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Do I have Aspergers or am I just very odd?

Hi, 
I find myself feeling increasingly confused about what is wrong with me. 
Do I have Aspergers like I keep thinking about and taking online tests for or am I just very odd? 
Let me just list a few of the reasons that I believe I may in fact have Aspergers.
Firstly my desire to be alone but yet to fit in. I long to fit in with others and to feel accepted and normal but it never works. I say the wrong things at the wrong times, people laugh and say I'm a one of a kind and have no filter and don't care what I say but that couldn't be further from the truth. I desperately want to fit in but I just can't. I have very few friends (I mean like 1 possibly 2 but I'm not sure if one of them is just classed as someone I sort of know now). I've had friends in the past but the friendships end and I'm not all that bothered to be honest but then on the other hands I really do want friends. A lot of my time over the years socialising (which I do roughly once or twice a month as that's what I feel comfortable with) has been involving alcohol as I feel more comfortable around people to speak when I've had a drink but now I choose not to drink I wonder what I have in common with these people. 
I feel highly uncomfortable with people in my home, it makes my whole body feel rigid and I don't know how to act or speak and people have told me in the past that they don't feel welcome in my home although I do everything I can to try and make them feel comfortable. 
Next I move onto relationships, I have had 2. My first serious relationship was at age 25. I am a lesbian and only came out at this time and I believed I loved her more than anything but I'm not sure if I was in love or just obsessed. I felt an immediate connection to her as she was a person I felt comfortable around me and I wanted around me and this progressed into a relationship after a couple of months. Things then went down hill. I was constantly obsessed with the idea that she didn't really love me. I found it hard to read her facial expressions and tones towards me. She would say things that she thought were funny and I would be very offended or she would say that I was too literal and obsessive. When we finally ended she said that the main problem was that I had zero sense of humour but was not a bad person. I found our whole relationship overwhelming and didn't understand the norms of being in a couple of I'm perfectly honest and then I was obsessed with our breakup for about 8 months afterwards until I met my current partner.
My current partner and me have been together now for almost 2 years and I am now 29. 
I love her very much and she sais she loves me which I believe. We are planning to get married next year and plans are going forward and being made. 
She understands me more than anyone ever has and has made me so much more aware of myself but any arguments/disagreements we have are always due to a lack of my understanding and/or coming across as rude when I say things when I really don't think I am most of the time. Sometimes I can see her point eventually but sometimes I just can't. 
Im very pedantic about things and this amongst other things makes her believe I have an anxiety disorder but it doesn't feel that way to me. I need to follow certain routines and do things a specific way because that's just how it is. I don't need to have control of things but I need things to be done just how they should be because why would you do things any other way?! 
She has two dogs and I can slightly bare the small one as she's a chihuahua but the large one is a sprocket spaniel and he's messy and boundy and jumps and runs about touching people and wanting to be really close to them and I just cannot stand it so we came to a compromise that when we are at my home they stay in the kitchen (it's large) with a stair gate across the doorway and I cope to a reasonable level with that. 
The thing is I love cats... REALLY love them and I can cope with anything a cat does and it must be really hard for my partner to see me be so off with her dogs but I just hate big boundy dogs they give me a feeling I can only describe as being forced involuntarily to sit in a room with a thousand wasps if you have a wasp phobia! 
I found it so hard to adjust to not doing everything I usually do when we were first together because I understand compromise in a relationship but it really got to me so much that on 2 occasions I broke up with her.
I really don't know why she loves me at times I'm so lucky! 
