What the heck is wrong with me? - caution: LONG!

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ibookfan92
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18 Mar 2015, 11:50 pm

Hello, all. I don't post to WP that often, and I'm just some random guy on here, but I thought I'd try to ask a question straight and divulge some serious info about me anyway to the public for all you to read, and hopefully, help me figure out, as it is beginning to drive me crazy:

This is probably going to be several paragraphs going every 5 years if I can -- sorry, but I seem compelled to write it all. If you have trouble with this, please use a screen reader. Sorry if I'm being inconsiderate (which I can/do understand).

Quick bio

- By all accounts, my early/toddler days went as expected. I didn't cry less or more than I should have, was fine with being held and even enjoyed air tosses; and anyway, without getting detailed unnecessarily, everything seemed fine. My only problem was biting playmates and my mom on the arm (which I remember). From around that time, I can recall a stack of things, including what color objects were, tile patterns, lights, window blinds, and unbelievably, began to "think" about things like why I was here around the time I was talking (and that was on schedule). I can remember screaming at being put into a hot car, and found a group of kids too loud once and went where it was quiet (but again, that's only 2 times out of x).

- Accelerating to 5-6, I remember I knew my alphabet, clocks of different types, and was reading Macintosh manuals when I'd get home while others were still reading about cats, etc. Other than admittedly lying that I peed my pants once, and trying to run home from school once, and other things like having an "odd run", being fascinated with dashboards and wipers, rearranging nicknacks in the house, and not really knowing what to do on the playground, I made it through with no sensory problems or complaints at all and no one, not even my parents, saw anything "wrong". I was given an old computer, and discovered I liked something a LOT more than dashboards. It became my personal world, and really, a start of an obsession.

- Accelerating to 10, I participated in the kids' church at my parents church, had underwent several moves by then with no problem, and though I refused to go to the altar once for a play, I made it in all of them. Noise didn't bother me -- at all, and neither did people. In fact, I loved it and used to spin and put my hands on speakers to "feel" them. But nothing else was wrong. After being homeschooled a while, I went to a private school for a while and did okay, then moved again, and did okay in public school, though I found it rather confusing at first. I spent hours drawing concept UIs on paper, and began to start a series of "plays" or episode-like playtimes where I and my little brother (NT by all counts) would set up Lego cities with their own governments, militaries, etc. and improv events in a fictional world we both imagined. I insisted, at first to his annoyance, that anything "fired" or dropped MUST come from the item's viewpoint itself; it cannot be merely "thrown". For both of us, this was a blast--which lasted for 8-9 more years! And my only three problems were that crowded places began to become a problem, I was scared of hose shower heads, and noises were beginning to become a bother -- my ears would hurt and feel like they were being pulled from inside.

- And now, we accelerate to 15. I moved several more times again, was homeschooled again, then went to public school again. Again, everything was normal by all accounts. I had my moments as all kids do of being made fun of at that age, but all was well. I even had a girlfriend (nothing serious, but we did go to the library together) and people I knew. People wanted me to play sports, but I craved time with the computer alone, and said no each time. Classes could be full of talking, but I didn't care. By 17, I was beginning to really change -- and quickly. I had to wear certain shirts on certain days (or else, I thought), and wore blue to school every day. I averted certain colors and how I arranged things in my room. Noises at 10 began to become bothersome, but now were causing a lot of stress if they stopped or changed (like an A/C unit turning off randomly). Light flicks were annoying, and by then, the idea I had people all around me and bright light (especially florescent) began to bother me to the point I was very stressed. I went home from school once with palpitations (no joke). I began to eat sandwiches or anything "contained" like tacos, etc. on weekdays, and began to prefer pizza on Friday. Odd as it sounds (maybe not to you guys), my mind began to assign pictures to days, like the blue of XP Vortec Space to Wednesday). While I successfully coped with high school without any outward problems, by 18, I became really obsessed with my computer, seeing it as my friend (literally, not metaphorically). I spent tireless hours with it, learning more about how to code and how it worked. My mother even joked I kept it with me like a little kid with a teddy bear. I'd already fixed up and kept palmtops for years, but in my senior year, I decided to buy a new palmtop from my short-lived high school job as my primary tinkering machine (seriously, C compiler, pocket DOS, etc. were all there) and got an old Symbian phone (those were awesome!) so it would be easier to use on the bus and in school. I moved again and again, and by 19, was having trouble relating to kids in the local youth group (I would talk about relative AI and human intelligence, amongst other things, at "chill out" times). After someone told me I might have a problem, I knew something was off, and finally decided to seek help. That led me to a counselor who dx'ed me with Asperger's.

