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Day 2

I’m gonna be calling these entries ‘Day One’, ‘Day Two’, but it isn’t actually a day-by-day kind of thing. It’s more of sequencing each day of significance in my journey.

I would relish the opportunity to gather all the results of all my autism assessments and analyze them, compare them, cross-reference them, and then draw some conclusions, but not for a blog post. This is intended to be short and sweet, easily digestible, like a two-bite brownie. But, is it fair to reduce an analysis of self to such a small morsel? Who knows.

Below is the graph of my results from the ‘Aspie Quiz’: Aspie Quiz

1683339421670.png


I remember when I first saw these results I thought, ‘well that’s not promising. Or, maybe, it is promising?’ From a neurotypical and medical community point of view, it is not a promising marker to be a potential candidate for a ‘disorder’. From my personal point of view, the kind of person who has been searching for answers to, what I called, ‘my own personal brand of weirdness’, it was very promising. If I didn’t score high in this, I would be left empty-handed, yet again.

Then I came across this very visually appealing, neurodivergent-forward site: Embrace Autism | The ultimate autism resource

It has a test for almost everything! It also includes a link to the ‘Aspie Quiz’ above. I took every one, but I will share only a few results here, for the benefit of short attention spans:

Autism Spectrum Quotient (ASQ or AQ): 39
Measures autistic traits in adults.
If anyone takes this test, I highly recommend reading the ‘Outdated’ and ‘Updated’ sections beforehand. They point out a few outdated questions which they rephrase so you can provide a more accurate answer.

Scoring a 32 or higher (females) is indicative of a strong presence of autistic traits. So, I’m up there all right.

Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised (RAADS-R): 184
Language: 14; Social Relatedness: 80; Sensory/motor: 52; Circumscribed interests: 38

This test ‘assesses developmental symptoms correlating with… DSM-5 diagnostic categories’.

A score higher than 160 is ‘Very strong evidence for autism’. Yippee.

If you are sensing some ambiguity or sarcasm in my reactionary statements (‘I’m up there all right’ and ‘yippee’), you are correct. My reactions were very unsure, and full of mixed feelings. Was I ‘trying’ to produce autistic results? Did I ‘want’ to be autistic, just to have an answer? I was doubting my own genuineness in answering these tests.

Camouflaging Autistic Traits Questionnaire (CAT-Q): 161
Compensation: 56; Masking: 51; Assimilation: 54


So, the way I answered the first two assessments was after quite a bit of research into women with autism, and the fact that they mask quite a lot. When I first ran through the questions, I either 1) didn’t understand the question or didn’t know how to answer it, or 2) wanted to answer ‘It depends. Am I answering with what I actually think/want to do, or am I answering with what I usually do, in the presence of people, when I’m masking?’ With that in mind, I concentrated more on ‘what if’ scenarios for the first two assessments. ‘IF’ I wasn’t masking, then how would I behave/express/allow myself to feel/react in this situation? I really did try to be genuine in my answers, but nonetheless I recognize that everyone, including me, has a propensity for bias.

For example, ‘if my routine is disrupted, I would get upset’. Masking me would not express being upset at a small disruption because it is a desirable quality to be ‘flexible’. She would try her best to go with the flow. If I were to ‘show my true colours’ (real feelings) as it were, I would show that I’m upset and explain, to whoever would listen, how this offsets all the other plans in my day and causes me immense stress to have to reorganize everything, if that’s even possible, on short notice. Usually that ‘whoever was listening’ were the four walls of my apartment. So I tried to answer those questions from that angle, and thus my scores were higher than I thought they’d be, along with my scores for the CAT-Q.

Before taking these tests, I was only well aware of my socializing ‘deficiencies’. I already knew I took things too literally, had difficulty with eye contact, and had trouble keeping a conversation going or caring about what someone did over the weekend. The questions they asked though, especially ones about masking, sensory, and interests, made me reflect a lot on how I experience and behave in the world around me.

I was on a video call at work and my camera was on (for once), and I found myself consciously, purposefully changing my expressions to match those of my colleagues and in reaction to the light banter happening. Had my camera been off, I wouldn’t have bothered putting that effort in to appear ‘normal’.

I am very easily startled. If my boyfriend is in an area of the apartment (our tiny 800 sq ft space with one hallway) that I did not last see him in, I would be surprised and jump if he ‘popped out of nowhere’ (ie. walked into the kitchen when my back was turned, but I thought he was still in the bathroom). I read somewhere being easily startled can be an autistic trait.

The only reason I change what I eat more regularly than I want to is because of the haunting voice of my parents saying, ‘we had that yesterday’ whenever I suggested what I wanted to eat as a child. I learned ‘normal’ people don’t eat the same thing every day, and boy did I want to be normal.

Out of all my friends growing up (I only ever had two at a time), only one I would say was/is neurotypical, and the rest were neurodivergent in some respect. I didn’t know what that was back then, I just thought, ‘hey they’re kinda weird like me. Cool’.

Growing up, I always had the feeling of being ‘on the outside looking in’. I primarily observed social situations, I did not engage in them. I had a longing to join in and pop a joke, tell a story, but I knew not how to do either, nor how to time it. Usually, by the time I had my thoughts in order to open my mouth and after screening what I wanted to say for social appropriateness, it was too late and the topic had changed.

The more tests I took, the more I came to terms with this realization. I don’t know what it is about tests, but it brings a certain level of legitimacy to things. After about a week of taking tests, further research, and having a bit of an existential crisis, I calmed down and braved the conversation to be had with my boyfriend.

More on that in the next post!

Comments

I just reached my self-diagnosis by a similar route and find it resolving almost all the mysterious events not explained by substances, family environment or what was my favorite debate of "am I evil or just a fng idiot?" It has been fairly emotional just thinking about letting go my number one special interest: "WTF is wrong with me?" Lol.

My graph looks not too different from yours.



Aspie2.png
 
I just reached my self-diagnosis by a similar route and find it resolving almost all the mysterious events not explained by substances, family environment or what was my favorite debate of "am I evil or just a fng idiot?" It has been fairly emotional just thinking about letting go my number one special interest: "WTF is wrong with me?" Lol.

My graph looks not too different from yours.



View attachment 103260

That's interesting! I led my life similarly (up until now) in terms of having a bucketful of other reasons for each and every 'quirk' I had. Since autism affects so many aspects of a person, to such random degrees, it's easy to point to other things like, oh I'm just a quiet kid cuz I had an unstable home life, oh my anxiety is residual mental illness that runs in my family, oh I was raised to be hyper-independent, that's why I don't like people, and the list goes on. It's so strange to have one answer for everything, rather than 50 'ish' answers for 50 things.

It is disorienting and refreshing to be letting go of so much self-rumination, for sure!
 

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Beanfinity
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