Think You Might Have Asperger’s Syndrome?

If you are reading this page, it’s likely that you’re looking for more information about Asperger’s syndrome, because you suspect you (or a family member) might have it. You’ve googled it, read the symptoms, and identify with them.

At this stage, some people back away quickly. Not everyone wants to be labelled with something as defining as autism; but for the rest of us, identifying with Asperger’s syndrome (and maybe going on to get a formal diagnosis) has been the most positive moment in our lives, and provided a crucial turning point. It has been distressing, for sure, but out of the catharsis has come self-awareness and with it, self-confidence:

“I am no longer a failed normal person. I am a successful aspie.”

Perhaps, like we did, you fear you won’t be taken seriously, because you don’t fit the aspie stereotype: you’re not a socially-awkward 9-year-old boy, and you don’t have a train set. Perhaps your friends and family think your interest in Asperger’s syndrome is just your latest obsession (er… hello?!). Perhaps you’ve already been to the doctor and been told that you’re “just depressed” (when you’re not), or that you can’t have autism because you can make eye contact (not true), or that you can’t have Asperger’s because you’re an adult and/or female (also not true). Sadly, even some members of the medical profession are woefully lacking in up-to-date information about adult autism.

Perhaps you’re worrying that you just want to have Asperger’s syndrome, because it would “excuse” all your “failings”. Perhaps you’re worrying that you’re just “attention seeking”. Perhaps you don’t feel worthy of a diagnosis.

We understand. We’ve been there too.

These are all very real concerns faced by undiagnosed aspies. But we know that just because you don’t currently have a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome, doesn’t mean you don’t have Asperger’s syndrome.

Diagnosis
Many aspies are content to self-diagnose. They don’t need the piece of paper to prove their autism; they’re confident in their own knowledge that Asperger’s syndrome is what they have, and adjust their lives accordingly. But we’re not all like that. Some us lack that confidence, which is hardly surprising after a lifetime of “being wrong” about everything else. Some of us need a diagnosis, to prove to ourselves or to others, that “there really is something else”.

All the same, getting a diagnosis as an adult is not always easy, particularly if you are a woman, and you need to do some research before you start. Here are some tips from those who have been through the process.

Do your homework
Even if you’re afraid that researching the subject will lay you open to accusations of “making yourself more aspie” just to get a diagnosis, it’s important to visit your GP armed with facts. Identifying with symptoms from an aspie perspective will be great for your own confidence, but if you’re going to convince a medic, you need to speak to him in his own language; read the “Triad of Impairments” and pick out those with which you have particular issues. Write down examples. In fact, write down everything, questions and all.

Visiting your doctor
Depending on your doctor, you might find instant understanding and care, or the complete reverse. Either way, the first question he/she will ask you is, “why do you think you have Asperger’s syndrome?” and if you’ve done your homework, you will have the answer. Take a close friend or family member with you to offer both moral support and add conviction to your concerns. If your doctor agrees to refer you, but still seems unconvinced, don’t let yourself be fobbed off with the wrong referral (e.g. to a general psychiatrist for assessment of depression). If you’re in the UK, you can insist on seeing someone with specific knowledge of adult Asperger’s syndrome.

Prepare for a long wait
Unless you have the luxury of going private (which is an option), you might wait for six months to a year before getting your assessment. This can be a worrying wait, particularly if anxiety is an issue for you. Try not to spend the intervening time thinking too much about it – trying to second-guess the result will only work you into a knot of self-doubt. Keep faith in your conviction. Trust that you know yourself better than anyone else knows you.

Dont’ be afraid to ask what will happen on the day
You might be pragmatic about your assessment, or feel as though your whole life hangs in the balance. If you’re like us, and prefer to know what your future holds, don’t be afraid to ask about the process in advance. What the room will be like? Who will be present? How long will the consultation last? Where can you go if you need a break? What kind of questions can you expect? Don’t worry about influencing the outcome by having prior knowledge of questions; for what it’s worth, my psychologist had worked out I was aspie before she’d asked the first question.

Take someone with you
On the day, take a close friend or family member with you. Someone who can confirm (both to the psychologist at the time, and to you afterwards) that you represented yourself accurately. This way, you won’t worry later that you were “putting it on for effect” and/or fear that, despite your shiny new diagnosis, you’re really just a fraud. You’re not.

Allow yourself to grieve
Whatever the outcome of your assessment, you might well be upset. Even if you get a much hoped-for diagnosis, finally being denied any chance of ever being normal can be distressing. You might grieve for the person you could have been without autism, or for the person you could have been if you’d been diagnosed as a child. Read about the “Loss Curve” and prepare for shock, denial, anger, and depression, before you finally reach acceptance. You might whizz through these emotions in a matter of hours or days, or it might take months. Even though my diagnosis came as a huge relief, it took me a fortnight to stop crying, and about six months to accept it. Over two years on, I’m still making adjustments.

Have some answers ready
When you start telling people about your Asperger’s, you will get a whole range of responses – many of which might cast doubt on your diagnosis. There’s a list here of what people said to me, along with my (weary-sounding) replies. Use mine, or think up your own answers, but remember that others will be shocked, embarrassed, incredulous, etc. and say all kinds of crazy things they wouldn’t say if they had more time to think about it. You might consider telling some people in writing.

Be kind to yourself
Don’t go over all the stuff you did wrongly or rightly before you knew you were an aspie. You’ll have done the best you could, and all without a vital piece of self-knowledge. Forgive your old self. Get to know your new self. You are a good and wonderful person, and there’s a whole world of aspies out here waiting to say Hi!

–Leigh Forbes

Related content:
» Asperger’s in Women
» It’s Okay to Want a Diagnosis!”
» Symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome (from an aspie perspective)
» The Triad of Impairments
» Diagnosis Stories
» Online Tests


Further Reading
Information about online tests for Asperger’s
How do I get a diagnosis? (from the National Autistic Society)
The NHS Constistution (detailing your rights as a patient)

62 Responses to Think You Might Have Asperger’s Syndrome?

  1. Trey says:

    As far back as I can remember I have always had friends but I also remembered something was missing, like I was missing out or something….like I was in the same room but I was more distant
    I remembered I was always singled out of the group, even though they were my friends….
    Now when I was in high school it was more obvious…. I was always bullied….ever since then I got even more distant and I preferred it… this carried with me until college….the bullying stopped but I was still ostracized and I took comfort in it… I never make any reliable relationships, not even with family members….. some people comment that I am weird, which I also have realized…I have certain quirks that even I would admit to be weird…..
    I was searching online and I found this site…after reading some of the comments it was like reading a short summary of my high school life….
    I have most of the signs of Asperger’s except for the eye contact thing…. I grew up with the tips to look someone in the eye when reporting, guess it stuck with me….other than that though…..
    I just want to confirm it though……or at least have someone hear my story

