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Do you think I might be autistic ?

Discussion in 'Help and Support' started by Mllry, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. Mllry

    Mllry New Member

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    Hello everyone, I decided to post here because I need your help. Over the past few days, I've been really lost and confused, because I started to notice that some of my behaviors might actually fall under the autistic spectrum. However there are also a lot of symptoms of autism that I don't really see in myself. I have absolutely no idea how to know for sure, and I don't really feel like having an actual professional diagnosis for the moment, I guess I just don't want to jump to conclusions or rush it. So here I am, asking for random strangers' opinions on the internet, because why not.


    Warning : It's probably going to be a really long message, so you can just ignore it if it's too bothersome. However, if you have some time to kill and would like to help me understand myself a bit better, I'd greatly appreciate it.

    I am aware that this is not enough to diagnose myself, and I will definitely not use your answers to assume anything about my condition. I'm just looking for a few hints to figure out whether it might be worth actually getting diagnosed for it.


    If this is of any relevance, I'm a 21 years old french girl, currently a student. Basically my problem is that on one hand, I can quite easily picture myself being autistic. If I were actually diagnosed, it would actually be a relief because that would explain a lot of stuff that I never understood about myself. But on the other hand, I'm really unsure because there are also a lot of symptoms that I don't think I have, and I'd feel really bad calling myself autistic if I am not, I don't want to be an impostor or look like I'm trying to be special.

    The biggest thing that got me to suspect autism is when it comes to social interactions : I've always had a hard time communicating with others in social situations. It could also very well be only a strong social anxiety, to the point of being almost completely mute around everyone other than my very close family. Although it got a bit better over time, I am still quite socially impaired even now. For instance, I need to plan out everything I have to say and think about all the possibilities on how a conversation might go, otherwise I will be unable to keep a conversation going for more than a few minutes. When I can actually talk to people, it also feels automatic and weird. Sometimes, I notice when I'm in a situation that echoes lines from movies or stuff I've watched or read. I feel a lot more comfortable when I'm in a situation where I can mimic those lines so I don't have to worry about what's the correct thing to say. In other words, I'm more comfortable when conversations follow a pattern that I'm already used to and know how to react to. Coming out with stuff that I've never said before is a lot harder.

    Also, just having people look at me makes me uncomfortable, because I always feel like they expect some sort of reaction from me, but I have no idea how to react in those situations. Looking back at when I was younger, there were quite a few times when, because I did not know what others expected of me, I could be quite cold or innapropriate. It got better over time though. I also often feel like people are mad or upset with me even when they aren't, and I often feel attacked when people are simply trying to make a point. When I was a child, I prefered to play on my own or with imaginary friends rather than other kids, because I could not predict how they would act next and that really upset me.

    I also tend to overestimate people's ability to tell what I'm thinking, which has caused a lot of misunderstandings in the past, and I often don't clarify my thoughts enough because of this. I feel like my thoughts and emotions are so strong and vivid that other people must be able to tell. However, many people have told me that I'm too quiet and they have no idea what I'm thinking, that it makes them uncomfortable, and I had no idea about it until others started pointing it out. When I look at myself talking on video or things, it feels really strange. Even when I feel like I've been putting as much emotion in my speech and facial expression as I can, the result looks strangely dull and monotonous.

    When it comes to school performance, it's always been quite easy for me. I have a really good memory, and I understand stuff pretty fast, which actually helped me a lot. But since I never had to actually study or try hard to get good grades, I struggled a lot more with subjects that didn't interest me. I just couldn't bring myself to learn about it, so I just compensated with subjects that requested more logical thinking and less cramming.

    I can also get very emotional. I remember that back in junior high school, everytime people pointed out my mutism, I would almost immediately break down and burst into tears, because it upset me so much. I knew that I had a problem but I felt like I just could not express it with words, and breaking down was the only way for me to manage those feelings and get it out. I also have very sensitive senses, especially when it comes to the touch and hearing. Some sounds that others might find trivial really bother me. Mouth noises when people eat or talk is the worst. I also remember that back in my parent's house, the living room had a particular flooring that I just could not stand. Every summer when I walked around with bare feet, I had to run across the room because this floor in particular just gave me shivers, although I have no idea why that is. Physical contact with people in general is also hard for me.

