What reasons you had to initially deny you might be ASD

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Elgee
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25 May 2022, 11:38 am

Denial is amazing. Before I took my suspicions of ASD seriously, I came up with reasons why I couldn't possibly be autistic (I was finally recently diagnosed). I'm so mad at myself, because this delayed the diagnosis.

A few of my reasons why "I" couldn't possibly be autistic:

1) I wanted to fall in love. I had read somewhere that Temple Grandin had no interest in this; therefore, I couldn't be autistic.

2) I wasn't afraid to get in peoples' faces if they acted like total jerks.

3) I had good eye contact.

4) I didn't have weird body mannerisms.

5) I'd been involved in group activities (hiking club, volleyball club/pickup games, played board games with classmates in eighth grade, sung in a choir, babysat beginning at age 11 .... all this stuff that I didn't think autistic kids/adults could do).

_



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25 May 2022, 11:44 am

I didn't deny it at all.
I didn't think about it or look into it because it hadn't crossed my mind.
When my daughter suggested it, I knew it was likely true and I went for assessment.



_cora_
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25 May 2022, 12:02 pm

I'm very interested in people, real and fictional. I'm also not too great at math, but I'm a master at understanding character's emotions in reading. I have an average IQ. I hate it when my family talks about science. I hate reading. I don't get overwhelmed easily, unless something is extremely loud. I never take things literally, and always know when someone is joking. I understand social skills really well and always have. It just makes sense to me. I care about my appearance a lot and I'm very fashionable. I thought it was strange how overly still my hands were as a kid when I was in class or concentrating on something. I judged other people for stimming.

And I'm still autistic!



Joe90
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25 May 2022, 12:34 pm

I couldn't deny a diagnosis when I was a child because I was being forcibly assessed before I even had a chance to understand what's going on, but as soon as I got a diagnosis I've been in denial ever since.

The reason I'm in denial is because there are lots of mental health disorders that can share some symptoms with autism, so my problems could easily be anxiety and depression, coupled with ADHD.


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ToughDiamond
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25 May 2022, 12:38 pm

I wouldn't say I ever exactly denied I might have ASD, but I was skeptical, and I think my reasons were logical enough.

My ex-wife (when we were still married) one day suggested that I might have ASD and that I might do well to try to find out whether that was the case. She was a trainee teacher at the time and I knew she'd been reading books about children with autism, so it crossed my mind that it could be a case of her seeing autism everywhere as a result of her field of study (a very human mistake that people often make I think). But I knew better than to jump to the conclusion that her notion was complete nonsense, so not long afterwards I did as she suggested and took the RDOS online Aspie-Quiz. I was rather surprised when the result came out "you are very likely an Aspie." But naturally, after that revelation it was more than a suspicion that I had ASD, so I felt I had to look into the matter further.

So I studied the condition. The main thing that didn't seem to fit was that Aspies were said to have few friends and to have a lot of social difficulties. I could vividly recall a point in my life where I had lots of friends and was quite popular, and although there had been times in my life where my social life had been somewhat small and I'd felt in danger of it collapsing, I'd always managed to have enough friends to keep my "head above water." I raised the matter in one of my first posts here on WP, and pondered the conundrum for some time. How had I managed to achieve so much socially if I had ASD which never goes away? The explanation I arrived at was:
1. During that popular phase in my life I was living in a district full of hippies, assorted eccentrics and oddballs, people who mostly disapproved of mainstream values, as I did. They were generally non-judgemental and tended to celebrate individuality - nothing like the kind of people who seem to make up the bulk of the human race. As there were so many unusual people around, I didn't stand out as being particularly strange. They were very friendly, caring people on the whole, who felt a sense of duty to support anybody who had a disability (not that I'd known at the time that I had any disability, it was years before the time when I first suspected I had ASD).
2. I was a musician, and musicians tend to cut through a lot of the usual social barriers. I've often said that if it wasn't for music, my social life would be close to zero.

So the factor that had confounded my quest to figure out whether or not I had ASD was the fact that I'd somehow stumbled on a couple of good coping strategies for the so-called social ineptitude - keep away from homogenous, judgemental and bigoted groups, stick to people with a bit more love of humanity and good solid "right-on" values, and become a musician.

