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Featured How Open Should I Be About My Asperger’s?

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by SliverOfSand, Apr 12, 2020.

  1. SliverOfSand

    SliverOfSand Active Member

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    I’ve always had a really hard time in socializing with people, except for one or two close friends. I’m bad at making eye contact, I can’t focus in groups or loud places, like restaurants, and I don’t know how to keep a conversation if it’s about a subject I don’t know anything about. All the typical signs of Asperger’s. I feel that people avoid me because they think I’m rude or judgemental, but that’s not my intention. I also have social anxiety from past experiences. I’ve had multiple people criticize me for being ‘too quiet’, or others saying that I talk to much. I don’t hold it against them, but they tend to avoid me at all costs.

    Lately I’ve been trying to work up the courage to be open about it, but I’m worried that because I don’t have an official diagnosis, they won’t take it seriously. I took an online RAADS-R test, and scored a 195 on it. I wanted to look into getting diagnosed, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s not something I’m gonna focus on right now. I also know that it can be difficult and expensive to get an official diagnosis.

    I’m just wondering if I should let people know, without a diagnosis, so that they don’t think I’m just being rude or cold? Or should I keep it to myself and just try to improve my social skills on my own?
     
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  2. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Unfortunately it's not usually helpful to try to 'let people know ', as they do not understand what we experience, and instead have stereotypes like Rainman to draw on. I would definitely not recommend attempting to let people know. They don't understand or know how to help, but will be likely to find the label alienating. It's probably better to be accepted as a shy or socially inept person than announce that you are autistic.

    Knowing this yourself may hopefully help you to understand better what's happening and enable you to work out strategies around what you are up against that are helpful. For many of us, that may involve understanding that our social skills are hard to improve because our brains are differently wired, and we lack the facility to interact as neurotypical people do. For some, it may be that they are able to take the pressure off themselves to fit in, and accept the way they are.
     
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  3. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think it is something to be very cautious with. I would not for instance want it public knowledge. I do tell certain trusted people I am very close to. People like spouse, certain family members and friends. There is a lot of negative stereotyping and misunderstanding out there. Others feel differently. I just would suggest you think it through fully.
     
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  4. WittyAspie

    WittyAspie The One And Only V.I.P Member

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    Keep it to yourself and try to improve your social skills. That is your best option. The previous posters were both spot on. You cannot control how other people react. Sadly, many will react negatively as soon as they hear the word autism. What you can control is yourself. Use the knowledge you have of yourself to your advantage and only tell the absolutely closest people that you have ASD.
     
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  5. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    No one knows except medical people who may need to know and the guy I live with.
     
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  6. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    I would only tell people this on a need-to-know basis, and only those you know really well and can trust not to judge you or take it the wrong way. Close family members, a partner, or your doctor perhaps, otherwise no, people don't need to know and the knowledge might cause them to prejudge you and/or distance themselves from you.
     
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  7. Giraffes

    Giraffes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Totally agree with keeping this to you and those you really trust, i'm diagnosed and moving forward have decided not to tell employers or colleagues,advise on here can help as can building self confidence and acceptance of who YOU are and not how others judge you, good luck.
     
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  8. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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  9. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Welcome @SliverOfSand to the Forums.

    You are in good company here to get answers to this and many other questions. Please hang around a bit and look at some of the older threads and you will find many good responses in there as well.
     
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  10. Storm Hess

    Storm Hess Permanent Spaceman

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    No need really to tell anyone...those that matter will listen and understand, that don't...oh well.

    I am not concerned whether I'm diagnosed or not, because truly, it doesn't matter. The people I care about and those that care about accept my 'quirks' and 'rituals' as a part of me. The rest don't matter.

    I identify as having Aspergers because of what I have researched, the memories and experiences of my life and those that are around me have made me aware of. I have a family member who is a mental health professional tell me and my wife that I have it and that one of my sons definitely has it. She is not officially 'authorised' by the NHS to give that diagnosis, but her being a highly qualified practitioner and director in that field, I can be fairly certain that I am on the spectrum.

