Hello. Do you think it's possible I have autism/ASD?

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Do you think it's possible I'm on the autism spectrum?
Yes 70%  70%  [ 7 ]
Maybe 30%  30%  [ 3 ]
Not at all 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 10

Thelving
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17 Dec 2020, 8:27 pm

Every few years, I go back to the question. As a teenager I wrote off feeling out of place as just being your typical not-like-other-girls teen, looking for labels and attention when I was really just like everyone else. Even now I'm not sure. There are a lot of other things that could explain why I feel out of place.

But, well, here I am. And I thought it might be helpful to ask people who have actually had experience being autistic, you know?

I scored 161 in the RAADS-R. In the Aspie Quiz, my neurodiverse score was 138/200 and my neurotypical score was 58/200. Obviously, a couple of self-tests don't warrant a hard yes, but I'm not in a position to get professionally assessed. I'd appreciate second opinions on the matter, so I can consider what I'll do moving forward. And if I sound neurotypical after all, at least I can finally put this to bed. I'm not really sure what information about me would be relevant in the relative typicality of my thought processes, so I guess I'll just go with what I suspect puts me on the autism spectrum.

(Before I start, though, here are a few little things about me that may affect your judgement: I have been passionate about writing fiction for as long as I can remember; I have gender dysphoria; I consider myself ace-aro; I frequently experience chronic stress; I think I have depression, but it is undiagnosed. Now here we go.)

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+ I get obsessed. It could just be escapism. It could also be OCD. Or it could be normal, I have no idea. But I get obsessed with the general concepts, the universe, the characters, &c of some video games, to the point where I get kind of stuck writing fanfiction about them, sometimes for several years (like right now). They're not short-lived, though; they're very long-lasting. They live long past my enthusiasm for actually playing the games has dwindled. They result in smaller-scale (intense but not long) obsessions about things related to them. Some examples have been pianos, pirates, specific languages, robots, mental illnesses, music and concepts for futuristic technology. When I was a kid and teen, these interests weren't always tied to my little writing projects. I zoomed through a lot of intense interests in things like space, entomology and biology. I distinguish these sort of flash flood 'interests' from my long-term 'passions' because I can actually stop thinking about my passions for a while. My 'interests' sometimes feel like balloons latched onto my brain, forcing all my thoughts to float away from things in life that are actually important.

+ I am a loner. That isn't to say I don't have friends. I have five people I consider close friends (two of them are my siblings). My sister is far more introverted than I am, and more socially anxious too, having almost no friends. But I am told by people who know the two of us (including our mother and brother) that although I outwardly appear less shy and awkward, I am the most 'mysterious'. They don't really know who I am, because I don't like talking about myself. And I don't always like talking about other people either... I'm just not great at talking, especially when I don't feel like it. That's pretty normal. It's just that I don't feel like talking 90% of the time.

+ I am very easily overwhelmed. This could just be social anxiety or generalised anxiety without any autism interplay. I plan out conversations with strangers or acquaintances so that I have a 'script', because I tend to have a complete brain-freeze in social situations, especially when my interlocutor asks or says something unexpected, or when I make a mistake and look like a moron. I vividly remember forgetting how to count when I was getting something printed and the cashier expected some change. Maths is usually the first thing to go when I'm really stressed. I can blank out and be unable to understand what someone is saying as well, especially if there are other people around who can hear us. Sometimes, in public, I'll just have a sensory overload from all the lights and noises and mentally shut down. It's especially common in unfamiliar shopping centres and warehouses. On top of this, I have an irrational fear of loud sounds. It's a running joke in my family that I have the fight-or-flight instinct of a rabbit. If I hear a motorbike rev, I get ready to run. If I hear a plane pass overhead, I get ready to run. If I hear someone yell, I get ready to run. If I hear a dog bark... You get the picture.