So I got formally diagnosed and wasn't at all surprised at the result. By that time I'd already realised that my worst problems in my job were being caused by the employer trying to change my role into one that was full of duties that you couldn't expect an Aspie to be able to do. I was never one for going into irrational denial anyway, being a scientist (science is almost by definition a contest against irrational beliefs and the mistakes they embody), and it appeared pretty clear that a DX was the only thing that could rescue me from my stressful problems in the workplace, so it would have made no sense for me to insist that I didn't have ASD.



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25 May 2022, 4:04 pm

Many years ago, it was suggested by a friend that I may have Aspergers. My first reaction was denial. I thought "No way. You're crazy." The more I looked into it, the more I thought, "It's possible." But at that time, certain symptoms did not seem to fit, like the special interests and strict routines. I wasn't completely conviced. Life went on and it got put on the back burner.
Now I'm a mother. In watching my son grow up, my boyfriend and I started to suspect he may have Aspergers. I see that he possesses some of the same traits I do. We are currently in the process of getting him assessed. I have started looking more closely at myself. Those symptoms that I thought didn't fit way back when, actually do fit just in a different manner than I thought they should have. I no longer have any doubts about whether I have Aspergers. Instead I now know the answer to the question I have been asking my entire life, "Why am I like this?"



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26 May 2022, 1:56 am

SpiralingCrow wrote:
Many years ago, it was suggested by a friend that I may have Aspergers. My first reaction was denial. I thought "No way. You're crazy." The more I looked into it, the more I thought, "It's possible." But at that time, certain symptoms did not seem to fit, like the special interests and strict routines. I wasn't completely conviced. Life went on and it got put on the back burner.
Now I'm a mother. In watching my son grow up, my boyfriend and I started to suspect he may have Aspergers. I see that he possesses some of the same traits I do. We are currently in the process of getting him assessed. I have started looking more closely at myself. Those symptoms that I thought didn't fit way back when, actually do fit just in a different manner than I thought they should have. I no longer have any doubts about whether I have Aspergers. Instead I now know the answer to the question I have been asking my entire life, "Why am I like this?"

Yes I think the "spectrum" nature of ASD can throw up a lot of doubt, especially for an Aspie who is a black-and-white thinker by nature. I've even heard of health professionals glibly saying such things as "you can't have ASD because your eye contact is too good," though that's less forgivable because they're supposed to be giving a properly thought-out professional opinion. There's probably no single ASD trait that we all have to a significant degree.

And of course a good intuitively-developed coping strategy can make it hard to notice a symptom. I had no idea I was intrinsically as clumsy as a bull in a china shop until I noticed how I'd adjusted my environment to avoid china shop situations and adopted a strong habit of moving around cautiously.



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26 May 2022, 5:32 am

ToughDiamond wrote:
SpiralingCrow wrote:
Many years ago, it was suggested by a friend that I may have Aspergers. My first reaction was denial. I thought "No way. You're crazy." The more I looked into it, the more I thought, "It's possible." But at that time, certain symptoms did not seem to fit, like the special interests and strict routines. I wasn't completely conviced. Life went on and it got put on the back burner.
Now I'm a mother. In watching my son grow up, my boyfriend and I started to suspect he may have Aspergers. I see that he possesses some of the same traits I do. We are currently in the process of getting him assessed. I have started looking more closely at myself. Those symptoms that I thought didn't fit way back when, actually do fit just in a different manner than I thought they should have. I no longer have any doubts about whether I have Aspergers. Instead I now know the answer to the question I have been asking my entire life, "Why am I like this?"

Yes I think the "spectrum" nature of ASD can throw up a lot of doubt, especially for an Aspie who is a black-and-white thinker by nature. I've even heard of health professionals glibly saying such things as "you can't have ASD because your eye contact is too good," though that's less forgivable because they're supposed to be giving a properly thought-out professional opinion. There's probably no single ASD trait that we all have to a significant degree.