  2. Mike Anon says:

    This article made me laugh and cry at the same time. It’s so profound to have to argue with my family ( most of which have confirmed ASD, Asperger’s, OCD ) about whether I am an Aspie or not. It’s unbelievable that my wife , who has real world experience with Autism in her own family and now our son who has PDD ( high functioning ), treats me like I am a stupid ass and that I am purposely doing things to her to upset her. HAHA, imagine that. She has no idea that there are certain functional differences in my brain that just make me act a certain way, and say things that some people would consider heartless. It’s not that I do not have sympathy and even empathy, but I desire answers and I expect people who have physical and mental issues to admit them and stop pretending that they are healthy, stop whining, and look for solutions. If there are no solutions, then I have total sympathy. This is just exactly the way people always treat me.
    I have a very high IQ and use it to create amazing things and to self-teach to the point where I can learn anything and instantly have expertise at it. This has not done me all that much good so far, but I am hoping that saying “I am an Aspie, now suck it up you assholes and let me be who I am” will help a lot . Looking for a professional evaluation soon so that I can express my needs to certain people and entities that surround me. Then I can go back to being who I know I am and stop pretending to be “normal” so that others will be able to accept me into their world.

    • Simon Livissianos says:

      That’s exactly how I feel! I’ve always known there was something wrong with the way my brain functions. I’m so very tired of people telling me I’m depressed, and should ‘just get over it’. How stupid do they think I am? If I could just get over it, I would do so. I am who I am, I have accepted it, but they refuse to. With a diagnosis confirming I have asperger’s, I would no longer feel any need to explain myself to anyone, and be content to simply inform them to fuck off and leave me be.

  3. Daniel Choi says:

    Thanks. I think I have asperger’s, I totally relate to everything. But when I told my mom she shrugged it off and didn’t want to listen to me. She just kept watching the Sochi Olympics and talking with my dad. Is it possible to get a diagnosis from the school nurse? I’m 15.

    • Rob T says:

      Daniel, good for you for broaching this subject with your parents!!

      I have a son (9 years old) who may be aspie, so I hope I can give you some comfort from a parent’s point of view! It’s really scary for a parent to confront the possibility of their child being aspie — not because they’re not interested or it makes things complicated for them, but because they love you so much, they *always* want to do what’s best for you, and with Asperger’s, we just don’t KNOW what’s best!

      I always thought, as a parent, I would just have instincts. I could trust my gut to tell me what was right and wrong for my kids, that in the end, I knew best. But it scares me to think that I *really* don’t know (yet!) what’s best for my son, if he does turn out to be aspie. So here I am, reading, learning, trying to understand what it does and does not mean. I know I’ll get it right in the end, but it will take some time.

      So I hope you give your parents a chance. They may be in denial, but it’s really hard for us. You may have to take the lead on this for a while, but once they see you’re serious, and that this will *HELP* you, they’ll jump in!!

      As for talking to the school nurse, I doubt they can give you a diagnosis, but they *can* give you more confidence to move forward! It’s worth talking to them, and if they say: “Yes, you have reason to want to proceed with a diagnosis”, then they can guide you to the next steps. And if they don’t agree, well, I think you KNOW! You’re here, after all. It’s a matter of finding the right resources, the right people to support you — and wait for your parents to catch up. :)

      Good luck!

  4. Peter Kennedy says:

    It’s more a case of Aspie and Neurotypal that forms the structure for Autism I would assume that a percentage of Aspie traits decide the classifications Asperger is combination of the two but I can only speak of my experience and knowledge.

    But there’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t add up on the net its not as simple as a eye colour or skin tone its biodiversity, evolutionary have you ever wondered why a mind would be more machine like in nature and slower to develop but yield a higher intelligence. I would say genome over syndrome it all comes down to the right stimuli as children and the right support. I wish you well and remember social skill can be learnt.

  5. Ana Mert says:

    I am 25 year old woman and I think I got AS. Most of the symptoms discribe me perfectly and I got 169/200 aspie score on the http://www.rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php (33/200 for NT score to compare with). I first heard about Asperger’s when I was 17 and my grandma sent me to a psychiatrist that “specialise in Autism”. Unfortunatelly at this time I was like: “I am just a normal teenager. Who cares I act wierd?! I got my own reasons! I am not crazy! What can YOU know about ME?!” and after realising the therapy is 100PLN per hour (its quite a lot – my parents wage at that time was about 1500PLN/month) and “one hour won’t be enough if they find out there is something wrong with you” I did everything to get diagnosed as a normal person. I put on my “good impression” mask to act perfectly normal and explained I got no boyfriend because I decided to focus on school and most boys my age are plain dumb. What’s true I complained a little about the sound outside window (whose idea was it to set a therapy room with windows heading to a highway? – it was driving me crazy for the whole long hour!) but I quess it was not enough for the psychiatrist to see though my act.
    Now I wonder if I should go there once again but I don’t want to waste so much money (I am unemployed and 100PLN is 2 months of my “pocket money” that I get from grandparents, I got some savings but still, 100PLN per hour is crazy amount!). As far I know there is no free Aspie diagnosis in my country (Poland). Besides. I tricked the psychiatrist once so I could easly trick him again. I could get any diagnosis I wanted. I wonder. Maybe I am just tricking myself too?

    • Mateusz Jiiin says:

      Hi Ana, if I recall right, there’s actually a foundation in Poland which specializes in Asperger’s syndrom diagnoses. Nevertheless I’ve heard that one needs to wait quite a long time, like at least a few months, to get his or her term of visit. As I know, it is NFS donated foundation so the diagnosis is free. http://synapsis.org.pl/ Cheers

  6. Essa says:

    I think I have aspergers. On the aspie test, my aspie score was 168 out of 200, and my NT score was 49 out of 200. My AQ result was 44. I am 12 years old. I have a few close friends, who I can talk to fairly easily, but talking to almost anyone else is extremely hard for me. In my classroom, I am simply labeled as the quiet one, the creepy one. I find it hard to carry on a conversation or even start one. It is also difficult for me to look people in the eye for a long time. When I am nervous or stressed, I tend to twist my fingers around each other,sometimes so violently it hurts me. I often go into a state where I stare off into the distance, thinking, and often must be physically shaken to bring me back to reality. I often can’t tell when someone is being sarcastic. I am also kind of clumsy( not sure if this is related to that, just thought I’d mention it), often tripping over my own feet and everything around me. I once walked directly into a pole because I was so lost in thought. I am good in English and Spanish, and read at a post high school level, however I am not as good in math and am in the lowest math class for my grade. I also have significant speech, hearing AND sight problems. My mom doesn’t believe me when I tell her that I think I have aspergers. Any tips?

