I don’t think I’m on the spectrum, what do you guys think?

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XenopusMan
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10 Sep 2021, 2:22 am

I’ve obsessed over whether or not I’m on the spectrum for almost three years now. I was diagnosed about a year ago, but I am starting to really believe that I was misdiagnosed. Many of my friends and family members agree and say that I don’t seem autistic in the slightest. Others say I seem very clearly autistic.

So first I guess I’ll list the reasons I might have it. I have obsessive, niche interests in obscure topics that spark my interest (for example, autism, all the lore of a specific cartoon, sometimes I even figure out the lore if there’s not much available online, phylogeny, etc.) As a young kid I was into astronomy, then trains, then dinosaurs, all the typical aspie obsessions. I was suspected of having it when I was 4 due to not playing much with the other kids in Pre-K but I was given a comprehensive assessment and found not to have it, but to be sorta close to it. I did, however, have severe dyspraxia and Sensory Processing Disorder, and spent years in OT to get my symptoms to be manageable. I also very much hated change and had a very rigid routine (I had to have the same exact brand of orange juice after school every day or I’d flip) and was seen as a spoiled brat because of it. I threw my chair at my kindergarten teacher my first day there cause I didn’t want to be at my new school.
People were always impressed by my ability to retain facts, and I used to scare my classmates by memorizing all their birthdays without effort. My interests never really matched those of my peers, I didn’t play sports and video games and I attributed that to why I almost never hung out with friends outside of school up until the end of high school (besides a brief leap in social ability 10th grade). When I was 14 I easily went the entire summer without contacting or hanging out with anyone my age, and nobody really contacted me. People thought I was weird and teased me, but the bullying was never too bad. The teachers always liked me. I’ve still never been on a date at age 21, but now have a large handful of very good friends, two of which I went on a five-week long road trip with a few months ago.

I was quiet a lot, but a lot of the times when I spoke back in middle and high school, my conversations consisted mainly of questions. People said it seemed like I was interrogating them whenever I talked to them. I also regularly asked bizarre hypotheticals like, “What would you do if a giant wasp showed up and started eating everybody in this class?” I was seen as annoying and weird by some due to this, and was kind of teased for it. Being teased by my peers in 11th grade made me angry, so in 12th grade I became obsessed with making fake Instagram accounts (I made over a hundred total) and using them to spam my classmates over and over again with comments like “Peepee Poopoo” to annoy them as a sort of revenge. Of course that was just like putting fire on gasoline.

I have major anxiety and attention issues, and stim a lot. I take things a bit literally as well, and often don’t find myself laughing at jokes even if I get it.

I supposedly have special talents in memorizing numbers, creative writing, drawing cartoons, and understanding biology, but I would just consider myself decent at those things.

I used to have detailed imaginary worlds in my head that I’d interact with people in to escape my loneliness and because it was easier to interact with imaginary people that I could control.

I used to copy people to try to fit in, sometimes even buying the clothes that were in and wearing them to school. People saw right through this and knew I was a faker. Speaking of clothes, I wear the same few clothes and eat the same few foods, mainly due to my massive sensory issues.

Here’s the thing, though. I can read people’s body language. I don’t believe I have a limited ability to have a reciprocal conversation, or ever truly did. My prosody is normal, and my body language is probably slightly off (I don’t smile a lot and walk funny, and probably a number of other small peculiarities) but that’s to be expected if you have impaired balance and proprioception. And while I didn’t interact with my friends or hang out with them as much as they did with each other back in high school, I still had a group of friends. In middle school I didn’t really, and I hung out with people less, but I’m not sure how abnormal that is.

And I don’t believe I have any speech peculiarities, but my relatives do tell me that I talked like a college professor when I was little, even at age 3.

But I also was very happy when my sister was born when I was 4 and cared for her. I played pretend games with children I just met at the park when I was 6, I’d even lead the group and make up my own games. My guidance counselors in school complimented on my emotional intelligence and that I could talk to a wide variety of people in a very calm, mature way. And I was almost always kind and friendly.