The thing she hates most about me is that when I feel sad or uncomfortable I close myself off from talking, eye contact, everything going and I go within myself sometimes for weeks. I am better now mostly not lasting for more than one day but that is because of her but sometimes I want to do that so much because it's comfort for me, I can't explain why but solitude feels like I can breathe. I truly believe I'd be more than fine solitary for the rest of my life but if I say that to her it hurts her allot. I try to explain that I love her and I want to marry her and be with her forever too but sometimes I long to be alone and just feel like I can breathe and it has nothing to do with anybody but me. 
Next I move onto work, I have a job, Amy current job I've been employed with for 3 years now. I work night shifts in the care field. I hold my job down and I'm partly good at what I do but I have my routines that I follow at work that I work to every night no matter who I'm working with. It seems to work ok but I have no friends at work. I can make polite chit chat and consider myself friendly toward my colleagues but I'm definitely a bit of a loner that's not a loner of that makes sense? I definitely prefer it that way but then I worry how others view me. I feel bad for the people I work with at times (the ones I am caring for) as I'm not the best people person at times although I find it so much easier with my elderly residents I panic that I'm not providing enough decent conversation.
I say all this but I don't know if this is completely how I come across to others but I am very good at putting up an act. I can pretend to feel comfortable for a short time and short amounts of time is all I really spend with anyone other than my partner. My partner laughs and sais I'm odd and am pedantic and laughs at me for my obsessions with things but I just KNOW she understands and loves me although I feel I may have Aspergers and she's convinced I have anxiety and I think she's wrong there but I do worry slightly that she just doesn't want a girlfriend with Aspergers I'm not sure. 
I mentioned previously my obsessions. I wouldn't say obsessions completely, I understand it comes across that way to others and I laugh with her as to avoid embarrassment sometimes but to me they're my likes and preferences. She laughs that I'm obsessed with my local supermarket but I just prefer it. I don't want to shop anywhere else. I know where everything is and pretty much exactly how much everything costs to the penny for when I'm planning my weeks meals and costs. It's not that I'm worried or anxious about not going there because I have a weird fear of other shops but that's where I go and where I like so why would I go anywhere else? 
She also laughs because I get ideas like laminating things for the house and people and then I plan every day to laminate things I make and spend whole evenings laminating but I don't really class that as odd? 
I constantly wonder, wonder would be the right word opposed to worry, how others view me and I struggle to read how people feel sometimes with their facial expressions and I seem to get people's tone wrong sometimes and I don't know why I find it so hard. 
I've done a few Asperger online quiz/tests now and they always come back that my score is in the very high range and I likely have Aspergers/ASD and I don't know why they'd say that if it wasn't true? 
I'd to add that although I don't see her my mum has either severe learning disabilities or is on the spectrum, I don't see my dad but I do have a brother. We have a close(ish) relationship but he's forever getting mad at me and saying I'm just so rude and insensitive and it upsets me so much because I don't understand why he thinks that? 
I have 2 children, my eldest boy is 11 and I am personally convinced he is mildly on the spectrum, he's very "quirky" and has certain dislikes like getting dirty and will have a meltdown if it happens and struggles with social awkwardness and is also very perticular and routine and hates it to be different or for things to change. But he really is amazing and a one of a kind little human and I feel that I understand him fully and we are very close. 
My youngest boy is 8 and was diagnosed at 7 with ADHD with asd traits and a possible sensory processing disorder. 
I don't know if that makes it easier for people to give me an opinion but maybe it will. 
Sorry if I've rambled on but this is how my brain is all the time. It's exhausting. 
Thank you for taking the time to read my post if you managed to get this far. 
Read more at https://community.scope.org.uk/discussion/36199/do-i-have-aspergers-or-am-i-just-very-odd#DwHTckJoUYBF5A48.99