  7. calamityjane says:

    Thank you for your page. We have recently been confronting my 15 year old son’s Asperger’s and helping him deal with some issues – as I began to delve into Aspergers some bells went off for me. I wondered “What is it like in girls?” I opened a large chart on line of characteristics and I was absolutely stunned. I am 44 years old and I feel like my entire childhood, school experience and teen years feel right into place. Even ways I relate now and traits I have – suddenly all made sense – right down to the sensory issues I have with clothing, food and chemical sensitivities, obsessive interests that consume me until I move onto something else, and all that junk in my childhood where I just didn’t have a desire to have friends and enjoyed being home and having my own interests that we of course, TOTALLY different from everybody else’s. My kindergarten report card “has trouble changing tasks. ” Second grade” “Gets overwhelmed easily.” I was told I was shy….or stubborn….or just overwhelmed. I even had a sixth grade teacher that I ran into when I was a teen, tell me that I was “in a fog” as a child…and that “you still are”. (boy would I love to put my foot up her fat rear end right now!!! But as aspies, we don’t often catch how to react quickly to an insult, do we?)
    Now it all makes sense. I rejoice in who I am because now all the pieces fit. And it’s okay. I’m happy and I have been for years….without knowing it. Now that I know it, it’s still okay and I’m still happy. I taught myself social skills – I guess – because I learned them at some point – I now have lots of friends. I have a wonderful husband and four great kids. Yup, I’m the silly mom who throws on rain boots when it’s not raining, or does cartwheels on the lawn in bare feet. I’m scatty, disorganized and I still get overwhelmed easily…but at least now I understand who I am. It is not something to mourn, in my opinion, it’s just a challenge to undertake. Now I’m trying to be more aware in conversations “Am I paying attention to the other person?” etc. It’s just set of skills to learn and continuously hone. Thanks for all the information!

  8. Ashley Thompson says:

    I’m a 13 year old girl and for about a year now I’ve been suspecting that I have Asperger’s and I want to see about getting a diagnosis soon. Thank you for all the articles that you’ve wrote because you have helped me realize that I’m just weird and need to change to fit into the same mold that others fit into, that I can just be my odd little self with not consequences, but something more like a reward. This is the 5th time I’ve rewrote this small paragraph over the past 20 minutes, so I’m just going with this, : ), but once again thank you for all the articles you’ve posted on this website.

  9. Scott M says:

    I am a 43 year old male. Looking back as early as sixth grade I began to show some of the symptoms. I am kind of in big trouble. I know its Aspergers. Since I moved out on my own at age 23 I spend most/all of my time alone and my condition has steadily gone downhill. I work from home. I have spoken to my doctor but he dismisses my self-diagnosis. I dont have any friends. I have given up on ever having a relationship. Im at the point now where I dont leave home any more for food. Im not feeling sorry for myself, but recently I think my only real option is to stop eating and fade away. I dont want to hurt my family but I cant express myself coherently to anyone.

    • Leigh Forbes says:

      Hi Scott, I’m sure a lot of people looking at this site will be able to relate to how you feel. I know I do. The isolation that comes from working alone is hard for anyone, but when that is compounded with Asperger’s – and going out becomes as myriad of social obstacles – it is so much harder. And relationships? Yeah, a minefield.

      I am sorry your doctor rejected your self-diagnosis – this is a common problem for adult aspies (I had it too), but there is nothing to stop you seeing another doctor, if you think a formal diagnosis would help. Take another look at the paragraph about about going to the doctor; I would stress the need to identify your symptoms in terms the doctor will understand (i.e. The Triad of Impairments), and WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN!! Otherwise, there are plenty of coping strategies that you can put into effect without a formal diagnosis, depending on your own particular set of issues.

      Please don’t let yourself fade away – although I can understand the temptation. There is a better life out there, it’s just a question of finding it. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 40, and three years later I am still gradually sorting myself out. It is a long process, but I am getting there. You can too.

      You CAN express yourself coherently to the aspie community, because we understand the issues involved! There are many active groups of autistic adults on the internet: I have found great support via facebook and twitter in particular. It’s not right for everyone, but I will start by recommending the facebook group Aspie Adults – closed group” (‘closed’, because posts are only visible to members). If you send a request to join, you will be accepted. I found A LOT of support there.

  10. Sandra Gee says:

    I have been dating my boyfriend for 3 years and I always knew he was different but recently, it dawned on me that there could be a reason why. I need to talk to him about the possibility because for one, I want to help him in the areas of his life where he struggles, and two, I need to know if he is an aspie before I decide if we should have biological children together.

    Our very first date, he dominated the conversation the whole time. The times we hung out after that, his conversations about work were very detailed and intense and I almost broke up with a him a few times because it was so intense but I got used to it over time.

    He makes a clicking sound with his tongue when he’s relaxing. He is very literal, doesn’t catch on to sarcasm and is extremely logical and mathematically brilliant. He doesn’t really make me laugh as his sense of humour is almost non existent. He never says my name he’s never told me that he loves me. If he wants to engage in sexual activity, he simply puts his arm around me in bed and this is how I know he wants to have sex.

    His father is similar in his personality traits and acts strange and dominates the conversation as well. They both aren’t able to read body language and understand when the person they are speaking to has heard enough. I do believe that they both look into your eyes when they are speaking. But when my boyfriend is preparing to say something, he takes a lot of time and you can tell the wheels are turning in his head and he does not look at you when saying something serious.

    When we go to parties, my boyfriend’s behavior is bizarre and he has trouble interacting with peers. One time, I caught him walking in circles looking at his feet in the middle 30 of his work colleagues. I felt terrible for him as he did not notice that his behavior was in any way different from the others. He does not like to drink alcohol but does on occasion. I find his behavior gets even stranger when he’s had a few.

    He hasn’t made a single friend in 3 years in the town where we live and the friends that he does have, are all much younger or older than him. We joined a volleyball team together and I was able to observe first hand, the challenges he has with social interaction. He says really rude things unintentionally which has made it hard for us to make friends with the other couples. My friends do not like him as he tends to make a terrible first second and third impression.

    I feel so angry and embarrassed that he isn’t able to treat our teammates kindly. He isn’t able to share things or buy rounds of drinks for instance.

    I had the opportunity to meet a bunch of the people he went to university with the other day and it broke my heart to see them treat him as the kid that no one likes, and its not because they are terrible people, its simply because he’s hard to be around sometimes. But the even sadder thing is that he doesn’t see any of it but I do.

    Over the past 3 years I’ve listened to the struggles he has in the workplace. He’s been let go once and I suspect its because of his unique behavior although they didn’t explain why they let him go.

    He spends all of his time building street racing cars, or playing tennis. He is the best tennis player in the town. He’s brilliant with organizing the tennis league and has little problems functioning when at the tennis court and taking care of the games but at the after parties is where the problems really show through.

    I need to speak to him about this. He is very sweet and I love being with him. The problem is that if we stay together, we need to be able to talk about these challenges. It affects my ability to interact with other people as a couple. It’s embarrassing and its making me resent him. I also need to talk to him about this because I need to know if it is aspergers because if we have chidden, its very likely that it will affect our children.