    I am a very curious person and have a wide range of interests, I just love learning about anything and everything, even if it doesn't have any practical use. I just love giving my mind something to work with. Although my interests range is really large, there are still some things in particular I can get quite obsessed over. For instance, there is one video game in particular that I played over 5 years ago, and ever since this time it's literally been stuck in my mind almost every day. I keep looking it up all the time to see if anything new about it has come up and I know pretty much everything there is to know about it by heart. The funny part is that when researching about autism I came across the term 'special interest' and I didn't think I had anything like that. I only just now realized that this game totally fits this description. It was so obvious, I feel so stupid I've never noticed it before. I guess it's just become such a huge and natural part of my life that it didn't even cross my mind.

    I notice details and patterns everywhere, and I could stare at those for hours while letting my mind wander. It helps me get stuck in my own head, and it can be really comforting. I never felt boredom once in my life, so it's strange when people tell me that I look bored just because I don't appear to be doing anything, I have no idea why they'd think that. When I'm tired or have been in a social situation for too long, I often feel like my brain goes on auto-pilot. I experience derealization and depersonalization very regularly. It's almost my 'default' state, and I need to make huge conscious efforts to force myself to come back to reality and stay mindful.

    I don't feel like I have too many repetitive behaviors or anything, although I do have trichotillomania, which is the urge to pull out my hair. It's pretty much like biting your nail, except a bit more extreme. As a teenager, I used to feel really uncomfortable with change in my habits. There is one thing in particular that struck me the most, and that was back in junior high school. For almost three years, everytime during lunch breaks and free time, I would ALWAYS go to stand against one wall in particular in the school yard. It was always the exact same location, and in the exact same position, one foot put against the wall. I would just stand there for as long as the break lasted, sometimes up to two or three hours when we had especially long breaks. Everybody called it 'my wall', and being the odd one out people would often come and make fun of me, which caused me to burst into tears every time, leaving everyone else confused as they had no idea what triggered it. Eventually, I abandonned my wall and spent most of my time in the school's library instead, because I really liked reading as well. This one wall story in particular feels just so strange and surreal now, junior high was definitely a weird part of my life.

    Even though that's quite a long list of weird behaviors that might give it away, there are also a few parts where I'm still unsure. From what I've seen, people on the spectrum often have trouble with reading between the lines and getting sarcasm and metaphors, as well as reading people's expressions, all of those don't seem to be a problem for me as far as I can tell. Aside from pulling my hair, I don't have any other repetitive behaviors or obsessions. Another thing is that there's a huge difference between how I used to be and now. A lot of the symptoms that I've listed were a lot more accurate when I was a kid. Looking back at my past self, I would feel somewhat confident calling her autistic, but it feels stranger when it comes to who I am right now. I've become a lot more 'normal' which is why I need other people's opinion on all of this, so I can sort it out a bit better.


    I think this is pretty much all that I can think of. Thank you so much to those who have read all the way, I'm curious, but also a bit nervous to know what your thoughts on all of this are.
     
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  2. shysnail

    shysnail Well-Known Member

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    As you rightly said, no one here will be able to say, "Yes, you're autistic." or, "No, you're not." What we will be able to do is provide support and community, however, while you're figuring stuff out and just getting through life as best you can.

    Whether to seek out a diagnosis is a very personal decision. Some people do, some people don't. Some people self-diagnose, others go down the official route. It's really about what feels comfortable and makes sense for you. But no one here is going to accuse you of taking something that doesn't belong to you to make yourself feel special, have no fear about that. If autism makes sense to you, then why not pursue it? If it can help you understand yourself and how you see the world, as well as a ready-made community of people you can connect with, that can only be a good thing :)

    In terms of the behaviours you've described, a lot of them could indeed be autistic traits. Some could also be social anxiety, this is true, but social anxiety is a common co-morbid condition that sits on top of autism so it can definitely be difficult to disentangle the two. If it's any help, a lot of the behaviours you describe resonate with me, particularly when you talked about how it feels to interact with others. I'm autistic but also have social anxiety, so where does one end and the other begin? :rolleyes:

    For understanding metaphors, sarcasm and such, I think this is a really common fallacy that autistic people are only capable of understanding the literal. It's just not true at all. Lots of us learn what people mean by things and can read between the lines. Some of us continue to struggle. Whatever traits you hear about autism, it is always a range, with some autistic people presenting them highly and others not at all. So don't feel like traits are a list where you have to tick them all off to be diagnosed autistic.

