• Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Hello From Someone Trying to Figure Things Out

manillaroad

New Member
Hello everyone,
I am a 32 year old male in Canada. I am not diagnosed, but over the past year have been feeling more and more that I am on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. It was something I'd never considered (always thought I was just a weird, anxious and awkward person), until talking about it with my sister (her daughter is autistic and my sister works for an autism based non-profit), and as I started to learn more about autism the more things really started to add up.

I'd always been a very solitary child. I had plenty friends at school but did not like having friends over, and liked even less the idea of going to their house. I always just wanted to play on my own. I would feel incredibly uncomfortable at being somehwere unfamiliar, having to eat food I wasn't used to (I was an incredibly picky eater, with specific ways of eating relating to the order in which I eat the different foods on a plate, and those foods could never touch), and had all kinds of anxiety relating to having to use a bathroom that wasn't my own. My parents would get me exempt from certain school activities because it would make me so uncomfortable and upset. I was exempt from PE in middle school because the thought of getting changed in front of other people in the locker room was too overwhelming. I would ring my hands continously when anxious (my dad referred to it as my "worry hands"). I still do fidget with my hands when anxious, though now it's more like rubbing my thumb against my index finger.

I was bullied in middle school, and became so anxious and depressed that I was home schooled for the rest of grade school. Depression has been a major factor in my life ever since. I lost all my friends and had very lonely teenage years (my only friends as a teenager were adults) until going to college and slowly started making friends my own age again. I have always found socializing very difficult. I love spending time with my friends, but if it's people I don't know well I get very uncomfortabel and even upset if I feel I don't fit in with them. Through working with the public I've learned to mask it well enough, but find it really weighs on me after awhile. It feels like I have to constantly force myself to seem "normal" in order to function and it can be exhausting. Dating was incredibly uncomfortable. I've never been able to tell if someone is flirting with me, or even really been able to understand the difference between flirting and just friendly chatting unless it's obviously sexual. Likewise, I had a very hard time reading body language to tell if someone was interested in me or not. I feel I'm alright with reading regular social situations fairly well at this point (though I'm rather awkward and often uncomfortable), but when it came to dating I was hopeless. It feels like a miracle I've been able to have relatiosnships!

I've always been very sensitive, and can be upset pretty easily. I can struggle with intense emotions, like anger, and in times of great emotional stress I can shut down. I go very quiet and find it very difficult to say anything. My mind goes blank. I've recently been reading about autistic shutdown and it really sounds like that's what I experience. I've long felt like I process emotions and feelings toward other people in a way that isn't really normal, but had trouble really describing it.

I have a lot of routines and ways I like things done and find it upsetting when these things are disrupted or done differently by someone else.

I have a few hobbies that I am incredibly passionate about, and they take up a very large part of my time. I can feel frustrated if I don't get to do them, like if my partner wants to watch a movie when I want to work on hobby stuff, and it can make me feel uncomfortable and distant. In general I can be quite distant and it has caused problems in past relationships. I don't often like to cuddle and prefer to sit on my own. I need a lot of time to be alone or even just to do things seperately from my partner with friends. And this can be very upsetting to my partner and I feel bad about that.

There's a lot of other things I could list but this post is already getting too long. I feel that autism would really explain so much about me. And I really don't know how I feel about that. On one hand it would make so many things clear and maybe allow me to live a bit more honestly. But it also makes me feel sad, like there really is something wrong with me instead of just being a bit awkward. And to be clear, I don't mean that in a condescending way towards anyone with autism, nor that I think there is anything wrong with any of you. It's more me being hard on me and struggling to come to terms with who I am. I have looked into getting an official diagnosis, but the cost here is very steep (at least 2000 dollars). I have a read a bit about self identifying but feel very conflicted about it. I have done many online tests/questionnaires and every single one I've done I've scored postively into the spectrum. I feel like an official diagnosis is what would make me really accept it (I have always been very particular about following rules and things being official). But the cost is so high, and part of me also fears the doctor saying they don't think I'm on the spectrum and that would leave me feeling even more confused and lost. On the other hand, I feel somewhat uncomfortable with self diagnosis, as though I'm co-opting something that might not be mine.

So I guess what I'm looking for with this long rambling post is to hear how people in the autism community feel about self diagnosis? Do I sound like someone who could self diagnosis with some degree of confidence? I'm sure I've forgotten more of my traits that fit in the spectrum, but this post is already far too long!

