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SgtSalt
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26 Apr 2014, 7:26 pm

Hello, I'm new! I'm Emily and I'm still in high school so I'm fairly young.

This post will get pretty lengthy. I've been told I have an awful habit of not knowing when to stop talking, so knowing me this will take a while, especially when it comes to talking about Asperger's. I could literally talk for hours about it.

I suppose I'll start my story in seventh grade. A boy moved to my school, and I think he had severe Asperger's because they pulled my entire class into the auditorium one day and made us watch this video on Asperger's Syndrome. I had never heard of it before then, but as I was watching it I was absolutely astonished because these kids in the video sounded exactly like me. I think I even laughed at one point because it was so scarily similar, and I think I also remarked to someone on the way out about the similarities. When I got home from school, I did a quick Google search on it. I approached my mother afterward and I told her that we had watched a video on Asperger's. I distinctly remember saying, "I thought it was funny because--" I laughed "--these kids sounded kind of like me."

She was washing dishes when I said that. She set the one in her hand down immediately, turned to face me, and said in a stern voice, "You don't have Asperger's. Don't ever think that again."

So I never approached her about it after that. I became embarrassed and tried to stop thinking about it.

Skip forward three years. When I was eleven years old I had an anxiety disorder that was so bad I couldn't leave the house. My parents frequently told me to suck it up and get a hold of myself, but it wasn't until last fall that they actually did something about it. The worst of my anxiety went away around two years ago, but I still could be triggered into panic attacks. I had one last summer because my family forced me into a maze of mirrors, and then the next month they drove me to a therapist/psychologist person for "anxiety problems" (when in reality it was because I refused to let them touch me). The therapist was a total flop; he was a college friend of my mother, and whenever we went to the sessions my parents would sit in the room and speak for me. When I would try to correct them on something, they'd get mad at me so I just stopped cooperating all together. Somehow I was diagnosed with OCD and three phobias although I didn't really talk much.

One time when I went my dad mentioned how much I hated being touched. I tried defending myself by saying a lot of people didn't like it, and when I came back next week I said that I found a lot of people with Asperger's didn't like being touched. My mom was there that week, and she was quick to stop me, saying something about how people with Asperger's weren't normal and I didn't have it anyway. The therapist agreed with her.

That happened last October, and since then, I have been obsessively collecting articles on Asperger's. I convinced myself I had it, but then found out that a lot of gifted children were mistaken for having Asperger's, and I am currently in the high performance group at my school. I remembered what my mom said and I tried telling myself I was still neurotypical and I just had a lot of similarities. However I took a lot of those Aspie tests, and I know they're just things on the internet but I scored so high as an Aspie it was a bit concerning to me. I tried telling myself again that they were just internet quizzes and nothing that actually held any significance.

In November I went to the counselor's office because I was getting worried about something else. I had extremely violent reaction towards certain sounds. Hearing lips smacking or loud breathing or teeth grinding or chewing or kissing or any other repetitive noise made me go insane to a point where I was hitting myself , pulling my hair out, scratching my face and arms, and crying. A few times I had even began screaming and I've actually hit my sister before to get her to stop. I feel so awful for doing it, but when it happens I'm on autopilot and my body reacts without me thinking. I can't actually control it. I can see and hear, but I can't actually really comprehend what I'm seeing and hearing other than the noise that put me over the edge. After I calm down I get really tired and sad.

There's a licensed child psychologist that comes to my school every Thursday, so I was sent to him. I had met up with him a few times the year before for social anxiety stuff, and I talked with him for a few months until one day he said, "Do you know what Asperger's is?" Then he told me he had worked with many autistic children and told me I act just like them and he really recommended me getting checked out for it because I most likely have it. I was so happy I started to cry because finally, after feeling like a social outcast sine I was 3 years old, someone gave me a name for it.

I began talking to other Aspies online and they all said I sounded like them and when I told some of my online friends they answered with, "I always kind of thought you were an Aspie." I found this website then, and now I'm going to question all of you. With my story all out of the way, here are some signs I feel like make me an Aspie, but I'm unsure of whether or not I really have the right to call myself one with a proper diagnosis.

