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Old 09-09-2009, 03:32 AM   #8
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Southeastern USA
Posts: 380
roses4lace HB User
Re: confused yet hopeful - is it autism?

With a score of 36 I'd say there are a lot of areas that match Aspergers Syndrome. If you're functioning pretty well, able to hold a job and have some friends, then the impact on your life may not be as obvious to you. When I discovered I had it, I read lots of books. Some didn't make sense, and I found they were written by "doctors" or "researchers". When I read books written by Aspies, it all made sense, so I'd suggest reading several books until you connect with one of them. So many things I struggled with - but didn't know I was struggling. The books answered questions I didn't even know I had. The books helped me see that "typical" people think and do things very differently than I do. Not that my way is wrong, it just doesn't fit into how other people want me to do it. Also, I found a counselor who specializes in Aspergers Syndrome. When conversations go haywire, she gets me to tell her what was said, sort of he said/she said. She can usually pick up on where I didn't give some feedback that was expected, and help me understand what was going on underneath that I was missing. Also gives me tips for handling it the next time. Or if I have to attend a social function, she walks me through steps to cope. Where can I go that's private, how long can I stay before meltdown occurs, are there going to be annoying people there, etc.

Some things we will never understand. The best I can hope for is to have things explained to me, what the "typicals" expect, then try to give it to them so they won't create arguments with me. And sometimes I unknowingly hurt people's feelings because I don't understand how important something is to them. Then they get mad at me and I don't know why. But having a counselor to talk to about the "bad" conversations, helps me learn to have better conversations next time. We aren't stupid, we just don't pick up the social undercurrents like others do. We can learn how to fit in and "pass for normal" under most circumstances given enough feedback from the right kind of teacher.

All counselors are NOT effective with this, so if you find one who doesn't seem to understand what you're going through, or tries to push you into doing things (saying things, social activities, confrontations, etc.) without explaining the behind the scenes pieces so you can understand the dynamics, just move on, eventually you will find the right person.

I also found a group of high-functioning Aspergers friends (even had a support group for a while). When we talked with each other about how we do things, there was total support and understanding, and we could dig into the ways we were affected (noises, smells, shopping, handling fellow employees and the work environment, riding bikes, learning to drive, going to new places, meetings at work, verbal vs. visual, etc.). We shared how we managed to cope with various situations.

Another major thing that helped me was ACA and Al-Anon meetings. (I am also from a dysfunctional family.) People talk about feelings, and changing their behavior to make life better for themselves. Seeing the wide range of emotions, reactions, and lifestyles, and hearing people actually naming their feelings in various situations, helped me get "educated". I had no names for my feelings, and so couldn't describe what was going on inside me. Listening to others say things like, "this situation generated these feelings" was like light bulbs going off in me. It gave me words to talk about me. I need "scripts" to talk sometimes, and I was finding my "scripts" by using other people's words (that also fit me). It's ok to sit and say nothing at these meetings; if they attempt to force you to talk, they haven't learned to stop controlling, so find another meeting.

Last edited by roses4lace; 09-09-2009 at 03:37 AM.