- Finally, we reach 20 (which is close enough to where I'm at now). Coming from 19, I totally believed in Asperger's, to the point it even affected how I behaved. In pursuit of that identity and a sense of mourning, I think, I was actually a bit of a jerk for 2-3 months straight, even purposely stimming in public and counting out loud (I usually do/did this quietly). After a lot of research on the Web, joining this forum, "coming to terms", and apologizing to my family, I decided the dx wasn't me and I had to start over again. So we all went to a psychologist who essentially wasted our time, and finally, to another who diagnosed me yet again -- with the same thing (he used the DSM-IV, not V).

Summary

So, in summary, I truly believe such a diagnosis is wrong, or at least, isn't explaining everything correctly, but I may be wrong. This is why I chose to publicly tell my story here -- so you guys can try to make sense of this or at least, offer advice, which I really need now.

While I am brutally honest about things like social questions and my opinions (which people have told me are "attacks" at times without me even knowing it because it wasn't what they wanted to hear), I have yet undeniably lied in the past (I find it hard and illogical ~85% of the time, but I have done it), contrary to the ASD definition. I have a very vivid imagination, contrary to the ASD definition. Like I said, I played a lot as a kid (I hated "house"/pretend/etc. games, though that kids used to do) but I can play with Legos forever. I can remember things literally 20 years ago, but not what I ate a week ago for breakfast to the chagrin of people that know me. I read pretty fast, and at my peak, read through a whole novel in under 3 hours; today, I'm not as fast. I have excellent fine coordination (typing, disassembly of hardware, etc.), but was/am bad at sports. I don't visibly "stim" unless I'm very anxious. I admit -- I have dropped numerous items though. I struggle with OCD-like thoughts against God, and have strict rules where my mail goes and do not like germs on my hands or clothes. I never sat observing a car wheel spinning, but I have (and do) stare at lights and am more or less fascinated with the way things move or work when they are complete -- like a moving RC car. Contrarily, I have flipped things on and off, hold things up to my ear, or watch a spinning CD or cassette tape. I used to imitate hard drive and optical drive sounds, and used to hold laptops up to my head to listen to them -- perhaps the coolest experiment was directing raw audible output of hard disk I/O to a file on my workstation (from what I've read, the sound is unbearable to most.)

I am very passionate about computer history and take things literally. Queries like: "Can you tell me your name?" usually results in a "Yes. When do you need it?" While I learn, I have to virtually AppleScript each time mentally. I hate preventable mistakes, and have beat myself up over it with my fists numerous times and have ended up with broken items, including my most loved items, which rules out a tantrum. Usually, I've flipped all the lights off (meltdown?). I do hate general fiction (particularly dumb movies that try to make people believe things happened but did not!), but contrarily, I really LOVE Tron I (and Legacy), Star Trek, Star Wars, and even the Narnia books. I hate loud noises and crowds, but love heavy metal and Bach. I stick to pizza each weekend, and eat bagels/sandwiches/tacos with sides during the week, but have no other food or routine "rules", afaik. I see programs in my head before I write them (I don't see the code, I see a virtual computer display of it "working"), and sometimes scenes or color with music. I can "play back" video clips, like keynotes, or entire albums I've heard or watched. Tracking balls in sports is like chasing a planet to my eyes, and sometimes I can phase out while still conscious, seeing life as if through a webcam. I have trouble crossing the street. I am fascinated by movement of spinning CDs, cars, and trains (I was about 5 feet away from one once and wanted to touch it; everyone thought I was nuts). :D And I am scared of the shower head to this day. I do not know who I am in a film unless I see it for a while, and have trouble looking at myself in the mirror. Since 8, I have had focus issues; I've either glared at people to their discomfort (I know this from bad experience in fifth grade), and since then, have mostly avoided eye contact. But I talk totally normally, complete with whispers, pitch control, etc., and understand most puns and jokes. I laugh at most things, but totally do not get others. Like a Vulcan, I do feel very deeply, but do not always show it, and take phrases as being logical. I cannot look at myself or others in the mirror most times without silently screaming at myself to calm down and having it embossed for a while, but a few years ago, I was fine with mirrors and even played "serious" as a little kid. I'm a pretty bad test taker (and find it pointless; it's what you apply, crunch, and do, not just what you know!), and bad at most maths, unless it's a type of arithmetic (which I can do mentally with varying degrees of success). My little brother sometimes has used me as a calculator.

