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To think I don't have Aspergers?

(57 Posts)
lilathewerewolf Sat 14-Oct-17 20:37:29

Hi all,

Not sure where to start with this but I'll do my best.

I recently got clean after many years of prescription drug and alcohol addiction, 90% of this is wonderful and I feel like I have my life back, however it has brought to light how much I was using substances to get me through even basic social interaction. I generally find it hard to empathise, am not emotionally demonstrative unless seriously intoxicated and tend to get away from other people as fast as possible as I either draw a completely uninterested blank or bang on inappropriately about something completely irrelevant to the conversation like the Reformation or, more recently, the GULAGS. I've mentioned this to my keyworker and she says she wants me to talk to my GP about the possibility of having Aspergers as to her it's 'obvious'. I have scored very highly on a supposedly trustworthy internet test for it but these can't be reckoned to carry the same weight as a 1 to 1 medical with a doctor surely.

I have good eye contact and can make small talk which I think counts against this idea. I can also switch on a convincing social persona to get me through interactions with people so I don't think it's obvious at all. I will admit to taking things incredibly literally at times and in an argument I will only focus on the exact words a person has used and not the feeling they were trying to convey which frustrates my partner as he feels I only care about taking his argument apart rather than listening to how he feels. I also admit to finding the whole 'feelings and talking about them' part of relationships exhausting. I am not particularly interested in sex. My mother is the same way emotionally so perhaps this is learned behaviour but I do sometimes feel like I have fundamental human experience parts missing.

I'm sure there are many people with experience of Autism spectrum conditions who post here and so I am asking what you think. Thank you.

KeepItAsItIs Sat 14-Oct-17 20:41:47

What was the test? The AQ test is the one the professionals use themselves, so whilst it's not a diagnostic tool alone, it can give an indication.

I have it. Low empathy, many of the things you mention. I also can do small talk, enjoy socialising - very very occasionally and quite specific scenarios. Like to have a good gossip with people I like. It's still a struggle though. I put a face on. Very very few people would ever guess I have it unless I told them. I'm pretty good at covering stuff up, or so I think. I've been told it's really really obvious.

Aquamarine1029 Sat 14-Oct-17 20:42:32

You may very well have Autism, and it's worth investigating. Don't rely on any articles or online tests, and don't compare yourself to other people. The autism spectrum is exactly that - there are an infinite range of symptoms and behaviours, and they are unique to each person.

lilathewerewolf Sat 14-Oct-17 20:54:10

Hi Keep, it was the AQ test, yes. And yet I don't lack empathy for animals and have in the past become desperately sentimental over inanimate objects even, it's mostly just people. I don't really understand why things people say and the way they act don't match up. I am good at imaginary situations though and feel this sort of blows her theory out of the water.

KeepItAsItIs Sat 14-Oct-17 22:21:12

I am very sensitive when it comes to (some) animals and have got very attached to certain people and considered myself to have quite a bit of empathy, genuinely thought I did. DH however says different. I did the empathy quotient online. The result told a very different story to what I thought!

Plus, like aquamarine said, it is a spectrum. Not everyone who has it will be exactly the same. There is a saying, when you have met 1 person with autism, you have met 1 person with autism.

Tania Marshall has a very good website on women with aspergers (or ASD as it's often called, I was diagnosed with aspergers though) and there is an extensive list, a lot of which fitted, but not everything.

deepestdarkestperu Sat 14-Oct-17 22:24:12

I’m on the spectrum too and I have to say what you describe sounds pretty similar to me. You don’t need to get s formal diagnosis if you don’t want to, but I found it really helpful to understand why I behaved in a certain way.

blackteasplease Sat 14-Oct-17 22:26:57

I scored really highly on that test too. Went to the GP and they said of course you don't have aspergers / autism.