+ I am a social chameleon. I've heard this is common in girls and women with autism. I detest being dishonest, so I try to be myself most of the time. But the chameleon still comes out when I'm stressed or feel like I have to maintain a reputation, like when I'm in a shop or at work. I put on this normal, pleasant, socially agreeable façade. It used to be my default state when I was under 13. And it's not much effort, which is why it's so natural to use when I'm stressed and my brain is gone. I have always been unintentionally brilliant at manipulating people, and an excellent liar. This is probably because I have always been fascinated by people, their patterns of behaviour, their thought processes. Even as a kid I was a people-watcher. I'm taking Psychology in university, so the façade is only getting more sophisticated.

+ Normally, though, I have an unusual way of expressing myself. People have told me I come across as analytical, sometimes a little intense, but very low-energy. Some people have even said I come across as 'chill'. Even when I'm freaking out inside and my hands are shaking, I look cool as a cucumber. This is probably because I have a really monotonous way of speaking that never varies in volume or pitch, and I don't use a lot of facial expressions or hand gestures. When I was a kid, I also had a really hard time maintaining eye contact. I looked everywhere except at people's faces. Nowadays, people have implied I look them in the eye a little too long and too often, hence the 'intense' descriptor. My brother said it feels like I'm looking into his soul. I still don't always like making eye contact with interlocutors because I don't like the visual reminder that someone's looking at me. This is all barring chameleon mode, by the way. I know how people act. I just don't feel like doing all that. I don't feel like it's worth the energy, especially since it doesn't come naturally. I also have, like, no sense of humour.

+ I have anger management issues. I have since I was a kid. I would try to yell or use verbal commands first, but if people wouldn't listen to me, I would resort to violence. I didn't really have the presence of mind to weigh my options or decide to walk away. The last time I lost control and hit someone was when I was 18. Since then, I have still been hit by rage attacks and punched a couple of walls and desks. Bitten an assortment of writing implements, too. But I'm definitely better at managing and redirecting it.

+ I am extremely clumsy. I always have been. I crash into the doorways of my own house almost every day. I trip up stairs. I knock into things that are right in front of me, stub my toes, and I am always biting the insides of my mouth by accident. I try to jump over things that should probably be walked around. Sprained my ankle doing that a couple of years ago. I had chalked it up to my mole vision and just being a general klutz, but maybe that's not the case.

+ I'm not great at dealing with change. I hate the big things, of course. Moving houses, moving countries (happens to me more often than most), living without all of my family members, &c. But the little things also bother me a little too much. Change in routine. Going to unfamiliar places. Going to familiar places with unfamiliar people. Eating unfamiliar food. Getting new electronic devices. Getting new clothes. Getting new glasses. Other people changing their glasses. Other people getting haircuts. People wearing different styles of makeup. Guys changing their facial hair. People changing their minds about something. People having a new favourite something. People liking something they didn't like, or vice versa. They all... bother me.

+ I'm particular, and like things done in a particular way. It's especially obvious when I'm co-habiting with my sister, because she's someone who contrasts the way I like things done. I like to turn the spoons and forks cup-side down when drying them. She turns them cup-side up. I like to put the cups face-up when they're wet and on a flat surface, then face-down when they're dry. She turns them face-down when they're wet. I like to arrange coloured lids in a rainbow. She just puts them in whatever order. I like to put the plates on the drying rack in order of size. She puts them in whatever order too. I sometimes get irrationally frustrated by it, but... most of the time, I go back and change everything so it's done my way.

+ I can be very sensorially fussy. I have an unusually strong sense of smell, and I get major headaches if any smell is too strong. I don't like perfume. I am also very fussy about food. The list of foods I don't like seems to grow by the year. And there's the sound thing, too.

---

Things that I don't resonate with in terms of the criteria for autism spectrum disorders are the following:

- Making schedules. Schedules stress me out. I don't like to limit my time doing anything. I'm a procrastinator. I'll sit on my hands for hours and put things off to no end. I like routine, but only insofar as I'm free to pursue my whims as they come.

