Hi I'm pretty sure I have Social Anxiety Disorder but I also believe I have a lot of the traits of someone with Aspberger's. I don't enjoy eye to eye contact , (even with close family members); I don't want to attend social events and am happier on my own; I have obsessive hobbies and tendencies; I carry out all kinds of stimming , (even when I'm alone at home and comfortable with the setting and not really anxious); I'm affected by noise and some lighting situations; I've a "flat" lifeless approach to life with not a great deal of interest in the activities of others or anything really apart from my obsessive hobbies. I can also "go off on one" when on a topic I'm comfortable with and completely dominate a conversation and almost drift off into that world and forget who I'm talking to. However, small talk conversations amongst a group in a pub just becomes noise, and I don't enter the conversation. I've scored 34 and 38 when I've taken the test.
Where I don't marry up with Aspberger's is the lack of empathy with others, and not reading how others are feeling, or not recognising facial expressions, or invading personal space. I'm the opposite of that. I think I read people very well. I'm a highly emotional "weepy" person, where things I hear, such as people suffering, (for example in Syria) or the state of the environment and plastic pollution prey on my mind and upset me greatly.
Also throw into the mix an overactive thyroid condition as a young boy that affected my mind and brain development greatly until it was controlled, but I suspect still has a say to this day despite the operation and thyroxine.
So....quite a mixed up position. But as all people I see on Youtube/TV with Aspberger's always seem quite confident, I just wondered if anyone out there experiences both. I don't want the Social Anxiety Disorder to mask any diagnosis/support I might need for Aspberger's.
Social anxiety is common with people with autism. They are not commonly diagnosing aspergers specifically anymore but just the umbrella term of autism. Some people get diagnosed with social anxiety and autism and others get told their social anxiety is part of their autism and they don't need a separate diagnosis. I have lots of anxiety associated with my autism but I've never been assessed for my anxiety. It can be generalised anxiety but I do get massive social anxiety.
The autistic people don't have empathy is a bit of a myth. A lot of people with autism have empathy but struggle to show it. There are also some people with autism that have "too much" empathy and as you describe feel very affected by the smallest of things.
Being able to read people I don't think is so common in people with autism so I'm not as sure about this one but there are people that have written on this forum and said that they can.
My advice to everyone in this situation is to write a list. There are 4 areas you need to fill to have autism: social, sensory, communication and rigidity of thought. If you are struggling to come up with something for any of those 4 then it's likely not autism. If your list mainly comes under social then it would be a fair bet that social anxiety is the issue. If you can fill all 4 areas it may be worth being referred for an assessment.
It is worth noting that thyroid conditions can affect people in a huge variety of ways so always worth being aware of that when you are looking at your traits.
Hope some of that helped a little.
Thanks for the reply. Can you explain what you mean by rigidity of thought?
Sure. It can also be referred to as flexibility of thought. It is to do with routines, needing to do things a certain way, not liking change/unexpected. It can be the cause of people's obsessions and special interests. It can also be what can make it hard to read other people (theory of mind) and understand other people's opinions (this also fits under social and communication though, there is an overlap).
Thanks. Another question if I may; would you consider a complete aversion to wearing a wrist watch or a wedding ring, and being unable to handle the feel of dry soil on my hands as sensory signs?
Yes definitely assuming that aversion is that you don't like the feel of the watch or ring. I hate watches and rings. Anything involving touch, taste, sight, smell or sound that you are hyper (sensitive to) or hypo (basically oblivious to) counts as sensory.
It's more that they are constricting me. I need my fingers/hands free. By the same token I can't be in a sleeping bag; I need my feet not to be constricted.
That still sounds sensory to me.
I don't like sitting between people because it's too constricted.
Thanks for the reply.
I was diagnosed a couple of weeks ago. I worried about the empathy issue at first but as Binary says it does seem to be a myth; personally I feel empathy in quite an extreme way but struggle to show it externally, if that makes sense, so I can feel very sad for a friend who is upset but I have to plan how to show it (and I find it difficult to show it) eg deciding to pat someone on the arm or hug them.
I think I am fairly good at understanding expressions and how other people are feeling too. I mentioned this in my assessment and at the end said I was concerned that I couldn't really identify with having problems with some of the social elements I'd been asked about, but my assessor said that actually there were things I said I was okay with but then didn't appear to be (if that makes sense, I've not worded it very well) Also I'm not sure if reading expressions is something I have learnt rather than just knowing how to do it. Having said that, I don't look at people when I'm talking (only when they are talking) so goodness knows what their faces are doing then!
That's helpful as well. Thank you.