Could I possible be.......

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 anything
Lose things constantly
Start off understanding a task, then get confused easily.
Awful  rages
Can't handle pressure
Scared of large objects - planes, tractors, lorries, even bridges
Terrible 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 instantly
Scared of heights
Awful train of thought (people call me magpie at work, due to being easily swayed by 'shiny' things)
Brain fog
Scared 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 behaviour
Able to remember number plates, but can't remember phone numbers
Can'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 noise
Noticed people looking over their shoulders all the time when I speak to them, as I Iook pass people
Get 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 teenager
Self 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 etc
Zoning out in conversations, and very poor memory

Talking over people all the time
Compulsive personalty. Food, OTC drugs, gambling
Obsessing over things to the point of madness
Easily distracted in conversations (which no doubt comes across as rude)
Compiler of lists, but never use them (see above!)
Have 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 learnt
My 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 analytical
Talk to myself constantly
Make up things in my head that never happened to fuel my rage, or revisit thing over and over
Some days it feels like I'm relearning tasks I should already know
Very, very clumsy
Struggle to get sentences out at times
Can't figure out knots, or tie my shoe laces. Or anything intricate
Grind my teeth in my sleep
Have no real compassion for others - I act interested, but find things like that a hindrance. Not even my Son.

  • 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? 

  • Trog (Hope you don't mind me calling you that)

    Oh yes, that's fine, most people do (including my Mum!)

    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.

  • Thanks  Sadly, my Wife isn't the most understanding person and would no doubt laugh herself to death if I explained my problem. Bit at a loss as to what to do  

  • Good luck with seeing your GP about getting a referral. I fortunately have an understanding GP so I went with evidence of an AQ test scores 40+ and listed my struggles in life socially and mentally. I also took my wife incase I needed anything mentioning as I always find it difficult to mention how I'm feeling.

    It's as good a time as ever to get the ball rolling as I have been told my first screening appointment will be at the earliest 15 months and the latest 25 months. I'm in no rush as I've lived all my life with theses problems so what's another 2 years of waiting going to do? But finding out whether or not I am on the spectrum would or would not explain alot of things about me and possibly give me a better understanding of myself and my struggles.

  • Hi everyone. Sorry for the delay in replying - it's taken a long time to pluck up the courage to see a GP.........and, I wish I hadn't bothered! 

    I went in full of hope, with all of the information that I had been given here and the scores from the online tests - the GP just thumbed through them and gave me an assessment form for ADHD (WTF!) and then said fill it in and he'd pass it on, but as mental health is a bit limited for older patients he's unsure of if it would help.

    I'm on the floor here. Ever since I told my Wife about what I was feeling, she's used it as a stick to beat me with and now this. Just at a loss.  

  • oh that must have been there perhaps another GP you could see to ask for a 2nd opinion?

  • As someone with OCD its a seperate condition to Autism

  • It depends on your area sadly, you may have to pay privately. My GP told me theres no funding in our area but she tried anyway and it came back to go private. I'm really struggling and always have. I'd like a diagnosis to know why I've struggled and been through all that I have in life, to be able to post on forums if I'm on the spectrum as at the moment I feel I dont belong

  • Hi Broken Saint, I've just read through this thread and it looks likely you are on the autism spectrum. I was asked by the GP I saw why I wanted a referral because I wouldn't get any support afterwards - and he was a mental health specialist who analysed my AQ rest results and agreed with my self diagnosis. I thought about it for a while and decided not to bother, as it wouldn't change anything. But I started to read and research what makes me different to neurotypical people, and how to manage anxiety. I can recommend 3 books - "Sane New World" by Ruby Wax has ideas for managing anxiety and depression, "Am I Autistic" by Lydia Andal is a guide to self diagnosis for adults, and "A Field Guide to Earthlings" by Ian Ford explains how neurotypical brains work (and how this is different to autistic brains), so has helped me make sense of other people to some extent.

    Trogluddite has already given some great advice, and I would reiterate that forums like this can be a great comfort if you're struggling, even just reading about people who share your problems or have overcome similar things can help. Keep posting if you have more questions or stuff you want to discuss.