    Accept that there are going to be places and people that aren't going to be conducive to your 'personality traits'. For me, I do not fall into the comfort trap...I try to make myself uncomfortable so I can desensitise that overwhelming urge of avoidance. It's difficult...extremely difficult at times. Perseverance is key.
     
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  11. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    A good support network for you to build is look for your aspie meetups in your area. They are few and far between, although the ones around right now are only able to hold virtual meetups.

    If this is something that interests you or you want to talk more about it, feel free to PM me and we can take it from there.
     
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  12. SliverOfSand

    SliverOfSand Active Member

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    Thank you all for the many replies!

    It’s really difficult for me to know what’s the right thing to do in this situation, since I’m pretty inexperienced in this department! :sweatsmile: I’ve really only been open about it to my family and two friends who were really supportive. They encouraged me to be more open about it, but I understand that not everyone has an open mind about things like autism. I’ll look into finding some resources that could help me, but like you said, it’s probably best to keep it to myself! :)
    Thanks again for all the support and suggestions! They really help me get a clearer understanding of how I should deal with it.
     
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  13. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    If you are still in the job market, do not discuss your autism on forums where you must use your real name (like Facebook). Current & future employers will find it when they Google your name.
     
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  14. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Sounds like the friends you told wanted you to feel there's nothing wrong with being autistic or neuro diverse, that's true, but they may not have experience of how the label is viewed by many. You are well known to them, and they see you, not a label. You may choose to mention this to trusted people, but many of us have learnt the hard way not to announce our status widely or at work.
     
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  15. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Really agree with everyone. The best way to lose a position/job is disclosing this because many don't understand it.

    I have learned so much from reading the posts here, and this forum is quite helpful and informative with many great examples of life stories to help you feel accepted.
     
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  16. SliverOfSand

    SliverOfSand Active Member

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    All of these responses have been so useful, especially for in the workplace. I wasn’t sure how it was viewed by most employers, and I’m glad I came here before telling people. I now realize how people might react. It’s strange, since I find it fascinating to learn about other people’s perspectives, and how they think differently. I don’t really think that others won’t see in the same way as I do, but instead see it as a label or liability.
    Before joining these forums I could only find resources that explain what Asperger’s is, but not how to deal with it. Glad I can gain some insight from such a supportive community!
     
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  17. Adora

    Adora Well-Known Member

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    I think you should only tell someone if it’s on a need to know basis. There are still many people who misunderstand things like Aspergers or even mental health problems in general and you don’t need to have to explain to others about who you are but I do understand the frustrations of not socialising very well.
     
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  18. Bellacat

    Bellacat Active Member

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    When I got diagnosed I was very happy and couldn't wait to tell people. I was disappointed to find that every single one of them except my husband who was diagnosed as well, didn't have a clue what to do with that information and didn't seem the least bit interested either. Since I was diagnosed as an adult they were all skeptical and the best I got was something like "Glad you found some answers", end of conversation.

    I ended up feeling more alienated than ever. It also makes it worse when people who you have told about it do things that cause you to suffer, because you feel like they should know better, and if they do these things despite knowing how they affect you then they must just not care about you or your well being. It's not true of course, but it sure feels that way.
     
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  19. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    The only time you disclose to an employer is if you sign up for a program based on your diagnosis. In those kind of programs, you also need paperwork showing your official diagnosis.
     
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  20. SliverOfSand

    SliverOfSand Active Member

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    I felt the exact same way! I was so excited and relieved that there was finally an explanation for my entire life! I did end up putting it in a presentation in a psychology course, which was the first time I was open about it to a teacher who didn’t know me that well. Exact same thing as you mentioned. He completely ignored the subject. I thought it was just that one teacher who would react like that, I didn’t realize that reaction is the majority. It really saddens me to hear about your experience. I know how it feels to want to tell everyone around you. But I guess people just don’t care that much. Asperger’s and autism is such a big part of our lives, but most people just don’t get it.
     
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