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pirateowl76
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09 Mar 2015, 3:56 pm

(I hope to reply to my other thread soon, but am also hoping for a quick reply to this one. Most important parts are in bold.)

I plan to get back in touch with an old friend. Long story short, we knew each other in school and she was the only one to bother to try to get back in touch after graduation, but we kept falling out of touch; the next-to-last time I ran into her in public, she seemed ill at ease to see me, but promised to write. (I hadn't heard back from her after sending her a gift.) Then a couple of years passed so I figured she did not want to remain in touch after all. I'm used to that by now. *shrug*

I ran into her again last week (quite awkward...I don't make eye contact or even look up at people, so I didn't know it was her until my mother told me! ;_; ), and yet again, she seemed very quiet and all, and though she and her wife (whom I don't know personally, but who is friendly and even chattier than my old friend is) both said she'd still like to hear from me, I just keep feeling she doesn't really want to. I'm not used to somebody being even more quiet in a conversation than I am! :| Plus I have LOTS of experience with people insisting they want to hear from me when in fact they don't.

But I promised her face to face to e-mail her, so, I must. She already knows I have anxiety problems, but I don't think she knows just how bad it's been for me lately. One reason I didn't want to write to her is because I'm just so negative and she does not need that, as she's battling MS herself; my problems are paltry compared to hers. And she just didn't seem enthusiastic to see or hear from me at all, despite her insistence. I feel so sick with worry that I might make her feel worse. As you can see, I'm no good at summarizing things, yet I can't bear to unload my junk onto her. So what does that leave me to write to her? :| No idea what to say. (I suck, suck, SUCK at chatty smalltalk as well. Kind of hard to keep it up when you find such a thing mindnumbingly dull and pointless; I'm sure many here understand what I mean.)

But anyway. I was thinking by way of explanation I might direct her toward something on Asperger's since I think this might be behind some of my issues, such as the fact I didn't even look up at her face when we spoke! I'd like her to know that despite my self-absorption and negativity I do care about others, I'm just not so good at expressing it unless the other person nudges me to. And it might explain my inability to determine how she REALLY feels about getting back in touch, since I'm still not convinced she really wants to hear from me, but I rather owe her an explanation at least.

I just have a history of offending people when I try to explain myself and my distrust to them, and I can't bear for that to happen. :( She's the only potential friend I have living in this area. I figure this will just fizzle out yet again, but it should at least fizzle out without hard feelings.

For now and for possible future reference (i. e., my mother, who utterly tunes me out every time I try to explain Asperger's to her :cry: ), I was wondering, what is the most informative yet most succinct (i. e., to the point, unlike me) source on Asperger's that I could direct people to? Something that explains not only the "stereotypical"/traditional appearance of Asperger's, but also some less-common signs that not many people know about. (Similar to how I used to think all Aspies were great at math and lousy with empathy, when now I know better; I also once came across a page about how Asperger's can display differently in males and females.)

I'm interested in a website for now, though I'll also take book recommendations for later use. (The shorter the better, again, unlike me. My target audience doesn't have the patience for longwindedness that I do.)

UGH why can't I keep these things short! :x

Thank you a bunch to anyone who can help, I'm figuratively gnawing my nails over this. I really do not want to mess this up. :cry:



jbevan
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09 Mar 2015, 4:11 pm

Hi
A website called Aspies central is a really good one
I have done a summary below too from what I have read
You could cut it down a bit but it may be of help
Cheers
Julia

Do you know what Aspergers is?
It is a developmental disorder that affects how the brain processes information. People with Aspergers ( Aspies from now on ) have a different, not defective, way of thinking. It is characterised by difficulties in communication, social interaction and restricted and repetitive interests and activities making it hard to communicate with others and relate to the social world. Aspies are prone to excessive anxiety, especially performance anxiety in social situations.
Asperger’s is not a disease, it is a genetic variation and a neurological condition. Though I’ve just recently discovered I have it, I always have and always will. Some say it is a gift, and even vital to human evolution. It was kind of good news! Like finding a box I fit in.
We feel like we come from a different culture and have a different way of perceiving the world.
First, I may not look you in the eye for long periods or when I’m talking to you. This is because is the only way I can concentrate on what you’re saying.
In social situations, I don’t process information as fast as you. Facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice all convey subtle information to our brain. The more people who are present, the more info there is to process
Likewise, I don’t like crowds and noisy places. This is too much information to take in and causes sensory overload
If I run into you somewhere I don’t expect to, I probably won’t recognize you right away. This is called faceblindness. Even though I know what you look like, my mental picture of you is strongly tied to context. Sometimes I interpret things literally, or I can’t tell when you’re being sarcastic. For neurotypical people (that’s you), socializing with others relieves your stress or makes you feel energized. We Aspies are the opposite way. Conversation can wear us out, and we often need alone time to “recharge our batteries.”
We usually have special topics or hobbies that we like to pursue with intense concentration and on our own.
Are there advantages to being as Aspie? Yes! We are honest, detail-oriented, good listeners, loyal and have a unique view of things. Often, we achieve high levels of success in our special interest area.
Other more common characteristics include:
• average or above-average intelligence
• difficulties engaging in social routines such as conversations and ‘small talk’
• needs routines and schedules which can result in stress or anxiety if a routine is disrupted
• specialised fields of interest or hobbies.
• Avoidance of eye contact
• A tendency to make a literal interpretation of what someone says.
• Difficulty expressing the degree of love and affection expected by others. Difficulty expressing feelings and emotions.
• Difficulty in understanding the rules of social behaviour can make them seem disrespectful, aloof, rude and socially insensitive.
• Remarkable honesty.
• Problems knowing when something may cause embarrassment.
• A longer time to process social information, due to using intelligence rather than intuition.
• Physical and emotional exhaustion from socializing.
• The overriding priority may be to solve a problem rather than satisfy the social or emotional needs of others. They value being creative rather than co-operative.
• They are usually renowned for being direct, speaking their mind and being honest and determined and having a strong sense of social justice.
• The person may actively seek and enjoy solitude, be a loyal friend and have a distinct sense of humour.
• People with Asperger’s syndrome appear vulnerable to feeling
• They may enjoy a very brief and low intensity expression of affection, and become confused or overwhelmed when greater levels of expression are experienced or expected.
• They can be immature in the development of the ability to catch, throw and kick a ball or ride a bike. Most experience movement disturbance however this does not appear to affect some sporting activities such as swimming, playing golf and horse riding.
• Over sensitivity to sensory input such as smell, touch or sound can be overwhelming. There can be an under or over reaction to pain and temperature, and the sense of balance, movement perception and body orientation can be unusual. Body stiffening is common ( Please don’t hug me!)
• Restrictive range of interests which they can ask questions about and talk about for long periods. Interest in solitary persuits can become obsessive but add structure to their life
Females with AS present quite differently from males. One reason why the prevalence in females is so low in comparison to males may be the lack of awareness of what it "looks like" in females. She may appear just shy, quiet, perfect at school, tomboyish, moody, overly competitive, aloof, anxious, or a perfectionist. She may use specific coping and adjustment strategies to camouflage or mask her confusion in social situations.



