying to figure out the why's and wherefore's of my differences in society, and a good dose that famous Aspie craving for 'Truth". Between you, me, and everyone else that might read this, before I even knew the name for it, I had realized that my way of thinking made a lot more sense and held a lot more promise for society as a whole than the Mainstream way of thinking (that's where there the Pride comes in).

Intolerance for BS and deceit? check.
Methodical and honest in thought, deed, and word? check.
A tendency to shut down in the face of over-stimulation to avoid confusion and mishap? check.
An aversion to, or simple lack of, innate intuition about nonsense and virtually meaningless social norms? check.

The list goes on, and personally, the whole idea of Asperger's being a next positive neurological evolutionary step for Humanity based on the idea of a more efficiently active brain (Intense World Theory) rings true to me.

As far as your "Snapped' self-confidence? I don't see self-doubt there, I see a reasonable and cautious, "self-check". Usually when when I leave the house I take a quick peek in a mirror before I go out the door. It isn't that I really believe I have chocolate smeared all over my face, I'm just doing a quick self-check. I think this kind of honest openness to the possibility that there may be room for improvement is an asset, and certainly more "correct' than all those fools who think so highly of themselves that they wouldn't dream they may need a little self-check of their own now and then.


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Assasta
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07 Jan 2013, 8:12 am

Morning Sylant,

I don't have a response to what you've said, yet. But I'm thinking on it. It's always helpful to get a different view on things... now to stop overthinking things for a bit and go out for coffee :)



Assasta
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07 Jan 2013, 8:43 am

TedMart wrote:
Between you, me, and everyone else that might read this, before I even knew the name for it, I had realized that my way of thinking made a lot more sense and held a lot more promise for society as a whole than the Mainstream way of thinking (that's where there the Pride comes in).

Intolerance for BS and deceit? check.
Methodical and honest in thought, deed, and word? check.
A tendency to shut down in the face of over-stimulation to avoid confusion and mishap? check.
An aversion to, or simple lack of, innate intuition about nonsense and virtually meaningless social norms? check.


Amen to that :)

I hope you're getting your momentum back after caring for your Mother. That can't be easy - I guess we're both doing a 'self-check' at the minute. You're definitely right about life being too short for BS and stumbling through life.

It's odd to write a response on here when I have very few fully formed thoughts, I'm normally the exact opposite - so just to say thanks for the input :) I'm going to let my thoughts sink in for a while and see where they fall.



Sylant
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07 Jan 2013, 9:03 am

Assasta wrote:
It's odd to write a response on here when I have very few fully formed thoughts, I'm normally the exact opposite - so just to say thanks for the input :) I'm going to let my thoughts sink in for a while and see where they fall.


That in itself is an interesting thought. I can honestly say that while my writing may come across as articulate and well planned, my ability to translate that into the 'real world' is quite limited. I thought for a very long time that there was something deficient in the way I think without realizing until quite late in life that it was simply my ability to verbally communicate them. I mistook my inability to openly discuss my thoughts as a sign my mind itself was at fault, when really my thoughts are not nearly as scattered as I thought, and if given a little time to collect them and express them in a way other than verbally they are almost fluid.

I think you may be in a similar situation, as someone who claims to have very few fully formed thoughts, you come across as thoughtful, perhaps even with a contemplative insight into yourself that many people do not possess. I know you are currently without a diagnosis of any kind to form 'coping mechanisms' around, but if you were to pursue a different frame of mind based on your own self assessment I think you could see a lot of benefits. Do not see yourself as having a disability, but instead acknowledge the difference in how you think as opposed to a typically minded person and view the world from those eyes for a little while. Allow yourself to think in the way your mind wants to rather than trying to force it into a structure that it was not built for.



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07 Jan 2013, 9:08 am

Finding a partner who understands your special needs is a lot more useful than getting a diagnosis in most parts of the world--particularly if you are an older adult--most services are geared toward younger people. This works even better if you also realized that most NTs also have special needs ...



SarahB88
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07 Jan 2013, 9:40 am

My personal opinion is that a professional diagnosis is simply a personal preference, unless you feel you need any medical help or therapy... For myself, my very close friend/Teacher told me I have patterns that closely resemble AS, and just hearing and reading about it, it described me perfectly... It explained my entire life... Everything finally made sense to me and it brought about a great peace...

In our relationship (let me also mention, AS describes him also, but maybe in my case a bit more extreme), my difficulties and differences did very often cause problems and conflicts, and not understanding the reason behind the things I did were often frustrating to us both... There were many times that our relationship nearly ended because of something AS-related...