But my overall point is how can I go from "normal" to messed up in circa 6 years? It seems like a stage or evolution, but by the very nature of ASD, such a thing is impossible. I had very few problems, which perhaps could have been ignored. Now, I cannot eat out without being bothered by lights, the throng, etc. to my family's bother (although lately I have been trying harder). I can sometimes have trouble crossing busy roads, and have a lot of anxiety in public. I ordered my own food at a restaurant this morning, but couldn't even order a soda the night before. Overall, the list above me sounds ASD-like at least, but it wasn't always like this. What puzzles me is how could I possibly go from passable at ~17-ish to stuck inside a house with no job, no life, and no way of getting a job right now. Even more depressing is that my birthday is next month, and I'm really depressed. My family is not sure what to do with me (or at least I think), and to be honest, I'm not sure what to do with me. And without a label I'd be confident mentioning, I don't know what I would say at an interview or to anyone in public. I genuinely feel like I lack candor if I say I have an ASD, because although I do have a diagnosis and "fit" it today, it doesn't seem to be a "lifetime" thing for me. I don't know if that makes sense, but you guys have read my whole mini-bio here, so you can judge for yourselves. When I explain things to my family, it would appear they either don't get it or do not believe me, as I appear quirky but "okay" on the outside. I hate college (I'm doing it online) and I want to quit as I'm honestly learning nothing and feel I'm just doing what someone else is telling me to at their convenience, with 25k+ of debt and building. In the meanwhile, I have software projects I desperately want to complete but my time is being airlocked away from me! And it's like I fear I have no future. I used to believe a degree would take me somewhere, but now I am afraid I may go nuts in public and be locked up. Most guys my age have a job, a car, a home, and a girlfriend or wife, but I don't see hope for any of this right now. Maybe God + my future software projects will turn that around... but what if it doesn't? Am I a waste of human or better off not occupying space? I'm serious.

Sometimes, I wish there was a place where I could meet people who were like me in person (where I live, it seems everyone is typical; whatever I am, I've come to the conclusion I'm not) and just find peace for a while. I just think I need answers and way out, because I'm not finding it right now; and yes, I believe in God. Please don't preach at me. Maybe others are in the same "rut" I'm in or have similar questions, which is why I am choosing to write and post this for the web to see.

Note for mods: Sorry if this is crazy posting this. I think I should have put this elsewhere; feel free to move it or whatever you find necessary.

Thank you, all. I eagerly hope to read any and all replies from this! It took a lot of courage for me to post it.



dossa
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19 Mar 2015, 8:47 am

I am still trying to wake up I apologize in advance if my response is somewhat incoherent. I will try to make sense.

Disclaimer... I am not a professional anything. I am some random person on a living room floor.

I relate to many things you mentioned. In regards to lying, I would do this often as a young person. I am curious what your reasoning was behind it (not that I find it relevant to ASD definitions... just curious). For me, people lied frequently. Someone told me once that you should tell 'white lies' or you were being rude. Example, do I look fat in this? You are supposed to say no. Me? I had no idea what was white lie appropriate or not. I also saw people lie when it would save their backside. Like when people did not want to get in trouble or teased, they would lie to avoid the negative outcome.

I also do not think imagination has much to do with the ASD definition. That is subjective. I would not play house or pretend as a child either. Right there with you on blocks though. I could do that for days if I was allowed.

Remembering things that happened twenty years ago but spacing out breakfast? Yep. Get that one as well. Same with one day I can speed through what I am reading and another day struggle with it. I could rattle on about more things I nodded along with, but you get the point, eh?

For me personally, many of my asd traits seemed to intensify as I aged. Not that I did not have these traits as a child, but for me, I pushed and pushed myself to do things which caused me difficulties and at some point in life I had a 'breakdown' of sorts. I did not know I had a PDD, I thought everyone felt the same as I did, so I pushed myself because I thought that was what everyone did. That was what I was supposed to do. I had zero comprehension of my own boundaries and what I needed to do to be okay. After that things started seriously going downhill for me. It took me years to recover, but I am now in a place where I am more functional than I was in my twenties/early thirties. Sorry, but I laughed about not being able to order a soda. I sooooo understand that.