jbevan
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09 Mar 2015, 4:15 pm

have a look at greenturtle74 cartoon guide to aspergers on this website it is very succinct



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09 Mar 2015, 7:02 pm

In many locations Aspergers is not an official diagnosis anymore, it has been subsumed into Autism Spectrum Disorder
Diagnostic Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder

However in some locations Aspergers remains an official diagnosis and locations where Aspergers does not officially exist anymore it remains a colloquial term.
What is Asperger's Syndrome? by expert Tony Attwood


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pirateowl76
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10 Mar 2015, 12:54 am

Thank you all for the replies. (Other replies are still welcome too.) I hope I can figure out how to present such info without either being so subtle she brushes it off (like my mother when I hint to her), or so obvious I bore her to tears with it (like my mother when I try to go into detail). Unfortunately I always seem to fall to one extreme while attempting to avoid the other. :| Ugh, I have no idea how to even broach the subject...

Often it seems life would just be easier if I were schizoid or something and did not want friends. I always seem to end up without them anyway. :cry:



dryope
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10 Mar 2015, 1:31 am

Well, I really feel that I understand where you're coming from with your friend. I have a similar situation with a couple former close friends. I finally told one, a doctor, about the asperger's. She said "But that's a childhood disease!" and so as understanding and kind as she is, it was still annoying to have to think through the explanation to tell her where the DSM is these days (she's an OB-GYN, not a psychiatrist), all while being totally chillaxed about it (I am never chillaxed about anything).

I told my husband and he shrugged it off as similar to a "horoscope." He's understanding of me and my strengths and weaknesses, but distrusts psychology and labels. He says he likes my personality and that's all that matters. So some good there and some eye-rolling from me (so what if labels are dumb, "aspergers" helps me understand my problems and how to deal with them).

So what I've learned is that the label often gets in the way. Instead, I'm now explaining it to people in terms of my issues, which, for what other people can see are: 1) anxiety (especially social anxiety) 2) ADHD-like cognitive processing 3) sensory issues 4) bluntness and foot-in-mouth syndrome.

So I am just explaining my symptoms to people on a need-to-know basis. As in:

-- Sorry I was rude -- I am really blunt and I have a hard time with that sometimes. I hope you weren't offended.

-- I'm sorry I didn't call you for a few months. I've been dealing with a lot of anxiety but I'm doing better now. (Blatant lie: I always have the anxiety but I've learned people like to hear things are "better" or I sound negative. I've decided white lies are OK.)

-- Can we go outside? It's too loud for me in here. (Or whatever sensory issue. I'm trying to recognize when things are a problem and head them off before they happen.)

Anyway, the difficult part is to know what your problem is so you can find a way to explain it. I usually have no idea what my problem is: I am just freaking out. If I have a menu to choose from, then I can sort of hone in. But if you can explain your problem, then people can know you have a difficult time with X.

Explaining you have aspergers is nice if they are ready to hear that and understand it. But odds are they will 1) misunderstand based on whatever else they have heard or 2) not really pay attention.

There's no way to lose though -- if you try to make your friend understand, either with the label or by explaining the symptoms, and you don't become close again, then that is not your fault. You are doing the responsible thing here, and if other people can't meet you halfway to understand and accept you, then well, that's on them. (At least that's how I see it.)


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10 Mar 2015, 9:36 am

pirateowl76 wrote:
Thank you all for the replies. (Other replies are still welcome too.) I hope I can figure out how to present such info without either being so subtle she brushes it off (like my mother when I hint to her), or so obvious I bore her to tears with it (like my mother when I try to go into detail). Unfortunately I always seem to fall to one extreme while attempting to avoid the other. :| Ugh, I have no idea how to even broach the subject...

Often it seems life would just be easier if I were schizoid or something and did not want friends. I always seem to end up without them anyway. :cry:


It is tough with us because if you are too subtle we are more likely then typical people to miss the subtlety if too much information at once direct it may overwhelm. Sometimes it takes us much much longer then typical people to process information and emotions.


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“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


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23 Mar 2015, 9:02 pm

Explaining it symptom by symptom seems pretty smart. Most people either have no real concept of Asperger's or are misinformed. Either way I wish you luck. Friendships are hard for me too.