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43 and questioning.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by SirElghinn, Jun 24, 2021.

  1. SirElghinn

    SirElghinn New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I'm SirElghinn. I'm 43 years old, a father of an amazing 14 year old daughter, and married to the love of my life for 20 years this coming December. I recently restarted therapy after having several sessions throughout my life with various therapists in different parts of the country, and the topic of whether or not I might fall on the spectrum came up. The therapist recommended that I join a forum and connect with other individuals to see if I relate to some of the experiences shared by others. Once the topic was raised, and I started to analyze myself using the lens of considering that I might fall on the spectrum, a lot of past experiences, behaviors, and just the way in which I see the world and deal with other people started to 'feel' like it made a lot more sense to me.

    I'm a little nervous about coming on this site and trying to connect because I'm fearful I'll be seen as a 'tourist', or as an outsider that 'may or may not be', but I am genuinely trying to learn more and make an evaluation of myself to see if this explains a lot of unanswered questions I've had about myself and the way in which I see the world -- along with some of the frustrations I often find myself having.

    So, hi. That's the rather blunt and open reason why I'm here. I'm not really sure where I should begin, or if I should just stroll through the different threads and try to absorb as much as possible. I would be open to suggestions, and hope others will forgive any faux pas I may inadvertently stumble into as a result of ignorance. Thank you.
     
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  2. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Feel free to share your experiences here.
     
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  3. Greatshield17

    Greatshield17 An Appeal to Heaven! V.I.P Member

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    Welcome aboard, whether you’re an Aspie or Autistic or not, I’m sure it would helpful to have you hang around for a bit, and share your input on things.
     
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  4. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    we're open! just lurk or post as you wish.
     
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  5. Barymore

    Barymore nevertheless, she persisted V.I.P Member

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    Hi there and welcome! This is a very friendly and inclusive forum. Feel free to browse, join in and start threads as the fancy takes you.

    It can be quite a journey, this process of figuring what it means for an individual to be on the spectrum!
     
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  6. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝️ V.I.P Member

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    Hello & welcome.
    Try it on.
    See if it fits.
    When it doesn't fit, people (on there own) will look for a better fit elsewhere, but stick around as long as you are comfortable doing so.

    If you are in the USA, see Autlanders, Thriving Outside of the Box: Finding Support Resources in the USA...
     
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  7. VictorR

    VictorR Random Member V.I.P Member

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    Welcome! Hopefully you find some answers, whatever they may be :)
     
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  8. SirElghinn

    SirElghinn New Member

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    Thank you for the welcome.

    Well, to share some of my experiences that led me here that I had shared with therapist are as follows:
    • I've been told that I'm extremely good a reading people, picking up on social cues, etc. I have always thought the reason for that was because I had a somewhat emotional and physically abusive father, and being able to 'read' people was more a defense mechanism for me. So it's something I just worked hard at being able to do.
    • I get along better with animals than people. I have always had multiple pets, and tend to get along best with Cats. I've been dubbed the cat whisperer on a number of occasions just because I feel like I can relate and understand them better than people.
    • I was an active military member a while back, and when I enlisted I was a bit older than my peers (I was 24 surrounded by 18 & 19 year olds). I progressed very well in the military - airman of the month several consecutive months in a row, airman of the quarter for several quarters, and almost made airman of the year. I was promoted early (BTZ) and would always do well on military boards. I was often ridiculed by my peers for being a kiss-up, but I just looked at it as doing what I was told and doing it well - and it was self-serving. I never understood why others didn't do the same because it seemed pretty simple in my mind.
    • I currently am a manager at my job (VP-level) in Aviation, and I find myself over-explaining things to those I give direction to, partly because the instructions are safety-critical and partly because I'm always fearful that I am not being clear, concise, and specific.
    • I often find myself being frustrated with people, often using the phrase "I know I'm not a genius, if I can do it, anyone can do it. Why is this so hard for others?" People tend to bring their problems to me to solve, and to me the problems seem basic and can easily be done with just a bit of effort. And, even when I give care in over-explaining things, there's a 50/50 chance it doesn't get done to the level that I need it to be at, or that I asked it to be at, so I tend to beat myself up in thinking that the problem has to be with me - I didn't explain it right, or I didn't perform enough oversight to ensure that the job was done correctly, etc.
    • I find it difficult to make new friends, because at times I wonder if I get a little too personal too quick, or I open up to people too quickly in an effort to show that I'm genuine and sincere. It seems like people withdraw from me a little perhaps because they think I'm being too forward. Note: it's never inappropriate subjects, but things I would consider trivial (and those in my immediate circle would as well). The 'following social protocol' for slowly introducing yourself and slowly working towards friendship to me always felt a little inauthentic or dishonest - almost like you're not truly being yourself, you're 'acting'. So I tend to just be like "Here I am! This is me, and these are the things I like, and this is what I think, etc etc."
    • My daughter has been diagnosed with ADHD, obstinate defiance, and has suffered a PTSD event in the past. My wife has also been diagnosed with ADHD. I have been diagnosed in the past with Bipolar II, though I am suspicious of that diagnosis, and I too have suffered from a PTSD event that coincided with my daughter's. I suffer from depression and lack of motivation, though there are times where I have bursts of energy where I become a whirling dervish and can tackle large amounts of work/chores/etc.
    • I beat myself up a lot mentally and emotionally. I question my self-worth and often think that maybe I'm just being lazy. If things don't go well whether at home or at work, I often feel it's because I didn't devote enough attention or effort the ensure that the problem was to be prevented.
    Those are a few examples I can think of off the top of my head, though I'm sure there are more. Fwiw.
     
