You don't need to read this, I just want to get it down (but you can if you want)

WARNING - THIS POST IS OVER 1000 WORDS.

So here it is, I'm 27 and married, I live a relatively normal life, a fair share of my problems live in the past, I've had a fair amount of therapy for social and workplace anxiety, as well as general upset about the way things were in my childhood.

My childhood was a disaster. I had an inability to make friends, and tended to befriend teachers rather than kids my own age, a lot of the time I used to alienate friends by saying upsetting things to them (without realising) and attract bullies because I got upset easily, suffered from selective mutism and also had a habit of pulling my own hair out which left me with bald spots. Everyone thought I was a bit weird. Outside of school I had "tantrums" in busy places, usually this involved me throwing myself to floor and keep banging my head against the ground, it embarrassed my parents and let to me getting punished quite a lot. These stopped as I got a bit older and turned into panic attacks which I had until about 5 years ago.

Later on in middle school I was labelled as having behavioural difficulties, I would lash out at people when I felt threatened (which happened a lot), and wouldn't remember much about it afterward and also couldn't see what I had done wrong. I started getting through social situations by emulating others, sometimes this got me in trouble because I would emulate the wrong person. I would copy what adults were doing instead of children my own age, what women did instead of what men did. In the classroom I excelled in certain subjects (Maths, Science, History) and failed abysmally in others (English Language, PE, Handwriting, Drama). This led me to be put into a "learning support" group in my secondary school.

After getting a real hard time over falling so badly in my SATs I was made to write out the dictionary which was supposed to help with my writing and poor reading ability, I also felt this was a bit of a punishment for being stupid. The issue never was that I couldn't read, I could actually read very well, I just didn't understand what was going on in a story. I managed to get myself out of the learning support group by figuring out how to read aloud without processing or understanding anything I was saying, the stalling in my reading was me trying to figure out what just happened. I hated reading fiction and preferred reading volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Near the start of secondary school we had some multiple choice "reasoning test", during which I scored the highest the school had ever seen. The head teacher sponsored me to join young Mensa, and I had recognised IQ score of 158 (I did one as an adult more recently and only scored 152). This paved the way for great expectations of me, which all fell apart when I started having what was diagnosed as "cluster migraines". These cluster migraines were caused by me noticing, and subsequently freaking out at the fluorescent lights in all of the classrooms, my school must have had a dodgy mains supply, or cheap transformers because nearly every one of them had a high frequency flicker on which drove me insane. Eventually the sensory overload would force me to retreat from the world into the safe place in the back of my mind and wait for it all to be over, however when you look like your "no longer in the room" lots of people start to notice you, and you get a lot of attention that really doesn't look all that inviting, so retreating a little more into the back of the mind seems very appealing. Eventually I would be carted off in an ambulance, told everything looks normal, and sent home to be told off for interrupting my parent’s day.

I've had poor success in jobs, people generally don't like me and call me things like an "egocentric know it-all" and tell me I still have much to learn about "office politics". I generally moved on within a year, partly because I get bored easily, and partly because by that time people start to get used to me and actually want to know me in some kind of social way, which really bothers me. (I don't really feel attachment to people, I kind of look at things as some relationships being mutually beneficial, but don't see much point in continuing one when this is no longer the case). I do enjoy helping people though, it helps make me feel like a better person. People say I'm too honest, I tend not to "mince words". I say what I think and feel, this shocks a lot of people and people think I am just being rude. I think it's a shame that more people don't do this, it would make things so much easier if people stopped trying to subtly coat what they really mean in words that they don't mean and just get to the point.

So, my situation now is that I am in therapy again, I believe that it is about the right time to start thinking about having children. However before I make what I see as the biggest, most defining decision of my life I want to be in my best possible frame of mind, I also want better for my child than what I had. ASD has come up in therapy and I have decided to seek out information relating to it so I can better understand it. I am reading through this forum and gathering people’s experiences so that I can compare them to thoughts and feelings that I experience. From this I should be able to better understand if I am "on the spectrum" or not. I also need to ascertain the benefits of coming to some kind of conclusion, and decide the most prudent steps to take following this.

This post has turned into a little bit of a rant about my life, I won't delete it as it took a while for me to write. I’ll just change the subject. If you made it to the end well done and thanks for reading!

All comments are of course welcome, If I don't get any takers on this one I will try and do a more concise post with a more directed point tomorrow. You can of course ask questions if you have any.

Forest

  • Welcome ForestP!

    Your children will be in no danger of going through what you went through because you have worked out what went wrong with your life and you have knowledge and insight that your parents never had. Awareness of Aspergers has grown over the years and this also adds to the chances of a child's schooling being much more sensible.