- People fight with me all the time to get me to look at them. I know both psychologists struggled with me every week to get me to make eye contact, but the best that I could do was lift my head up and look at the bottom of their neck. My parents often get angry with me when they're trying to lecture me because I won't look at them. Sometimes my dad will actually grab on to my chin and force my head up and threaten to take away things I love if I don't look directly at him. When I do look at him I start crying and he then starts laughing at me for it. I have to make a conscious effort to make eye contact, but even when I try my best I often end up staring at the floor or at a wall.

- I was able to talk when I was younger, but I had a lot of speech problems that I still have nowadays. I had to go to speech therapy for two and a half years because I just wasn't able to talk normally. Nowadays, my speech can be kind of weird. Other than slurring and stuttering constantly (it's so bad I get embarrassed just talking out loud a lot), I can't control my pitch and tone. My mother will often snap at me for being rude, and my teachers complain a lot about how I "argue" with them, and I'm still so confused because I never hear that in my voice. I try stating things as nice as possible, and I always end up getting in trouble. When I ask them what I did wrong and try explaining what I meant, I get in even more trouble. And adding on to that, I know that a lot of people think I'm getting angry or upset over things when really I'm trying to be friendly or joking and that always ends with me crying because no one will listen to me try to explain myself. It's highly upsetting.

When it comes to volume, people often get on to me because I'm either way too loud or way too quiet. I remember when I was younger I'd try to talk to my mom in church but she would always throw her hand over my mouth and then afterwards scold me for not whispering. I thought I was whispering, but even nowadays I guess I'm not too good at that. :P In normal, everyday conversations a lot of people tell me to quiet down which always embarrasses me because I didn't realize I was being loud. On the flip side of that, my parents also get annoyed because I mumble too much. I sound loud enough to myself, but I guess I talk too quiet which makes no sense because I'm also continually told I'm too loud.

Which brings me to my next point: how I talk depends on what I'm talking about. I have obsessions (more on that later) and when I talk about them I get really upbeat and I talk WAY too fast and I start flapping and doing other things, but if we're having a normal conversation and what's being said doesn't interest me I get very quiet and monotone. When I'm talking about my interests I also talk nonstop (I'm really not exaggerating when I said I could talk about Asperger's for hours), but when it's not about one of my interests I give very short answers and never can figure out how to keep the conversation going. Apparently I'm supposed to question the other person, but questions are for when you're trying to figure things out, and when someone tells me they like the Green Bay Packers I understand that they enjoy that particular football team and need no more elaboration.

- So, basically, I suck at conversations too. Needless to say, I've honestly only had two friends in my entire life and I'm not really that close with either of them. They just kind of listen to me scream about things I like and then we plan to take over the world.

- Sometimes I have serious problems with reading body language. I made a joke in algebra a few weeks ago and I still can't figure out if the girl next to me thought it was funny or distasteful. On the same page, I also can't figure out tone of voice and if someone is seriously dislikes me or is just playing around.

- I never thought I took things literally because I totally understand sarcasm and verbal humor, but recently I've noticed how many times people have had to tell me, "I was only kidding." It's rather embarrassing to get worked up over something and then have people correct you. I do remember dozens of times my dad's done that and then made fun of me and called me gullible because I believed him, so now I have to ask him frequently, "Are you being serious or are you just kidding?"

- One of my greatest challenges is trying to figure out when I can talk in conversations. I accidentally interrupt people all the time because I can't figure out when they're done talking and when they're planning what to say next.

- Long story short, I hate leaving my house. Socialization is not my thing. I get too nervous talking to people because I have been rejected so many times. Most of my memories between the ages 5-9 are of me trying to play with people I thought were my friends, and even though they gave me a character name and everything, they always left me. I ended up walking around by myself a lot during recess and I never realized that maybe these people weren't actually my friends.

- I hate loud noises, bright lights, and strong odors. I get really bad headaches because of the last two and loud noises cause me to "shut down," aka, I can't talk or see or move until my stress level goes down. In addition to this, I can't eat certain foods because the textures literally make me gag.

- I flap my arms and jiggle my legs and do other things that could be considered stimming. My mom gets mad at me for it sometimes.