And lastly, I'm curious to hear about how others came to realize they are or might be on the spectrum as adults?

Thank you for making it through this convoluted post!

Edit:
A few more things that just came to mind:
- I have a very hard time with eye contact. I really like wearing sunglasses when outside as I feel it gives a barrier that I can hide behind.
- I feel very uncomfortable with what to do with my hands when talking. I like to wear jackets with pockets so I can keep my hands in there. I've never been one to talk with my hands, and feel like I never know what to do with them and end up holding them in some way that feels awkward.
- I have near encyclopedic knowledge of things that I am interested in, but can struggle to pay attention or retain information relating to things I'm not interested in. If I become interested in something then I want to learn as much as I can about it, in a somewhat obsessive way.
 
Last edited:

Nitro

Admin/Immoral Turpitude
Staff member
Admin
V.I.P Member
welcome to af.png
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
First l want to say welcome.

And perhaps if you read other posts, you will start to become more accepting of yourself and your attributes.
 
Last edited:

Outdated

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Your youth and childhood don't sound all that different to mine, I learned to adapt quite well though.

I never in my life chatted up a girl, it's something I'm not capable of, but early on I learnt a valuable trick. If you're always happy and smiling and you speak very little they start to chat you up instead. :)
 

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Welcome, @manillaroad . It seems that many of us on this site come to our diagnosis in varied ways. I was formally diagnosed at 60 when behaviors started being too intrusive. Before then it was my spouse, trained in special education, who started putting things together. Little did I recognize that those behaviors leading me to seek a diagnosis were the consequence of PTSD from much earlier in life. I have finally been dealing with that using Cognitive Processing Therapy over this past year.
 

Rodafina

Hopefully Human
V.I.P Member
Welcome! So many of us have found information and understanding here. Realizing that I am autistic has been the most freeing experience of my life, and it has only occurred in the last couple years. Joining this forum was like the cherry on top of the sundae. I wish and hope for you to have a similar experience where you gain understanding and perhaps some camaraderie here.

When I first joined I wanted to have all the information instantly, but it takes lots of time to pore through the threads, take in all the different opinions, and figure things out. Take your time, if you like, and get to know us… In my opinion it’s a grand group of folks.
 

VictorR

Random Member
V.I.P Member
Welcome!

Are you in Alberta by any chance? If so, you're in luck as Alberta Health Services offers adult autism assessments at Glenrose. Unfortunately, to my understanding, the other provinces and territories don't offer publicly funded adult diagnoses, and $2000 is about par.

My journey started after reading an article about autistic workers - first being intrigued, and as I got further long in the article, realize that increasingly, that I was being described. It was several years before I got my diagnosis, and while I had on occasion self-identified, it was only after getting the diagnosis that I felt comfortable with identifying, and to start engaging in the community, like this forum. I salute you for having the confidence to step up.
 

Luca

charm & chaos
V.I.P Member
- I have near encyclopedic knowledge of things that I am interested in, but can struggle to pay attention or retain information relating to things I'm not interested in. If I become interested in something then I want to learn as much as I can about it, in a somewhat obsessive way.

^This is 100% me. I can completely relate to this paragraph.

Welcome! :)
You will fit in just fine here and will have plenty of opportunity to discuss things that interest you.
There are also several others from Canada.

Hope you like it here, and that you get your questions answered!
 

manillaroad

New Member
Thanks for the kind welcome everyone, I really appreciate it!

@VictorR I'm in BC, so no public funding for adult diagnosis. I do have private insurance through my job, and am going to inquire to see if they will cover it, or even just part of it. Worth a shot at least.
 

SusanLR

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Welcome here @manillaroad
Your intro sounds much like my life experiences.

I was late diagnosed in my mid-fifties.
I didn't know anything about autism, although I did know I was different and had
many of the same problems growing up as you mentioned.
It wasn't until I lost my mother and had no experience really being on my own in the world that I went to a social worker for grief counseling and she was very knowledgeable on the subject.
I didn't know it at the time, but as we talked, and she started asking questions,
she finally told me she thought I had Asperger's and should be evaluated.
When I was officially diagnosed, I found this forum at the same time.
I also started doing online testing for myself and found the tests fit as well.

It has been an eye- opening experience and thank goodness I found the forum too!
 

