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.
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.
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.