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New here and seeking advice


New Member
Hello all. For the past year and a half or so, I've realized I might be autistic.

In my adult life, I cover all the criteria necessary for an autistic diagnosis, but I'm having trouble finding examples from my childhood to confirm it.

I'm currently 19 and started college last year. Before that, I lived in a really sheltered environment. I went to a school with only 8 other kids in my class that I had known since I was 5. I don't remember ever struggling to manage those friendships or social interactions because I had known them for so long and felt safe with them. However, I only spent time with 1 or 2 of them outside of school and was rarely invited to birthday parties or other social gatherings that occurred.

I do remember always feeling like an alien (and still do) and thinking that I never truly belonged with my classmates. It was like I could hang out with them and be social, but I felt more like I was just playing along or pretending to fit in and could easily detach from the group to be by myself or to hang out with my teachers instead. I have a lot of other traits as well like sensory sensitivities, preferring schedules and plans, experiencing burnout and meltdowns, stimming, enjoying repetition, having special interests, hyper-fixating on things, and I have a few other co-morbities like OCD and social anxiety.

The one thing I can't seem to find any prominent deficits in are social interactions and communication in my childhood which I know is needed for a diagnosis according to the DSM-5 criteria. I'm not sure if that has to do with the type of childhood I had, or if I learned to mask at an early age (hence why I always had the feeling of pretending) or if there are other diagnosis' that fit my experiences better. I also can't ask any of the adults who may remember my childhood better than me because I don't feel safe or comfortable coming out to my parents or other family members with a potential autistic diagnoses.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!


Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Hi @Kylaf.

Autism is a spectrum and its presentation varies immensely. There is no one way that it presents.
How about hanging around here a bit, and hearing other people's stories, of reading about other people's journey to discovery of their autism and see how that fits with your experience.
I am sure you will find points of connection with others, and this may help you in your understanding yourself


Relaxed Relativity Inspector
V.I.P Member

I can say that what I remember of my years from birth into my twenties is somewhat sketchy. I do have clear memories of my mom using Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture, March Slav, and Capriccio Italian as my lullabies. Oddly enough, I was also enamored of Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Moutain during those early years (not something many children of five or six would be attracted to or find soothing).

There was also a meltdown or two from my time in parochial grade school and high school.

Being highly observant, I became what was needed to not stand out too much. My intelligence helped me with that. I discovered early on to mask some of that by keeping it in check and not letting people in. I excelled when needed but otherwise I was looking to go unnoticed. I didn't stop masking entirely until I was almost forty. My diagnosis of Asperger's came not long after that.

There is still some of the child I once was residing within me. Back then, I socialized with other children because it was expected of me, but I never bonded with anybody on an emotional level. I preferred avoiding stressful situations and would always be what I thought others wanted. All my stress back then was self-created, and associations/friendships came and went. I still do not form attachments, even with my blood relatives. I rarely meet someone that sparks a connection and even those tend to evaporate over time.

You strike me as someone who knows themselves to their core. An official diagnosis matters little unless you wind up in trouble for your actions or words in a stressful situation.

There are many here without an official diagnosis. If you identify with any of us, then perhaps you are on the spectrum as well. Dive in and explore other's expressions here. Also, there are great resources available to guide you. The fact that you are self-aware, at your age, puts you leagues ahead of me. I was clueless for decades.

May you discover the validation you seek.


Hopefully Human
V.I.P Member
Hi @Kylaf.
Welcome! I would reiterate what @Alexej and @Richelle-H said and hang around for a bit – reading posts and posting different questions can really help you learn a lot about how varied the symptoms of autism can be. I came here thinking I was probably somewhere on the spectrum, but it has been well confirmed in my head that I am definitely on the spectrum and now I have so many answers to lifelong struggles.

It is very validating here and the people have such a huge wealth of information and experiences to share with you. I hope that you learn a lot about yourself and make some meaningful connections, too.


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


First off, be very welcome here, my young friend.

Considering you are so young and so observant regarding your traits, I would say there is a fair indication you know yourself well enough to justify your "doubts" of being in the spectrum.

I am 46 years old and till 3 months ago (when I was diagnosed) I had ABSOLUTELY no idea I had ANY traits.

Much like you I had never considered any awkwardness in my social interactions whatsoever...

I have always been very pensative yet fairly outgoing. Today, after going through all my memories with my new "lens" I came to the realization that the fact I was born and raised on the very same street (in northeastern Brazil) of 4 uncles and 3 aunties and their twenty some sons and daughters (not mentioning my brother and sister) as one big family had a major impact on my socia skills. I was the youngst amont them all. So, pretty much in order to survive I had to creat a methodology in order to understand everyone's personalities, likes and dislikes, wished and unwished behaviours. And since we tend to be very good at fololwiong patterns I became really good in molding myb self (basically coping and masking with a bit of science behind). Consequentely, I was eventually able to associate people's behaviour outside my family with those of some of my family mamber and then, connect.

I have always been in positions where I had to speak in public (no issue) . Sometimes to thousands of people in a different language . Never had a problem (since I was very familiar with the subject i was suppose to talk about).

Just know that I live in the States far from family I am able to understand that actually I am not a big fan of chit chats. I can do it, but not always come out very natural. I also don't think I deslike peolple . People genuinely interests me , but some times as an object of analysis rather then to just a counter part in a conversation.

I guess, I am saying all this (you will know here that we tend to be a "bit" prolix in our statements LOL) to reinforce what has already been said by others. We all had different stories and we all have different perspectives and those perspectives 9even about we thiink we know about ourselves) can change with time...


Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Welcome to AF. This is definitely a safer place for you to explore the possibilities of being on the spectrum of autism. Where you can relate and compare your traits and behaviors to that of others here.

And that you just might find out how easily you fit in here...and that you are not alone.


Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Certainly you are on the spectrum, from what you say.

I think if you described what you have said here, you would definitely be referred to a "specialist", because I did not have anyone from my childhood to explain my traits; however, my husband was able to relate what it is like living with me and my memory is vivid enough to recall things from my childhood and yep, I preferred talking to teachers, over my peers.

I had a sort of best friend in school and when she was at school, my life did suddenly become alive, because I was subconsciously bouncing off her due to her popularity with others, but she suffered epilepsy and sometimes could not come to school due to dr's appointments and suddenly, my personality would go into its self and it was terrible, because of being so self aware.

As long as you have someone in your adult life, who can attest for you, I am sure that they ie the experts would listen. But, in truth, just from your description, pretty sure your own testimony will stand its ground.


New Member
Thank you everyone for the replies. Reading through the bits you all included about your own experiences was really interesting and helpful. I will definitely take your advice and continue to use the forums.


Random Member
V.I.P Member
Welcome! As others have noted, if you're comfortable with who you are and are able to use that knowledge to engage in self-discovery and learning how to navigate the world, then a diagnosis may not do much, though it may be needed for access to certain things.

Perhaps if you do later seek a diagnosis you could consider speaking to someone who knew you as a child in confidence?

I'd also like to note that while the DSM-5 diagnosis is supposed to include someone who can attest to the individual's childhood (be it a family member, teacher, or anyone else), there are some professionals who waive that in their diagnosis and are willing to proceed on the basis of an individual's self-reported commentary and their observations.

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