And of course a good intuitively-developed coping strategy can make it hard to notice a symptom. I had no idea I was intrinsically as clumsy as a bull in a china shop until I noticed how I'd adjusted my environment to avoid china shop situations and adopted a strong habit of moving around cautiously.


You are quite right.

My special interest as a child was a typical childhood activity, drawing. So when first faced with the propect of Aspergers, it just never occured to me. But when I really think about, I drew all the time. I had folders full of drawings. I also used to cut out my favorite Sunday comics. I kept them in folders to refer to later to draw my favorite characters. As I got older, my special interests became more like mini obsessions for a shorter duration of time but going from one topic to another.

I was always a clumsy child though and I knew it. I was especially adept at spilling drinks. I don't spill as many drinks anymore but I am queen of dropping plates :D



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26 May 2022, 6:58 am

_cora_ wrote:
I'm very interested in people, real and fictional. I'm also not too great at math, but I'm a master at understanding character's emotions in reading. I have an average IQ. I hate it when my family talks about science. I hate reading. I don't get overwhelmed easily, unless something is extremely loud. I never take things literally, and always know when someone is joking. I understand social skills really well and always have. It just makes sense to me. I care about my appearance a lot and I'm very fashionable. I thought it was strange how overly still my hands were as a kid when I was in class or concentrating on something. I judged other people for stimming.

And I'm still autistic!


Yeah, just that reason for me.


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26 May 2022, 11:06 am

- I have high anxiety yet I don't ever do autistic stims like rocking or hand flapping

- I'm very verbal during a panic attack (or meltdown, whatever you want to call it), and sitting in a quiet, dark room will not help. Instead, talking to someone and being cuddled helps

- I like drama stories or movies or TV shows, I don't like marvel or action movies or any of that geeky stuff that most autistics seem to be drawn to

- I don't have special interests and I find it hard to focus on what interests I do have, and my interests are quite mainstream

- I make eye contact naturally

- I enjoy talking to people and I'm interested in gossip

- I don't find being in a romantic relationship difficult or confusing

- I can express my feelings openly and I understand how I feel and how others feel

- I don't really mask much unless I'm in busy public places

- I can't always relate to other autistic people but I can relate to NTs a lot


I don't even know how I got diagnosed as a child either, for the following reasons:-

- I had no restrictive interests and I didn't talk about the same subject

- I wasn't really into books or learning facts when I was a child

- I wasn't a little professor at all

- Although I was shy in the classroom and so had to task my hyperactivity and chattiness, I wasn't exactly exhausted after coming home from school - I would actually go back out after tea to play with other children in the neighbourhood (and I wanted to)

- I actually didn't like being alone - if I didn't go out or see another child at a weekend or school holiday it counted as "a day where I done nothing", and I hated those days and would demand my parents to take me somewhere or have at least one child to play with (other than my brother)

- I could engage in imaginative play with other children, but if there was a 'trouble-maker' type of kid in the group who played unfairly and kept breaking the rules then I would get wound up and might cry, scream or argue. I also sometimes would bicker with children I was closest to over silly things. I also couldn't handle losing at games

- I was scared and nervous of sudden loud noises (like dogs barking) but I wasn't afraid of noises that weren't sudden, like children shouting or screaming loudly in the classroom or playground didn't bother me (it's bothered me more as I've gotten older)

- Change never bothered me and I actually loved surprises, like sometimes my parents would arrange a surprise sleepover with my cousins and it always made me really happy and cheerful and excited. I just loved the company of other children

- I interacted with my classmates and hated being alone in the playground. I did actually fit in, right up until puberty hit at around age 10-11

- I played with toys the "normal" way and wasn't interested in unimaginatively lining up or stacking toys or spinning wheels or anything like that. Instead I made my toys socially interact

- I was an anxious child but the thought of rocking or hand flapping never occured to me


I was mostly Aspie-like during my teenage years. I faced a lot of social rejection from my peers and was often treated like I was invisible, and didn't always understand the "teenage language" and fell behind my peers socially.


