I think I'm high-functioning autistic

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paleoludic
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08 Oct 2019, 9:43 am

A week ago I spent time with a group of autistic kids (middle schoolers) as a social worker. No big deal, right? But the experience was katabasis for me. The lights were too bright and blaring from overhead, teachers kept interrupting kids when they were obviously trying to get something done, everyone but the kids were bored, boundaries weren't being respected. I couldn't understand what was going on. It's like I was invited into an animal shelter and they had animals hanging from chains or something. It kind of started shutting me down; I got drowsy. With more time in there, I think I'd be doing the same thing the other kids were doing, clapping and moaning and that kind of stuff. Like, seriously, that seemed therapeutic.

All my life I've been unable to go with social trends. I was the only one in first grade who wanted to keep the wood chairs we had, when everyone else wanted the new plastic chairs. There's just nothing there, no social pressure. I care deeply about other people and what they think and feel, but this idea of "what the others think" doesn't pull weight with me. What do I care what other people think? I care what they feel, but that's not the same. I just want to be allowed to express myself and say what I think, instead of wearing a mask all the time, pretending to be glib and unconcerned. I'm not glib. I am concerned. The world is deeply concerning right now and I should be allowed to say so.

I have a family and I have friends, but I basically maintain them as projects. I mean, I love them deeply, but if they weren't projects I couldn't sort them mentally or give them the time they deserve. "Projects" is how I sort the universe, mentally. I have millions of projects, from small to large, all overlapping and contributing to each other. But when people don't understand, they become afraid, and they accuse me of being manic, or they say I'm off my meds (I'm diagnosed bipolar, but I've never had racing thoughts), or they pull away. I just want people who understand and want to play with me. Is that so wrong? Am I so wrong?

Is it possible that I'm autistic, but that I've constructed a very good mask for myself?

Joshua



kraftiekortie
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08 Oct 2019, 9:53 am

It's nice up in Saratoga Springs. I live about 200 miles south of there.

There is no way I could tell if you're autistic based on what you wrote. I would, probably, have to visit with you for at least a few hours to have a glimmer of an idea.

Have you considered getting an assessment? You might be able to get one for free if you're a research subject in autism at a college/university.



magz
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08 Oct 2019, 10:03 am

You might be or not be autistic.
You may have Broad Autism Phenotype https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is- ... ype-260048 which is not a diagnosable disorder but it can be enough to make you capable of relating to autistic children.


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paleoludic
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08 Oct 2019, 10:04 am

Thank you. There is an autism expert in the psych department at the college here. I'll try to pull that thread.



jimmy m
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08 Oct 2019, 10:21 am

paleoludic wrote:
Is it possible that I'm autistic, but that I've constructed a very good mask for myself?
Joshua


This is a little hard to say at this point. Many Aspies or High-Functioning Autistics feel a great deal of stress. Unvented stress can lead to distress and trauma. One of the forms of distress is bi-polar. So there are several Aspies with bi-polar disorders.

When you said "The lights were too bright and blaring from overhead, teachers kept interrupting kids when they were obviously trying to get something done, everyone but the kids were bored, boundaries weren't being respected. I couldn't understand what was going on. It's like I was invited into an animal shelter and they had animals hanging from chains or something. It kind of started shutting me down; I got drowsy. With more time in there, I think I'd be doing the same thing the other kids were doing, clapping and moaning and that kind of stuff."

The bright lights, the constant interruptions, lack of boundary issues - these are stressors.
The clapping and moaning and that kind of stuff - these are unscripted ways of individuals to release stored stress energy from their bodies.



paleoludic
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08 Oct 2019, 10:51 am

Thank you, jimmy. I feel these kinds of stressors all the time. I have techniques for dispersing them within my own mind, but it hurts to do it, so I live in a constant low-level pain (occasionally acute) and as compensation I get to function as a mostly normal human. But I see everything that anyone does wrong to anyone else, and it all hurts me, like a million drums.



jimmy m
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08 Oct 2019, 12:27 pm

There are a couple books you may find interesting:

"In an Unspoken Voice" by Peter A. Levine
"The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process" by David Berceli



goatfish57
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08 Oct 2019, 2:46 pm

There are many of us who do not fit in the neurotypical world and have many issues found in the neurodiverse world.

I would suggest that you read articles about adult autism and see where you fit. Take a few tests, but be careful with confirmation bias. Read the posting on WP and see how you relate.

Your eyes have been opened and now you need to see yourself in the mirror.

Good luck


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paleoludic
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31 Oct 2019, 11:50 am

A million thanks to everyone who answered. You gave me enough of a lead to figure it out. I wasn't autistic; I was stuck in a permanent hypomanic state, which is very similar to autism. Similar enough, I think, to warrant investigation, but at the moment I'm relieved by having reached out for help and gotten back to a "normal" state I never knew existed.

Turns out, life can be ok.