    He is the sweetest, smartest, most fun person I know. But I believe in my heart that this is something that needs to be discussed.

    Can anyone tell me if this sounds like aspergers behavior?

    • Pete Sarginson says:

      Hello,

      I have only just been very recently diagnosed ith aspergers at the age of 52. I always felt odd on occasions, but never understood why. I’m told that my symptoms are on the milder end of the scale. However, this has not helped me with relationships over the years or my marriage. The problem being that if the other partner does not know or understand why you are like you are then the relationship is either going to be very hard work & possibly doomed to failure.
      Over the years I have developed a multitude of coping strategies, but this has only come after euro typical people have tactfully explained why we don’t do something or behave in a certain way. I think the key question you may want to ask yourself is how serious you are about your relationship & whether you love the other person deeply enough to persevere over what can & will be a bumpy road from time to time. If you do then you are going to need a lot of tact & care about how you broach the subject with your boyfriend & in what ways that you want to support him.
      The problem with being an aspire I now realise is that we don’t always understand subtlety & quite often when a member of the opposite sex want to give us the brush off we fail to understand that subtlety. I won’t bore you with how many times woman have dragged me up the garden path metaphorically speaking by not being truly honest in their feelings about me. Had I been told that they didn’t want to see me any more then I would understand, but sadly life isn’t always quite so easy & neither are people.
      If your serious about your boyfriend then be careful with his feelings & how you go about things with him. You could unwittingly do more damage than you realise. From what you describe & my own personal experiences, yes it sounds like your boyfriend has aspergers signs & symptoms, but obviously it need to be diagnosed by a qualified professional.

      I hope this may be of some use to you & good luck,

      Pete : )

  11. Grace says:

    I’ve always wondered if I have aspergers and for a lot of my childhood my mum use to say that she thought I did. Unfortunately, she never said it in a nice way and it was almost always followed by some variation of the phrase ‘what the hell is wrong with you’ or ‘why can’t you just be normal’. So I guess you could say that I’ve never really had a positive view of being aspie and wasn’t really jumping to get a diagnosis. But I still wonder about whether I actually am, or maybe I just have some variation of social phobia? Social situations have definitely been hard for me for a long time (especially eye contact), but they haven’t always been. Until I was 14, I was actually known as the outgoing one amongst my friends and family. I used to sort of be ‘popular’ …god knows what happened, but it all went down hill from there. The thing I most identify with about aspergers is having people find you to be ‘quirky’, having an odd sense of humor and never feeling like you fit in. But I’ve never been smart, or had that one area that I really excel in like many aspies are meant to. In fact, I’m just extremely average at most things I do. I think that’s why I’ve always dreaded the idea of being diagnosed, because it seems like I have all of the downsides of aspergers but without any of the benefits. Which kind of sucks. Anyway, this has just turned into a rant but I just felt like putting my experiences out there.

    • Beth Pugh says:

      Hi, I have just read your post. I am 45 yrs of age, can related exactly to what you have just said, especially the second part, uncanny. Other people struggle with me and relationships are a problem. Recently married but there are problems, I thought it was the real deal, what a dolly day dreamer I am, but it is not, I am unhappy, and I have been looking at myself, I thought I was normal, but I suspect I am “aspie” I’ve seen it called. I won’t change and need to realise it and be true to myself and not mess up any more lives.

  12. Another says:

    It is nice to have a name for it, but I always knew I had something. IQ 160 yet social situations have always been avoided when possible. I hold down a job, but am underemployed due to this aspect of my personality. I wish someone had helped me in those crucial years of high school and college. Father and nephew I am pretty sure have it also. I remember being socially uncomfortable as young as 3yrs old. Didn’t know about sensitivity to sounds, thought it was just the PTSD. Having this makes it much easier to be a victim of bullies/mobbers-that makes me sound like I am a teenager, but I am actually middle-aged. Pretty sure I have PTSD also. I’m ok, they are not ok, is how I view it.

  13. Aimee says:

    I am 17, and after reading this article and many others I am nearly certain that I have Asperger’s. (This article, however, was the one that convinced me to go to my school counselor to talk about it. Great article, by the way.)
    I talked to my mom about my suspicions (she is my only friend), but she just laughed and said “You talk to people fine. You don’t have Asperger’s.” But the truth is, I don’t “talk to people fine.” I imitate how I have seen other people talk, and it is a constant struggle to maintain eye contact while keeping track of what I am doing, what the other person is saying, and comparing the body language and facial expressions of the other person to past interactions. I am mentally exhausted by the end of even the shortest conversation.
    I also read on another website that people who have first-degree family members with autism or autistic traits are 50x more likely than the general population to be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, like Asperger’s. My brother is autistic and my dad is borderline.
    I have some sensory issues: fluorescent lights (specifically those in classrooms) for longer than about a half-hour leave me in a state of near catatonia. I can barely respond to direct questions, much less pay attention to, and take legible notes on, what teachers are lecturing about. I also have trouble wearing plastic-based clothes (they feel “wrong”), and when I am studying I have to keep headphones on with white noise or I can’t pay attention at all because of all the tapping and high-pitched noises that seem to amplify when I am under stress.
    From a very young age I have had what my mom called “bad habits,” but which I now recognize as “stims.” These so-called “habits” have included walking around with my hands curled under my chin, swallowing reflexively when talking, humming a single note in harmony with the AC/heating system, sucking on each of my fingers in turn, “hand flapping” (I still do this), rocking back and forth (I also still do this), walking on tip-toes (ditto), and petting, twirling and twisting my hands on, in, and around any available surface (I now take Silly Putty with me into class and surreptitiously knead it under the desk so I don’t disrupt anyone). When one “habit” ends, another almost immediately takes its place. They make me feel “right” again when I am doing them.
    I get obsessed with things. I once spent about 12 hours straight, with only the occasional bathroom break/kitchen raid, researching the history of, methods for, and materials used in the creation of illuminated manuscripts. I can’t draw at all, and yet I can’t stop myself once I get obsessed with something… like illuminated manuscripts. (Another obsession was the care and feeding of goats. I have never even owned a goat, and I have only seen them in petting zoos! That one lasted three weeks, with almost every waking moment spent reading about goats, memorizing the pros and cons of various breeds of goats, and drawing diagrams of possible ways to convert our half-acre yard into a goat sanctuary. I drove my family nuts talking about goats. I was really annoying.)
    Anyway, this is an example of the proof that I am going to show my school counselor. I am not going to tell my mom what I am doing, because she already rejects the idea of even discussing the possibility of me having Asperger’s. It makes me sad, because she really is the only person I ever talk to, but it is her fault for not listening. (She has a history of that: once I told her I was depressed and thinking about suicide because I have no one, and she laughed and said that everyone feels that way when they are my age. I was honestly very close to committing suicide at that time, and her response almost pushed me over the edge. I am fine now, and I still love my mom very much, but sometimes I wish she would just take me seriously.)

