Hi, I'm Jenny 30 year old rock music loving, crafter, hippy, scientist, biker, puppy owner.
So I would really like some help understanding Asperger's and what people tend to struggle with specifically I have been trying to read up on it but just getting lots of generalities so I think hearing from individuals would help me.
All my life I had long suspected that I might be slightly higher on the specteum than most people, I have always been proudly a bit of a weirdo. But this last year I went through A LOT just one thing after another until I got to a very bad place, I went to councelling to try and get some help where the councellor (who is not qualified for the diagnosis) told me I was Autistic and tried to push me into having a meltdown. I soon after stopped seeing that councellor as I definitely felt she did more harm than good, I have been speaking to a friend with councellling training instead who urged me to lodge a complaint against that councellor
This hit me very hard, I had just been starting to get my legs back under me feel like I was starting to function again and with this it threw me into turmoil, she recommended a book for me called "Aspergirls". Which I read furiously that week, and although some bits I could maybe see most of it didn't seem to fit. I keep trying to see if these things fit to me but it feels forced, that it doesnt fit, then I wonder if I am just lying to myself.
I yoyo back and forth between those two, and have been doing for several months now . I mostly try to just put it aside, get back to the peace I had before accepting that maybe I just think differently than other people but if I do that's OK,the world would be a boring place if we all thought the same but it's still bugging me and it would help me if people could share their experiences or point me in the direction of some more resources that might be helpful.
So why I suspected I might be higher on the spectrum than most is that I have always just felt that social things took me longer to learn than most that many things people seemed to instinctively know I had to learn by rote. Honesty is extremely important to me and I enjoy bluntness.
Nothing was ever clocked as a child, I used to talk almost non stop at home, mum always told me to be quiet. At school I was bullied and I would generally just be quiet and try not to draw attention to myself. I told my councellor how I went with the ignore them until they go away, which largely worked so I kept doing it, which I think she thought was mutism, but I have read about it and i don't think so but maybe I am wrong. But I could talk back could act, which I would do for my friends, but never anything that would exactly be called a snappy comeback I usually just made it worse for myself, it helped my friends so I would show the support if I saw it happening to them but usually just didn't bother if they tried anything on me. I truly didn't care what they thought, I thought they were d***heads so why did I care what they thought of me. So while I was scared of physical attacks and it made a hostile school environment generally trying to argue just made it worse so I didn't bother. But I don't think it was mutism (a term I only know from that book) but maybe I am wrong?
The traits I think she judged me on (I think) to me don't seem very relevant or useful. I have a strange accent, from nowhere I have ever lived (but similar to my families), I have always blamed it on my mum constantly having radio 4 on at home. I prefer comfortable cloths, which was a thing that book talked about. I am in no way a girly girl at the best of times but at that point I had next to no self confidence when it came to my physical appearance. And I worked from home alone so I didn't generally put much effort into my appearance for a councellling session. I do not cry easily, if I am in pain or suffering my first impulse is to do my "everything is fine mask", but there are some definite environmental factors which I think are the likely cause of that, very middle class upbringing where we were not allowed to be upset and other such reasons. I know when I do it, I can do it on purpose. I don't know generally still confused and doubting myself about all of it.
One of the big things for me that seems to be a key of Autism spectrum though I may be wrong is the idea of sensory overload. I do not get this, I love the wind, seeing new places, moving travelling. Not a huge fan of crowds or strangers in my personal space but I love gigs and music and dancing and moving and seeing new places and things, they are soul food to me.
Anyway long and rambly so I'll shut up but I would appreciate any advice.
Hello and welcome. I also don't have significant sensory issues, but I do have differences around focus/interest, relationships, social underconfidence, and 'feeling able to' show my true emotions, and also had bad experiences with counselling and therapy. Also grew up with a lot of Radio 4, so perhaps that's the cause...
I don't like the idea of being higher or lower on the spectrum. The spectrum is a range of traits the way Lorna Wing first described it, not of 'severity' or 'strength'. Does being high on the spectrum mean being very autistic, or not very?
Hi, thanks for the response. What do you mean by social underconfidence?
By higher on the spectrum I guess I mean more or less severly Autistic, more or less difficulties day to day. As I said I don't understand very well and would like to learn more.
Hi. You can be autistic and be hyper-sensitive, hypo-sensitive, or both hypo & hyper sensitive at times.
This is a bit of info from the NAS pages but I am sure you will find other information if you search and people here may well get back to you with their individual experiences: http://www.autism.org.uk/sensory
Munchkin_3 said:What do you mean by social underconfidence?
Good question. Not totally sure myself! When I was a child, people often said I was shy, and I did exclude myself or feel alienated from others. I still do feel it's very difficult to mix with people and be authentic, despite having consciously realised I need to force myself to socialise in order to get comfortable, and accept my failures. My social brain is sometimes impeded by being caught unaware, and I may be 'miles away'. I've decided to ride through any embarrassment, not care too much what others' impression is, and the diagnosis helped with that. Certainly I rarely express the thing most important to me, and asking a woman out would be a very high hurdle. Some of my main differences are 'alexithymia' (not knowing what I'm feeling) and executive dysfunction (not executing plans as expected), which may all be related somehow.
