Asperger's Syndrome Community
Could I have aspergers?
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Could I have aspergers?

I understand that for a proper diagnosis i'd need to see a doctor, but i really would like some opinions from people who live with aspergers in their daily lives.

I'm going to list some things about me which have always confused me and if you recognise any of them, please let me know.

Ever since i was a little kid i've been disinterested in the company of other people. However,i  am an only child so it could be argued that i'm used to being alone. The truth is,now that i'm older i'm very lonely, and deep down i would love to share the company of other people, i just can't bring myself to start conversations or even hold conversations. My conversations tend to be awkward unless i've known the person for a long time. When i'm only getting to know someone it takes extra effort to think of the right thing to say.

I struggle with things like speaking infront of other people. Just thinking someone is staring at me, even if they're definitely not, makes me embarrassed and uneasy. I get bored extremely easily. In university i struggle to concentrate through classes. I find myself day dreaming a lot. I just can't focus on one thing.

I've never studied anything thorougly in my life, yet i always manage to ace tests. It's as though i can't keep any subject notes in my memory for a week, but i can memorise a whole heap of information in a few hours, which is what i rely on to get a's.

I don't even enjoy the company of my parents, which i understand is terrible. That's not to say i don't love them, but little things about them annoy me if i'm with them for too long. Same with my friends. I don't like making eye contact. I'm getting into fights with my mum a whole lot. I accidentally offend her, by saying things which i end up regretting. it's like i don't think before i speak. I get irritated at little noises, even though i know i'm being hypersensitive.

Ever since i was a little kid i've found telephone conversations frightening, but i've never understood why exactly that is. I just avoid it. I can never call ANYONE. And if someone calls me i get panicky. It's once i start talking that i feel fine with the experience.

Stress is a huge thing. It's only appeared in the last few years, but even as a child little things made me worry. Now i get to a point where if i'm worried about a test that is in a weeks time, i feel sick and have abdominal pains for that whole week. It makes life more miserable.

I'm depressed because i feel like i'm very different to everyone else, and i can't help feeling jealous of the way people seem to socialise so easily. I hate meeting up with people, even though i'd like to enjoy other people's company. I feel like there's no purpose in my life, and so i spend most of my time alone, listening to music.

I also don't like shopping by myself or with other people, i find the experience of walking through shops with all the crowds of people a taunting experience. i have to tell myself that im just like everyone else, that there is nothing wrong with me, just so i can get through it. Changing my psychological approach to thing helps me alot, i find.
But i do enjoy things like watching people. I know it may sound weird, but sometimes i like to sit and watch the crowds in shops, i find it relaxing.

I'm very clumsy, and i work in a cafe, where i have to bring people coffees and then take dishes from people. not only do i get scared doing this, i'm also terrible at it. The clumsiness isn't things like falling down or bumping into people, but more related to dropping objects and knocking things over.

There's more about me i'd like to add but if anyone has any input at all it would appreciated. I'd really like to learn more about myself, since that might help me get over my depression and allow me to live an ordinary life.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am very curious to hear what will be said about your post.

I just finished reading it and I was about to post something nearly identical to this.  I am wondering if I have Asperger's Syndrome as well.

My son was diagnosed with Asperger's when he was 5 years old, he will be 13 in June.  I have been reading up on Autism to find ways of helping him and more and more I am finding the parallels into my own life.  I watch him and I see myself in a big way.  It's almost like I'm getting to watch myself grow up, very strange.

I am hypersensitive, to nearly everything.  I spend a lot of time feeling highly irritable because I feel that I am constantly being overstimulated.  I spend a lot of my childhood hiding under my bed or in my closet, they were safe places for me.  Small noises, smells, light and touch can send me running off.  Things like car exhaust, water treatment plants, cleaning chemicals can all set me off.