    Welcome to the community!
     
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  3. Mllry

    Mllry New Member

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    Hi shysnail, thank you for your kind response!

    I think you're completely right. By trying to figure out whether I am autistic or not, this is mostly to understand myself and hopefully make life a bit easier for me. I ultimately don't really mind whether I get diagnosed with 100% certainty. I think my worries about it mostly come from the fear that other people might not take me seriously if I told them I might have autistic traits without absolute proofs.

    And it's true that when it comes to social interactions, it's difficult to discriminate between social anxiety and autism. That's why I've always considered my behaviour to come from social anxiety rather than autism. However the fact that I can also relate to many autistic traits that aren't only social is what got me to think that maybe it was something beyond simple social anxiety.

    I understand that everyone is different and that the intensity of the traits may vary from person to person, but even if I were to tick absolutely all the boxes, I would probably still find reasons to not feel completely legitimate, I guess that's just how I am :emojiconfused:

    But in any case, thank you a lot for your reply!
     
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  4. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    I call this 'changing the game'

    If you want to think of yourself as autistic. Keep it to yourself.
    You can then 'grow into' the realisation and give yourself time to increase understanding of yourself.

    You can tell people you have social anxiety.

    Once you say the A word it changes the game.

    (Now what was that book in French written without the letter A in it? Or was it e?)

    The game changes as it is not something that can be easy to understand or explain.

    People will have a surface idea of what autism is and no matter how hard you try they will likely stick to that surface.

    Be saying it, you then put yourself in a position of being judged and labelled by people who don't (wont or are not able) to understand it.


    Ememes is an idea in my signature which I used to try and explain ONE difference in the way we communicate. May or may not be worth a look.
     
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  5. techteach

    techteach Captain Oblivious

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    Hi Mllry, welcome to the forum. Lots of very cool people here with tons of good advice (and understanding.):)

    Everything shysnail said. :)

    Do read the link in Fridgemagnetman's signature. Very good.

    This sounds pretty ASD to me:rolleyes:
     
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  6. techteach

    techteach Captain Oblivious

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    Also, I am self-diagnosed.

    I'm 60 years old, and the way I see it, "I am here because these folks understand me and are kind and helpful. If I am (ASD), fine. If I'm not, fine. No one knows but friends and family (the understanding ones.) I need help living..."

    Whether I am ASD or not.

    Feel free to jump in, ask questions and start threads. You will learn a lot without being judged.:)
     
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  7. Mllry

    Mllry New Member

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    First of all I'd like to thank you all, you guys are all very kind and welcoming, this feels really nice!

    This makes a lot of sense, I'm probably going to follow your advice on this.

    I think you're referring to La Disparition by Georges Perec, that's actually missing the letter E.

    This actually sounds really interesting, I'm definitely going to give this a read.

    This is exactly the way I'd like to look at things. It ultimately doesn't matter what I have, what I need the most is understand myself better.

    And once again, thank you so much to everyone. I was really anxious when I first posted here, but now I feel a lot better!
     
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  8. tree

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

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    "A Void, translated from the original French La Disparition (literally, "The Disappearance"), is a 300-page French lipogrammatic novel, written in 1969 by Georges Perec, entirely without using the letter e (except for the author's name), following Oulipo constraints."

    A Void - Wikipedia

    Also one in English, published in 1939:
    Gadsby (novel) - Wikipedia

    There is a game here that leaves out a vowel.
    None of "U"
     
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  9. BraidedPony

    BraidedPony Enjoying life and glad to be alive! V.I.P Member

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    Welcome to the forum!
     
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  10. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    I think there's one in English without an A .

    :) @tree may confirm:)
     
  11. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi Mllry and welcome. I thought the same thing, but I was reading about the diagnosis in males. When I started reading about females it was a different story and my reaction was that I could have written the entire article. Not sure what you've read so far - but I would suggest reading more on female autism or aspergers.
    And I always try to point out to anyone who is questioning themselves - only you know what's going on inside of you, which matters more than official diagnosis'.
     