Munchkin_3 said:By higher on the spectrum I guess I mean more or less severly Autistic, more or less difficulties day to day.
I'm still honestly curious. Which, more or less, difficulties, would be 'higher'? More, I'd presume?
People do use (misuse?) 'spectrum' to mean a continuum of severity sometimes, but I think it's better to be specific. I think of it more like this cartoon:
I suppose the next time someone tells me 'we're all on the spectrum', I can say, 'Yes, neurotypicals are quite close to the middle.' 'Aspies' are 'eccentric' (off-centre) in that sense.
Yeah misuse of the word there, I meant to say lower on the spectrum. As I intended that to mean it would be high functioning, can pass or mask effectively. You are right with the cartoon, I was thinking a bit linear and the circle is more appropriate, what I guess I was picturing would be more a collection of things that you struggle with so the more differences, from Neurotypical and the more it affects your day to day would put you further along that line. If that makes sense? I'll happily admit that is likely not accurate, as I said I am here looking for more information and understanding :)
Thanks this is helpful. Still confused and not sure if much of that fits but all information is useful :)
Munchkin_3 said:maybe I just think differently than other people but if I do that's OK,the world would be a boring place if we all thought the same but it's still bugging me and it would help me if people could share their experiences or point me in the direction of some more resources that might be helpful
Glad you liked the cartoon. The 'line' idea I personally refer to as a 'continuum' and the circle (or n-ball) as a 'constellation'. Yes, I've heard the idea that number of 'symptoms'/differences could be used to give some kind of level, but that doesn't necessarily correspond to 'level' of need (as in the DSM-V diagnoses) or of difficulties.
I agree with what you say about thinking differently making the world more interesting. Some people see the 'thinking differently' as the core of autism, although perceiving the world differently or acting differently can also be part of it. The UK subtitle of Steve Silberman's influential Neurotribes is 'Thinking better about people who think differently' - I found that book a very useful history of the subject.
I have also flip-flopped about the diagnosis, until identifying as 'autistic' when I heard experience I could really relate to. Years before my own diagnosis, I was actually very sceptical that Asperger Syndrome meant anything, because I'd met a few people with the diagnosis, and I couldn't think of a single thing they all had in common (indeed some psychiatrists hold that view too). Not being on the same social wavelength as other people seems a reasonable description, but that's very subjective and depends on the society you live in. Autism/AS diagnostic definitions seem to have always been based on judgements of people on the outside about our behaviour, even when their description of our behaviour doesn't match our own internal understanding of it (your 'mutism' versus 'ignoring' is an example).
Are you considering going for a formal diagnosis? If you don't feel you need so much support after the bad time, and feel you understand yourself and your differences well, which you seem to, maybe there's no point. A diagnostic summary often expresses things in terms of a score, only broken down very roughly into things like 'communication'. What I think should be standard after the diagnosis is a full set of profile tests, including cognitive and social, so someone can understand what 'autism' or 'ASC' means in their case, what works and what they need to look out for.
A tool I've mentioned here before and some people find useful is RDOS.net's 'Aspie Quiz', which has 10 dimensions. It correctly (in my opinion) identifies that I have neurotypical perception, but am neurodivergent in other ways. I do kind of think in terms of abstract ideas rather than social relationships (which actually helps me see the good in everyone.)
There is a book called Women and Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder by Sarah Hendrikx. I personally related to it far better than Aspergirls...though a lot of Aspergirls was true for me, I didn't feel as connected to it.
Hi- I can relate to a lot of what you said and I am Aspergers and in my 30's. I enjoy concerts, gigs, travelling and the like as well. If the function was a get together where there were a lot of people expecting you to entertain them through chat, it would be a totally different reaction. I hate those sort of large people get together where a lot of interaction is expected. Wonder is it the same with you? I'm still learning as I go along as Ive had no support since my diagnosis so maybe replies to my posts on this forum might be a help to you too? Funnily, I've been told I have 'no accent' as well! And more horribly, a 'monotone voice'! Can't help thinking of Fr. Stone from Father Ted and hope this is just worst case scenario black and white thinking LOL
I can do my friends, people I know it's OK to be weird with, who I think know me. That could be people I don't hvhh to mask around, or at least just limited masking. Otherwise I can do gatherings enjoy them, though I tend to take drawing or something to do so I can do something else if I don't want to deal with more peopling.
Strangers I find exhausting, I do have days where I just am not up to dealing with people. I can if I have to bit bt all feels like effort, though apparently that doesn't show.
I doubt your that monotone! Haha I would consider myself to have no accent. Some people have said American, Russian, Irish and all sorts of others or lost often just "posh"