  14. Georgina says:

    My mum was the first one to suggest that I might have asperger’s. I didn’t really believe her until she bought a book about women with asperger’s that, in essence, described my entire childhood. At first she was very supportive but, unfortunately, we’ve never found it easy to get allong well and before long she began making me feel guilty about it, as if I was using it as an excuse when we argued.

    I’ve been holding off on getting a diagnosis for about a year because I’ve been so worried about whether or not I’ve actually got it. This website has helped me realise that I do identify with the vast majority of symptoms and that I probably do have it. I’m not just “using it as an excuse” and I’m not overreacting. I think I’m going to try and get a diagnosis now. Thank you :)

  15. Vicky says:

    This hit me like a ton of bricks..my brother spoke to me at length about how i may have Asperger’s recently.. as i read more and more about Aspie my mind is screaming a yes so loud that it resonates in my head for hours together. i feel bad and confused more than ever now.. but hopefully that will pass. I wish i knew this beforehand i could atleast explain to people why am the way i am. I remember when i was much younger if i was getting a earful from my parents for one of the “many” clumsy things i did, how i would withdraw into myself and never open my lip to utter a sorry even. For hours together. I remember how my dad asked me 72 times the same question and i just stood there blank in front of him till he gave up. Yes he counted. He understood something was off in me and just accepted my personality. But everywhere i ve gone and everyone i ve seen have told me how weird or out of the world i seem. I dunno if i should feel happy or sad for this. I just want to accept it and live peacefully within myself. I have the most amazing support system a.k.a my family who over the years have sort of figured out but waited until now to tell me..am highly immature (or so others think) so its probably good they waited..am still unsure of how to make my next move. I find repetition so soothing, i have not tried a new restaurant in i dunno how many years, its always the same place, the same meal, the same drink, the same route back home. Man is a creature of habit but i think aspie’s take it a bit far. I am glad there are other people like me and i hope and pray that we all get through life with the minimal amount of discomfort.

    • beke norris says:

      I am currently in the process of finding out if . Am an aspie. When I met my fiance I was so shocked at how very much alike we were. How for the first time in my entire life someone actually got me. He understood why I think the way I do. He understood how I get so frustrated with others. He understood why I’ve Had such a hard time finding decent true friends. (still searching). He was diagnosed with aspergers at 8 and through his childhood and teen years was helped on a daily basis how to handle situations a little better. He had everything I didnt get, except more life experiences. I am 32 he is 21 and we are perfect for each other. I have researched and talked enough now to realise that I am an aspie. I am currently seeing a psychologist who will be looking more into things with our suspicions. To me knowing . Am an aspie or at least highly likely, is a relieve and a comfort. I’m not a bad person, I’m not crazy and I’m not a looser.yes I am different to everyone I’ve ever known, and there’s a very interesting reason why. I see things that most disregard or miss, I love to talk deeply and not idle chit chat, I find pleasures in simple things (like repeating lines I Love in movies etc) I am creative, highly expressive (even if it comes out a little unstructured) and highly enthusiastic regarding things like. I am an aspie and in m. Eyes it’s better than being exactly like every one else who isn’t. It can be highly frustrating but you work with what you have. :)

  16. L says:

    Yesterday I burnt a pizza for the hundredth time, after my boyfriend has told me time and time again to put it on the correct heat and leave it in for the correct time. I’ve always known this, and I get in a strange habit of doing things ‘my’ way, even if I can hear a voice in my head which says ‘you’re going to burn that’ or ‘you’re doing it wrong’, it’s almost like a stubborn little girl trapped in me going ‘no, my way is right.’ Then, lo and behold, it’s burnt again.

    My boyfriend then said ‘I swear there must be something wrong with you, that’s just not normal’. And for once I took that in. I stood there, feeling no emotion (but shame deep down), realizing that I have felt almost no emotion on the surface for a very, very long time. People are always telling me to ‘cheer up’ or that I am weird or funny. The way I wear the same thing over and over every day, eat the same meals, go to the same places, watch the same films, listen to the same music. I find it near impossible to break out of certain habits – and certainly my social life has taken a turn for the worst in that I barely leave the house these days, finding comfort in sitting on my computer in front of the tv enjoying a cup of tea – even if I want to go out, I convince myself not to, that being indoors will make me happier than going out and meeting new people. I’m the queen of excuses nowadays.

    Now, after reading the various categories and lists online, I’m finding every aspect of my personality described – in detail – on here. Down to little things I thought nobody else knew about or did, it’s so bizarre. So bizarre. I’ve been making links like crazy back to my childhood years, teen years, seeing how it was never noticed and I was always ‘gifted’ or ‘special’. I was ‘arty’, would sit on my own in computer suites at school or in the art room happily working over and over and over again at a certain piece of work until I am happy with it, then getting a burst of absolute bliss. So strange.

    Thank you for all the information on this website, I feel like the backpack of bricks and self-loathing and self questioning I’ve been carrying around with my my whole life has been taken off. I feel free. I’m going to seriously look into the possibility of being diagnosed and can finally begin to start being proud of my life, instead of constantly putting myself down, self harming, drinking, taking drugs, numbing out the feeling of being ‘weird’. Finally, I feel like I understand myself, and forgive myself, and it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. Thank you.

    x

  17. Lisa says:

    Hi,

    I just discovered your website today and have been reading thru it and going Yes! Yes! Yes! at every moment of recognition. I’m 54 and when I was little Aspergers hadn’t been invented. however, I always knew I was peculiar. In fact I think I must have been 7 or 8 when I told my mother that I thought I should see a psychiatrist. She was absolutely appalled. She could never bear any mental or physical abnormality. So I used to hide my true self away, I finally realized what was wrong with me a few years ago when I was reading book about the designer Rennie Mackintosh and there was a chapter ‘Did Rennie Mackintosh Have Aspergers’ and listed the symptoms. It was a Eureka moment. I wasn’t being childish or standoffish when I couldn’t think of anything to say to people or upset them without intending to. So much on your website is so true of me that I could write pages. Anyway, my Mum died in February and I’ve been suffering from depression (which I get regularly twice a year but which has lasted longer and been worse than usual this year – and going thru the menopause hasn’t helped). I finally went tot he doc with it a month ago and have been put on Citalopram. The doc seems to think that I’m depressed because of repressed grief,but it isn’t. All my long hidden feelings are coming to the surface and I’m feeling very guilty about how I disappointed my parents, but now I see that what caused that was my being an aspie in that I was useless at sport and generally awkward and withdrawn. Anyway, today I saw my doc again and told her my suspicions re Aspergers and she said that even if I did have it she didn’t see much point in getting a formal diagnosis as it wouldn’t achieve anything. I feel I know too much about it and would know what answers to give to get the diagnosis I want. But thinking about it and reading your website has made me decide to ask for a referral when I next see her in a month’s time. Its only today that I’ve ever told any one at all about my suspicions, and it is making me feel quite liberated, to think that somebody understands and I’m not the weird creature I always believed myself to be.