- I have a hard time figuring out character motives sometimes. English class is a struggle because I constantly misinterpret character actions. The other day we had a Great Gatsby quiz and one of the questions asked why Daisy didn't like Gatsby's party and I was so shocked because I was thought she liked it and could not figure out for the life of me why she wouldn't have liked it. Also, when I watch movies, there are a lot of times I have to pause it and look a synopsis of the film up because I did not understand why the characters were acting the way they were.

- Adding on to that, I can't put myself in other's shoes. My teacher keeps telling me to imagine I'm Daisy or Gatsby when I don't get why they do the things they do, but I just can't do it. Maybe it's because I'm an aromantic asexual, or maybe that's just an extra reason why I can't understand.

- I HATE being touched. Do NOT touch me or I will freak out. I will hug you if you gesture for it , but please don't touch me.

- And lastly, I have obsessions. They usually rotate every few months, but my long-term one I know most about is British history and ancient Rome. I could talk to you for hours about why I hate Elizabeth I or hilarious things Julius Caesar did. If you get me going on British literature or classic Hollywood as well, I won't stop. The Beatles have the same effect too. I can only talk about things I'm into though, so it makes conversing very hard.

Fortunately for you all, I've run out of things to say because I can't think of any and I have been at this for a long time. Thank you SO much for reading and even more so if you answer.



FireyInspiration
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26 Apr 2014, 8:03 pm

Yup, those are aspie traits. Welcome aboard



QueenCheetah
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26 Apr 2014, 8:12 pm

SgtSalt wrote:
Then he told me he had worked with many autistic children and told me I act just like them and he really recommended me getting checked out for it because I most likely have it.

I agree with the one therapist (the non-flop one), you definitely have many traits of Asperger's. Of course there's a difference between an official diagnosis and an educated guess, but there's a lot of information on this site to help with the latter. :)


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SgtSalt
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26 Apr 2014, 9:41 pm

QueenCheetah wrote:
SgtSalt wrote:
Then he told me he had worked with many autistic children and told me I act just like them and he really recommended me getting checked out for it because I most likely have it.

I agree with the one therapist (the non-flop one), you definitely have many traits of Asperger's. Of course there's a difference between an official diagnosis and an educated guess, but there's a lot of information on this site to help with the latter. :)


I want to ask my mother to take me somewhere, but it costs so much and she will not listen to any of my concerns. I've been doing research on Asperger's for months but I can't get diagnosed for 2 more years. :s



lelia
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26 Apr 2014, 11:07 pm

I admire your perseverance. I think you will find a lot of articles on this site illuminating. It is here that I learned the reason why looking into other people's eyes is so painful: for us the amygdala in the brain is stimulated by eye gaze rather than the limbic system as eye gaze does for most other people. Among other things, the amygdala mediates panic and fear. Among other things, the limbic system stimulates emotional pleasure. It took a couple decades, but I was able to desensitize myself from the pain (or extreme anxiety) of eye gaze by practice, practice, practice.



SgtSalt
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27 Apr 2014, 7:36 pm

lelia wrote:
I admire your perseverance. I think you will find a lot of articles on this site illuminating. It is here that I learned the reason why looking into other people's eyes is so painful: for us the amygdala in the brain is stimulated by eye gaze rather than the limbic system as eye gaze does for most other people. Among other things, the amygdala mediates panic and fear. Among other things, the limbic system stimulates emotional pleasure. It took a couple decades, but I was able to desensitize myself from the pain (or extreme anxiety) of eye gaze by practice, practice, practice.


Huh, how interesting! I think I'll enjoy this site very much.



ConcreteDinosaur
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27 Apr 2014, 7:45 pm

Hello Emily. In response to Lelia's comment above, I also have had a great deal of problems with eye contact. I have for the most part been able to master eye contact by now, but it by no means came naturally! If you absolutely have to look into someone's eye for any reason, then looking directly at the area between the eyes can be a preferable alternative as it is not possible for the person you are looking at to notice you are in fact not looking them in the eye. It is not what I do now, but it is a helpful 'cheat' if you feel pressured to at any time.