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Anyone else on the Autism Spectrum?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Marble Jar, Mar 31, 2020.

  1. Marble Jar

    Marble Jar Guest

    Being obsessed with reading isn't a bad thing from my perspective :slight_smile: It does sound like you have some of the common traits, so it's frustrating for you that you didn't get to have the full assessment. I think these sorts of things can often run in families along with many other things (Tightrope did mention co-morbidity earlier in this thread).
     
  2. Canterpiece

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    Well, akin to @gravechild it has been suggested to me before.

    However, I don't think that I would fit a diagnosis. I've wondered about it. There are other conditions that have been suggested to me. Usually OCD, generalised anxiety and sometimes social anxiety. I once had an online therapist who suggested that I look into finding a specialist to cross out the possibility of autism. She gave me a PDF version of a leaflet on anxiety in people on the spectrum. Then she added a comment about suspecting that I probably knew all of this information anyway. I spent a considerable amount of time wondering what she meant by that.

    We'd gotten into a conversation about autism because I asked her for advice on how to cope better in crowded places such as shopping centres. I explained to her that I often felt overwhelmed due to all the sounds, smells and the general chaos of such an atmosphere. That I would feel the need to go somewhere quieter and isolate myself to regain my composure. I'm used to that; I've been doing that since I was a small child, so I'm used to coping with being overwhelmed.

    However, when it's quite bad it can be extremely emotionally draining. To the point where I'll cry out of exhaustion from the tensed up stress caused by the flight or fight response it evokes in me. I wanted to find out if there was a way to manage / decrease the fight or flight feeling that doesn't include breaking down in tears. Anyway, she interpreted this as a sensory overload and wondered if autism might be a possible explanation. That wasn't her area hence her suggestion to go find someone else.

    Naturally, I ended up looking into autism since it was difficult not to. I ended up finding the term highly sensitive person and I can relate to that. Most of my issues are to do with my senses. It can be difficult to explain to others what it's like if they don't experience this. How I can feel stressed for hours after a sensory-heavy event and if I attempt to interact with others too much afterwards then it usually ends badly. I disassociate in a moment of derealisation, as if I'm existing in an event disconnected from my usual life. My responses are delayed and it takes me longer to process what people are saying to me. I might become irrationally irritable and I lose all filter to the point where if I don't leave immediately I'll probably end up saying something I'll later regret.

    A particularly bad episode of this was when I was living in student accommodation in my first year. It had been a couple of hours after a sensory-intense event and my stress levels hadn't calmed down yet. Unfortunately, I was experiencing the usual signs that happen before I have an outburst. A desire to sit in dark rooms, a tingling in my head, and an unreal feeling. Usually at this point I'd isolate myself to give myself time to recover. However, I was hungry and I wanted to make some food.

    So I stayed in the busy kitchen where a bunch of students were hanging out and asking me questions. I'd mentioned to a friend earlier that I was close to having one of my outbursts but that I thought I could make it though making a meal for myself. Big mistake. I couldn't handle the amount of conversation, cooking and somehow still being on edge because of the event. My breaking point was a conversation about pasta sauce where I ended up yelling at someone, running out the room with no explanation and leaving my food behind. Then I went to my bedroom and lied down on my bed. My friend brought me my food, put on one of my favourite songs and once they knew I was OK they let me recover on my own. They asked if my old therapist had said anything about my outbursts. She never did aside from going to speak to someone else about it and that I had excellent coping mechanisms for whatever it is I'm coping with.

    I'm not really sure what's going on with me. Growing up I assumed it was just introversion, but I think it's more than that. I've considered going to speak with the therapist at my university, but I've always found the thought of that rather daunting. Usually I cope with everyday life fine, but then I have moments that I can't fully explain. I sometimes miss sarcasm, and once in a while use the wrong tone of voice (I have a tendency to come across as aggressive, hostile or dismissive when I don't mean to). Yet I'm fairly good at socialising most of the time except for my initial shyness and the fact that I overthink my behaviour to the point where it's self-destructive and stops me from doing things out of fear for acting wrong. I'm trying to stop this and get out of my comfort zone more. Eye contact isn't an issue anymore, and even when it used to be that was due to a traumatic event as a child.
     
    #22 Canterpiece, Apr 23, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2020
  3. Marble Jar

    Marble Jar Guest

    Thanks for sharing that. There is a lot of overlap with various conditions, so it makes sense to read up on anything that it could be. I have read a book about being 'highly sensitive' and i agree, it could well be that that you are experiencing. I'm glad your friend was able to bring you your food.