I understanding not wanting to lie about a dx. If it does not resonate as truth with you it would be admittedly difficult to tell potential employers or whoever that this is what you have going on. I also understand the frustration of people not believing you because you look okay. Looking okay is not the same as feeling okay.

Not touching the god thing here :lol: I can respect that. Again, I need to repeat, I am not at all a professional, just some self proclaimed nut case meandering about the world... but I cannot help but wonder if you are heading towards some kind of crash and burn place like I did. I may very well be wrong. I have a hard time not inserting my own experiences because that is all I know. But you mention education and you seem like a person who likes to learn and explore and grow like that yet it seems to be nothing satisfying only frustrating. Are you pushing yourself too hard here? While I may be missing the point here, it does sound as though you are at the end of your rope. I agree, finding peace right now would seem to be ideal for you. Is there any way you can slow down a bit right now, regroup/hit the internal resent button. Regardless of if you are on the spectrum or not, all people have difficulties when they need a break and cannot get one. I really do think the problems you are dealing with sound symptomatic of a person suffering from 'too much going on!'.

Not sure if that made sense, helped or was just me typing a novel here. Guess I am feeling chatty today. *shrugs*

Whatever the case, I wish you well in this.


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QuiversWhiskers
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19 Mar 2015, 11:29 am

I can relate a LOT here. I wonder if this is a way in which subclinical autism, or BAP or those with enough traits to cause them problems presents.


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BTDT
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19 Mar 2015, 12:45 pm

How can you go from nearly normal to what you are now in just 6 years?

I'd say that all that homeschooling allowed you and those around you more easily discount those early signs of ASD. More importantly, being homeschooled gave you a comfort zone, minimizing your need to socialize--and keeping stressors away that would generate meltdowns. But, it also held you back from acquiring the skills you now need to leave home.



ibookfan92
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19 Mar 2015, 6:17 pm

Thank you all for your replies (and for reading that long post!) I'll try to reply to what I can best I can...

@dossa: I'm the first to tell someone what I truly think, which has gotten me in trouble in the past, but yet, I still do that. It's illogical not to. On the few occasions I have purposely lied, it's been to try to hide something in a situation where I thought I had to. Otherwise, I do not like lying either from me or someone else. And I'm not so much worn as I am trying to find my identity both as a person and in life. Thank you for your reply and for posting your own life's outlook.

@QuiversWhiskers: I don't know... even after being diagnosed, I have repeatedly taken random tests online; I have a strong BAP score, RDOS score, and pretty darn high AQ score. As a kid, I would have noticed some things, but not as strong or as much as today, which is the entire problem I'm facing.

@BTDT: Thanks for your reply as well. It's what is mystifying me as well. But your analysis on home schooling would be wrong, as my high school years were public, as were K, 5, and 6. I did "quirky" things (as my post mentions rather briefly), but no one ever mentioned or "saw" anything that I'm aware of outside of just being "weird". This isn't anything new... I've always had one trait or another, but never like now and never to the point people would have thought I "needed help" unless they saw me today. But then again, who'd believe me? It seems like evolution, but one that's not in any books anywhere. So, I'm convinced it's got to be something else other than an ASD, but can't find it. I'm beginning to think I'll never pinpoint the "problem" and am literally being torn apart internally at this point because I can't identify with AS(D) as being a lifetime thing, but I'm not 'typical' either. While my family reminds me of what they think, they won't listen to me. It's irritating, and as I said (and meant), very depressing right now. I'm going to be a year older soon, and yet I'm just not contributing anything, and sometimes think myself a waste. I've often thought anxiously about what it'd be like to go insane, or about running out on an open street... both of which aren't good, but have seemed viable lately. But I really want to change all that. I want to move forward and find who I am and what my purpose is. I despise being depressed, personally. I guess this is why I'm writing here, for that reason.

Thanks again; all your replies have definitely helped. :)



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19 Mar 2015, 8:30 pm

The late teens and early 20s is when you would expect the onset of mental illness.

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/health/The_R ... dults.html

But, one might expect that to have been picked up when you were last diagnosed.