Shevek

Well-Known Member
I was about 40 when I started going to meetings for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families in BC, and trying out the thin counselor resources. I never heard a word about genetic influences. Then, 15 years later, when mother was dying and my NT sister was still distressed about never having heard "I love you" I did another search on her symptoms, and found a list of Asperger's indicators. Suddenly, her life and mine both made sense. Subsequent counselors have had no trouble at all working with that.

I was on a listserv with a guy with a family, a business, and active research (the list stuff) and suggested that he might be on the spectrum. Suddenly it all clicked for him, too. I don't know what a piece of paper would be worth. Everything is a spectrum and half my issues are more common PTSD, a side effect of living with AS.
 

Plato

Member
Hi, thanks for your post. I found it very interesting and found my self relating to your thoughts.

From how you've described yourself, I think you're autistic. Besides, it's highly unlikely that you should even give the idea thought, if you weren't autistic, unless you were really messed up. You don't sound messed up. You instead sound like someone who is systematically analysing whether you have autism or not. Should you or should you not get an official diagnosis? Let me tell you my story. I got an official diagnosis for adult ADHD at the age of about 39 in Melbourne, Australia. I'm now 42. I knew nothing at the time about autism. I didn't even now that the Rain Man was autistic :)

I ended up self diagnosing myself with autism after a lot of research. But the first time I became interested in learning about it was when my YouTube feed presented me with a video on autism. I have no idea why it came up on my feed at the time, as I'd never looked up anything on autism. It probably came up for the reason that the comorbidity rate of autism and ADHD are pretty high. I was looking up a lot of videos on ADHD.

The video I watched on YouTube had people from all levels on the spectrum, from high to low. At first I though this isn't me. But the more I though about it and the more I self-analysed and the more I read on the topic the more convinced I became that I was autistic.

Autism is genetic in our family, because 3 of 5 of my immediate family members, although they'll never believe it, have it. I have also observed it in some of my first cousins on my mum's side. This something you may also try to observe, although autism does not always run in families. Nevertheless, the rate of an autistic child having an autistic parent is very high.

The official diagnosis of ADHD did not help me the way I though it would, for that reason I did even bother with getting one for my autism. If you think the people closest to you, and the society you live in will validate you more after a diagnosis, I'm sorry to say, you are wrong. In an ideal world, the closest to you should validate you even without a diagnosis. But if you haven't been validated already by those who are closest and dearest to you, an official diagnosis won't change that. Will workplaces accommodate for you after your diagnosis? I don't think so. Society just is not ready to accommodate us fully just yet. I do believe that it will happen eventually but until then you need to decide - once you convince yourself that is - whether to come out as autistic. So far my experiences of coming out have not been great. But these concerns will relate to you more in the future.

As you've already pointed out, a diagnosis is costly. Not only that, but they may end up finding you not autistic enough. That would be a tough blow on your sense of self, considering it must be difficult for you already.

Is your IQ above average? Most high functioning autistics have an above average IQ.

Interestingly, I also rub my thumb against my index finger. That is my most obvious stim.

I highly recommend the books and videos of Tony Attwood, a psychologist notable for his work on Asperger syndrome

Some autistic symptoms are very obvious but others are quite hard to recognise. For example, I experience what's called perseveration. During my research of autism, I had no idea that this was an autistic trait. But now that I know about it, I understand why during conversations (when I'm not monologuing, that is) I feel like I get stuck on a particular topic and cannot move on as neurotypicals so easily do. I think another reason why I get stuck on topics is due to another autistic trait which wanting to explore a topic fully before moving on. This stems I believe from the fact that autistic people are systematisers. They don't particularly enjoy having gaps in their knowledge about a topic.

Hope the above helps!
 

manillaroad

New Member
@Plato There's two confirmed family members with autism, and my dad could possibly be on the spectrum, so it's definitely in the family. And I do have an above average IQ. That's neat we have the same stim too!

I've just started watching a video from Tony Attwood, and it's already all hitting home. Thank you for recommending him.

I think acceptance and validation certainly seems to be a long and difficult journey, and I know there's people who might never validate it, but I can at least start by trying to accept it for myself. I still feel very conflicted emotionally over this whole thing and I think it's going to take quite some time for me to really find some peace with it, but at least I'm starting.
 

New Threads

Top Bottom