    • Leigh Forbes says:

      Lisa, I am so very glad. It is hard to reach middle age without knowing something so important about oneself, and I admire your positive reaction. It is a long journey of discovery you have started, but an enlightening one – sometimes distressing, more often liberating as you describe. I wish you luck, particularly with your GP. I have heard of your GP’s response so many times now, I think I might write a post called “Well it would achieve something for me!”

      • Lisa says:

        Dear Leigh,

        Thank you for your kind response. There’s so much I want to say that I don’t know where to start and far rabbiting on to much and boring people and seeming just seeming an egotist. Its so comforting to find someone who understands and the fact that the website is anonymous helps -whispers of comfort and understanding in the dark.

        I’m going to tell you about a particularly traumatic time in my life. All my life the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to be was a writer (I much prefer to communicate in writing as I can plan what I want to say -I hate using the phone). My parents wanted me to be a teacher, and I was happy to go along with that to get the long holidays and short working hours to give me time to write. So I got accepted by a college to do a degree. One of my criteria in picking a college was how easy it was to get home from it but I ended up being shunted to a campus which was difficult to get to. Anyway, the day came to go and all my belongings were packed up and off Mum and I went. I was allocated a shared room, which completely freaked me out as I’m an only child and never had to share a room with anyone apart from on odd times like on school trips -but a complete stranger. I have a great need for both physical and mental privacy. I was in tears when Mum left me and basically spent the rest of the day and night having one massive panic attack, because I was not only obliged to share my privacy with a complete stranger but also I felt as if I’d been abandoned and home wouldn’t be home any more. The next day I went home in a funk. My parents were not pleased to say the least. My father always regarded me as a bit of a wuss. Eventually I agreed to go back on condition that I could have a room of my own but I suspect that people thought I was just having a childish hissy fit. I got my degree in the end but I hated every moment of my time at college, was bored by the work and came home every other weekend. After the degree I went to uni to do a post grad teaching cert, only I failed both my teaching practices as I couldn’t control the kids – any my parents were not best pleased with that either, tho looking back I can see it was a blessing in disguise as I think I’d've had a breakdown if I’d had to cope with obstreperous kids day after day. I was on the dole for 16 years, tho for the last 8 of those I worked regularly at the local racecourse in catering (Mum got me the job as she had been there years) while at the same time doing secretarial skills at the local college. I had no end of interviews but it was always the same: I was overqualified and under experienced, and being an aspie, as I now realize – my interview skills were not the best. Eventually I got the job I have now, but only because I didn’t get the job I was interviewed for: 6 weeks later somebody had to go on long term sick leave at short notice and I was available to start immediately. I’ve been there 15 years now but its not been easy. I’m not good at teamwork and don’t like being told what to do and so I’ve had some massive clashes with my boss.

        Thanks for reading this. I hope I’ve not bored you.

  18. Emma says:

    hey, I just wanted to thank you for your post/blog, never has anyone said how I have been feeling about the prospect of having Asperger’s I am not diagnosed and what you said means so much to me, particularly this

    “Perhaps you’re worrying that you just want to have Asperger’s syndrome, because it would “excuse” all your “failings”. Perhaps you’re worrying that you’re just “attention seeking”. Perhaps you don’t feel worthy of a diagnosis”

    The quote above is exactly how I have been feeling, I recently at 19 dropped out of university after finding it all too much. I am going to go to the Doctor but I am afraid they will just think I am being paranoid and dismiss me.

  19. Shenagh says:

    This post has been so helpful. After two years back & forth to my 11 year old sons school, appointments with educational phyc’s and him being accused of not trying in school, feeling like he does nothing right, like he has no friends, not wanting to go to any activities or school we have now been referred for an assessment for aspergers. Up till two days ago I hadn’t much understanding but after reading many websites it all looks so obvious. Most of what has been said above I can relate to how my boy is and says he feels.

  20. Christopher says:

    Hi Leigh,

    Just discovered your site, really good! I’m also from Sussex. I was diagnosed in 1995 aged 13, and it interests me why there are so many people younger than me who didn’t get a diagnosis until adulthood. The conclusion I am coming to is that as a child I did not pretend to fit in with the other kids trying to join in and looking like a regular kid from an outsider like many aspies try to do in their earliest years. No back in the late 80′s before it was known about, I’d spend play times walking up and down in the same spot on my own, talking to my imaginary people – so I made it pretty obvious I was different!

    I believe getting a diagnosis is something worth fighting for, I do understand it can be a battle as unlike with physical disabilities, there’s no black or white criteria to judge it by. But if you can identify the problem, and label it, you can start to identify the help you need, in whatever way that may be and make progress. We need to make clear to anyone struggling with their label that there is absolutely nothing that someone with aspergers is incapable of doing – no limits – just the need to learn some things (i.e. social skills) a different way from others. After that we can identify where help is needed and look for ways to seek out the right support, or learning and development needs.

    For me,, a big issue was socialising. I was happy to latch onto my parent’s friends as a kid as this was safe, easy and comfortable. But as an adult I wanted a social life of my own, and I have a great one now, but it’s taken me years to achieve it. But throughout the process I have learned so much about social dynamics and the exact type of support an individual with aspergers needs to succeed socially. Get the right methods in place and you’re flying!

  21. Mel says:

    Hi Leigh, that was a truly fantastic post. I relate with so many things that you’ve written – much more than I ever related to the typical “Aspie” blogs or news or medical information.
    I am a 20 year old female, I go to school full-time and work part-time. In my senior year of high school, my family told me about Aspergers. My mom believes I have it. And apparently since I was a child Aspergers was brought up – but not early on. Early on I was a “rude” and “stubborn” child. I guess that was still when Aspergers wasn’t a well-known diagnosis.

    But here’s the part of your post that I related to the most – word for word related to -
    “Perhaps you’re worrying that you just want to have Asperger’s syndrome, because it would “excuse” all your “failings”. Perhaps you’re worrying that you’re just “attention seeking”. Perhaps you don’t feel worthy of a diagnosis.”

    I have experienced all of these things. And I still do. I struggle with it because I “want” Aspergers so bad, because I am guilty of being mean, rude, and a horrible person.
    I do get obsessed with topics, but I don’t feel the need to talk about them with everyone, like I’ve heard that people with Aspergers do. I am over-the-top obsessed with anime, and for the past year I’ve been absolutely obsessed with Nirvana and grunge. I make eye contact, and laugh, and am really, really good at telling what people are feeling through their emotions – and I go about my day without impairments. In high school, I was always “the quiet kid”. I’m still like that but I can integrate myself now, so that I fit in with everyone much more than I used to. My face is often unemotional. I didn’t always know this, but I realized once my mom told me a long time ago. I remember when I walked down the halls in high school, I made a conscious effort to raise my eyebrows so that it didn’t look like I was scowling. In my freshman year of college, I had a classmate go up to one of my friends and ask “what was wrong with me”. She thought I looked really sad. When in reality, I was feeling perfectly fine.

