New Here - Saying Hi and Request for Advice

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ASPrm
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21 Jan 2014, 2:01 am

Hi all. I'm new to these forums and just thought I would introduce myself and also thought I would ask for some advice.

Okay, here goes. My name is Ryan. I'm 26 years old, officially diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome by a psychologist who specializes in ASD 7 years ago (was mis-diagnosed with "Anxiety Disorder N.O.S." as a young child by a psychologist who I can only assume knew nothing about autism at the time, but now specializes in it, go figure). I currently work in Project Management overseeing a medium sized project for a large company. I own my own home, and am generally someone who has learned to cope with my "issues" while also utilizing the strengths AS gives me to put me ahead.

My current interests are computers and gaming (I have a pretty nice rig I built last year), music, television (and specifically serial dramas, my favourites being Breaking Bad and The Wire), current events and researching my interests online.

For my personal life, I am single and my relationship history is borderline non-existent. On a social level, I have a few close friends and lots of acquaintances who don't know me very well. I am gay, and out of the closet in terms of my sexuality to all of my closest friends as well as some acquaintances and some of my family.

That's about it for my introduction. Now onto my advice request.

When I was first diagnosed, I was at a pretty low point in my life. I had attempted suicide in the past, was unemployed, completely isolated socially, and in general not happy with my life. The diagnosis was a breath of fresh air... I now had an explanation for why I was the way that I was.

I then decided I was going to push forward in life and not let AS hold me back, and as mentioned above, have been pretty successful. I also decided I was going to keep my diagnosis on a strict need-to-know basis.

That decision has served me well, but now I'm beginning to re-think it. I have a group of very close friends, who have all begun to move on in their lives in terms of getting married, having kids, etc. My personal life on the other hand seems to be mostly at a stand-still. They are beginning to ask questions occasionally about me not going on lots of (or any really) dates, not having someone to "share my bed with", and things like that.

Anyways, long story short, I'm just looking for advice from people who have ended up telling their long-term friends about their diagnosis for one reason or another, and how it went. Right now, it is a 50-50 call for me. On the pros side, I don't think any of my friends know the real me, and I could let my guard down around them a little bit more and I think it would be a weight off of my shoulders. I wouldn't need to panic the next time they ask me why I haven't been on any dates or ask me why I spend so much time alone at home.

On the cons side, I'm worried about them viewing me as disabled, which is something I have expressly tried to avoid. Also worried about the stigma around autistic disorders and they might mis-understand and it could adversely affect my friendships.

What does everyone think?



Hart
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21 Jan 2014, 3:55 am

Welcome :D

I imagine it was hard enough coming out of the closet the first time, but you've managed to survive, and so I'd say coming out the second time shouldn't be so bad.

Obviously not everyone can accept it, and some may even call you a liar (as my own sister did when I told her), but having it out there will be easier than keeping it in. Not only that, but it will help your friends finally understand any odd behaviours; might even get them off your back about not being I a relationship.

If there are any fallouts, I wouldn't call them real friends anyway. If they think you disabled, remind them that you've known them for years, and you haven't changed, you're just more aware of who you are now. You've done well so far, so you're not disabled.

Perhaps keep it to your closest friends and family for now though; I wouldn't introduce yourself as having AS, and would only tell those you trust. Not enough is known about AS, so you don't want people misjudging you, before they've had a chance to get to know you.


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JakeDay
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21 Jan 2014, 9:26 am

I came out as a bisexual a couple of decades ago and the only people who seemed to notice or care were other bisexuals. Mostly this was a positive experience. It was no big deal.

Recently, I was diagnosed with high functioning autism. Discovering my autism has had a greater, more revolutionary impact on my life than realising my preferences, and most of my friends know about my diagnosis now. It has been a great big second coming out for me, and in some ways, more of a relief. I really felt that I needed to share this news of my diagnosis, because my behaviour has been erratic over the years to say the least. People seem to appreciate knowing why for some reason.

I would say, for the most part, that my friends have been supportive and understanding. A few people haven't been quite so understanding, but even they are usually supportive and interested to learn from my experiences. There's hardly a jerk or patronising as*hole in my world. I have noticed people actually trying to be more accommodating of my needs with some level of understanding. Although I already know a few autistics and aspies quite well, disclosing has attracted more of my kind to me, much like revealing my bisexuality did.