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  9. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi there.

    You remind me of me, when I first joined aspiecentral and a few year's later, was formally diagnosed, but coming here, certainly helped me to confirm what I suspected and never once, was I made to feel unwelcome, due to being self diagnosed.

    It tends to be easiler for males to get a diagnoses, so wish you all the best, in your journey of self discovery.
     
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  10. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi and welcome, you do seem to tick some boxes, I hope you find it useful to be here.sounds like your daughter may turn out to be Aspie too.

    I am self diagnosed after much research and having some relevant clinical experience working with people on the spectrum. I can relate to your feeling mystified by others seeming to under perform, and would caution you not to turn that one back on yourself if you do decide or find yourself to be on the autistic spectrum.

    What I mean is, as with any stigmatised minority experience, you can feel how you are is lesser, and that your conclusions about others were wrong, but that's the social stigma, which tends to make minority experience wrong and so called normal experience right. So if that's who you are, you’re judgemental and rigid, rather than them under performing and seeming unconcerned about it and chatting away. :rolleyes:

    There's a balance to be found, reassessing doesn't mean you're all wrong in your views, but there can be some ideas and ways to review. It all takes time, it's a process.

    :herb::bug::cactus::snake::palmtree::crocodile::seedling::turtle:
     
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  11. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    HI @SirElghinn

    Welcome to the Forum.
    Do hang around a bit and see if what is spoken about as being autistic fits with you or rings some bells from the past.
     
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  12. Nitro

    Nitro Admin/Immoral Turpitude Staff Member Admin V.I.P Member

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    welcome to af.png
     
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  13. 1ForAll

    1ForAll Active Member

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    Welcome to the forum! You certainly belong here. I was diagnoses with ASD several months ago and I understand what you are saying very well. I relate very much to most of the points you made.

    I too grew up with a physically abusive father, and I read people very well for partly those same defense, protective and survival mechanisms you mentioned, to the point that in ways I feel I can analyze even too much, and much deeper than the surface, every minute detail.

    Just curious if you see yourself as a perfectionist, as that is what I sense in you. I mean, you seem to hold not only yourself to high standards, but can get frustrated if others do not do the same. I do relate to your needs to do things as effectively and as efficiently as possible, but to conserve our energies until then.

    My wife and youngest son have ADHD too. That son has diagnosed Autism as well. Although I am structured and a believer in rules, I admittedly have that very independent, leader, spontaneous and creative side. I can deviate from rules or create my own at times, if I feel that is more proper for our situation.

    My conditions, the recently diagnosed Autism and past diagnosed AvPD, and I suspect ocpd too, which the latter condition you may want to research as well, were and are such I need to work at home, due to severe avoidant, self-consciousness, perfectionism, and lack of concentration around others.

    In my case, I give the best efforts when I away from others who distract me, those times those things need to be done. I am pretty good at prioritizing, and putting others first. I seemed to have a high stress tolerance now, and from my many self-help efforts since, but I am always looking to be better and do better.

    Feel free to look around and post anytime.

    .
     
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  14. MyLifeAsAnAspie

    MyLifeAsAnAspie Well-Known Member

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    Hi and welcome to the forums :). There are online tests which are screening tools for possible ASD. I like the AQ, but there are others Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ).
     