Replies

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 689 Listener
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  • serendipity123serendipity123 Posts: 4Member Listener
    Thank you for your reply! I've been obsessively checking every hour to see if anyone had got back
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 689 Listener
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  • serendipity123serendipity123 Posts: 4Member Listener
    I'm so sorry, I'd written out a huge and detailed response and it's obviously cut off right at the beginning! 
    It feels so nice to hear someone relating to me and understanding but it makes me believe even more that I am correct. 
    I don't feel good or bad about the idea that I possibly have Aspergers I just really am trying to get to the bottom of why I find things so difficult and different to others and if it's because I am just odd and unique and I have to accept that and just live with it or if it is in fact as I feel something I could learn to cope with because my brain is wired slightly differently. 
    If I think back to when I was younger there are things I can even pinpoint from then, I used to absolutely fear water, my nana used to say that if I had to wash or have my hair washed I would scream like I was being murdered and I remember having a giant UFO type water shield to go around my head so no water went near my face. 
    I used to get sad and angry allot and feel different inside to other people and feel like nobody in the world understood me. 
    I turned allot to alcohol and drugs during my teenage years for a few reasons but definatily partly because it helped me feel more at ease around other people. 
    Socialising and just socially I find I really struggle and would love to be better with. I put on a good front for a while but I can't spend too long around people or I run out of things to say and worry about how I'm acting and then tend to close myself off and need to get away. Also I can't really cope with large social situations, I hate parties and gatherings and never know what to do with myself or who to look at because I force myself to look at people and I'm sure I give off an aura of being a huge weirdo. 
    I struggle socially though even when it doesn't include friends, it really came to a head just before the summer holidays when my youngest son with ADHD has a disagreement with another child and the mum screamed at me in the playground and I didn't but I didn't know how to respond so I just cried. Uncontrollably, in front of everyone and couldn't even talk. I felt so ridiculous and judged and just wanted to run away but needed to pull myself together for my son. I tend to over react to things allot and I can't control it but feel so annoyed at myself for being that way. 
    Thats how I feel, I don't doubt that I feel and display anxietys but I don't believe they're caused by anxiety itself, I believe there's a deeper reason but my girlfriend sais it may just appear that I have Aspergers because I'm so anxious. 
    She understands me more than anyone else in the world does and when she has answered quizzes on my behalf she gets the same result of I most probably have Aspergers/ASD and should speak to a gp but maybe she doesn't want to believe it I don't know but it makes me feel silly and she seems to think it's just another silly obsession I have. 
    She sais I get obsessed with the same topic and don't stop going on about it and I tell her the same story over and over but I don't realise I am and I don't want this to be just another one of those things. 
    Don't get me wrong though she's in no way mean about it she really is so amazing and supportive and I'm very lucky I just feel confused that she believes I have a bad anxiety disorder. 
    Im forever struggling get to interpret people body language and tones, more than people realise, in forever wondering, "but what do they really mean by that, their face doesn't match what they're saying" or "that was so rude I'd better say something or shut off" but they say it was a joke? 
    I don't think people realise how exhausting my mind is at times because I keep so much of it locked in for fear of being weird. 
    I understand my children in ways that other people don't, probably mostly because I'm their mum but also because I understand why they react certain ways, how things feel bad when other people don't think it's a problem and how they struggle socially and sometimes emotionally. 
    Sorry to ramble again I'm really just looking for answers for myself and didn't know where to turn. 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 689 Listener
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  • Mia_ScopeMia_Scope Posts: 32Member Connected
    edited September 2017

    Hello @Serendipity123,

    Welcome to Scope’s online community, a safe place for you to share any of your anxieties, experiences, thoughts and feelings. I am so pleased you have been able to express your situation; this sounds like deeply personal and difficult information to divulge, so well done for reaching out.

    Taking the time to read through what you have shared, I have been able to get a feel for your situation and build up a picture of what you have been going through. A lot of this information sounds very familiar to me, as someone who has had a lot of contact with autistic individuals and their personal struggles.

    You wrote about how challenging it is to read people’s facial expressions and tone, having difficulty with others misunderstanding you and interpreting your behaviour as rude or insensitive, and struggling to fit in and feel at ease socially. You also mentioned others perceiving you as ‘too literal and obsessive’, ‘pedantic’, having ‘zero sense of humour’, and not feeling welcome or comfortable around you, despite you trying your hardest to make them feel at ease.

    In terms of how you perceive yourself, I see that you worry that you are ‘odd’ and ‘weird’, and you feel you always say the wrong things at the wrong times. You feel that you are very good at putting on an act. There is an internal conflict between wanting to be alone and wanting to fit in and have friends. Solitude, you say, feels like you can breathe. What it sounds like is that you are longing for social contact and friends, but your condition and the communication and social difficulties you experience with others makes it so exhausting, that solitude feels the more comfortable, familiar and less painful option.

    It seems that you have been trying so hard for so long to fit in and get along, and you don’t know how it is that people experience you in all these ways that you don’t intend. It must be very frustrating for you and upsetting, as someone who is friendly and clearly values getting along. The challenges you face naturally give rise to feelings of anxiety, stress, and worry. Most autistic individuals experience high levels of anxiety (see Anxiety in Autistic Adults) around social situations. Unfortunately, this is a common challenge between the world of an autistic person and someone without the condition; the communication and perceptions can be wildly different.

    Autism, while it is now becoming more widely recognised, is still a very complex and confusing topic for many people to wrap their heads around. The fact that autism is a spectrum condition means that each person with autism will have a set of ‘traits’ all in different areas of the spectrum. The spectrum consists of many different ‘traits’ or ‘ways’ in which the brain processes information. Some traits can create difficulties in everyday life (hence getting a diagnosis), but other traits can be useful. The spectrum essentially shows that not every autistic person acts the same way.