- Sharing special interests. I don't really like talking about my interests. Not anymore, anyway. Obviously, as a kid, you just yap on about what you're interested in whether or not your interlocutor wants to hear it. But now that I'm older and I can see how little people actually care, I've lost interest in infodumping because it's pointless and boring. My interests are like little secrets; they're all mine. But it really helps that most of my interests are related to my writing. I am putting them out there. Just the parts that have been useful to my passions.

- Having a unique memory. My memory is terrible. No special mental filing system or any of that. I can't remember a dang thing. I am the most inept person I know when it comes to remembering names. I forget them in a matter of seconds, and mix them around, and substitute them for random other names. I'm slightly better at remembering numbers, but that is really not saying much at all. Still can't do phone numbers. I have to bring out a card to remember my own phone number that I've had for almost a year now.

- Lacking the ability to read or understand people. I am good at reading and understanding people. Probably stems from my fascination of human behaviour and psychology. I'm not good at 'feeling their pain' or whatever, but I can understand how people's emotions work, where they come from, the patterns that have led to them, &c. People become more predictable as time goes on. When I've been friends with someone for about a year, 9 times out of 10 they'll start to sound like a broken record to me. I'm not amazing at figuring out facial expressions and body language, but I can piece together a lot from tone of voice, speech patterns and word choice. I'm good at offering advice, but terrible at being a shoulder to cry on. Negative emotions make me very uncomfortable. But I love sad Disney movies, I cry every time.

- Being uncomfortable in crowds. As long as I'm not in a conversation, I am not uncomfortable in crowds. They feel more like protection. There's a chance I'll become overstimulated, but for the most part, I prefer crowded open spaces to empty open spaces.

- Having high sensitivity to textures or lights. I'm not sensitive to either of those things. Not more than average. Maybe even less than average when it comes to textures. I'm not particularly attracted to soft or rough things. Bright lights don't bother me.

- Having a less vivid or controllable imagination. I have a very vivid imagination, encompassing both a visual and auditory spectrum. I can imagine emotions, too, in a sort of clinical way that is based on behaviour, cognition and context. Seeing someone sad won't make me sad. But if I know why the person is sad, and I imagine how they got to that point, I can feel very sorry for them. Also, I feel very upset when someone is embarrassed or disappointed in front of me, to any degree.

---

Well, there you have it. My whole life story lol. If you've gotten this far, you have too much time on your hands - but thanks. What are your thoughts? If there's anything I've forgotten or neglected to mention, please bring it up.



Mountain Goat
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17 Dec 2020, 8:56 pm

None of us can diagnose so you will need to be assessed, but though I did not read all that you wrote, I did see some traits in what you wrote.
Traits in themselves may not lead to a diagnosis because even NT's may share a few traits, as I read that no one is 100% autistic and no one is 100% allistic either? But traits do tend to point oneself in the direction of "Yes. It is a good idea to be assessed".

I hope that helps. I can't remember my score when I tried the online test. I remember one being 41 when I tried it and I tried it again by accident and had 39... But it was good because the two times I took the test, the one time I tried to answer to have autism and the other time I tried to answer so I did not have it but making sure I told the truth if that makes sense?
Whatever other results I had I wrote in my signature below. I have not been officially assessed as yet. Some things puzzled me! The empathy bit. I expected the complete opposite. I still believe I am the opposite!
But anyway... Welcome to Wrong Planet. :D



Last edited by Mountain Goat on 17 Dec 2020, 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CarlM
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17 Dec 2020, 9:38 pm

None of the "disqualifiers" you list are relevant since they not traits used for diagnosis. These "disqualifiers" are things are just more prevalent with ASD. The problem with crowds is only if they are creating a stimulating environment. I too find a quiet crowd calming. Aspies can have friends/partners, like being with other people, have bad memory, have any kind of imagination, etc. The important thing to remember is "If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism".