I can identify with the knowledge situation.  I have always been told that I am "very bright" and yet I do not study ANYTHING thoroughly at all.  I took my test to receive my GED and guessed on all but 3 of the math questions and passed with flying colors.  I had home schooling for high school because my social anxiety had gotten so bad in middle school and I couldn't handle it anymore.  We were required to take a test at the end of the year to determine if we were learning what we needed to and could remain in home schooling and I would always pass with flying colors even though I very rarely did any of my schooling like I was supposed to.  I would go through the subjects I had an interest in and skip the rest.  (It was an at home CD ROM program that had the high school core curriculum and was self paced).  I feel like I know things that I never learned.. it nearly feels as though I absorb information that I'm not paying attention to.  As I am learning these days that isn't really too far fetched.  Our brains can process a lot more information sub consciously than it can on a conscious level.

I also have very low stress tolerance and since my pregnancy I have developed fibromyalgia, seasonal allergies, acid reflux etc.. When I start getting stressed out, nausea is usually my first symptom.  Then I get a very generally unwell feeling.

I feel like I spend a good portion of my life watching others because I never seem to know what I should be doing at any given time.  Like if I am playing a board game... I will be reading my cards but other people are talking, I want to hear what they are talking about so I stop reading my cards and am only semi-paying attention, but I need to see what they are doing because I may miss something.

As a child I was EXTREMELY shy.  I was supposed to sing a song in choir in front of a few classmates, when it was my turn I started bawling and ran out of the room because I was absolutely horrified of the idea of singing in front of other people.  

Going shopping or anywhere with a crowd has always been hard.  It's overstimulating with all the noise and movement etc.  When I was young we would go school clothes shopping.  My mom would want to look at stuff for herself while I was supposed to be finding clothes for school.  I would be following 10 inches behind her and stay on her heels the whole trip... I was terrified of being out there alone.

I too am jealous of people who have friends and seem to be very social.  It sounds so wonderful and fantastic to have friends to share things with and have a good time... The problem is that conversations are very awkward and I am terrified of uncomfortable silences.  I don't do too bad when I am talking to someone and we have a purpose for the conversation.. such as if I go to see a therapist and they ask me questions and I am merely answering them.  It isn't really a conversation, I only have to answer questions.

Do you find that you have a difficult time being interested in other people? .. Is it hard to receive a compliment?  Is it tough to come up with questions to ask people? .. It is really hard for me to meet someone and come up with questions to learn about them and to show interest.  It can make me anxious just asking someone how they are because I am usually asking to be polite, not because I really want to know.  Do you find that you are very honest?  Do you have to rationalize your answers and people's questions before you can answer them?  .. If someone asks me, "What do you do for fun?"  I give the same response I have been giving for the last 15 years.  "I like camping, ice skating, driving, cars.. ."  I haven't been camping in about 8 years.  I haven't ice skated in about 10.  Because of my back, driving is usually painful and it's lost a lot of it's appeal because I drive really fast and I can't afford any more speeding tickets.  I know a little about everything and I know a lot about nothing.  I would love to have friends.. friendships just don't seem to work out though.

(CONTINUED)
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Avatar_f_tn
I am also afraid of the phone.  It means that I will be having a conversation with someone and I don't like the feeling of talking to someone on the phone.  I have one person that I talk to regularly and that is my cousin.  I normally keep my conversations limited to text messaging, emails and IMs because it's much easier for me to handle than a voice conversation.  I don't usually have much to say.

For the last 15 years I have been on and off medication for depression (which usually has more side effects than benefit for me), anxiety and mood swings.  I've been hospitalized more than once and had self injurious behavior.  It started with banging my head on things when I would be overwhelmed, changed to breaking things, then punching walls and finally cutting myself.  I am happy to say it's been at least 4 years since I have cut.

I have a difficult time changing.. (See note above about hobbies)  I feel like I've hit a brick wall and I spin my wheels with nowhere to go anymore.  I have a hard time explaining things.. like why I am unable to do something or why something upsets me so much.

Do you have trouble with types of relationships?

