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Undiagnosed but curious...is it worth pursuing?

anoldmantoday

New Member
Hi, I'm Patrick. I am 50 and was diagnosed with ADHD in my 30s.

I have struggled my entire life with anxiety, depression and hypersensitivity. I figured most of that was due to ADHD, in particular my variety which is poor impulse control. The psychologist at the time said I was in the "mentally retarded" range for being unable to stop myself when I meant to. This made me a sort of reluctant class clown. I also have some sort of learning problem especially with verbal teaching/directions, which are nearly impossible for me to process. I have imposter syndrome despite people saying I'm smart. I barely graduated high school and I dropped out of college despite desperately wanting to go.

On the up side, I was born with a very easy and people-pleasing temperament. I can mask very well and get along with anyone to a certain degree, but I tend to put my foot in my mouth and genuinely struggle to understand people sometimes. To me people often seem more like large muppets.

I believe a great deal of my anxiety is simply keeping my true self (basically a hyper 10-year-old boy who collects things) in check while operating a complex exoskeleton that imitates a quirky but otherwise semi-stable adult. :)

Despite all this, I behaved myself in this life, never did crimes or took drugs, and held down a handful of long jobs that were adequately challenging for me . I stayed married 20 years (my that was hard!), have two children, and am grateful for gifts I have been given.

So why am I here?

After my divorce two years ago, my oldest child (who is whip smart) began to tease me that I might be on the spectrum. I had never even considered this. I teased him back because he has some pretty obvious symptoms, but I score higher than him on all the online ASD tests he gave me.

My youngest teen, a girl, actually has an appointment in a year to be evaluated for ASD. For years we've been told she has anxiety but it's so far beyond that now.

I suppose in the back of my mind something says, "If both your children seem on the spectrum, have you considered....?"

Then I met a very intelligent woman with two degrees in psychology. As we became romantically close, she gently told me that I seem to have a low emotional IQ. She later suggested I might be on the spectrum. (Kudos to her for caring enough to say, though that was not an easy pill to swallow!)

Combined, that was enough to force me to reconsider myself and my behaviors in that possible light. Among them:

* I tend to repeat certain words or phrases (usually just to myself in my head) but I have repeated some for years or decades, and I sort of do it as a 'joke' to my kids. Quirky, odd, somewhat annoying, I guess. My sense is I do this as a sort of way of nailing myself down to reality. I first recall doing this about age 8.
* Eye contact basically petrifies me and stops my brain, but that's the only socially acceptable way. I would much prefer to move around and not look people in the eye. If that were socially acceptable, I could hear and talk much better that way.
* I like to collect things. One thing I collect is fun or interesting video clips from the web. I have 100s of them. I rewatch some of these once or twice a week, and have done so for years. I relish them. They bring me joy. Often I will load one up to show my children or girlfriend, who then quickly remind me that I already showed them before. I feel embarrassed and disappointed, but also baffled why they would not wish to re-watch them.
* Similarly, when I go hiking, I often take the same hike even though there are many nearby that are new and unexplored. In fact I'll do it a dozen times in the season. Again, the same principle as above, relishing and reliving familiarity. I feel soothed.
* Physical affection is hard for me, even with my children. It's similar to eye contact. I want to express it and enjoy it, but something in me sort of feels blocked when I attempt.
* In elementary school I would often just obsessively collect little objects for my toy friends. I would circumambulate the entire school field during recess all alone, day after day, looking for bits and pieces for my toys. I would have kept going with these toy friends until about sixth grade when kids started making fun of me.
* The only people I feel truly comfortable around are ones that feel super safe and kind to me, usually women or children, but what happens as I get comfortable is this more socially awkward, boyish self emerges (that 10-year-old I spoke about) and soon I feel I'm being embarrassing, and then I pull back and put the facade back up.

I was reluctant to share all that, but curious what others thought.

I think the overall feeling I have is that there seems to be a missing puzzle piece in my life as to why things have been so hard or awkward for me, and I suppose part of me wants to believe ASD would finally explain it.

I am aware of the temptation there, and I am not one to self-diagnose, but regardless of whether I go anywhere with this, it felt good to share with you and I hope it inspires others to share and better understand themselves!
 

Duncan74

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Welcome, and so much of your story resonates with me. It is your story, and is uniquely you, but there's a lot that I could line up side by side from my life. So I am grateful for your generosity in sharing.
 

Nitro

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

VictorR

Random Member
V.I.P Member
Welcome! It sounds like you've found yourself, and that's great, because to know oneself brings its own satisfaction and meaning to life. Hopefully you continue to appreciate yourself no matter what path you choose to take.
 

Thinx

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Hi and welcome. It sounds like you fit in here fine. I hope you enjoy it here and find it useful and supportive.
 

Outdated

I'm from the other end of the spectrum.
V.I.P Member
Welcome Patrick, you sound just like so many of us here. I look forward to you sharing some of your stories and I hope you enjoy some of ours.
 

Storm Hess

Permanent Spaceman
Hello. :) I was diagnosed at 55. It was a nagging voice in my head that wouldn't go away...'Do I have ASD? Maybe I do. So what then? What does that mean?' wouldn't subside until I finally got my answer. Now, I'm more equipped to understand my issues and maybe how to handle situations better. I found that not knowing was the thorn I couldn't remove. That was way worse than validating my suspicions. :)
 

Patsy

Member
Hi, I'm Patrick. I am 50 and was diagnosed with ADHD in my 30s.

