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I am seeking some advice from the community as someone who is undiagnosed but feels a strong connection with autism

SoapySoap

New Member
Hi, everyone. My name is Sophie (nickname is soap or soapy) and I am 24 years old. I hope you'll stick with me through this post cause I am positive it will be a long one. First and foremost I want to say that I am not diagnosed with autism and I also do not want to self diagnose because it makes me feel as though I am overstepping a boundary before I even know if it is a necessary thing to do. That is just my personal deal with this.
Continuing...
I am a female who was diagnosed with bipolar 2 in March of this year. That came awhile after I had a major breakdown in early 2021 and could essentially not function as a human. The nurse at my gp's office asked me if I had ever considered bipolar, which is in my family, and that maybe I should go to a therapist. I'll preface the rest of this by giving a general background of my childhood. When I was little, 10 and under, I was a very shy kid. I didn't talk to people nor did I want to. I didn't make friends unless it was in school where I had to sit next to the same people for hours. I didn't even socialize with the girls I danced with from 7-18 years old. Did I want to be in the group with them and not an outsider? Yes... I just didn't know how. I simply wanted to stay with my sibling all the time because I loved them and knew how to play with them. My family says that people always liked me a lot as a child because I was sweet and soft spoken. The honest truth is that I just felt extremely uncomfortable talking with anyone. New situations scared me so that included strangers up to people I had met more than enough times. I would just shake and panic and not say a word. Nodding was my best friend. Just in general I didn't ever feel like speaking was easy.

As I became a tween and entered middle school I started to feel trapped in my mind and body. I noticed that it was easy for others to have friends but I was that girl that most people liked but wasn't friends with. I had a small group of people that I loved the most. There are instances I recall where I used to be unknowingly mean to my friends and would get called out for it.

At some point I started overthinking everything I did and how it was perceived by others. I would look at how others acted, my friends and popular people and what made them likeable. When I would speak, if I didn't see a smile or a laugh in return it meant that I had probably said something mean or made them uncomfortable. That was probably never true but that is how I went about interacting with people. Just seeking smiles so I knew I was doing the right things.

When I entered high school, I started to feel constantly overwhelmed by the pressure of school and socializing. Keeping up with everything I had to do while also working to better myself. I had a lot of breakdowns between 7th and 10th grade. My dad would get angry and yell at me. He'd always ask what was wrong and why I couldn't explain instead of crying and screaming. I didn't know either but it never felt like I could get the words out so I just cried and screamed some more.

Around 14 I guess I had been learning more about mental health and decided that I probably had depression, which I definitely did, but didn't know much about anxiety yet. I was sad all the time, exhausted from existing, and wondering how it always seemed so easy for everyone else. I didn't know how the lunch line worked when I changed to high school so I just starved at lunch. That is when I started realizing that unknowns scared me more than anything. I could have gone up there and figured it out but I never did. I never learned the entire time I was there. I didn't even brush my teeth or take showers at my friends houses because I couldn't trust the cleanliness of the water in their tap.

Here is me revealing that I have a small phobia of unclean water... I don't drink anything that doesn't come from an unsealed bottle so all my friends always have the specific kind of water I drink at their houses. To be very honest, I also used to pretend I wasn't hungry at their houses too because "What if their utensils are dirty? I don't know how they make their food!" More unknowns. Trust I always had my bottled water with me though.
I ended up getting very sick in my sophomore year, everything was up in the air and I didn't understand my life. My depression just kept getting worse and worse and (TRIGGER WARNING) I started hurting myself.

I was homeschooled and very lonely. Not the good kind I had always wanted when I felt too tired of interaction. That was the first time I went to a therapist. I lied to her... a lot. I got put on medicine and was on and off of different ones until 2017 (18 years old) when I just stopped caring. The thing with me and depression medicine is that I would always stop when I felt like I was cured, hence the "euphoria" I probably described wrong in my psychiatry interviews. Of course I felt euphoria, I had no idea what being happy felt like.

When my dad got accepted into our family's favorite university we picked up and moved in 2019. As you can imagine, a new place was no good for me. I am no friend of change. Didn't know any of the layouts for anything and soon after, the pandemic came along.

