Hello everyone. As I have recently turned 40, my worldly view is changing and I've started to become more inward-thinking, for want of a better term. You see, my Wife's best friend's little boy has recently been diagnosed with Autism and me and him have never really 'clicked' even though a lot of his traits (some of which I'll list below) are ones that I've suffered with all my life. This got me to thinking.........could I be on the autistic scale, as well? After watching the program that was aired about Chris Packham and his life dealing with Asperger's, it raised a few questions, also.
After many conversations with GPs about feeling different and just being given antidepressants, which do nothing, I've taken a few online tests, but I thought I'd ask on here, before I dare to go back to the doctors again. Many thanks for any help.
Here's a list of odd personalty traits that I have - was just wondering if there could be anything to them.
Never get elated about anythingLose things constantlyStart off understanding a task, then get confused easily.Awful ragesCan't handle pressureScared of large objects - planes, tractors, lorries, even bridgesTerrible depression - to the point of suicidal thoughts. Noticed my blinking changes as well and devolved a tick when really depressed. The depression can last for days, then just end instantlyScared of heightsAwful train of thought (people call me magpie at work, due to being easily swayed by 'shiny' things)Brain fogScared of change (same partner and job for 20 years)Unbearable anxiety - several different meds have done nothing to quell the constant 'ache' in my head and stomach. Always worrying about the smallest things - if I'm driving a car, will I get a puncture etc.
Could happily sit on my own for days on end, with no company.
Could spend several hours watching a TV, or on a PC. Couldn't stand to be in someone's company for that amount of time, though.
Self sabotaging behaviourAble to remember number plates, but can't remember phone numbersCan't spell any words with several letters that are the same in them. And get the sequence of words wrong all the time.Scared of intimate objects in the dark (saw a post on here about it - unsure if it's a trait, but at least I'm not the only one!)Can't stand noiseNoticed people looking over their shoulders all the time when I speak to them, as I Iook pass peopleGet fixated on something for a while (song, film, phrase) then get bored in an instant.Have no brain mouth filter (I'd tell a stranger my darkest problems, and say things that are not for public consumption)Sweat constantly - have done since a teenagerSelf harm (punching, whipping)Have a gait problem (limp on my LHS - Have had since my teens)Hold on to things for far too long
Not understating the context of something correctly in conversations or written words etcZoning out in conversations, and very poor memory
Talking over people all the timeCompulsive personalty. Food, OTC drugs, gamblingObsessing over things to the point of madnessEasily distracted in conversations (which no doubt comes across as rude)Compiler of lists, but never use them (see above!)PerfectionistHave to be told things several times over, for the penny to drop. Can't follow written instructions well, but can visual. Have a problem with skim reading (was diagnosed at the age of six) retain very little of what I've learntMy wife has often told me that people don't understand my sense of humour - and she has said it can be very mickey-taking, spiteful, but I don't see it. Very analyticalTalk to myself constantlyMake up things in my head that never happened to fuel my rage, or revisit thing over and overSome days it feels like I'm relearning tasks I should already knowVery, very clumsyStruggle to get sentences out at timesCan't figure out knots, or tie my shoe laces. Or anything intricateGrind my teeth in my sleepHave no real compassion for others - I act interested, but find things like that a hindrance. Not even my Son.
Welcome to the forum.
I make it that you have 47 examples listed there. I was diagnosed with ASD (Asperger Syndrome) a few years ago, and I scored 39 out of the 47! I imagine that many others of the autistic adults here might well score in the 30s and 40s, too, as there are a lot of items there which are consistent with autism.
Naturally, none of us here can tell you for sure; many of those traits are common in other conditions (some closely related to autism), and some are likely secondary effects of any condition rather than caused directly (e.g. due to high anxiety levels.) I think, though, that there is enough there that it would be worth pursuing a formal diagnosis. The kind of recurrent depressive episodes that you describe are also extremely common for pre-diagnosis autistic people; so if nothing else, it may lead you to some explanations for the underlying problems which cause them, whether it is autism or not.
The online tests are a valuable clue too. The clinically validated ones are designed specifically for formal screening based on unprompted patient-reported data. If you take your results to your GP, do stress this; they are not just pop-psychology for Google hypochondriacs; the first stage of a formal assessment often involves filling out exactly the same tests.
In the mean-time, have a good explore of the forum and don't be afraid to join in; there's a lot to be learned here, and from what you've said so far, I think you're sure to find some people who have some fascinating similarities.
Thanks for the brilliant reply, Trog. You've eased my mind a little. Where can I find a 'Clinically validated' online test, to add weight to my case? My GPs aren't the most understanding (and see me as a bit of a whittler)
I have also noticed some other traits today - I was wondering if they're all to do with the same 'condition'
Always need to be doing something with my fingers - blu-tak, phone, pen lid, even an edge of a label on clothing or a tassel etc
Always picking the wrong tone of voice - come across as sarcastic, angry when not.
Very impulse, impatient. Decided today that I was going to t-cut the bonnet of my car, as it had a little mark on it - in the middle of a packed supermarket car park!
Unable to eat fruit due to texture/feel, but can have synthetic fruit flavours
Can have a conversation, but it makes my skin crawl. Constanly second-guessing myself, then get tongue-tied. Very awkward.
OCD about checking things (doors are locked, taps off etc)
Oops, sorry, I did mean to pop a link in there.
