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Aspergers in Adults

(12 Posts)
hiddenhome Wed 24-Aug-11 22:10:51

Please can somebody describe to me what it is like to have aspergers as an adult?

I have some reason to believe that I may have this, but it's difficult to sort out what is me and what is actually a result of all the childhood/teenage abuse that I experienced confused

I have always found social situation/people difficult and I take little interest in those around me. I feel totally disconnected from others and feel that I'm putting an act on when I am communicating with people.

I have started having CBT recently and the psychologist started asking me questions that I know relate to aspergers - my ds1 shows signs of it to, but is just about able to function socially, albeit with difficulty.

I can 'read' other people when I want to and I can feel empathy. I tend to come across as aloof. I find other people very irritating and need time away on my own. I can be very skilled in communicating when I need to (as part of my job) and come across as friendly and open, but once my shift finishes, I'm back to being me.

How could I go about getting assessed and does it really matter in the long run because I don't really need to change?

Any insights would be welcome.

madmouse Wed 24-Aug-11 22:26:42

You sound a lot like my dh who has both strong aspergers traits and a history of child abuse.

He's very caring/loving/huggy but has very strong ideas about things having to be done a certain way (I once wrote the number of the emergency dentist on the front of the booklet of the new camera - we were on hols and it's all I had grin), can panic a bit at unexpected situations, need lots of time on his own and can overload if he doesn't get that space. Can be too honest coming across as untactful, then complain 'but it's a fact'.

Interestingly enough some of the traits have become less obvious since he started decent therapy to finally give this abuse a place.

scotchmist Wed 24-Aug-11 22:31:10

Sorry i cant help but i know there are a couple of mums with aspergers/hfa that post on the SN childrens topic, if you dont get any replies on here you could maybe try posting on there, my own DS is 18 and HFA but he was diagnosed pretty early on when he was 6, its such a large spectrum and is very often harder to detect in females.

scotchmist Wed 24-Aug-11 22:31:57

oops x posted

CamillaSalander Wed 24-Aug-11 22:37:31

This book by Tony Attwood is really good.

hiddenhome Wed 24-Aug-11 22:37:57

thanks for your reply madmouse smile

I don't know whether CBT is appropriate for childhood abuse confused It's all I've been offered though.

Glad to hear your dh is improving.

hiddenhome Wed 24-Aug-11 22:42:33

Thank you scotchmist and thanks for the link camillasalander

CamillaSalander Wed 24-Aug-11 22:46:58

You are very welcome; it's a great book. Your library will probably have it. smile

MichaelaS Thu 25-Aug-11 14:35:06

Hi, I have never been formally diagnosed but I do think I have Aspergers - my mother first suggested it years ago when we were talking about my childhood. She's the sort of person who thinks you have whatever she's just read about, but the more I investigated it the more it rings true.

In my childhood I didn't really "get" other children, I preferred the company of adults. As an adult i'm more the other way around - I guess I prefer people who have fewer expectations of how i'll behave or don't expect me to be exactly like them. I used to play structured and repetitive games like standing up dominos for hours and hours and finally knocking them down. i loved jigsaws and reading by myself. i also had a set of people toys - playmobile style - that i lined up. each one had a name and they had to be in the right order. then i "played" with them by moving each one a step forward at a time around obstacles.

As an adult i've noticed i prefer other people with aspergers traits - geeky people who share common interests and socialise around those. I did a maths degree and a lot of people on the degree were like that so i made a lot of life long friends! my friendship group is based on activities we like, on an opt-in basis - so if someone says "lets go out for a meal" everyone signs up or doesn't depending on whether they want to go, and noone is offended if you don't feel like it or don't want to do it. my sister and husband find this odd - their friends would go along so as "not to offend" anyone or for the company. i make friends very slowly - i have learned to socialise e.g. with colleagues but i'm not good at small talk. i only let people "in" i.e. consider them a friend after i've known them for a year or two and have seen them in several different situations. Between just met acquaintance and friend I tend to compartmentalise people and think of them as a "baby group friend" or a "church friend" or a "knitting friend" but not socialise with them at all outside that situation.

i also have serial interests which i get deeply passionate about, they last about 2 years then i'm bored and start something new. so far i've had: hanggliding, snowboarding, chinese dwarf hamsters, premature babies, knitting. maybe you could count mumnet in the list too!

I too have been told i can be quite blunt, i give honest answers rather than the politically correct ones, but over the years i've learned more about what people expect and i will bend the truth for an easier life with people i'm not that close to. i'm very emotionally self aware which i believe is from a lifetime of having to actively study it in others - and i don't have a problem with empathy, but i do often make black and white judgements so once a person gets on the wrong side of me (which is rare and takes a lot) i tend to write them off forever. i am also quite open and probably overshare a lot on mn and similar forums (sorry if this reply is too long). once i'm on a topic i'm interested in its hard to shut me up.