    It does sound like more than introversion to me. There's no need to see a therapist if you feel like you are coping ok, but it could provide you with some answers in the future if you wanted them. The sensory stuff is one element of Autism, but you would need to struggle with other things too to be diagnosed. How are you with things like changes to your routine?
     
  4. gravechild

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    I mean, one or two people have joked about it, but none of my doctors have ever brought it up, and the few tests I've taken have said no. If it exists, its probably a very mild form, so I'd suggest my "quirks" are possibly due to personality or past trauma. With some folk, its like they're on another planet (can autistic people tell when another is?)
     
  5. Marble Jar

    Marble Jar Guest

    Oh, that's an interesting question...i would say that i often have my suspicions but probably only when they have traits that i recognise in myself. I know i can't tell with any certainty if it's mild and/or well hidden because people have said on tv before and i hadn't guessed they were. I have heard that generally females seem to be better at hiding it by mimicking social behaviours.
     
  6. Canterpiece

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    It depends on the type of change and how relaxed (or not) I am feeling in general. My routine isn't particularly rigid, most of the time, it's more of a general guide than something I strictly follow. I prefer to have a heads up when it comes to some changes though, such as going to a new restaurant since I like to look up what their menu is before going. That way I know what potential options to order when I get there. I'm a fairly picky eater and I hate the feeling of holding people back by spending too much time deciding. That's why I like to have a plan going in.

    Personally, I would say that most of my routines are the compulsive kind. Such as repetitively saying a certain phrase or making a clicking sound when checking that a door is locked, tucking in a chair and making sure that I didn't leave anything behind. There are certain days where I feel the desire to do this more than others. Most are connected to a negative thought, but not all. For instance, I sometimes feel a strange desire to tap my right foot three times on the ground after using a hand dryer. I don't really know why, but I go through phases where I'll do that and then I won't for a while. Usually I hum quietly when using a hand dryer to distract myself from the sound of the dryer if it's particularly grating on the ears. It's a way of comforting myself.

    Most of the time I'm alright with changes to my current routine since it tends to allow for flexibility. However, I dislike it when I have to leave a conversation unexpectedly. Or if I'm working on something and I have to do another unexpected task. I'm not great at switching back and getting back into the zone.

    When I'm in a new situation that I'm uncomfortable in, then I'm more likely to seek control over minor things such as colour-coding sweets at a party to avoid talking to someone that I'm anxious about talking to.

    I had someone joke about it once, but usually when people tell jokes about me it's usually using OCD in the incorrect slang sense. Often remarking on how I eat food and other small tasks. Making fun of my finicky habits and sometimes pedantic nature. I've taken some online tests before to pass the time. Usually I score either no, borderline, or more traits than average but not enough to be on the spectrum. It tends to be higher when it includes my childhood but that's understandable since my childhood was a bit strange.
     
  7. Marble Jar

    Marble Jar Guest

    Ok. I totally agree about being able to look at a menu before going somewhere. I would take way too long to choose otherwise.

    I don't know much about OCD but that sounds like a possibility. Obviously i'm not an expert on Autism either but if you say that "My routine isn't particularly rigid, most of the time, it's more of a general guide than something I strictly follow" and "Most of the time I'm alright with changes to my current routine since it tends to allow for flexibility" these aren't the answers i would expect from someone on the Spectrum.

    How do you cope with things like job interviews? Or any situations where you need to make a good impression on strangers?
     
  8. artsy gays

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    I see a lot of tendencies in myself and relate a lot to my friends on the spectrum but I'm not sure it's worth looking into because I've gotten this far without knowing so I dont want to waste anyone's time if it won't change anything
     
  9. Marble Jar

    Marble Jar Guest

    That's true, if you don't feel you are struggling or being held back by any of those traits, then there probably isn't any point in chasing a diagnosis. Although don't feel that you would be wasting someone's time if you were asking for help.
     
  10. Canterpiece

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    I think the part I find the most difficult, aside from all the preparation for an interview, is sounding interested. There are certain emotions that I can fake easily such as anger. However, enthusiasm is not one of them. If I'm not completely hyped for something, it can come across as though I don't care at all.

    Personally, I can find it difficult to communicate that I am engaged and interested whilst maintaining professional.

    I know that I have offended people before for not showing enough interest in their hobbies that I am not involved in. Yet I do care about their well-being, and I like that it makes them happy. I want that to come across. So I make sure to ask questions about it, but I can seem apathetic and dismissive. That I only care about my interests, which isn't true. However, I do find it easier to show interest when it's in an area that I have at least some knowledge and active engagement in.