The two tests recommended by NICE as part of an NHS Adult Autism Assessment (AAA) are these...
Autism Quotient Test (26 or more for possible ASD)
Empathy Quotient Test (30 or less for possible ASD)
And this last one is not formal, but gives a nice easy-to-read chart of the results...
I won't say any more about the things you noted yet, as it might bias your test scores, but do pop back and let us know how you get on.
Your score was 40 out of a possible 50.
Scores in the 33-50 range indicate significant Autistic traits (Autism).
Scores of 30 or less indicate a lack of empathy common in people with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.
Your neurodiverse (Aspie) score: 128 of 200Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 103 of 200You seem to have both neurodiverse and neurotypical traits
Sorry for the multiple replies. Just shell-shocked a bit. I wonder if some of the answers were me guessing what would be the right answer etc.
Does this explain why I had no compassion for my Wife's friend's Son, who has been recently been diagnosed with autism? Like two similar magnets.....
I can't have these problems, I function quite well.............
Broken Saint said:Just shell-shocked a bit.
Likewise when the mental-health worker first suggested autism to me; and then managed to justify from observations she'd made in only half-an-hour! I'm absolutely convinced that there's something about autism that stops us from being able to see our own autism.
Just remember this. If it turns out you are autistic, then by definition you always have been. You are discovering new things about yourself; but nothing about you has changed, and nothing has to change unless you choose it to.
Broken Saint said:I wonder if some of the answers were me guessing what would be the right answer etc.
It's always a possibility, but the tests are designed in such a way to try and reduce this factor. Ultimately, though, that's why they are only screening tests; a properly trained psychologist would be able to eliminate this possibility.
Broken Saint said: can't have these problems, I function quite well...
It depends how you define "function". If you mean things like satisfactory social interactions, holding down a job etc. then it may seem like a paradox. However, those measure only the outcomes of your thinking and behaviour, not how your brain went about achieving them. If an autistic person has sufficient intelligence and observation skills they can devise work-arounds for their autistic deficits, and will have been doing so since infancy. If the outcomes are different, then autism is easily observed, but the difference between intuition and systematic thinking is inside people's heads where it isn't easy to appreciate.
So the massive question is .....what now? I'm at a loss as to how to turn this self-diagnosis into something concrete (and also as my gp isn't very understanding ....) Thanks again
My GP isn’t understanding either
Yes, I understand completely, it's pretty overwhelming to have everything you thought you "knew" about yourself cast into doubt.
Firstly, the kind of feelings and thoughts you're talking about are very, very common for people in your position. So try not to be too hard on yourself for feeling that way; as far as I can see, it's perfectly natural. I know how difficult it can be to avoid being obsessed by them, but do make sure that you use quiet-time, hobbies etc. to give your brain a break from it once in while!
My advice in the short-term, is to carry on using communities like this one, and maybe consider joining some others. The best professionals in the world still can't appreciate what it is like to experience being autistic (unless they are themselves, of course.) The shared experiences of other autistic people have been key to understanding myself and coming to terms with things; far, far more so than anything that a psychologist or therapist ever did.
Rather than trying to swallow the whole concept of "autism" whole, I found it much better to concentrate on the specific things that concerned me the most. It doesn't really matter whether a particular trait is due to autism or not; if people's experiences click, and their advice is useful, then they just are. Finding things that lead to better qualify of life is more important than looking for labels, at the end of the day. I won't pretend that the "imposter syndrome" will go away completely, but you will gain confidence that your experiences are not unique and have explanations, and that autism is the most logical explanation for them (or not.)
Unless you have a pressing need for a formal diagnosis (benefits, work accommodations etc.), I'd suggest letting the dust settle for a bit, while building up a better case for an assessment. That will make it easier to counter any objections from your GP, give you a clearer idea of exactly what behaviours you need to be pointing out, and make the prospect of an assessment less daunting.
Cheers, Trog (Hope you don't mind me calling you that) I have an 'ache' inside of me that I need to quell - I need everything to be 'rubber-stamped' and a formal diagnosis would do this. It would give me some clarity, as to why I am the way I am. Sad I know, I just feel this way.
How could I build up a case for an assessment. Would the score even mean anything to a GP? Would they need the whole results printed out?
Broken Saint said:Trog (Hope you don't mind me calling you that)
Oh yes, that's fine, most people do (including my Mum!)
Broken Saint said:How could I build up a case for an assessment. Would the score even mean anything to a GP? Would they need the whole results printed out?
Very hard to predict. Most GPs have little idea about autism, and the worst ones are often the ones who think they do.
The NICE adult assessment guidelines can be found here. Point 1.2.8 is where the screening tests are mentioned, and even in a formal assessment they are self-completed without prompting by the assessor (I did them at mine.) So it may help to point your GP at that if they are sceptical. Besides that, try to match up the behaviours you've described to us to the formal diagnostic traits (point 1.2.2 in the link). Taking your wife with you might help too, as she might be able to confirm traits from an onlooker's perspective and corroborate that they lead to genuine problems in daily life.
It was easier for me because it was a mental health team worker who first suggested autism to me, and she wrote to my doctor to smooth the way. If the GP is only willing to consider a mental health or counselling referral, I would advise you to take it; it might be an opportunity to speak with someone more knowledgable who can back you up. Lastly, according to NHS rules you always have the right to a second opinion from a different doctor; insist on it if you need to.