    That’s just some background. I just have a burning need to know for certain whether I have Aspergers or not. I know for a fact that I specifically struggle with anxiety (all the time) and OCD (medication and time has made it better). But I feel that Aspergers “forgives” all of my failings. All of my wrongdoings. It makes it not my “fault”. I’ve felt this way since I heard this diagnosis. I wish I could just know whether it was true or not. Because I am not Autistic-seeming at all. I just seem a little unapproachable. I am extremely good at telling what people are feeling from their facial expressions and mannerisms…That’s a count against a true diagnosis.

    If anyone could somehow calm my mind.

  22. Kristen Adams says:

    Hi,
    I’m a 25 Aussie girl and I’m almost positive that I have Aspergers. My 9 year old daughter too, for that matter.
    I fit the criteria perfectly, particularly the social awkwardness and deep seeded, though often short lived, obsessions.
    However, I am absolutely terrified of going to my GP for a diagnosis or referral, as I don’t want to be told that I don’t have Aspergers, through fear of going on as a”freak” for the rest of my life.. any other advice?

  23. Mwiche says:

    Hi, I’m 15 and I think I may have asperger syndrome, I’ve been reading about aspergers in females and it seems to match up with me but I don’t want to misdiagnose myself because I always thought of myself as just awkward that I was just a loner. I remember I was always quiet and would watch people before I felt okay to join in conversation and would only talk when I had something to say but for the most part just be quiet but whenever I did (do) talk I would end up talking too much and would get irritated expressions from people, and after I’d feel drained like “I should have remained quiet”and sometimes when I said things people would take them offensively and who ever baby sat me would say I was a problem. I got older and in about the 6th grade I was bullied(I was always picked on since I can remember) and the way I would deal was through watching anime and through that I would live in this “fantasy”world in my thoughts whenever I was alone and it was literally all I would do outside of school and I remember talking wore me out for example I remember taking a trip to my aunt and uncle’s house in Colorado for spring break and I couldn’t hold eye contact and didn’t want to talk and they thought I was disrespectful, I even made my cousin uncomfortable . In the 7th grade I moved a town over and I was in a new situation away from familiar faces and couldn’t look people in the eye and other kids would always ask “are you sad? what’s wrong?” and I was always the “quiet”In the 8th grade I made close friends and I found that hard to get used to because I was worn out socially tried and I guess you could say I always focused on them but I always tried to be as “normal” but was always afraid they’d see how I really am. In 9th grade my friends went to different schools than me and I was worn out socially and even got depression that school year.
    Sorry I wrote a lot I just want to give you a picture
    I wouldn’t lie about something like this and do want a formal diagnosis and I wouldn’t use something like aspergers as an excuse or crutch, but I wouldn’t know where to go for a diagnosis and feel as though my mom won’t believe me, if I get a diagnosis and it comes out true I won’t go blurting it out but I wouldn’t know how to deal with people not believing me.. I’m sorry this was lengthy, please please tell me what I should do, I don’t know how to come out and ask my mom.

    • Leigh Forbes says:

      I find it very hard to advise other people – all our situations are different, and especially as you are still a minor. However, you sound very likely aspie to me; your experience of growing up is much like my own childhood. My advice would be to show this site (and what you wrote) to a trusted adult – it doesn’t have to be your mother; maybe a teacher at school or a health professional. Prepare carefully first (study the facts), and try not to feel defensive if you are not believed – many people don’t want to believe us, because they think it means they are condemning us to being flawed (or themselves to having contributed to that “flaw”). For what it’s worth, even in my late thirties I had serious doubts about my own self-diagnosis: like you, I felt it matched the way I viewed life, the way other people viewed me, and my general experiences of trying (and failing) to interact successfully, but my closest friends and relatives dismissed the idea, saying I was just attention-seeking and/or obsessing. And that was when I was grown up with three kids of my own!! It is very hurtful, and I know how very much harder it is for people your age. But remember, in just three years time, you will be able to go for a diagnosis without parental consent.

      I hope this has helped in some way. Please let me know how you get on.

      • Stephanie says:

        Thanks for sharing….I am informally diagnosed, realized it in my mid-40s, decades after my son. I am struggling with the part of “forgiving my past self” (perfectionist much? ) but DO appreciate that you reinforce that!

        ” Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” ~ Albert Camus

  24. JustMe says:

    Thank you so much for being here… The first few lines of this post are EXACTLY where I am right now. I have struggled for years with people calling me arrogant, rude, aggressive and just plain awful!!! I am none of those things… I now know I have aspergers!!!

    I KNOW I have aspergers in some format and to some degree. I may well hold down a job and seem normal on the outside. I don’t have facial or muscle tic’s, I don’t stare at my feet in order to avoid eye contact and I don’t speak in a strange language all of my own particular vocabulary.

    I know what I struggle with and I don’t need a Dr to validate me however, a diagnosis may go some way to giving me some relief in that I can SAY I have Aspergers to my family.

    I now know what caused me so much difficulty growing up and continues to give me trouble with my friends, work colleagues and family to this day. I know that is isn’t my fault. I can stop blaming myself for the breakdown in my first marriage. I must have been very difficult to live with and looking back all the signs were there… Yet I had no help, no support and did not even think that I was the cause of the difficulties.

    This post has given me so much hope and relief that whilst I may still be difficult and challenging to live with, my struggle has a name and is a very real ‘thing’. It is not my personality, it is not my upbringing, it is not my arrogance…. It is called ASPERGERS SYNDROME PEOPLE……

    Read up on it and get used to me.

    Read up on it and accept me

    Read up on me and enjoy the positive things it brings to your life.

    I am now happy… for the first time in a long time.

  25. JustMe says:

    Thank you som much for being here… The first few lines of this post are EXACTLY where I am right now.

    I KNOW I have aspergers in some format and to some degree. I may well hold down a job and seem normal on the outside. I don’t have facial or muscle tic’s, I don’t stare at my feet in order to avoid eye contact and I don’t speak in a strange language all of my own particular vocabulary.

    I know what I struggle with and I don’t need a Dr to validate me however, a diagnosis may go some way to giving me some relief in that I can SAY I have Aspergers to my family.

    I now know what caused me so much difficulty growing up and continues to give me trouble with my friends, work colleagues and family to this day. I know that is isn’t my fault. I can stop blaming myself for the breakdown in my first marriage. I must have been very difficult to live with and looking back all the signs were there… Yet I had no help, no support and did not even think that I was the cause of the difficulties.