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CockneyRebel
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17 Dec 2020, 10:26 pm

You'll have to get tested to see if you're on the spectrum. We're not professionals, we're members.


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Dbz33
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18 Dec 2020, 2:18 am

Certainly have traits, one thing I did notice is that you didn't mention a speech delay which is a significant trait but not always needed. I use too think I had good social skills which was more so a mistake for niceness/masking. I feel though in my opinion most people who come on here and think they're usually are, or else they wouldn't be here... Get assessed and you'll know for sure. You can PM me if you have questions I'd like too help.


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18 Dec 2020, 3:07 am

About half the stuff you posted is more like traits of individual autistic people rather than definitive autism. What you must understand is that autism is defined by categories of traits rather than individual traits.

For example, autism includes the category of sensory (hypo/hyper)sensitivity, but sensitivity to lights is only one example of that category, so whatever you have to say about sensitivity to light is not enough to help anyone determine whether you might be autistic because you might have another kind of sensory (hypo/hyper)sensitivity.

If you want a rough idea of whether you may be autistic, I suggest familiarizing yourself (if you haven't already done so) with the actual categories of autistic traits as they are defined by diagnosing professionals in your region of the world (I'm guessing they use the DSM or ICD-10, which you can find online) and then examining yourself for any of the traits that fit those categories.

So, for example, there's a repetitive/restricted behavior category. You would think back on your life and ask yourself whether you've had motor stereotypies and whether you've had problems with change and whether you've had strict routines, etc. You can look up more specific examples if you aren't sure what counts as repetitive/restricted behavior. If you can't think of any behavior that fits that category, then you have preliminary evidence that you aren't autistic. It's also helpful to get input from people who knew you when you were young.



Thelving
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18 Dec 2020, 9:35 am

Hi. Thank you all for your time.

I appreciate all of the helpful replies. But just reminding me that I need to be professionally assessed for a diagnosis is not very helpful. As I touched upon in my original post, I am not in a position where this is feasible. I'm financially dependent and I live in a developing country where both mental illnesses and mild to moderate developmental disabilities are highly stigmatised, including within my family. I didn't mean to imply that I wanted you to diagnose me. I simply wanted second opinions on whether or not I should consider seeking professional assessment in the future. Right now, there's little I can do. And if I can't talk to you about it, then I have no one.

Thanks particularly to Starkid for the advice and Dbz33 for the offer of support. I'll probably go back to being a lurker now, which is how I usually prefer to engage with forums, but I'll come back if I have any questions - or I'll direct them at Dbz33.

Have a great day all!


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18 Dec 2020, 10:01 am

I hope you did not mind me saying it would be an idea for you to be assessed. It is not always easy though. I realize that.



Thelving
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18 Dec 2020, 10:55 am

Don't even worry about it, Mountain Goat. I appreciated your reply, it made me think. I could very well be neurotypical with some idiosyncrasies driven by depression, anxiety, stress, or any other possible explanations. One day I would like to get assessed, for sure. I was mainly directing my reply at CockneyRebel and others who might dismiss my post for the same reason. You never really know someone's situation and whether you're their last resort for the moment. I felt turned-away and I suppose that made me unfairly salty. I hope I didn't make you feel bad.

I realise I forgot to address Dbz33's statement about speech delay. My speech development was normal. I never had trouble expressing myself in speech that I know of, except when talking to strangers, as I have always been socially anxious and have very severe stage-fright. I was quite social when I was a child, extremely controlling and highly critical. My sister is a year and a half younger than me; she had a speech impediment and would very often refuse to talk, and I took it upon myself to be her translator in a way (more like her damn handler, to be honest). I talked over and for her way too much. I was... the bossiest kid who ever lived, tried to impose all the rules and values I'd been taught by my parents onto the whole world. Very typical development there. I didn't throw an unusual number of tantrums, either. Unlike my siblings, I was very easy-going, terrified of getting in trouble. I did what I was told, especially when told loudly. I was desperately obedient, borderline obsequious.