This is a very significant part of my mental health story and something I have heard many with autism relate to. I lost all of my social skills. I mean ALL of them. Any sort of face to face progress I had made over 10 years was gone. I was back to the me who needed my friends to order my food at lunch or dinner so I didn't have to talk to the server. It is only now after using my family and friends as "safe people" everywhere I went that I am capable of semi interacting by myself.

Back to my bipolar diagnosis... I was put on a mood stabilizer in November 2021 after I decided enough was enough with the overwhelming breakdowns and not being able to control my own emotions. The mood stabilizer has worked wonders. Mood stabilizers work much better for people with bipolar disorder and that's why I was put on it. Still, here I am feeling like it's all wrong.

I have an extremely high level of dysfunction when it comes to social interactions. I get tired after a few hours with someone and no longer want to see people for days so I can recharge. When I picked up Tiktok in 2020 from pure boredom it was fine but after months I stumbled upon the neurodivergent community. In middle school I was told I had adhd so I was curious. I kept looking into it more, feeling more intrigued that I had never related to a group so much in my entire life.

My doctors appointments kept convincing me I had bipolar disorder but when I would look into it I would always come back to the side of autism where I felt understood. Things like my hand flapping that I have done since I was in preschool make sense now (I learned to mask it and only do it in private when I was a kid because I was told it was a bad habit). The reason my skin feels on fire if I don't take a shower in the morning makes sense. My high sense of smell and sensitivity to sound, especially layered sounds, makes sense. The reason why lotion on my skin makes me want to cry. Why clothes are so uncomfortable. Why I feel like I am so overwhelmed with energy that my body tingles and I have to shake my hands and jump around and make noises to relieve it. Why I rock even when I don't realize it. Why I wear earrings and a necklace just to I can toy with them. Why I count and talk to myself in my head when looking into someone's eyes. Why I can be so literal it makes my friends and family question how I am so clueless. Why I cling on to certain things and learn everything about it until there is nothing left anymore. Why I have to have certain things from home with me when I go away so I feel secure. Why public places put me into panic mode. This is the only way my struggles make sense. I know neurotypical people also have anxiety and stim but it feels so extreme that it interferes with my life. That can't be normal, right? One last thing... I do very well with sarcasm and usually understand body language and facial expressions.

I need someone to help me understand if I am reaching out for nothing. If you have made it this far please know that I am grateful and I am sorry if I have taken up too much of your time for nothing. I just need advice from people within the community so I can come to terms with whatever probability there may be. Thank you so much.
 
Hi Soap, we're about the same age. I was also homeschooled and do not think it was such a great idea.

Let me say one little thing, you would probably do ok if checked out for autism. High functioning autistic people are easy to mess with. We're pretty good targets for bullies and worse, and so end up traumatized.

The likelihood of being autistic is pretty much enough that you may want to look further in. This community is probably a safe and nice place to learn! We come in all flavors here from all the different ages, backgrounds, and beliefs and personalities.

You may be dealing with trauma as well as autistic traits and the autism can heighten and worsen the other.

The obsession with clean water is potentially tricky. I can't speak to that but I would involve a psych before saying it's ocd.

Hang in there! Glad another person joined us.
 
Hi Soap, we're about the same age. I was also homeschooled and do not think it was such a great idea.

Let me say one little thing, you would probably do ok if checked out for autism. High functioning autistic people are easy to mess with. We're pretty good targets for bullies and worse, and so end up traumatized.

The likelihood of being autistic is pretty much enough that you may want to look further in. This community is probably a safe and nice place to learn! We come in all flavors here from all the different ages, backgrounds, and beliefs and personalities.

You may be dealing with trauma as well as autistic traits and the autism can heighten and worsen the other.

The obsession with clean water is potentially tricky. I can't speak to that but I would involve a psych before saying it's ocd.

Hang in there! Glad another person joined us.
Hi! It is nice to meet you. Thank you for welcoming me and for reading and responding to me. I appreciate your advice and will do my best to look into resources now. I am happy to be here.
 