What changed after knowing? The dynamic of our relationship... He finally had an understanding of my "ticks" and difficulties/differences, as did I! He immediately said, from his heart, he vowed to always be there, encouraging, supporting, loving... My AS can be on the emotional side, even when I don't understand the emotions, so that is exactly what I need from a life partner... Someone to care and love and encourage and support... Along with his understanding, he vowed to help and care for me in any way he could... I understand now that I need help in many areas of my life that I wouldn't previously admit, and have asked him for help, and he has completely been there... My own understanding has brought me a peace and passiveness; it has increased my already submissive nature... I understand and feel that he knows what is going on with me on a daily basis--mentally, physically, and spiritually--and I trust that he knows best... This fresh dynamic has been working beautifully and gracefully since learning about AS...

Before learning about AS, my forgetfulness, communication barriers, and social ineptness caused so many problems and arguments in our relationship, as often as 3-4 times a week; it was a roller coaster of emotions, nearly constantly! It was exhausting! Since learning about AS a bit over a week ago, I have still had a few communication problems, but there hasn't been any upset or frustration... Mainly because of his understanding of what is causing my failure to always communicate effectively, and also because of his devotion to help me through it and work with me, rather than say I needed to change my mannerisms (as happened often in the past)... Also, it has helped me recognize my own patterns, and when I do something "Aspergian" (hehe) I recognize it, even if I can't help it...

One main difference in my life now, is that I've relaxed with the understanding and have allowed myself to return to who I am... No more mimicking, no more pretending to be someone else... That's so tiring! It has also changed our relationship! We are both 100% and completely ourselves!! Whatever we feel, we do! It's amazing...

So, to wrap up my response (I tend to go on and on with my own thoughts as well, while writing...), I don't think your partner would view you in any negative way... Perhaps she understands now! Perhaps this could change and better your relationship! Have a talk/discussion if you can... Ask how she feels... I understand this is difficult for us aspies to initiate these discussions, but it could change your entire relationship... For the better!

I have so much more love and respect for Billy now, more than ever before! With this new understanding, it is in our hearts to reach out to others with AS...



Assasta
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07 Jan 2013, 2:01 pm

Sylant wrote:
Assasta wrote:
Allow yourself to think in the way your mind wants to rather than trying to force it into a structure that it was not built for.


I'm currently considering doing a new qualification/special interest, and we're also moving house at the minute, too. So a new way of going about things may be just what's needed with this new info in mind. Thanks for your thoughts, Sylant. They've been genuinely helpful to me.

BTDT wrote:
This works even better if you also realized that most NTs also have special needs ...


I tend to attract a fair few NT's with their own 'mental baggage'. It's quite amazing how normal NT's can make you look in comparison to some of them! ;)

SarahB88 wrote:
It was a roller coaster of emotions, nearly constantly! It was exhausting! [...] Also, it has helped me recognize my own patterns, and when I do something "Aspergian" (hehe) I recognize it, even if I can't help it...

One main difference in my life now, is that I've relaxed with the understanding and have allowed myself to return to who I am... No more mimicking, no more pretending to be someone else... That's so tiring!


My partner's been amazing, too... and reminds me that she knew exactly how difficult, amazing, unique, contradictory and worthwhile I was before getting into a relationship with me! lol

She used to say she was always on edge with me ecause at any minute a 'roller coaster' of emotions might start with no way for her to stop me once I started... I think now she knows it wasn't always one thing but 'the straw that broke the camels back'... or sensory overload, she's understanding more what we need to change. She's completely NT, though... actually further away from the spectrum than the average person! Very high empathy scores for example (although I always get cross as I do feel I have high empathy, just feel it in different ways)

I've started to get back to 'who I am' as well. It's been quite liberating over the past few weeks. I find that I see myself like a mirror in other females with asperger's, especially, so reading a female perspective has been really useful in understanding myself.

Here's to 2013 and no more mimicking :lol:



B19
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12 Jan 2013, 5:35 am

It's hard for me to join anything, because I expect to misunderstood now, after more than six decades of it. I looked at all the Aspergers sites and this was easily the best, it was the only one that felt comfortable to me. I am an aspie, my adult son and my adult daughter are aspies, and my grandson is autistic (so are we, but he has different symptoms from us). We were never diagnosed. My grandson was diagnosed at 3. I have one NT daughter, who is married to an aspie man - he is an electrical engineer, head of department at a university, truly aspergian in his career - my mother was an aspie and so is my younger, adult brother. We've mostly lived our lives not being understood and not understanding our selves. We are very close because we are bonded not only as family members but as wrong planet people. I'm the oldest in the family now. Although I have known I have Aspergers for about 3 years now, I have been frightened of making contact, though somehow it is time to do that now.

I feel very alone in my life, I live alone with an orange cat, and no longer work due to health issues, and retiring was a relief, as there were so many workplace issues - bullying, noise, my dislike of open plan offices, multitasking, nothing that would be unfamiliar here. So here I am, B19, hello everyone. I may be on the wrong planet but I'm glad you are sharing it with me.

Thanks Alex for such an important and beautifully organised website, and it was so easy to register. Yes, thanks a lot for that gift.