God I’ve been going on and on, so I should probably stop now. I’ll add that my IQ profile is typical for an aspie (much higher verbal than visual spatial, low processing speed) and that I used to rarely talk about my feelings, but now do it very well. Also, I had a massive mental breakdown in 10th grade, and before then I seemed fairly normal to those who knew me in 9th grade, well not really normal, but not the lost soul that they described 11th and 12th grade me as being. I was weird in middle school, then became semi-normal, then weird again. And now I’m more normal than ever.

I understand that I clearly have a lot of aspie traits, but the thing is, I’m lacking two symptoms that are supposed to be very core to what the condition actually is, as I can read people and carry a reciprocal conversation.

Based on my post, would you guys imagine it’s likely truly aspergers, or something else (like a combo of a few other conditions mixed with slight eccentricity and introversion). I’m asking here cause I figured other people diagnosed with it or know people diagnosed with it would know best.



Last edited by XenopusMan on 10 Sep 2021, 2:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

carlos55
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10 Sep 2021, 2:28 am

If something isn't a problem why do you feel you need to be diagnosed?

You can be different without being disabled or having a label, many people on the threshold tend to gravitate into further autistic traits after diagnosis for some psychological reason, so for you simply accepting your differences without taking it further may be more beneficial.


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Last edited by carlos55 on 10 Sep 2021, 2:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

XenopusMan
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10 Sep 2021, 2:30 am

carlos55 wrote:
If something isn't a problem why do you feel you need to be diagnosed?

You can be different without being disabled or having a label


I was diagnosed, and I did and still do have problems because of the symptoms. It’s just that the social symptoms don’t quite add up imo, although I def had a difficulty making friends for a while so my social aspects of life were negatively affected by my symptoms.

And I’d say my social symptoms have lessened since diagnosis, not gotten worse, especially now that I have an idea on what my social weaknesses are/were



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10 Sep 2021, 2:49 am

All I can say is that I thought I was excellent at reading people until I a couple of years ago found out that I'm not.

/Mats


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magz
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10 Sep 2021, 3:04 am

I'm among those who do social interaction via frontal lobe - observing, analysing, finding patterns, searching for the best reaction and implementing it.
I used to have no idea other people don't do it that way.
I used to have no idea other people don't implement nearly as much self-control in their daily lives.


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somesortofvariant
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10 Sep 2021, 5:18 am

All I can say is that I have significantly fewer classic signs than you have listed, and I am here because I think am somwhere-god-knows-where-but-somewhere on the neurodiversity spectrum. I have not been diagnosed, nor am I seeking to be. I had thought a diagnosis could bring a lot of clarity, but I see how that also is not a silver bullet.

I long thought I could read people and had emotional intelligence, but once I enter into an intimate relationships (partner, bosses) the facade seems to crumble.



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10 Sep 2021, 9:55 am

It sounds to me like you’re autistic; I display a lot of the same behaviors you do.

Can you get a second opinion? Maybe if you can, that will help to put you more at ease.



skcuf
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10 Sep 2021, 10:31 am

Does it matter? Perhaps you've been putting too much emphasis on the label instead of just living your life and enjoying who you are. Stop worrying about whether or not you're an aspie and just do what you want. I've found that my lack of caring about what other people think of me has let me be free.



XenopusMan
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10 Sep 2021, 10:54 am

skcuf wrote:
Does it matter? Perhaps you've been putting too much emphasis on the label instead of just living your life and enjoying who you are. Stop worrying about whether or not you're an aspie and just do what you want. I've found that my lack of caring about what other people think of me has let me be free.


How do you stop caring what others think? I’ve tried to, but it’s hard.



naturalplastic
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10 Sep 2021, 11:08 am

You sound like a textbook aspie to me.

Like the two of us were seperated at birth. I was officially dx with aspergers a couple of years ago. You sound very similar to me. Like my clone in some ways.