I've found that I can't talk to people or be friends with them unless I am attracted to them physically.  I also tend to find ONE PERSON at a time that I click with (typically a boyfriend) and then I don't talk to or deal with anybody else.  It's like I can't handle more than one person in my life at a time.  So most of my "friends" (people I talk to online) are either guys I am attracted to or who are very attracted to me.  Even when I was young I would only be friends with one person at a time.. when they would do something to make me mad I would switch to one of the other kids in the neighborhood and just rotate whenever someone got on my bad side.  There were 4 girls in the neighborhood and we couldn't all be friends at the same time.  EVER.

I realize that the prevalence of autism in girls is low.  I know that doctors are learning more about Asperger's and they are able to diagnose women more now, but it's still a difficult process and still not much seems to be known about girls and Asperger's.

I've been reading that even though a lot of the symptoms and signs are the same between girls and boys who are affected, there are a lot of major differences because girls with autism tend to be more emotional and eager to please others where boys are not.  Girls also have more social skills pushed on them growing up, so they develop differently.  

All these things make a diagnosis difficult.. On top of that, I have had the last 29 years of my life to learn how to act as to not offend people or come across as "weird".  Just because someone thinks I seem normal does not mean that I have an easy time acting normal.  A lot of times it feels like most of my life is an act.

... So, I myself wonder if I have Asperger's Syndrome.  You are not in the boat alone.  I am right there with you.

So any input greatly appreciated!

I have an appointment next week with a Neurologist.  Can they help in a diagnosis of Asperger's?  I remember taking my son to a Neurologist when they were trying to diagnose him.  I think they were testing for epilepsy... If I recall correctly they said they thought he had Autism and it was verified through the workers at the school.  Not positive on that.

Best of luck to you. :-)

(I also have a tendency to ramble about certain things.. This was no exception.  It cut me off because I could only use 8000 characters.  I've been told that I always do things the hardest way possible and that I use way more words than necessary to explain something.)
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Avatar_m_tn
No idea. So many other disorders with overlapping criteria. Here is a link I have found most useful identifying Aspergers personality in adults.
http://apt.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/full/10/5/341
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Avatar_m_tn
More than likely you are Aspergers personality, the connection with it being a genetic disorder is overwhelming.  Your son already dx with AS and your monologue post with history supports my view.

Not sure how a neurologist is going to assist you in a AS dx.  There is no specific brain mapping, defect or abnormality which indicates Aspergers.  Dx is governed by a set of behavioural criteria set out in the DMS-IV manual.  The link I left 123bergman may assist, but females appear to present significantly different symptoms.

My suggestion would be to seel out a Dr of psychology who specialises in Aspergers and request a diagnostic assessment.  A diagnoses will not change things dramatically. but you will start a road to self understanding, acceptance of your difference and awareness of those unique behaviours.  I have found CBT has helped me develop my own personality and discard my patchwork personality used to survive socially.  
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Avatar_f_tn
The problem is i'm scared that I'm just trying to make excuses for myself. I almost want to be diagnosed as having asperger's syndrome because then it's as though i can explain these things about myself that have always puzzled me and left me feeling so bloody guilty.

Ok, this is something interesting i've noticed- i have NEVER made a friend by myself, ever. I've never bothered making any effort at all to form friendships, because 1) i'm shy(although improving, i really do try to change my attitude and remind myself i'm not different to any other human being on this planet) and 2) i've just never been interested. I'm lucky, though. Somehow i've always had someone make that effort with me.

But yes, i can't seem to be able to bond with more than one person at a time. Eversince my very first school i've always had a best friend. I've never been able to understand how they could have close friends other than me, since it takes a lot out of me just being friends with them. My current best friend has been my best (and pretty much only) friend since high school. I feel betrayed when she begins to talk about meeting up with other people and going to parties. Since i've never had to make my own friendships i'm fairly sure i'm going to struggle making them in my adulthood.

Another thing i've noticed is that when i started working my situation improved a lot in some ways, but there are certain things i can't change. I find work so stressful even though once i'm there it isn't entirely terrible. I spend the hours before work trying to calm myself down.

