Self Diagnosed

It is quite incredible at at my ripe age, 38 about to turn 39, I have only come to realised that. I come from a country where very little is known about Asperger's syndrome and autism more generally.

I have started working with teenagers with Asperger's syndrome these last months and the first thing that struck me is that they were not at all what I expected them to be. I had this picture in my mind of the character played by Dustin Hoffman in Rainman and I expected them to behave like that, to be really difficult.

Not only weren't they really difficult as I had imaged but by spending time with them and working with them, I came to realise that I actually found them much more 'normal' than 'normal people'.

I recently started a training about Austism at work. I have been doing a lot of reading about it these last weeks. And quirkinesses I used to display (or still display for some of them), unexplainable reactions to little things that I have had, even my way of seeing the world all seem to correspond with the ones of a person with Asperger's syndrome.

It was quite a shock for me when I found out. I went through a rather distressing time cursing the day I was conceived because I was born with a brain that functions differently from the majority of other people and that this has caused me a lot of problems and distresses that could not have been avoided, that's for sure, but could at least have been limited, had I been aware of what was causing them.

I am now at the beginning of a long road, trying to understand how my somehow different brain functions and how to adapt to the best of my ability to everyday's life.

I would like to hear about your experiences of understaning you had Asperger's syndrome. How old were you? Were you formally diagnosed or did you 'self diagnose'? How did you react? What were the implications for you? Did you make important changes to your life or did you not chanage a thing to it but started using strategies to cope as well as you could?

Apoil Apoil 36-40, M 1 Response May 22, 2013

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A delightful story, i find it humorous that you found these people with a "disorder" to be more normal than everyone else. I myself have always found normal behavior questionable and illogical, while agreeing with and even sympathizing with more odd behavior patterns.
At one point i had a belief that i had aspergers, but the more i read about it the more it seemed strange to say that people either have it or do not have it. I am not sure if i really have it or not, but people who do have it seem to have it at varying degrees. Its almost like diagnosing people as either having it or not having it is too basic, i believe that it is possible for people to have it but not show any signs of it. I believe that some people show very clear signs of it, while others show barely any signs whatsoever. I believe that some people have very clear symptoms of it, while others have more mild signs.
In the end i dont think it is important if i actually do have it, if i do have it than perhaps it contributes to why i am so different. If i dont have it than i am still the same strange quirky me, i just dont have a clinical disorder.
If you wouldn't mind could you tell me a few things about Aspergers? Tell me what your childhood was like, tell me how it has influenced your life, and tell me to what degree you think you have it... anything would be appreciated. thanks

wow... you're asking for a lot! well...

1) you are right, there are a lot of 'degrees' to which someone can 'have it', as you say... this is why people use the expression 'autistic traits' sometimes... when it's hardly noticeable....
2) the highest functioning people (the ones who 'have it' the less) are able to 'hide it' to try to fit in... I can hide it... I use a fake personality as a screen to hide behind... it is exhausting, though...
3) I only realised I 'had it' a few months ago... as a child, I was not sociable at all... in fact, I was so unsociable that when I was 7 my teacher decided to pick 2 guys in my class and to make them my friends... funny thing is that I remained friends with one of these 2 guys for years... I would do weird stuff when I was a child... like spending all afternoons looking for things in the dictionary or the encyclopedia... and I was no older than 8 or 9... I never had a lot of friends... I always hated parties... I could never stand to be around more than 2 or 3 friends at a time and only for limited periods of time... I always needed my space...

well, I guess, that's it... google 'wrong planet' if you want to learn more...