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10 Sep 2021, 11:21 am

I can read people and carry a reciprocal conversation and I have ASD (and I believe it to be true). I score as hyper-perceptive for reading body language, above 95% -better than most NTs. Lots of ASD folks are amazing actors b/c of this. You are considering one stereotype of ASD. My difficulty is that I can observe and interpret social situations from afar, but when I am in them, I'm lost (for various reasons). My problem with reciprocal conversations is that I prefer a 1-2 minute turn-taking, but NTs prefer 10-30 seconds. I can do it their way but it's disappointing as I prefer to have in-depth (professor, philosopher) conversations. I have lots of friends - I am extroverted. However, if is overwhelming for me to be in large groups (I can't track that much) - I prefer one-on-one or small groups. I have an ASD-like BFF and it's interesting to consider what is in common between us and hence what might be the ASD b/c our personalities are so different. She is the stereotypical unexpressive, introverted ASD type --- but being expressive and extroverted like me is a valid ASD type also --- and anywhere in between. I have much better communication skills than her but she has a better self esteem than me. Ah, well. Pros and Cons.



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10 Sep 2021, 11:28 am

First: We can't diagnose you.

Second: It sounds to me like you are an Aspie who has developed some good coping skills.


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chaosmos
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10 Sep 2021, 6:14 pm

somesortofvariant wrote:
I long thought I could read people and had emotional intelligence, but once I enter into an intimate relationships (partner, bosses) the facade seems to crumble.


This is so me I laughed out loud!



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10 Sep 2021, 6:41 pm

I think that a distinguishing point might be not that people on the spectrum struggle with social interaction and conversation, but rather that doing so is not *intuitive* to them. While an NT person may quickly pick up on the ebb and flow of being social, to a person with ASD those things are alien. So we have to learn the way of doing it, and just like it is with all things, some people are good at it, others are not.

I personally do not have an issue with conversation, maintaining eye contact, or socializing. But there are caveats: trying to engage conversationally with more than one person when the subject is mundane or uninteresting to me causes my seeming proficiency to deteriorate, and I can quickly become the guy who doesn't know what to do or say in such situations. I also dislike socializing with people I do not know. Meeting new people is a nightmare to me, and I go through a lot of rehearsal just to make it ok. I prefer not to look at people directly in the face, but have learned how to mask that so that I do not seem rude when I am not looking at them, or have found ways to look without it being uncomfortable (for me or others...I am told I have a very intense gaze when I *do* look people in the eyes).

All of these things are not intuitive. They are not things I learned naturally. I learned them growing up, developing skills to fit in and not be caught out as being "strange" or "odd." I wasn't screened for Autism, so as an adult I am awaiting assessment, but in all retrospectives I do, or when discussing it with my mother (Who can give me an outside perspective), I seem to fit the profile.

I certainly think I am really competent in these areas, so much that people might not ever guess that I might have Autism. But these things are not things I do naturally, nor do I really like doing them. I can appear to be empathetic pretty well, but that is a learned quality, not one I take to naturally. It became most evident when my grandfather died. My mother was upset for weeks, but for me I had a hard time really caring (I didn't know him hardly at all, so I didn't really feel a lot of emotion), and even worse I was really unhelpful in helping my mom handle her emotions, because I didn't know how to handle them at all.

Since then I have learned to "fake" empathy in those situations, but...I really dislike having to do so. I also know it isn't really ok for me to be so aloof, so I do make effort, but again...not natural inclination.

So the question I would be asking is: Are the social skills you have that make you feel like you are not autistic ones that you had to learn as a skill growing up, or are they skills that came fluently and naturally to you?

Knowing *how* to be social, conversational, and empathetic doesn't mean that they are innate qualities. I myself thought I was pretty good at these things (for an introvert), but after self examining my past experiences, I find that I am not naturally any of these things. I just learned how to be good enough to pass as "normal."



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10 Sep 2021, 8:40 pm

There are only two criteria needed be diagnosed ASD: Social communication deficits and rigid, repetitive behavior.

Each criterium can be met by a variety of traits and no single trait is required for a diagnosis. People have heard doctors say things like "you can't be autistic because you're eye contact is too good" which is nonsense. I am self diagnosed, but would never have to worry about a doctor saying that :lol:

I don't see any reason to doubt your diagnosis.

You do realize that when you were young, autistic meant classic autism, not ASD.

Here is the DSM-5 criteria: Autism Diagnosis Criteria: DSM-5


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10 Sep 2021, 8:53 pm

I am not expert but sounds like a likely case of autism to me.

It is not impossible for autistic people to learn to read people at least some(doesn't mean we necessarily get it right every time). And we can learn to improve in conversation and give others a chance to talk instead of monologuing to where they can't get a word in.