On the other hand, since working i've discovered i find it a little easier to talk to people. I can now handle a good deal of eye contact whereas this used to make me feel incredibly uncomfortable. I'm also not as scared of people as i have felt for the past few years. I still can't make small talk with the customers, and usually if they make a joke it gets really awkward since i don't know how to respond, so i just smile and say 'yea' or something equally as boring.

I don't think i was as shy as a little kid. I think during my childhood i just didn't particularly like other kids, and i found that we often had very different interests. I used to prefer reading, making up stories, creating imaginary friends for myself,etc.It's now in my teenage years that i've struggled with confidence when speaking to other people, especially ones i've just met.

And if at work, there are more than five customers i tend to get panicky and embarrassed. So i really think i may have a problem handling more than a couple of people.

Also, i've noticed that ever since i was a little kid i've had this funny way of thinking. It's hard to explain, but sometimes i have to do things like stand under a shower for 20 seconds or more, but definitely not less, if i want to have a good day. Or i tell myself these bizarre things like 'if i win 10 games of solitaire i'll be lucky' or if the 20 cent coin i dropped is tails up that's lucky. It's so silly, but i catch myself doing it regularly, and then if it gives me a negative, unlucky result i have to tell myself that it's stupid and doesn't mean anything.

It's nice to hear about someone else feeling this way, though. I can't handle sorrow or depression or stress very well. Arrgh, i hate feeling so isolated in my own community. I'm really trying to do something about it. I figure if i put myself in these situations that scare me i will get used to it. I just wish i could find someone i can relate to in my own life, since my parents struggle to understand why i am the way i am. And it's not like i can explain it to them, since i really don't know why i'm so irritable and have such low self esteem.
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Avatar_f_tn
I switch back and forth between feeling really incapable and feeling like I am making excuses for myself.

The question I asked myself the other day is, "What would be any different if I was diagnosed with Asperger's?" ... In reality, probably not a whole lot.  In my mind though it is an answer.. it is an explanation for why I am the way I am and why I have the particular difficulties that I do.  I have a very hard time coping with things if I'm not able to understand the WHY part.  I feel like at least if I know the enemy I will be able to plan accordingly and can confront it head on.

Asperger's wasn't something that came to mind until after I had been looking into it in an attempt to try to help my son and I started seeing the way he acts and reacts to things and it made a lot of sense to me.  It is however possible that my son and I share a lot of the same symptoms but maybe only he has Asperger's.

I'm not sure how old you are, but I must say I am rather surprised by how well you write for a teenager!  I'm sure that probably isn't the first time you've heard that.  If you are as much like me as I imagine, it's been going on a long time.  Do you feel old beyond your years?  Always been more mature?  Do you prefer hanging out with older people?  If you hadn't said, I would've just assumed you were in your 30s.

I am also trying to "desensitize" myself to thinks that make me panic.  I force myself to go out and do things that scare me in the hopes that I will be able to do it again and again and each time will be easier than the previous.  It doesn't always work out that way.

Having friends took a major toll on me.  It still does.  I only see one person regularly and it's only about once per month at this point.  It is extremely draining for me to deal with other people and their emotions.  Are you extremely sensitive to other people's moods or do you find that you are completely apathetic?  I know you said you don't know how to react necessarily and I personally react in whatever way I think the person would want me to... If they smile, I smile.. If I don't know, I usually smile.. I probably focus more attention on smiling and nodding than what they are actually saying.  At the same time though, people's moods tend to rub off on me easily.
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Avatar_f_tn
"Patchwork Personality" .. That really strikes a chord with me.  I was explaining to someone the other night that I feel like I am a different person to everybody.  This makes it extremely difficult for me to spend time with 2 people I know at the same time.. I may not be the same person through and through to each person so I feel conflicted as to how to act.  This also goes into telling people what I think they want to hear.  

I have been many things in my life.  Country gal, rocker, punk, various religions etc... I feel like I've never found my true self.  I've been doing a lot of exploration into my past to try and find clues to help me determine who I REALLY am.  I still am very unsure and don't really know if I have anything consistent with my own personality other than being cranky and hypersensitive.

I will take a look at that link!

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond.

Sorry for the monologue. :-)
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