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18 Dec 2020, 11:46 am

It sounds like you could have autism. It would be ideal for everyone to be professionally diagnosed but I think tests like the one you took are an acceptable substitute if you cannot be personally evaluated. A test written by professionals would be more objective than trying to diagnose yourself from the DSM as a non-expert.

It's unlikely that anyone has literally every autistic trait. Not everyone has every sensory sensitivity, vivid imaginations are common in autistic people that don't have strong alexithymia, not having a language delay is common in mild autism and was one of the requirements for Asperger's.



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18 Dec 2020, 4:44 pm

Thelving wrote:
My speech development was normal.
That might be significant.

A "neighbor" of autism is Asperger's Syndrome. They have similarities but normal speech development, as I understand it, might suggest Asperger's Syndrome over Autism. In 2013 in the U.S. those two diagnoses were put under the single term: Autism Spectrum Disorder. Many countries retained a separate Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis, some did not--you'd have to check how it is done in your country.

These two Healthline articles might interest you:

"High-Functioning Autism"

"What’s the Difference Between Asperger’s and Autism?"

And I hope that, at some time, you are able to get a diagnosis that is correct, that you trust, that you can use, and that you find enlightening.

P.S. Like the others here, I can't provide a diagnosis.


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18 Dec 2020, 10:22 pm

Although I do not believe anyone on this site is qualified to make an assessment as to whether or not you have autism. I will make the following observations.

1. Aspie Quiz, my neurodiverse score was 138/200 and my neurotypical score was 58/200. This would be an indicator that you are likely an Aspie.
2. Many of the qualities you listed fall into the Aspie category, even some of the ones you put in the "don't resonate" category.

One comment that I would make is that the traits displayed by male Aspies and female Aspies tend to be different. In general, females tend to use masking to a greater degree, they mirror the actions of others. So as you perform your self analysis keep that point in mind.

So since getting an official assessment is off the table, I would suggest that you read several books on the subject in order to increase your familiarity. The author Tony Attwood is a good place to start.

I would also recommend a book called "In An Unspoken Voice" by Peter A. Levine. This is not a book about Asperger's Syndrome or Autism, but it is an extremely important book for Aspies to read. It explains how the mind works. One of the problems most Aspies deal with is high stress loads. These stress loads can build up in time and turn into forms of distress, such as depression and panic attacks.


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Dbz33
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19 Dec 2020, 1:19 am

Thelving wrote:
Hi. Thank you all for your time.

I appreciate all of the helpful replies. But just reminding me that I need to be professionally assessed for a diagnosis is not very helpful. As I touched upon in my original post, I am not in a position where this is feasible. I'm financially dependent and I live in a developing country where both mental illnesses and mild to moderate developmental disabilities are highly stigmatised, including within my family. I didn't mean to imply that I wanted you to diagnose me. I simply wanted second opinions on whether or not I should consider seeking professional assessment in the future. Right now, there's little I can do. And if I can't talk to you about it, then I have no one.

Thanks particularly to Starkid for the advice and Dbz33 for the offer of support. I'll probably go back to being a lurker now, which is how I usually prefer to engage with forums, but I'll come back if I have any questions - or I'll direct them at Dbz33.

Have a great day all!

Sounds too me you most likely have Asperger Syndrome, how did you do in School is an important question as well. Both socially and academically. I for example did awful in both area's. Seems people with Aspergers excelled at School especially with art or even mathematics but not always the case. Also most people with Aspergers or any form of Autism struggle immensely with making friends and having relationship's. Eye contact as a trait isn't always true either. I know someone with moderate Autism and has a noticeable speech impediment but makes eye contact with no problem what-so ever. If you're taking online tests and you're scoring within range or far above it while lurking on here and struggling with day to day life then I'd lean towards the diagnosis of Aspergers. You remind me of myself, stay strong best of luck. :)


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