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This is not the end, this is not the beginning...
Hi! So glad to find this site, hoping to find others I can identify with that can help me make some sense of myself. After stumbling across mention of Asperger's, I took an online RAADS test that placed me at or 2-3 times ASD thresholds. I strongly suspect I am an Aspie (self-diagnosed), awaiting official testing for formal diagnosis in late March 2022. The more I research these conditions, the more confident I am that the testing will only be a formality to make it official. There is simply too much that applies to me -- I have aptly referred to myself as an anomaly for quite awhile now, even using it as a song title in recording my own original songs.

I have a mixed bag of feelings about the matter. Relieved to finally have some kind of evidence that my many issues are not really willful, or even my fault. Hopeful that maybe somehow I can better my position in life, though I'm not counting on it after what I've read.

I am also extremely frustrated, not only with myself, but with having been said to be special needs / remedial in grade school, only to be said to be 'defiant' when taken to so-called 'specialists' at the time. (This was in the 1980s when Asperger's was not as well-known and had not been regarded as a niche of ASD. Not to mention I've come to find the umbrella medical group that ran the facility with these so-called 'specialists' is anything but on point most of the time).

From then on, I've been surrounded by two groups of people -- those who say I am 'off', ''creepy', 'special needs', 'slow', etc., and those and who insist I am just fine, perfectly normal and can do whatever I set my mind to do, when I really can't (deeming me lazy', 'defiant', 'stupid', 'obstinate', 'obtuse', etc. as they do so). It is becoming clear that most were only half-right, and all of them were dead wrong.

I have had very limited REAL success with a very limited range of ventures, but off the cuff, I have always had trouble with auditory learning, social cues and awkwardness, recognizing the need for hygiene and other basic self-care, as well as basic household maintenance such as cleaning. A great many things just either do not register with me or I can't keep it in my mind long enough to process and handle them. I've said before that I am scatterbrained in a manner that rivals buckshot.

And I'm not a violent person, but if I had a dollar for every time I've wanted to slap someone for saying, "Oh, we all get forgetful sometimes"... Excuse me, do you forget what you just decided to do or look into as soon as you think of it, seventeen to twenty-five times a day? I'm sure I am preaching to the choir -- surely someone else here deals with the same kind of irritating people and blase dismissal of what are very real issues.

On top of this, I also suffer from extreme severe allergies and asthma (which I believe is actually COPD, as my grandmother had it). I was diagnosed with asthmatic bronchitis in 1981, but never told or treated, with continued prolonged exposure to heavy secondhand smoke in the home throughout my (limited) development as I grew up. So what Asperger's doesn't give me trouble with, allergies and breathing issues do.

Untreated, my lungs are around 45% capacity, and I am literally allergic to air, in that smoke, most perfumes and colognes, chemicals, etc., hit me with the range of severity somewhere between mustard gas and Chernobyl. I have heard that allergies and respiratory issues have been linked to ASD, but growing up in an ashtray certainly didn't help – I arrived home from a 2-week vocational evaluation away from home to actually be able to smell the stale, smoky smell of that house for the first time, and it bowled me over. I was already having problems then at 17 and didn't know it. I even adopted "Allergic To Air" as an artist name in recording music.

Back to ASD / Asperger's. At 45, I have only recently begun to understand why I always seem misunderstood by and at odds with others, and why I just generally seem to fail at life. It's quite frustrating knowing the intelligence I display is limited by such a disorder in that I can only apply it in a limited fashion. One of my limited areas of decent focus is vehicles, equipment, machinery – typical of ASD and Asperger's – making driving jobs a fairly natural fit for me.

I have read that driving is an issue for some with ASD or Asperger's, but though I have noticed minor deficiencies more recently, from food delivery to taxi to commercial trucks, I have done reasonably well with jobs involving driving, my best degree of success in driving big rigs, which I really loved. The routine of daily inspections and knowing what I had to do was a good fit for me. Unfortunately, constant exposure to diesel exhaust at shipping yards and truck stops pushed my then-unknown respiratory issues to the breaking point, forcing me to give it up after five years.

Since then, between the relative danger of being in public with such severe asthma combined with ASD 's reduction of my ability to function, I have been in purgatory, surrounded by people who push me when I'm doing the best I can, refusing to research the conditions themselves, even shooting down any research or articles I send them, or refusing to even read them. I am not sure if this is ableism per se, but it sure seems like it. Expecting too much from someone with certain issues is just as bad as presuming them helpless.

Though I do feel a certain sense of accomplishment for functioning as well as I have, even if I may not be able to do so for much longer, I liken my life to being much like driving a car that randomly stalls and slips out of gear, that can never drive straight, and cannot be fixed.

There are other things I could say here, but I believe I'll save them for another post before this one gets too long. Hopefully, it's not too long already... All in all, the more I learn about these conditions and how Asperger's explains me perfectly, I become more okay with myself, though I am apprehensive about my future, as I have read quite a bit indicating that ASD and Asperger's never really get better -- if anything, they get worse, and I show signs of that. Just as I begin to come to terms with the idea of a new normal, that new normal is becoming yet ANOTHER new normal.
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welcome to af.png
Welcome! :)
I can relate to a lot of what you wrote here. And a lot of people irl have described me as “off,” “creepy,” or “special needs” too. Or as “way too talkative” or “neurotic” or even “disturbed.” :confused:
But most people on here seem to like me just fine! :blush: I think you’ll fit in well here too!
Make yourself at home! :)

I am sorry about your breathing issues. Have you consulted with a respiratory therapist? If you haven't there are breathing exercises you can do that may help.

