Hi, I've been wondering for a while if I might possibly be on the autistic spectrum. Naturally, I've had a good look around the internet but found it to be pretty inconclusive. I've done a couple of online Asperger tests, which seem to put me on the borderline - if that's a thing.
I often actively avoid having one-to-one conversations with people - particularly if there's a chance that it might go on for a long time. I never know what to say when people ask those perfectly reasonable 'how's the job' or 'how's the family' type questions, and it would never occur to ask such questions back. to me, small talk and chitchat are baffling things, to be avoided if at all possible. Having said that, I've always thought I was quite good at reading people's facial expressions and 'getting the joke' and so on. But on the other hand, I often find myself having a conversation with someone and thinking: "I have no idea what you're on about, and so I have no idea what to say next". Also, I don't know if it's relevant, but in terms of jokes, I've always thought that practical jokes are entirely unfunny and essentially just mean. I also struggle when people ask me verbally to do something. I think I understand when they're speaking to me, but as soon as they've gone, it all just seems to fall out of my head.
I think I'm reasonably good at understanding how language works. I don't usually take people too literally, although I will generally notice if there is an alternative, more literal sense to what they're saying. for example, the media often refers to footballers being 'handed' a ban for committing some foul or something, and I always imagine them being literally handed something with the word 'ban' on it. I've also noticed that people often assume some ulterior motive or hidden agenda when I ask them something, and I find myself wishing other people could just be a bit more literal-minded!
There have been occasions when people have thought I was being insensitive, and I often seek out time on my own, especially when at a large social or work-related gathering. I used to have plenty of friends, but I realise now that that was largely a result of being thrown together, e.g. at school. I have no idea how to go about making friends with people as an adult, and I'm only half-sure I want to.
I have some (what I think of as) minor rituals that I like to stick to, and what I used to think of as slightly OCD tendencies. I don't have any obsessions, although long before I started wondering about autism, I came to realise that there are quite a few things that I quite like doing, but nothing that I really love doing. And it really feels like it would do me good if there was something that I could truly immerse myself in. I'm not sure about sensory sensitivity. There are certainly some sounds that I find distracting/irritiating, but it's hard to know if it's more so for me than anyone else.
I hope it's OK to write all this stuff on this forum - it feels good to get it off my chest if nothing else. I'd be really interested to know people's thoughts about what I've written. I'm pretty nervous to start the process of asking for a formal diagnosis. if I got such a diagnosis, I think it would explain a lot, but if I didn't, I'd still be left with all these problems with social interaction and communication, and then what?
Thanks for reading.
A search of this forum for advice about whether to seek a diagnosis will returns lots of hits.
I sought (and received) and adult diagnosis and would recommend seeking a diagnosis. My diagnosis has meant, for example, that I can to do what is natural to me without having an internal argument about whether it is "right" then trying (and failing) to behave in a neurotypical way.
Without wishing to be rude, just because you believe you are "quite good at reading people's facial expressions and 'getting the joke' and so on" does not mean you are.
I have found that taking word literally can (at least in part) be due to an insufficient understanding of language; for example, my English teacher spent whole lessons explaining the meaning of many phrases which can be taken literally and so I do not have a problem with such phrases. I do, however, struggle with the more subtle use of language. If I take the phrase "we'll be ten minutes" as an example, I look at my watch when I hear that phrase and note the time; my occupational therapist helped me by saying "a neurotypical ten minutes". I knew then that she did not mean ten minutes and, although I found the phrase baffling, at least I knew she really meant an unspecified time period.
Thanks for the reply.
I'm totally on board with the idea that my self-perception in terms of understanding jokes and so on may be well off the mark. In fact it's really interesting that you've used the example of the phrase "we'll be ten minutes". I know someone who often says this sort of thing, and it's come to the point where I'll ask "do you mean a 'real' ten minutes or your kind of ten minutes [that is some vague length of time that isn't really ten minutes]?". Perhaps an example of me taking something too literally and not realising it? And so perhaps an example too of my self-perception being a bit off-kilter?
Yeah, I identify. I’m about to go to bed now but I was diagnosed at the age of 50, last October. I was as nervous as hell but I had to go for the asssessment. The rest has been an eye opener, but making the decision to honour me, was probably the best decision I’ve ever made and although it’s not always easy, it’s far easier than wearing the mask for even another day.