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26 May 2022, 11:08 am

I would've denied it before I was 64 because I was spectacularly under-informed about it and it would not have been consistent with the incorrect information I was working with.


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26 May 2022, 11:27 am

I've never denied it. I was glad when I was diagnosed, because suddenly everything made sense and I wouldn't have to spend the rest of my life wondering why I was so different.

I didn't even know about ASD, or Asperger's, or the broad spectrum of autism before I was diagnosed, so if you told me then I was autistic I would have thought you were crazy or a huge jerk. But when I was young I would ask my mom why I was so different, and she didn't know. Nobody really did. Which is why I don't believe you should not tell your kids they have ASD because they're going to know they're different anyway, but not knowing why is going to make their lives harder.



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26 May 2022, 1:39 pm

Joe90 wrote:
- I have high anxiety yet I don't ever do autistic stims like rocking or hand flapping


I don't flap but I love movement (spinning, swaying from side to side) and my tickle (a silky piece of material I rub and have done since I was less than 6 years old).

Quote:

- I'm very verbal during a panic attack (or meltdown, whatever you want to call it), and sitting in a quiet, dark room will not help. Instead, talking to someone and being cuddled helps.



I used to get panic attacks but don't anymore...i just hyperventilate.

Quote:
- I like drama stories or movies or TV shows, I don't like marvel or action movies or any of that geeky stuff that most autistics seem to be drawn to



don't go by stereotypes, I like all sorts

Quote:

- I don't have special interests and I find it hard to focus on what interests I do have, and my interests are quite mainstream


I love my obsessions but they can change...some are fixed and some are transient.

Quote:

- I make eye contact naturally



I learned it cause people moan

Quote:

- I enjoy talking to people and I'm interested in gossip



it OK sometimes

Quote:

- I don't find being in a romantic relationship difficult or confusing


its confusing



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26 May 2022, 2:14 pm

1) I don't have a need for routine and I don't have sensory issues. Now, I realized even back then that the criteria doesn't require all the symptoms, just a certain number of them, and I had more than that number. But I guess when I read about the specific symptoms I don't have, it just made Asperger sound so allien that it felt as if its an unfortunate coincidence that I "formally" have the right number, while I "really" don't have it. What helped me realize that maybe I do have it is reading the book Nobody Nowhere by Donna Williams (I read the other two books too but Nobody Nowhere is what I liked the most). So what she did in Nobody Nowhere is she started off by talking about her emotional experience and then mentioned how those "unusual" symptoms were her ways of dealing with this. Even though I didn't have the specific experiences she had, the way she described it made me realize that one can still be a human and do those things, which in turn changed my mind with regards to what is Asperger altogether. And of course the other thing that helped me realize this is joining various autism boards and mailing lists where I could talk to other people who have it -- and noticing that they sound quite similar to the NT-s, at least over the key board. Because you see, back when I was questioning my diagnosis I haven't yet talked to anyone else on the spectrum, and based off of what I read in various books at Barns and Noble I was lead to believe that they were a bunch of robots.

2) When I looked up autism in the Soviet encyclopedia, it said "active internal life and active rejection of outside world". Now, that sounded similar to the way my mom described me: she was telling people that various things I do is just my being "scared" of strangers and trying to "protect myself". Now I knew that was not the case. For example, when guests come to the house and I continue working on my math homework, it had nothing to do with my being uncomfortable around them. Instead, it had to do with my simply not caring about social politeness and not being able to stop thinking about whatever math problem I was doing. Similarly, when I would interrupt them with questions it won't be my trying to "defend myself" and instead it would often be my being curious and, again, not caring about social politeness. So when I was hearing my mom wrongly saying I am trying to "protect myself", and that soviet dictionary defining autism along similar lines, that made me want to say "hey I don't have autism, my mom just misrepresented me to my psychologist". But of course later on I realized that the definition of autism that I read in soviet dictionary is far outdated. According to the current knowledge yes, it can be one "component" of autism, but its not the only component. In fact, not being able to stop thinking about a special interest is also a symptom of autism. So when I am saying "hey, the reason I am doing math when the guests are coming over is not because I feel uncomfortable but instead because I can't stop thinking about math" I am basically saying "well its not this symptom of autism but instead it is that other symptom of autism". So I am not actually making myself look less autistic than my mom would, just autistic in a different way. Ironically, my mom was probably the one who made me sound less autistic since the stuff she attributed to me is actually pretty discriptive of other conditions such as social phobia or avoidant personality. And, by contrast, the way I would describe myself was a lot more autism specific. But I didn't realize that either since the very first thing that I read was soviet dictionary and it took few years to realize that the dictionary is simply wrong.