    My face often betrays me. At Christmas, I'm really bad at not showing my disappointment if I dislike a gift. Even when I thank them, I tend to get scolded for being rude. I don't mean to be, I appreciate the gesture and I understand that it cost them money to get the present. So I want to be polite and hide the fact I don't like the gift. I haven't mastered it yet though.

    When I'm genuinely engaged, excited and interested it comes across. I'm used to showing hyper / energised forms of excitement. Calmer casual interest I haven't quite mastered. I can come across as disengaged / disconnected.
     
    #30 Canterpiece, Apr 27, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2020
  11. Marble Jar

    Marble Jar Guest

    Haha we certainly have that in common. I've had feedback before saying 'we didn't think you wanted the job'. That really confused me because i'd done loads of prep and performed well in the tests, but sounding monotone and frowning at them probably meant that didn't count...

    How interesting that you can fake other emotions though!

    Do you have 'special interests'? Things that you are intensely obsessed with and can talk for hours about? (Doesn't matter what)
     
  12. Canterpiece

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    *Looks at my pile of cat encyclopedias with information about different breeds, fun facts and cat behaviour*

    No. :wink:

    I went through a phase where I was obsessed with cats (I still love them, but I'm not as intense about it these days, I try not to be anyway but I have my moments). Personally, I've almost always been fascinated with the topic of why and how animals develop certain traits along with understanding their behaviour. I once stayed up until 3 AM researching Zebra Seahorses. Plus I love fiction, so designing animals that would live in a fictional universe is rather entertaining for me. In my foundation year of University we got to make up our own assignment, and I made twenty illustrations of made up animals as a part of the product. Naturally, mythology and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them both appeal to me. Real animals are an interest too, I could easily talk about how certain invention designs have been influenced by nature, and the variation between dogs due to genetic engineering plus the negatives of this and why particular breeds were bred.

    So, uh, if you count that- yes. As a child I used to have a paracosm. I enjoy fantasy and researching about animals.
     
    #32 Canterpiece, Apr 28, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
  13. Denial

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    I'm autistic and it's certainly made it harder to accept myself as a lesbian.
     
  14. Marble Jar

    Marble Jar Guest

    That's the sort of thing :slight_smile:

    Wow, that assignment sounds like a cool project!

    I just looked up the word Paracosm. That's amazing. You are clearly a very imaginative person!

    Have you read anything by Temple Grandin? She's written books about animal behaviour and is Autistic.
     
  15. Marble Jar

    Marble Jar Guest

    Oh that's interesting...why do you think it made it harder to accept your sexuality?
     
  16. BlueMonday

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  17. Canterpiece

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    I haven't.
     
  18. Marble Jar

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    You might like some of her stuff. How are you with things like telling if someone is being sarcastic? Or lying?
     
  19. Canterpiece

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    My ability to pick on sarcasm varies a lot. Either I'll pick up on it immediately or you can be sarcastic for two hours to me and I won't know without you telling me.

    That happened to me once until the other person finally cracked and said "I'm being sarcastic to you! I have been for two hours now! Please stop taking me seriously! I wanted to see how long it'd take you to realise, but I give up".

    Whoops. :sweat_smile:

    Generally, I find it harder to tell when someone is being sarcastic when I don't already their stance on a subject. For instance, if I know someone hates sports and they say "Oh I just love sports!" then I know it's probably sarcastic. It's more difficult when I don't already know what their opinion on sports is. When someone uses sarcasm more often than most, then I know to look out for it more so I'm less likely to miss it. However, if someone who usually isn't sarcastic uses sarcasm, then I'm much more likely to miss that.

    I use sarcasm myself but I'm rather self-conscious about getting the tone right. As a result, I tend to over-exaggerate my sarcasm. I use jazz hands sometimes as an indicator that what I'm saying isn't serious, this is also something I do when I'm nervous and not fully confident in what I'm saying. When I use the gesture it's just a small way of me trying to communicate please don't take this seriously, I'm doing jazz hands to highlight the casual nature of this conversation.

    Admittedly I got into an argument with someone once because they got annoyed at me asking whether they were using sarcasm. It ended with them yelling "Why don't you just learn how tell already?" to which I replied "I'm trying!"

    I wouldn't say I'm completely blind to sarcasm. More so short-sighted to it.

    Usually I find it easier to see through lies than sarcasm for the most part.
     
  20. Denial

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    It's because when I meet someone in the general population I have to come out twice, once as a lesbian and once as autistic. I usually come out as autistic first. I told my former friends I'm autistic and they were okay with it but they said being a lesbian is against the Bible. So being a double minority just seems to complicate things even further. I already struggle to make friends so it's been very difficult for me.