It's the humanoids for you!

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Welcome!

;)
 
Welcome!

It never hurts to ask, and when it comes to conditions, sometimes people have multiple conditions, and sometimes people have conditions that present themselves in ways that may result in them being misunderstood / misidentified, and of course a given professional's background may also impact how they look at things.

What's important is that you're comfortable with who you are and that you seek and get the supports (including self-love and self-care) that work for you.
 
Hello and welcome! Nice to have you here. Maybe it would be good for you to hang around here for awhile and see what you can learn. Let us know if you need any help figuring things out.
 
Hi and welcome, Sophie. Don't worry too much about not having a diagnosis, many of the members here don't. The fact that autism fits your perception of yourself and that you relate to so many of our problems says that you more than likely are autistic. That's not to say that you're not bipolar as well.

Most of us are very surprised when we first find out about autism, feeling for the very first time in our lives that someone understands us and we're not alone. I hope you feel welcome here and that some of our experiences are helpful to you.
 
Hi Soapy, welcome to the site. What you wrote had many similar experiences to what I've felt, but probably more severe in many cases, but familiar all the same. And I found for most of my life, until giving up bothering with traditional mental heath services, that depression was always the doctors favourite. I've lived with a moderately constant, although not too serious depression (manageable, whatever that really means!), but also alongside manic/depressive-like alternation.
But I'm quite sure it's not manic depression or polar depression (whatever) of the sort doctors speak about. Medication has never helped much (mostly SSRI's), and not infrequently made things much worse. Therapy has never helped (my 'primary' condition wasn't even named until 2015, I was born in '62! (a little late for a diagnosis, but got there eventually)), most therapists seemed to make their mind up from what they see, but these things go much further inside than that, is my experience.
For me, I think the depression was a natural result of how I saw the world; and who wouldn't feel bad about being socially excluded when that's what human's normally need?
But before I end up out texting your first post (an easy thing for me to slip into!) just to say that one thing that most certainly helps, is knowing there are others who experience similar problems, never exactly the same, but often related in that we can appreciate what the others can, even if not understanding fully; we can see a little what it may be like for others to speak to us, and we can be unjudged by others who have experienced that same judgement from outside, the real world, so to speak. Not always understanding the meaning of what we may say, but far far more tolerant!
Also, diagnosis, even unofficial, for me has been a big help. Also a hurt too! But nothing of value comes easy. if it does, it should be treated with, if not suspicion, then certainly with care. But for me, it's allowed me 100% (or is that 1000%?) to understand myself better, most of all in terms to how I differ from neurotypical people.
Finally, a friend or three, even virtual, can be a big thing for those of us with few to begin with! :)
Dr Strangelove prescribes at least one daily, after meals! :wink:
 
Hi sweet girl..I was diagnosed with autism/ neurodivergent high functioning last December at age 52. I played with other kids but didn't have friendships. I also didn't talk alot through my younger years. I stim. I have depression and cptsd. With that being said, neuro typical people often don't understand and for the most part don't care to. I have found that I feel more excluded as an adult with autism than when I was a kid. But I volunteer which helps me to feel I have a purpose. I have found this group and the people in it to be quite lovely . Give yourself grace and lots of patience, self care and love. Do things that spark and ignite joy for you sweet little soul. Even if it's found in something small, it counts. I am glad you're here! We are all happy to walk along side you and be your online support and friends.
 
HI and welcome to the Forums @SoapySoap

Glad you have jumped into the Forums with your posting. you are most welcome - beware of the occasionally strange sense of humour that can be found in here. We are really friendly.
 
Hello, Soap, and welcome to the forums. I believe that most of us enjoy it here and we are a friendly, accepting, group! I hope that you find the threads interesting and, if not comfortable sometimes, at least helpful. Welcome!
 
Hello & welcome.
I also do not want to self diagnose because it makes me feel as though I am overstepping a boundary before I even know if it is a necessary thing to do.
It is okay to "suspect" that you are autistic.
Call it unconfirmed autism if that makes you more comfortable.
If we knew which country you are in, someone here might be able to recommend more accessible resources.
 
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