3) The one thing that I got right about autism criteria is that autistics are incapable of making friends. But I was assuming I was perfectly capable of that, I was just choosing not to, because friends are "waste of time from physics". I was assuming that the moment I choose to make friends, or marry, I could do both of those things by the snap of the finger. Well, at the age of 21 when I "actually" decided I wanted friends it didn't work out that way. That was when I realized that yes, I do have trouble with social skills. But I didn't know it until then. Along those same lines I also was thinking that when autistics act inappropriate they don't know its inappropriate but in my case I knew, so its not autism. Well, its true that I knew that interrupting class, or pulling a fire alarm, is inappropriate. But there are a lot more subtle things that are also inappropriate which I didn't know. Since my counselor back then was only concerned about blatant behaviros, such as pulling a fire alarm, I was correctly thinking that I already knew I shouldn't do that. But what I didn't realize is that I am totally ignorant when it comes to the way to carry a conversation. That part I only realized when I "decided" I wanted to make friends at the age of 22. Thats when I was shocked that people don't want to talk to me and was puzzled why not. Up until then I was assuming that the only thing anyone is ever mad at me is pulling fire alarms and interrupting classes with questions. I had no idea that people judge me for a bunch of other things too.

4) When I looked through DSM 4, I found other conditions that I thought would describe me "without" attributting to me the symptoms I don't have. For example, not wanting friends would be Schizoid Personality Disorder, being preoccupied with studies would be Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder, etc. But then I noticed that if I were to diagnose myself with those things I would also run into the symptoms I don't have. For example, with Obsessive Compulsive Personality disorder, yes I fit "devotion to work" perfectly, but at the same time I am quite opposite to that condition when it comes to having a messy room. I might be ADD in making careless mistakes in calculations, but I am not so much ADD when it comes to not being able to stop when I am preoccupied with said calculations. As far as Schizoid Personality, yes I matched it as a teen, but that changed when I was 22 and realized I do want friends after all. But on the other hand Asperger can, in fact, present itself as a combination of seemingly opposite traits. So that is actually a case that Asperger diagnosis would be a better fit for me. And, besides, there is Ocams Razor that implies that simple explanation (involving 1 diagnosis) is better than complicated explanation (involving 10 different diagnoses). But again, in order for me to accept said "simpler explanation" I had to overcome the misconceptions I described in 1, 2 and 3.



Last edited by QFT on 26 May 2022, 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Caz72
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26 May 2022, 2:25 pm

my parents were in denial with me as a kid
when autism was suspected they just said SHE ISNT AUTISTIC SHE JUST WONT SPEAK!

and they thought i was just retarded but back then retarded wasnt used in a offensive way

i lacked most autism symptoms despite being non verbal

i dont think there are many autistic children out there that dont SCREAM during a meltdown or at least make some sort of loud vocal noises
not me,i never ever screamed at anything

if i was upset by a noise i just put my hands over my ears

it was difficult to get me to eat i would kick the table with my legs sometimes if i didnt want to eat but no sound
it was difficult for mum to get me into clothes sometimes too and i would squirm and try to get away but no sound ever

the only sound i made was if i cried when i fell over or bumped my head or something because it hurt and i would cry but not very loudly


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26 May 2022, 4:05 pm

I didn't display many ASD traits pre-puberty and many of the ones I did display from my teens onwards I didn't recognise as ASD traits/behavioural patterns until fairly recently. I had no problems making and maintaining friendships as a child but it's been far more difficult in adulthood although, similar to what Tough Diamond experienced, my few lasting adult friendships have all come through my interest in music.