Autism has always affected my ability to work, so I would have to reveal it to the employer at some moment early on. I haven't really worked since my diagnosis. I was recently employed as an actor by a community tv station. I disclosed my autism in the profile that got me the audition - so autism may have a its occasional advantages, and can be a selling point.

With a share house interview I would not be so immediately upfront about it, but again, I would have to reveal this information sooner or later. It depends on my comfort levels. Perhaps after moving in. I'm not sure when. I'm looking for a place right now.

My intimate partners know. They actually think it is kind of cool and sexy. I'm not inclined to agree necessarily, but I ain't complaining!



Marky9
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21 Jan 2014, 10:40 am

Welcome!

I am in a similar situation, though a bit later in life. I wish I had been diagnosed sooner like you have been. :)

My experience has been that my few friends react to learning of my AS in the way that I present it.

If I present it solemnly as though I was confiding the diagnosis of a catastrophic, life-threatening and possibly contagious, incurable disease, then they tend to react to it as such. That can put a wedge in our friendship.

But if I present it as I view it, which is just an interesting part of me that I just discovered and that has been the starting point a new bit of adventure, then they more often just roll with it. I much prefer that result.

It is great that you are out to friends because that way you at least don't have to deal with the "why aren't you married" questions and pressures. I find it much easier to deal with family and friends trying to fix me up with other guys. :)


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cathylynn
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21 Jan 2014, 11:39 am

I keep my AS close to the vest. two of my three sisters know and a couple friends. anyone who asks you why you're not dating more is being rude and doesn't deserve an answer. if someone asked me that I'd shrug and change the subject.



AnonymousAnonymous
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21 Jan 2014, 5:11 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet!


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Oren
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23 Jan 2014, 2:09 pm

Welcome :salut:


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ASPrm
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25 Jan 2014, 3:11 am

Hey everyone.

Thanks for the replies and sorry for the delay in responding, I do appreciate them. Just been really busy lately.

Just to clarify one thing, my friends don't ask me any of those things in a rude way, my friends are pretty mature and great. I worded that part of my first post poorly... it is more along the lines that they'll ask me if I've been seeing anyone lately, what I spend my free time on, etc. I tend to interpret things as being accusing or probing from other people when they (usually) really aren't. It would just be easier if they would ease off sometimes I guess.

Marky9, that is great advice. I have a tendency to present things very formally, and even rehearse in my head how I'm going to present and explain something. I've been rehearsing these conversations in my head for a week now! To me that is the logical way to handle things but my NT friends probably see it differently.

I've been thinking about this some more and I'm not going to force it, I'll just let it come up naturally in conversation. That is most likely the best way to handle it.



MannyBoo
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25 Jan 2014, 8:36 am

Welcome :)



envirozentinel
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26 Jan 2014, 6:00 am

I knew was gay long before I was diagnosed with AS. Actually, as a child, the professionals had no idea how to categorize my condition. :lol:

My partner only wishes he knew of my AS years ago, and that I could have been diagnosed 15 years ago or so, which would have made him understand things so much better. However, I seriously think he's also somewhere on the spectrum, but in a different way...

People don't need to know of either your diagnosis or your orientation, unless you really trust them and want to share it with them. I do so only when I feel comfortable with it, and have had mostly supportive feedback.

I don't think one's friends and acquaintances really need be obsessed with imagining who you share your bed with. I'm sure they're a cool bunch, but try to keep your conversation light and refreshing, and keep therm guessing between the lines a bit sometimes! :wink:

I do know that you are perfectly capable of being in a relatonship with the right person that can understand you and that "clicks" with you.

Best of luck, and a warm welcome to WP.



StarCity
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26 Jan 2014, 3:54 pm

Hi ASPrm,
Welcome to WP :)


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We, the people on the Autistic Spectrum have a choice.
We can either try to "fit in" with the rest of society, or we can be so egocentric that we can't be bothered.
I choose the actor. I observe NT's. I listen to their socializing. I practice it, so in social situations I can just emulate/mimic what is expected.
It isn't natural for me, but it enables me to "fit in".
It is VERY tiring and draining, but at least we can appear like them even though it is an act. Like being on the stage.
They can't see it is emulation, and so we are accepted.