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  12. Isadoorian

    Isadoorian Well Known Chat Member, Welcomer of Newcomers V.I.P Member

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    Welcome to the Forums! I hope you make new friends and enjoy your stay in the process! :)

    We can't exactly help you with knowing if you're on the Spectrum or not, we're just a bunch of every day people in our own quiet corner of the internet. The only ways you'll know is if you do a bunch of online tests such as these: Aspie Tests (which are no substitute for a diagnosis) and likely see fairly consistent results and then Self Diagnose that way, or you go see a Medical Professional who deals with Autism and get diagnosed that way. If possible, ask for a referral from your GP/Family Doctor.

    Also I myself am Self Diagnosed; Officially I have a "cognitive delay", but that means nothing basically so I've figured that PDD-NOS is more aptly fitting.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
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  13. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

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    I read in a bunch of online sites about autism that point to studies that show that for every 4 males (or those who are assigned male at birth) that get diagnosed with autism, 1 female (or assigned female at birth) gets diagnosed.

    We are overlooked. We present differently from autistic boys/men. Of course, this isn't true for all of us, but it's so common that studies were done on it. It's an actual "thing."

    You could very well be autistic. Or you could very well have social anxiety disorder. You could have both. A lot of us have both. A lot of us have multiple comorbid disorders and neurodevelopmental conditions.

    A good way to help you decide if you have ASD is to look back as early as you can to your childhood. ASD traits show up very early. For many of us, they show up in infancy. For many others, they show up when we're about 2, 3 years old because that's the time we start to show communication issues.

    Perhaps you can ask your parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles, etc., anyone who can remember what you were like as an infant and toddler. Gather as much information from that time of your life as you can.

    Then, put that information together with everything you know of yourself now, and you may be able to decide if you're autistic or not, if you have any other comorbid disorders or not.

    If you eventually decide you're on the spectrum after thoroughly investigating your history and current behaviors, then you can claim the label and no one will judge you for it. Besides, it's not like anyone just wakes up one day, googles some stuff and then says, "Oh hey I have these traits, I'm autistic!".

    Those of us who self-diagnosed or got an official diagnosis from a professional later on in life usually do so because of feeling confused, out of place, lonely, isolated, "weird," misunderstood, our entire lives. We are always searching for answers. We are always doubting ourselves (because others have always doubted and dismissed us and also because our perceptions and experiences are usually different from most others around us). We often find ourselves grappling with existence, reality, and identities.

    If you're questioning whether you're on the spectrum or not, there's likely at least a couple of legitimate reasons that you're doing so. So, keep investigating! But try to slowly shift your thoughts on it as a mission to find out if a label is appropriate for you. You can perhaps think of this as a journey to self-discovery. Because that's what it is, essentially.

    You're feeling confused because you don't have a firm understanding of yourself, your behaviors, and how all of your experiences since birth have shaped who you are now.

    Look further back into your childhood if you can. You may find a lot of interesting stuff! You may find that things you used to do as a 3-year old, you still do today, it's just different 'cause you're an adult now. Digging into my early childhood (I spoke with my mom about it on several occasions leading up to diagnosis) was really enjoyable for me, personally, because I discovered that some of my behaviors as a child that seemed "obviously autistic" that I thought I had stopped doing as an adult at some point, I still do today! They just look different now because I'd adjusted over the years. :)

    Best of luck. And welcome! :D
     
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  14. Mllry

    Mllry New Member

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    Actually I was mostly looking at autism in general, I haven't come across that many info on females specifically. It's a shame that autism in females seems to go so unnoticed; that's something I'm going to try and research further.

    Noted, I'll try to take some of those and see what my results are.

    Yes, I'll do that and see how far back I can investigate. I also remember that ever since I could write I would do it a lot, like diaries and stuff, so I hope that my parents kept those and maybe this could help as well.
     
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  15. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Just type female autism or female aspergers into your search. Lots will come up.
     
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  16. Mllry

    Mllry New Member

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    The longer I think about it, the more I remember a lot specific instances at many different stages of my life that make a lot of sense when looked at with the assumption I might be on the spectrum. But it's mostly a lot of really punctual occurences without any link with one another that I can see. I find it a lot harder to see whether I have an autistic behavior on the larger scale, so I'm not sure. (...Huh, noticing details but not the big picture, that sounds strangely familiar, doesn't it...)

    But then again, maybe this is just a huge confirmation bias on my part, perhaps I'm just seeing what makes sense while completely disregarding the rest.