    I grew up with a lot of the things that happened to you but on a lesser scale. I was only diagnosed 2 years ago aged 56 and this knowledge has allowed me to understand my own life and it also sheds light on my parents lives - my father was probably on the spectrum but it was my mother who was in charge of my upbringing - this is fortunate as someone who is unaware of their traits can be a really bad parent and that may have contributed to your own trials. I certainly wasn't a briliant parent (but not terrible either!) but I would have done a lot of things differently if I had known that I had Aspergers.

    Any children you have will inherit some of your traits and may be similarly affected by autism but your knowledge should mean that they will be protected from the worst that you have gone through. Genetics is a game of chance so all you can say is that you don't really know how they will turn out - you just have to be ready for some challenges.

    The forum is a mine of information and opinion so you have to work out what you agree with or disagree with - their are some difficult subjects that get discussed and it pays to remember that most of the posters are affected more or less by the issues that autism brings.

  • ForestP, you probably felt a bit better by getting things off your chest and this is one of the purposes of forums like this in that people are able to 'vent' their pent-up feelings among similiary minded individuals.

    I have found that putting things down in print forces us to look at them somewhat more objectively than before which can help our minds 're-configure' what we feel about them.

    So, keep posting, ForestP, because it is theraputic.

  • ForestP said:

    ..... I'm 27 and married...... 

    What follows is not a critique of you and I don't wish to have you apologising for anything. I am talking about me and my perspective.

    I have a big question for you which is dominatting my mind reading your entire post.

    I don't know if I am missing the obvious hidden in plain sight and common sense to everyone else . If I am please point out the obvious, the sentence that makes it clear.

    Are you a male or a female ?

    Why does it matter? It matters because when I start reading something I need to form a visual image of the person speaking. In your case what does 27 and married mean visually ? It is an abstract construct, not a concrete literal expression. All it tells me is that you are human.

    This type of ambiguity causes me stress. At the moment the speaker is a nebulous blob. 

    I am not able to read between the lines and make assumptions so if there is an inference to be drawn from some implication then please advise.

    Many famous best selling authors also write like this, too abstract, not using sensory language. They start writing a scene and there are endless questions and unknown and ambiguities; this is one reason I cannot stand reading fiction because the writer often does not communicate in sufficient concrete detail that paints an unambiguous picture of the scene and events unfolding. 

    I make use of a vehicle to travel to my destination. A car ? A plane ? A train ? A bicycle ? What is a vehicle, a space ship ? What is a destination, the moon, or London ?

    Like I said, this is about me, my brain, and my need for information and clarity, and I feel there is too much abstract verbalisation and generalisation in the world for my liking. 

    People never like me asking too many questions, and get upset, but then they never provide enough clarity; I am not a mind reader. Most people do not ask probing questions because it is said to be impolite to interrogate people; but that is why there is so much misunderstanding in the world because people jump to the wrong conclusions.

  • Also Thanks "lostmyway"

    I do feel better having wrote that down. And you are correct, writing it all down allows me to process everything more objectviely.

    Thanks,

    Forest

  • I don't think I said anything to imply any gender in my post. It wasn't a deliberate ommitance, neither was I intentionally trying to be abstract.

    To answer your question (which is perfectly valid), I'm male.

    I don't mind you asking questions, I invited them, you also don't need to justify yourself. If there is any further information you require for your visualisation let me know. I'd rather people clarify than assume wrong.

  • recombinantsocks said:

    Welcome ForestP!

    Your children will be in no danger of going through what you went through because you have worked out what went wrong with your life and you have knowledge and insight that your parents never had. Awareness of Aspergers has grown over the years and this also adds to the chances of a child's schooling being much more sensible.

    I do hope so...

    recombinantsocks said:

    I grew up with a lot of the things that happened to you but on a lesser scale. I was only diagnosed 2 years ago aged 56 and this knowledge has allowed me to understand my own life and it also sheds light on my parents lives - my father was probably on the spectrum but it was my mother who was in charge of my upbringing - this is fortunate as someone who is unaware of their traits can be a really bad parent and that may have contributed to your own trials. I certainly wasn't a briliant parent (but not terrible either!) but I would have done a lot of things differently if I had known that I had Aspergers.

    I've not been diagnosed, It's come up a few times but a lot of people say I'm too "normal" to have ASD (I don't feel "normal" in the slightest). Diagnosis or not I want to understand things better, maybe in time I will feel in a position to make a decision about what I should do about things.

    recombinantsocks said:

    Any children you have will inherit some of your traits and may be similarly affected by autism but your knowledge should mean that they will be protected from the worst that you have gone through. Genetics is a game of chance so all you can say is that you don't really know how they will turn out - you just have to be ready for some challenges.