So not sure which is wrong tbh.

blackteasplease Sat 14-Oct-17 22:27:50

Reasons for gp saying no way was that I did very well in education as well as all the eye contact stuff you describe.

toffee1000 Sat 14-Oct-17 22:28:31

Being able to switch on a sociable persona is exactly what many female Aspies can do. We're better at masking and imitating than men. Not every Aspie ticks every box. Some Aspies can do eye contact, some can't. Women are also better at imagination stuff than men too, although even some men on the spectrum have good imaginations.
There's a saying in the ASD community, namely "if you've met one person with ASD, you've met one person with ASD." That's why it's called a spectrum; it affects people in different ways.

toffee1000 Sat 14-Oct-17 22:30:24

ASD doesn't automatically mean doing badly in school blackteas. There were plenty of people at my highly regarded university who had ASD, including one who was doing a PhD!

Shemozzle Sat 14-Oct-17 22:33:18

It's a hard one. My brother has Aspergers and I struggle with several of the symptoms, but after years of contemplation I don't think I have ASD, I think it is learnt behaviour. I am very close in age to my brother and he actually parented me more than my parents due to his rule following aspie nature. I do the exact same pedantic thing with language, and my partner also hates it, but I remember my brother constantly correcting me about things like that so it could well be learnt.

Females do present differently with ASD though. Apparently because of social mirroring and because they likely have had female friends in school that took them under their wing. Worth reading about.

JoanLenin Sat 14-Oct-17 22:36:04

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

lougle Sat 14-Oct-17 22:37:56

I am saying this very tentatively, because I have never met you and you can never diagnose someone over the internet, but your description of yourself screams aspergers and if so, it is no wonder you find it all so exhausting. Having empathy for animals is incredibly common, also. My DD1, who is undergoing assessment for ASD (expecting aspergers), finds putting herself in a person's position very difficult indeed, but has a huge affinity for dogs, horses and chickens, and also likes cats.

toffee1000 Sat 14-Oct-17 22:40:56

"Fashionable to diagnose?"? You wouldn't be saying that if you knew how difficult it was to obtain a diagnosis. People are in the system for years. There seems to be an increase because we have much better awareness than we did 30/40/50 years ago, and people (particularly mothers) whose children are going through the diagnosis rollercoaster are recognising the symptoms in themselves, which in the past were chalked up to weirdness/being naughty and simply ignored and not helped.

Aquarius26 Sat 14-Oct-17 22:41:49

Keeps it as it is - I had never heard of the empathy quotient before reading this thread, I always thought I had quite a bit of empathy too although my mother has always said otherwise and I always said Disagreed and said I do have empathy but have hard time showing it the more obvious ways people usually do, I just did the test online and I scored 4 out of 80 shock so maybe my mother is right blush

MattBerrysHair Sat 14-Oct-17 22:44:17

I have ASD and can make eye contact and do a bit of small-talk. I'm not particularly comfortable with it but I can do it for long enough to meet social expectations and appear 'normal'. Women on the spectrum are more likely to be able to 'mask' than men, often without realising it.

Obsessive interests, routines, sensory sensitivity and problems with executive functioning are also looked at during an assessment for ASD as it's much more than having difficulty with social skills.

To the PP who's gp said you don't have it, unless they have extensive knowledge of, and experience with, a large number of people on the spectrum, I wouldn't take the GP's word as fact for the reasons stated above.

RemainOptimistic Sat 14-Oct-17 22:48:07

Some ideas OP

1. Do the Myers Briggs - you're probably a dominant thinker rather than feeler, less common in women. There's plenty of info online about the percentages of each type in the population. I'm a female INTJ and a total fish out of water 99.9% of the time IRL.

2. Read about the Highly Sensitive Person.

Congrats on getting clean BTW. I'm 5 years out wink

WhatABaklava Sat 14-Oct-17 22:48:17

JoanLenin please can you cute a peer-reviewed, statistically ported article which supports your comment suggesting that ASD has become “very fashionable to diagnose”

As otherwise I’m minded to think you are either not terribly ineducated, or just a bit of of a bigot.

My suspicion is you’re a Daily Mail reader.

lougle Sat 14-Oct-17 22:48:55


I don't think it is necessarily autism, which by the way has become very fashionable to diagnose."