    Explaining to someone that you have autism might not mean much to them, until you explain exactly what your personal characteristics, challenges and strengths are. In my opinion, from what I have read, what you have described sounds a lot like autism. Of course, however, the only way to know for sure would be to have a formal diagnostic assessment. Referred by your GP under the NHS, you would meet with a diagnostician – typically a psychiatrist or psychologist – who has the relevant clinical experience and specialist training in administering the diagnostic tools required to assess for the condition.

    Key signs of autism are trouble understanding the emotions, communication and behaviour of others, trouble in expressing oneself, restrictive interests (obsessions), a lot of routine and a difficulty with change, and having sensory sensitivities. This sounds like what you have described. If you have Asperger syndrome, you are likely to be of an average or above average intelligence, which certainly comes across in your presentation.

    If I could offer you any reassurance, it would be that you are not weird or odd for the things you like, prefer, and are comfortable with. This just makes up who you are as a unique and original person. The right people will try to understand and accept you for who you are, and even celebrate who you are. You may perceive the world a bit differently to others, and therein may lie many of your challenges, but everyone has their weaknesses as well as their strengths, and you are no different. I bet that there are so many things that you can do well.

    The stigma and negative ideas about autism sadly are still floating around, but let’s look on the bright side. Many things are easier for intelligent autistic people than they are for non-autistic people. Many autistic people can be especially good at learning facts, skills and talents when they want to or when the right sources are available to them. They can have a high attention to detail and be highly skilled in a particular area of interest. Their direct communication, loyalty, honesty, and ‘mean what they say’ interaction style can be incredibly refreshing!  

    Try where you can recognise and promote your own strengths and abilities. Help the people in your life to understand your differences and your interaction style. It may help to give them information about autism, to help them understand you more. If you are happy to disclose your condition to others, think about doing it in a simple way by handing them a leaflet or information about it. A good starting point is the ‘What is Autism?’ section available on The National Autistic Society’s (NAS) website, or you could order leaflets directly from their Online Shop.

    Scoring highly on the online tests, as you may already know, is not a means of diagnosis, but can be an important tool in measuring autistic traits. You said that you don’t feel either good or bad about possibly having it, you just want to get to the bottom of it. Think about taking the results, along with a list of behaviours and examples that relate to having the condition, to your GP and ask for that referral. Keep in mind if you do get a positive diagnosis, you don’t need to share that with anyone (not even your employer) unless you feel comfortable doing so.

    By the sounds of it, getting a concrete answer will really put your mind at ease. It can provide such a strong explanation and relief as to why you been the way you have been your whole life, help other people in your life to understand you better, and it can also open you up to more autism-specific support. To search for diagnostic services in your local area, please see the NAS Autism Services Directory under ‘Diagnosis’. Just refine by your area and take the details along to your GP if they need any help in knowing where to refer you, or contact them directly for more information. For your information, this directory also has details of groups, services and courses across the UK for autistic people and their families. You may want to go along to a social group locally to meet other like-minded individuals, or to help improve your social skills. Sometimes being ‘among your own’ can be relieving and help you feel less alone and different.

    You could also think about browsing for counsellors on the directory too. You may find speaking to a counsellor can help you to come to terms with your condition, and help you to understand yourself, others, and the world around you a bit better. It is advisable to see a counsellor who has experience of working with autistic individuals, as they can better understand your communication style, needs, and difficulties.

    If your partner requires any support throughout any of this, she could get in contact with Relate Derby, where she will have the opportunity to talk to a trained counsellor who may have experience of autism and working with autistic individuals and can offer relationship support. Their Telephone Helpline is on 0808 178 9363 and is open Tuesday from 10:30am – 1:30pm and Thursday from 1:30pm and 4:30pm.

    Lastly, if you would like some emotional support, consider contacting The Samaritans. Available 24/7, 365 days of the year, this confidential service is there for anyone experiencing feelings of distress, despair, or suicidal feelings. Their number is free to call on 116 123.

    I hope this information helps as a starting point. You have made a great first step in reaching out to us, so well done you! It can be a long and complex process, but don’t give up until you find the answers you need. If you have any questions or require any further support, please just let me know – I am more than happy to help.

    All the very best,

    Mia

     

    Mia
    Helpline Information Officer
    Phone: 0808 800 3333
    Email: [email protected]
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