Also, it sounds like you may experience some adhd traits as well. It is good to know these things so that you can create strategies to help you in life.

The most important strategy is to stop hoping you can get others to understand. Some will, some won't but all you can do is advocate on your own behalf and learn to set boundaries.

Either way, you are amongst friends here.
First of all, welcome.:)

I was not officially diagnosed until 52. So, I can relate to much of what you had posted in your introduction. You said you're planning on going through with an official diagnosis,...just my perspective as a medical professional,...I think the testing and interview process, itself, will be useful. A full testing regimen should give you a better perspective on where you actually are in relationship to the overall population. Some things you may think you are good at, you might not be,...and vice-versa. The Dunning-Kruger effect can play mind games with us,...as we are often not good at assessing our strengths and weaknesses. Famously, people of lower intelligence often think they are quite intelligent and think highly of themselves,...and people of higher intelligence may not see themselves as intelligent and often underestimate their abilities. I see this every day as an educator,...people who have little knowledge about a topic (my students or new employees) often think they know more than they actually do,...and people with decades of study, experience, and wisdom are quite aware they know very little about that topic. Bottom line,...don't be so quick to think you are "less than". Like many of us, you've had a lifetime of people telling you that you are somehow "less than", and may have incorporated this into your thinking. Sometimes, it's more of a "different than" explanation. Many neurotypicals are often as confused about us as we are of them, but the difference is that some neurotypicals are often quick to point out those differences and make us feel like social outcasts,...and our social and communication skills may reinforce that social isolation.

The new "normal" for me was having something objective to study, learning as much as I can about my diagnosis, being far more self-aware, and interacting with others with autism on this forum.
Hi and welcome, sounds like you will fit in here and I hope you will find it useful and supportive. Sorry to hear about your breathing problems, that's challenging to cope with. Sounds like you are doing well with how you cope, despite everything.

You describe the catch 22 we can find ourselves in very well. It's good that you found us! I'm self diagnosed and unlikely to seek diagnosis unless it becomes more accessible. Don't need it for any reason. But working out that I had high autistic traits or Aspergers was useful to me in giving me new perspectives on how my life has been, and in thinking about strategies to get around things I cant change.

For me that's particularly around unstructured social communication and also poor executive function which as in ADHD, can make us feel disorganised and make tasks take longer and require strategies in order to complete things. There are threads here about those issues.

Wow. Thanks for all the encouraging posts. It's nice to finally be among similar individuals who have the same issues, also to know that they are not my fault.


I am sorry about your breathing issues. Have you consulted with a respiratory therapist? If you haven't there are breathing exercises you can do that may help.
I am currently under treatment for the current asthma diagnosis. I have to try another nebulizer treatment (inhalers trigger a bad gag reflex) that I can't really afford before the doctor can say it is COPD. As for lung exercises, I've tried some, even using some sort of apparatus that is supposed to help you strengthen lungs. Unfortunately, too much breathing in a short time can also cause problems, so I have had limited success with this.

Also, it sounds like you may experience some adhd traits as well. It is good to know these things so that you can create strategies to help you in life.

The most important strategy is to stop hoping you can get others to understand. Some will, some won't but all you can do is advocate on your own behalf and learn to set boundaries.

Either way, you are amongst friends here.

I have been on ADHD medications before, and they helped some, but only to a point. I still experienced both issues I've mentioned here, and others not as-of-yet mentioned. I saw this yesterday, it kinda bummed me out, almost to the point of depression...

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Welcome to the forums!

I wasn't diagnosed until age 56 and my psychologist used the very term New Normal
when she was explaining a lot of things I was questioning about ASD traits.
Welcome to your New Normal, she said.

Glad you joined us here. I can relate to so much you wrote.
Finding the forum has helped me understand, be able to associate with others, and feel
I'm in a place I can feel free to be open about Asperger's and my life.
It's been the most helpful place I could find.
Hope you find it helpful also. :)
Allo! Allo!

Done the tests and everything myself, then went to see a professional and got officially diagnosed. It's a journey and still learning a lot, how to deal with things in a better way, etc.

One of the biggest things I've been struggling with, is masking. Been doing it so long that I don't really know where the mask stops & true self starts.
I totally get that... Just took the Aspie quiz and scored 167/200... Testing in March... 'tis but a formality now, methinks...
Up to you. Getting a official diagnosis and a psychologist that works mostly with only people on the spectrum.

Each can go at it on their own, for me personally getting a diagnosis late and having a professional help me deal with things fitted to an aspie. Going at things the NT way just did not work well for me, got to a very low point involving poison and other things.
Oh, I'm getting all the formal stuff done. I want to know for sure, and I believe it will go a long way in helping to get disability combined with my other issues, even though I don't necessarily want disability, I just don't think I have much of a choice anymore... :(

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