    Thank you, this makes me feel a bit better.

    recombinantsocks said:

    The forum is a mine of information and opinion so you have to work out what you agree with or disagree with - their are some difficult subjects that get discussed and it pays to remember that most of the posters are affected more or less by the issues that autism brings.

    Yea I get that, all forums are the same, a collection of information muddled in with opinion and speculation. Thanks.

  • ForestP said:

    I've not been diagnosed, It's come up a few times but a lot of people say I'm too "normal" to have ASD (I don't feel "normal" in the slightest). Diagnosis or not I want to understand things better, maybe in time I will feel in a position to make a decision about what I should do about things.

    From reading your posts I think it is pretty clear that it is likely that you are on the spectrum. Have you tried the free online test at aspergerstest.net/.../ ?

  • recombinantsocks said:

    I've not been diagnosed, It's come up a few times but a lot of people say I'm too "normal" to have ASD (I don't feel "normal" in the slightest). Diagnosis or not I want to understand things better, maybe in time I will feel in a position to make a decision about what I should do about things.

    From reading your posts I think it is pretty clear that it is likely that you are on the spectrum. Have you tried the free online test at aspergerstest.net/.../ ?

    [/quote]

    I did it shortly after joinging the forum, It's quite a good test in that it provides insights into the reasons why I may do certain things, the main ones being:

    - Absorbsion in what I am doing (if it is something I am interested in)

    - Hypersensitvity - to light, frequencies, sounds, patterns and touch and little things that others don't even notice until I point them out

    - All the social problems I have

    I scored 45, the key seems to indicate this is quite high.

    This may be a common concern, but I do worry that although I find imagining things very difficult, I can do it, I just struggle. For example the earlier post where I was asked my gender, I would have applied the logic that statistically ASD is more prevalent in men than women, so would have assumed male unless it was specifically stated they they weren't. same with eye colour, I would assume brown unless otherwise stated as statistically that is more likely to be the case. I can make assumptions and am forced to every day.

    Same with social situations, I've don't really get social etiquete, but I've been around enough people over my life to know that when someone holds there hand out I am supposed to shake it, I know that it is considered polite to ask someone how they are, even if there answer will be "good" or "fine" and they will ask me and I shall say the same back regardless of how I feel. I know that if someone seems upset you tell them everything will be ok (even if the probabilty is that it wont).

    Same with special interests, I am interested in computers and how they work, I work as a computer programmer and enjoy it, but I also developing networks and enjoy working with hardware (assembling a computer is different to programming one). They are completely different aspects and involve very different principles. The nature of my interests are diverse, even if some people see them as constricted. I often feel that people just lack the depth of understanding to comprehend all the differences that they see as much of the same....

    Sorry this turned into a bit of a rant again.

    Forest

  • ForestP said:

    I don't think I said anything to imply any gender in my post. It wasn't a deliberate ommitance, neither was I intentionally trying to be abstract.

    To answer your question (which is perfectly valid), I'm male.

    I don't mind you asking questions, I invited them, you also don't need to justify yourself. If there is any further information you require for your visualisation let me know. I'd rather people clarify than assume wrong.

    It's odd, I hadn't checked Aspergerix' forum profile and had incorrectly assumed female. I was probably going on "-ix" (or rix) suggesting to me the feminine gender despite Asterix being an obvious counter-example. see english.stackexchange.com/.../what-is-the-origin-of-ix-as-a-feminine-variation for other people making the same incorrect connection. I hadn't picked up on anything in his posts to tell me otherwise and I hope I haven't said anything inappropriate in previous responses?

  • Hi Forest

    I scored 44. A score over 32 is supposed to be indicitave of ASD.

    Social etiquette, I'm the same and have had to learn it the hard way. So yes I can appear normal but then things can come from left of field that catch people (and me) out and if they don't know I have Aspergers they can get quite offended.

    Social problems for me have led to mental breakdowns. I had no idea why I never fit into anywhere properly. It was because of this I persued the ASD diagnosis as it had been suggested to me somewhere that might be why my problem is. Now I know I'm an Aspie I don't expect anymore breakdowns as I now know that social misunderstandings and incompatabilities are to be expected. Knowledge is power.

    I do find I'm tired at the end of the day from navigating an NT world though it's not too bad where I work as I work for a software company - more than a few people are a little to the right on the spectrum though I have no idea if anyone other than me has a diagnosis. 2 people in my office have autistic kids though...hmmm...

    Also, I would not call what you have written a rant at all. Why do you think it's a rant?