I don't believe high functioning Aspergers needs "fixing", instead its part of the diversity of life. It brings a lot of benefits - its highly correlated with intelligence, higher earning potential, ability to be self reliant emotionally, and superfunctioning in many areas. I think the price you pay for it is sometimes getting overwhelmed by high sensory situations, and being a bit out of your depth in complex social situations.

i've just started reading a book called AsperGirls which so far is good. the premise is that Aspergers is more prevalent in girls than often thought, its just less frequently diagnosed because girls tend to be more socially compliant and have aspergers interests which are more "normal" and accepted. a lot of women are only diagnosed when their children are diagnosed. the book is about how to cope as an AS spectrum woman and how to be proud even. Maybe you could pick up something like that and read it?

Back to your OP - you say you don't really need to change... but on the other hand you sound a bit annoyed that your therapist is veering towards aspergers questions. Are you looking for a clear diagnosis? Some help for particular situations or feelings? I think being clear on what you want would help people answer.

Hope you get what you want!

madmouse Thu 25-Aug-11 14:41:32

There is a known link between Aspergers in adults and depression

And I personally from knowing dh believe that Aspergers can be re-enforced by abuse as some of the typical aspergers traits and behaviours offer refuge (repetitive play, black and white judgement, fixed habits etc)

Where as I as a total non-aspie reacted with other and fundamentally I think more damaging behaviours like sh, repression, repeat victimisation and eating disorder

hiddenhome Thu 25-Aug-11 18:18:56

Thanks MichaelaS that's a really useful insight smile

I grew up in care with a very abusive, dysfunctional foster family, so I don't know whether or not my play was 'normal' or what my maths/science attainment was because I went to so many schools and was bullied. I can't paint a true picture of what I was like growing up because my living situation was bizarre and in no way normal.

I am fanatical about animals and music, but don't really seem to have any obsessions as such. I do need routine and being with a group of people socially freaks me out, so I never attend work functions/evenings out. I just make the excuse that I live too far away and nobody ever questions that.

I am very self reliant emotionally and am comfortable with myself. I only have two good friends, but don't see them frequently as I don't like social situations. It has improved a bit since I started the citalopram though.

I do have some black and white judgement and if someone offends me they never get a second chance. I do prefer the 'geeky' side of things, but never had a decent education, so I don't have a degree or the chance to mix with people who take an interest in the kinds of stuff that I like.

I would like to know if I do have this just out of interest. It also might help me to make sense of my inability to function socially and provide a concrete reason for this to my inlaws (whom I think consider me a bit antisocial and neurotic). They're very nice about it, but I find it embarrassing and I'm a bit ashamed of myself sometimes.

thanks madmouse what you say does ring true with me. I have responded to the abuse by withdrawing and totally avoiding as many people as possible and by becoming a bit of a control freak over my daily routine/life. Otherwise, I function okay and nobody would know that I had depression or anything.

I shall have a look for that book.

foodjunkie Thu 01-Sep-11 18:21:01

My best friend has Aspergers. He is self-employed & works alone as he feels uncomfortable at the thought of having to work within a team. He has terrible up & down mood swings to such extreme that literally within one text, we fall out big-time. He makes excuses to avoid social situations I invite him to & he only has me & one other close friend. When we are out together, he struggles to make conversation with others but does manage it for a very short period of 2 or 3 minutes. He & I talk & talk for hours to the point where we meet at 6pm & before we know it the sun is rising shock

He can be incredibly selfish & only puts his needs first. He cannot read my emotions & hates it when I cry or try to talk seriously about something. Everything is a joke to him as he finds it easier to take the mickey or laugh as he is unable to process his emotions into words.

He rarely 'gets' my jokes & I have to be very conscious of the wording I use in our written communications.

He never makes a big deal or issue out of ANYTHING. I could karate chop him in the throat & he would still make light of it. It irritates him that I am so open about my emotions. His body language confuses me as it often contradicts what he verbally says. He is a loner & has to be encouraged to come out & play. He doesn't commit to anything until 3 or 4 hours before - even a gig that he bought tickets for. Drives me nuts.

He won't ever go out of his way to help anyone. He also keeps all aspects of his life separate. I will never meet his other friend. He has never introduced me to his family. He never tells me where he works or where he has been. I never know how his love life is. Everything is on his terms.

BUT for all of this, when we are with each other we do nothing but laugh. He cuddles me when I ask for it, he picks up the phone when I ring, we meet on his terms & conditions & I go along with it because he is a gorgeous, lovable character that enhances my world when he having a 'good' day. grin

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