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  15. VictorR

    VictorR Random Member V.I.P Member

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    Same here. I had a technical job where post-training, we were expected to be mentored / monitored for accuracy for 6-8 weeks, and then join the regular team with graduated production targets for 12-16 weeks starting at 25%.

    I was moved out of the first phase in 3 weeks and was already hitting >50% of normal production targets.

    If it's technical, and once you explain how things work, the solutions just appear to me.

    I'm glad you have had the opportunity to move to a senior position, as for many on the spectrum, including myself, underemployment is a major issue (alongside unemployment).


    100% agree. I've might meet someone at an event with similar interests, agree to follow-up / make contact afterwards, send an email following on the discussions, and get ghosted immediately. This ironically includes situations where the other person self-identifies as being on the spectrum.

    I'm not sure if perhaps we're so genuine and sincere, and that those like us are so rare, that we get perceived to be someone with ill intentions.
     
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  16. Neonatal RRT

    Neonatal RRT Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    First of all, a friendly welcome. We have so-called "neurotypical" family members of autistics on this forum, so don't feel like you are somehow a "tourist". For the most part, we are all here to help and support each other in our own way,...and it is nice to have our neurotypical members on here to give their perspectives.

    So, for the sake of organizing my thoughts here, I will take a crack at commenting at some of your bulleted experiences.

    1. Re: "Reading People". One of the common findings that psychologists will pick up on with regards to identifying an autistic individual is the apparent "lacking in cognitive empathy". So, this is "perspective taking", reading microexpressions, body language, voice intonation, etc., and also identifying one's own emotional state at any given time,...not emotional empathy (responding to someone else's emotional happiness, sadness, anger,...or crying during an emotional piece of music or movie scene). Cognitive and emotional empathies come from distinctly different areas of the brain. Emotional empathy is more of a primitive response, involves "mirror neurons", and is often part of survival instincts. Most, if not all, animal species that are social have this. Cognitive empathy is a highly complex and coordinated set of responses from different areas of the brain. Examples of cognitive empathy, in my case,...(1) I can sit behind the computer screen and type away, describing anger, frustration, happiness, etc....but if you asked me right now how I was feeling, I couldn't tell you. Intellectually, I know that emotional states are generally not isolated, but mixed,...so if you asked me to describe one feeling, I would struggle. I would have to step back and think about it for a long while then get back to you. (2) I have been married for 35 years,...and as a married guy, I know when I am NOT going to be intimate with my wife,...I know when she is angry with me (emotional empathy). However, I NEVER know when I am going to be intimate with my wife,...as I simply do not read the signals, hints, subtle clues and flirtation (cognitive empathy),...she literally has to say something like, "If you're good, we can have "playtime" tonight". Otherwise,...clueless. I know my wife in the sense that I have had many years of experience living with her,...but I never know what she is thinking at any given time. (3) If you have had anyone say something like, "How would you feel if I did that to you?",...and you literally would have no idea. Worse,..."How do you think that makes me feel?",...zero idea. These are questions I would probably look you like you were having an intellectual conversation with your dog. With all of that, comes a whole Pandora's box of neurotypical, "land mine", emotional responses that we are not prepared, at all, to deal with. It affects our personal and professional lives significantly. We often receive an unflattering, sometimes derogatory "moral diagnosis" from others.
    2. With regards to your professional career. Interestingly, enough, there are employers (mostly technical occupations) that actually seek out autistics for the traits that you describe. For many neurotypicals, whether it be school or employment, they tend to look at things primarily from a social perspective, it's a place to interact with others. For many autistics, we generally have difficulty with socialization, so we naturally put our mental energy towards the task put in front of us. As an employer or instructor, you're probably going to find high performers in the autistics,...provided that whatever you are doing does not rely upon a high social dynamic (group projects, customer service, marketing, sales, etc. where one has to be excellent at reading and responding to individuals).
    3. Safety and communication is critical in the work place. Aviation certainly is one,...I am in medicine,...we are on the same page with this.
    4. Being frustrated with others,...Wow!,...Yes! I have come so close to throwing up my hands and walking away from my job. People that are decision makers can individually, or as a group, cannot see what I am seeing. It can, in some cases, take months for them to eventually acknowledge and respond to things that I can see within seconds,...and no amount of beating them over the head seems to work. The issue is, these things involve the well-being and lives of infants,...so yes,...I can get very frustrated and angry.
    5. Friends. I can say I have friendly acquaintances. I seem to get along fine with people, but it goes no further. From a physiologic perspective one can look at the role of the posterior pituitary and the release of the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin,...in my case, the lack thereof,...a common finding with autistics. These are the so-called "love hormones" that are responsible for that euphoric feeling at the beginning of a relationship, but are also responsible for seeking out social interactions. People like myself generally do not seek out social interactions,...it may not be actual avoidance, per se,...but definitely not putting ourselves "out there". I have an "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" social guidance,...I do not think of anyone,...not my wife, not my kids, nobody,...unless they are in field of view. I do not "miss" people. Friendship requires a lot of mental energy and commitment that I simply am not set up for. I am getting to the age where one's mortality becomes a reality,..."What would happen if my wife suddenly died?" I would go through the grieving process, but I would be totally OK emotionally,...I think. I would probably have more trouble dealing with paying the bills on time and organizing my life, as my wife does a lot.
    6. ADHD, OCD, depression, anxiety, and all the other "D's",...one will find there is a fair amount of cross-over with the autistic population,...imagine a Venn diagram. Autism is a congenital condition. Autism begins at the earliest part of brain development within the womb, as evidence of microscopic anatomical studies and functional MRI studies. The autistic brain is characterized by areas of abnormal neuron migration and layering, areas of abnormal neuron structure, areas of hyper and hypo conduction (high and low voltage), areas of hyper and hypo connectivity (thick and thin wiring), there is abnormal neuronal "pruning" in early childhood (this is when parents often recognize something is wrong). It is also why medications used to stimulate or inhibit certain neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, etc.) can have significant side effects,...fix one symptom,...cause 4 other problems. The causes of autism are multi-factoral, sometimes primarily genetic, sometimes due to the maternal hormonal milieu, sometimes a mix. There are over 100 genetic markers for autism on the human genome. There are several variants of autism. If you've met one person with autism,...you've met one person with autism,...as the range of neurodiversity within the autistic community far exceeds the neurodiversity within the so-called neurotypical community.
    7. In 2021, the primary way to diagnose autism is though psychology,...behavior clues,...symptoms. In the not-so-distant future, it will be though functional MRI studies,...looking at the functional anatomy. There are autism centers in many communities, but as an adult, it is best to specifically seek out those that deal with adults. Autistic adults can be very good at "masking" their autism,...even if they don't know they have autism, because they know how to "observe and imitate". It takes a keen psychologist to sort it out through asking the correct questions, as well as, appropriate cognitive performance testing. If you are lucky enough to be near a university medical center that has an autism research center,...then you will have a better chance of getting those imaging studies.