ASD has one of the most rigorous diagnostic processes you will encounter, actually. There are initial screening forms, further in depth screening forms, secondary detailed questionnaires, then, if you pass each of those 'sifting stages', huge waiting lists for initial appointments, at which you are further streamed into 'suitable for assessment' or 'not for assessment'. Parents often have to go on behaviour management courses before they will be deemed 'good enough' parents for that not to be the cause of their child's problem.

If you've made it past each of the 3 'sifting stages' and waited the 9 months or more for your initial appointment and been deemed 'suitable' for assessment, your prize is to go to the back of another waiting list to be allocated a worker to take you through the formal assessment process.

DD2 is 10. I first raised concern that she had ASD at 3. We finally got referral to CAMHS in December 2016, and we got our first appointment in July 2017. She was deemed a good candidate for assessment, so now in October 2017, we're still waiting for our second appointment. It could be many months yet.

ASD is not a diagnosis that is handed out like toffees, and it's an insult to suggest that it is 'fashionable' to diagnose it.

MattBerrysHair Sat 14-Oct-17 22:49:09

Aquarius you may very well have a lot of emotional empathy. A lot of people on the spectrum struggle with demonstrative empathy, so to people around them they appear cold and detached. There is a theory that people on the spectrum have more empathy than NT's, which can be overwhelming so we shut it down as a self-preservation mechanism.

eyebrowsonfleek Sat 14-Oct-17 22:50:22

You sound like me. Switching on a social persona is classic female Aspie behaviour. Female Aspies tend to pick up social skills by studying other people and emulating it. I make eye contact despite feeling uncomfortable because I know it’s good manners and I can convey a more knowledgeable and interested persona. If I didn’t have to do it, I wouldn’t do it tbh. Many autistic people get therapy dogs or therapy cats as they feel more in common with animals than humans.

I have Aspergers and tbh there is no help for adults with it so it’s a pointless label.

blackteasplease Sat 14-Oct-17 22:53:06

I am the advocate on Myers Briggs. Very common on Mumsnet but apparently rare overall.

Taratill Sat 14-Oct-17 23:04:26

It is a misconception that people with ASD cannot be sociable or make eye contact. My Son who was diagnosed recently can do both.

There isn't much help out there though once the diagnosis is made , it is quite helpful though from the point of view of self understanding or for the understanding of others.

My 8 year old daughter is currently being assessed. She has a massive affinity with animals as Lougle has described earlier. She does struggle a bit with other humans though.

I am also a bit offended by the notion that diagnosis is 'fashionable'. I can only assume that the person who suggested this has no first hand knowledge of the struggles involved with obtaining a diagnosis and support needed.

kuniloofdooksa Sat 14-Oct-17 23:04:54

There are 3 kinds of empathy.
Having a aspergers/asd doesn't mean someone lacks all kinds of empathy - there are numerous articles about it but here's one.

You seem to be interpreting the suggestion that you might be on the spectrum as if it is an accusation of a defect from which you must defend yourself. It is not.

You also seem to be holding up the many ways in which you have learned to be able to function well as evidence that you are nt. That's also missing the point.

Of course I have no idea whether you would actually be diagnosed if you ask to be assessed. However if you are on the spectrum then getting a proper assessment is the only way to know for sure and will be helpful in providing you knowledge that will help you to cope better in future so it sounds worth a try.

Aquarius26 Sat 14-Oct-17 23:08:40

Mattberry that sounds quite interesting actually and it rings true with me. Although I must add I have no diagnoses of asd, my nearly 4 year old is currently under the diagnostic process- he may or may not be on the spectrum we have yet to find out he had an ados about 3 weeks back but we are awaiting to hear back on the reports from that and the observation they have done of him at Nursery. It wasn’t until his symptoms were picked up on that I researched asd to gain more knowledge and understanding of what it was that I recognised a lot of it in myself. How accurate are the AQ tests I scored highly on that to.

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