I have struggled my entire life with anxiety, depression and hypersensitivity. I figured most of that was due to ADHD, in particular my variety which is poor impulse control. The psychologist at the time said I was in the "mentally retarded" range for being unable to stop myself when I meant to. This made me a sort of reluctant class clown. I also have some sort of learning problem especially with verbal teaching/directions, which are nearly impossible for me to process. I have imposter syndrome despite people saying I'm smart. I barely graduated high school and I dropped out of college despite desperately wanting to go.

On the up side, I was born with a very easy and people-pleasing temperament. I can mask very well and get along with anyone to a certain degree, but I tend to put my foot in my mouth and genuinely struggle to understand people sometimes. To me people often seem more like large muppets.

I believe a great deal of my anxiety is simply keeping my true self (basically a hyper 10-year-old boy who collects things) in check while operating a complex exoskeleton that imitates a quirky but otherwise semi-stable adult. :)

Despite all this, I behaved myself in this life, never did crimes or took drugs, and held down a handful of long jobs that were adequately challenging for me . I stayed married 20 years (my that was hard!), have two children, and am grateful for gifts I have been given.

So why am I here?

After my divorce two years ago, my oldest child (who is whip smart) began to tease me that I might be on the spectrum. I had never even considered this. I teased him back because he has some pretty obvious symptoms, but I score higher than him on all the online ASD tests he gave me.

My youngest teen, a girl, actually has an appointment in a year to be evaluated for ASD. For years we've been told she has anxiety but it's so far beyond that now.

I suppose in the back of my mind something says, "If both your children seem on the spectrum, have you considered....?"

Then I met a very intelligent woman with two degrees in psychology. As we became romantically close, she gently told me that I seem to have a low emotional IQ. She later suggested I might be on the spectrum. (Kudos to her for caring enough to say, though that was not an easy pill to swallow!)

Combined, that was enough to force me to reconsider myself and my behaviors in that possible light. Among them:

* I tend to repeat certain words or phrases (usually just to myself in my head) but I have repeated some for years or decades, and I sort of do it as a 'joke' to my kids. Quirky, odd, somewhat annoying, I guess. My sense is I do this as a sort of way of nailing myself down to reality. I first recall doing this about age 8.
* Eye contact basically petrifies me and stops my brain, but that's the only socially acceptable way. I would much prefer to move around and not look people in the eye. If that were socially acceptable, I could hear and talk much better that way.
* I like to collect things. One thing I collect is fun or interesting video clips from the web. I have 100s of them. I rewatch some of these once or twice a week, and have done so for years. I relish them. They bring me joy. Often I will load one up to show my children or girlfriend, who then quickly remind me that I already showed them before. I feel embarrassed and disappointed, but also baffled why they would not wish to re-watch them.
* Similarly, when I go hiking, I often take the same hike even though there are many nearby that are new and unexplored. In fact I'll do it a dozen times in the season. Again, the same principle as above, relishing and reliving familiarity. I feel soothed.
* Physical affection is hard for me, even with my children. It's similar to eye contact. I want to express it and enjoy it, but something in me sort of feels blocked when I attempt.
* In elementary school I would often just obsessively collect little objects for my toy friends. I would circumambulate the entire school field during recess all alone, day after day, looking for bits and pieces for my toys. I would have kept going with these toy friends until about sixth grade when kids started making fun of me.
* The only people I feel truly comfortable around are ones that feel super safe and kind to me, usually women or children, but what happens as I get comfortable is this more socially awkward, boyish self emerges (that 10-year-old I spoke about) and soon I feel I'm being embarrassing, and then I pull back and put the facade back up.

I was reluctant to share all that, but curious what others thought.

I think the overall feeling I have is that there seems to be a missing puzzle piece in my life as to why things have been so hard or awkward for me, and I suppose part of me wants to believe ASD would finally explain it.

I am aware of the temptation there, and I am not one to self-diagnose, but regardless of whether I go anywhere with this, it felt good to share with you and I hope it inspires others to share and better understand themselves!
Thanks for sharing your story! I am "questioning" too at the moment, after having lived most of my life assuming I have Tourette's because of my nervous tics. But it never explained the other traits I have, especially the social ones. Whether you seek a professional diagnosis or not, I hope your journey of understanding brings you positivity and happiness.
 
after reading all this i suggest getting a diagnosis. even if you end up not being autistic you will most likely learn a lot of thing about your self and or get better understanding of certain facets of yourself. nothing bad can come from it (i hope) so i say go for it. I completely understand how you feel and i rememeber when i was first introduced with the idea of beinf autistic. i felt ashamed, but after i realized ir was an experience to truly learn and accept myself for who i was instead of living a life trying to mask constantly for others while always being in emotional turmoil. so do whatever helps you! if you feel that getting a diagnosis can improve you somehow then i say yeah why not.
 

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I did my own research, no point in getting diagnosis everything fits, when you get down to it is just opinions. I don't care if some with DR in front of their name agrees with me.
 

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