    As you can see from this post,...my autism allows me to monologue endlessly,...and I am quite happy to continue.:D
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
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  17. Martha Ferris

    Martha Ferris Seeking answers

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    Welcome fellow seeker. I joined this forum recently because, with 2 brothers diagnosed with Aspergers and with my own suspicions about myself growing, I wanted some answers. I am 65 this year. As I learn more I am pretty sure I fall on the spectrum. I considered it and rejected it for a long time after their diagnosis but being on the spectrum myself would explain the way I am. Can't afford to get tested tho.
     
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  18. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Varzar

    Varzar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi SirElghinn! Welcome to the forums.

    No need to feel nervous, it's a super welcoming community here.
    I've got a similar story. Same age, married to my wife for going on 20 years.. We skipped the children part though. Determined a few years ago while going through counselling that I was on the spectrum as well.

    This place has been a great place to find similarly-minded individuals.
    For me, it's really helped to quantify which aspects of myself probably qualify as AS traits vs. which aspects are either "normal" or perhaps an aspect that is "just me". Quantifying those things helps me in my day-to-day life to communicate better with people I care about, particularly when there might be a disconnect as a result of neurodiversity. Certainly, it has helped my wife and I communicate much better than we did before.

    So, yeah. Read, ask questions, whatever you need. This place is totally the place to help. :)
     
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  20. Amy Stone

    Amy Stone Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hello and welcome! I am self-diagnosed and have confirmed my Asperger's by "comparing notes" on this forum and taking all of the "Aspie quizzes". The more I read up on it, especially the little quirks I have that I thought made me unique, were actually Aspie traits. I suggest you read up on some of the older posts and take the quizzes and see what you uncover! For me, it was a huge relief to be self-diagnosed. But beware in sharing this news with others. My experience in sharing wasn't a good one. Not even with my spouse.
     
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