    This post has given me so much hope and relief that whilst I may still be difficult and challenging to live with, my struggle has a name and is a very real ‘thing’. It is not my personality, it is not my upbringing, it is not my arrogance…. It is called ASPERGERS SYNDROME PEOPLE……

    Read up on it and get used to me.

    Read up on it and accept me

    Read up on me and enjoy the positive things it brings to your life.

    I am now happy… for the first time in a long time.

  26. Melissa says:

    Hey Leigh,

    Lately I have come to realise that what is ‘wrong’ with me is not just ADD. By reading a lot about aspergers I have self-diagnosed myself as defenitly an aspie(girl). For my ADD I get medication that helps me get trough the day. But I am afraid if I also let myself be diagnosed with aspergers, that they quit the description for the pills that make me function a bit better in everyday life. And I’m also afraid of the reactions people might have. When I stated the question to a few people, they first laughed and said that I didn’t look like someone with autism.. But when I tried to explain the symptoms they seemd more open to it. But still, going trough this comparison with stereotypes does not look very compelling to me. Any advise?

    • Mwiche says:

      I know what you mean I feel as though I may have it as well I’m almost certain I talked to a friend of mine about getting diagnosed and he just said “I think you’re normal” and I guess that’s what makes me think that people have a stereotype of what someone with autism is like. I think if you have a person that supports you even if it’s just one person to go with you when you get a diagnosis and a place where you can find a good specialist, you should be fine in terms of getting diagnosed, also in terms of dealing with people not believing you I know I’m scared too I haven’t come out to say I want the diagnosis yet to a lot of people, but I think what helps is that you’re doing it for yourself and not them. Have you gotten around to getting diagnosed?
      Sorry I know you were expecting Leigh but I just wanted to help out, if you want you can email me if not that’s fine too

  27. Eve says:

    Wow. Thank you so much for this. I found myself agreeing and agreeing with what you’ve written here. I’m in my early teen years, and I started to suspect the syndrome in myself last year. Every day is different now. “I definitely have it”, then, “I probably have it, I might”, then “It’s all in my head” and back again. I think the first thing I’ll have to do is see the school counsellor, and maybe she can help me out. To be honest, I’ve been too scared to try and contact her, because I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be like, talking to a counsellor. But what you’ve written here has really boosted my confidence and maybe I’ll be brave enough to just go and see her now.

    • Leigh Forbes says:

      I am so glad this has helped you. Boosting confidence is one of our main ambitions! Good luck with the counsellor, and please let us know how you get on!

  28. Vicki says:

    Have just had my diagnosis late in life and would not disagree with a word Leigh says about the experience. So good to read that someone else has had the same thoughts, doubts, reactions. Cheers for that. Am ready to see what this new phase of self-knowledge brings.

  29. James Casey says:

    Thank you for this, and also the “Symptoms from an Aspie”. I have done my homework and I have seen that I follow in the same traits as I see in this website and others. I have self diagnosed myself as an aspie, but I cannot formally diagnose myself. I am only 15 years old, and unfortunately my family is under the impression that I am going through a phase where I want to have mental disorders. They refuse to believe in my depression or my Attention Deficit Disorder (which were formally proved), saying that it is all a part of my phase. Do you have any advice?

    • Leigh Forbes says:

      Hi James, I sympathise enormously with your position, as I have been there myself. My only suggestion is to show your family this website, and maybe others that you have found, explaining how you relate to the symptoms. If you can detail any particular behaviours of yours (or incidents) that they will remember for themselves, that would help too. Please feel free to get in touch again. And good luck.

  30. Duncan Smith says:

    Thanks for the article which is exactly at the point I’m at.
    Over the last 5 years since my son was diagnosed with Asperger’s I’ve slowly come to realise that I probably am myself. The no eye contact and sensory overload are really pretty clear as are the string of diligent hobbies and collections. But…..when it comes to the social aspects things get a whole lot more indistint. You see 45 years of hiding and avoiding people, of convienient forgetfulness and creating a safe world for myself have become so polished that I’m not that sure if its me or not! Ten years of deep depression tends to kick the s**t out of every last scrap of self belief. Its not a pity story more a very real dilemma – How can I tell whats me and whats fake, I think the clincher for me is that as the depression subsides the constant anxiety of being around people is as real as ever. I’ve still got a long road to travel but I suddenly feel like I have a family of Aspies who are on my side.
    Thanks for the chance to write. It helps a lot to put down the words and thoughts. Duncan

    • Leigh Forbes says:

      Hi Duncan, thanks for the comment; it’s always good to hear other people’s stories. Yes, it’s very hard to know what’s real and what’s fake after a life-time of pretence – I’ve been there too. I can promise you, it gets easier as time passes. I found that finally being able to forgive myself all my “failings” meant I could let myself be who I naturally wanted to be – making decisions on a more subconscious level, rather than thinking about it too much, and always trying to please other people – and the real me came through. It probably took me a year. I’m glad you feel part of a family of aspies; I feel the same way! We’re so lucky to be living in the age of the internet!

  31. kruse says:

    Dear Leigh, Just wanted to let you know that I had my diagnosis interview with the psychologist today and the answer I got was “definitely aspergers.” So, yeay.
    I’m still processing it I guess, but the feeling I have at the moment is like a huge weight has been lifted off me. So thank you again for making this website and writing about autism, your words were and are a tremendous support.

    • Leigh Forbes says:

      Congratulations. I appreciate the processing involved, and that it isn’t all easy or straightforward, but I sincerely hope the weight continues to lift.

      It is enormously rewarding to know you find this site is helpful and supportive – that is exactly what I set out to do, and it’s fantastic to know it’s working. Thank you for saying so :o)

      • kruse says:

        I first wrote on here under the pen name ‘liberated ape.’ So that was me all worried and confused and here I am today and what I have to do is re-write my own history. And that is a history in which I am not difficult, weird, mad, anymore. It’s a history in which a girl with aspergers became a loving mum and a happily married wife and a successful person. And it is a history in which I can revisit my old passions (drawing, visual cataloging) with a whole new focus. Being obsessed with an interest and pursuing my love of it is a good thing, not something to hide and be ashamed of. It is like being freed or validated. Hmm, still processing…

        • Leigh Forbes says:

          Am so glad the veil has lifted. It’s a joy to read, it really is. Please, keep me posted on how you’re doing. I know it doesn’t end with diagnosis. Take care.

  32. liberatedape says:

    Thank you thank you thank you! You start this article explaining EXACTLY what is currently going on in my head – and even the reactions of members of my family! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Next month I am finally going to see someone about getting a diagnosis, but really scared that they will say no I haven’t got it. After two years of research and reading and examining my own experience that would be as devastating as the last 48 years have been undiagnosed (and mad, weird, attention seeking etc) Reading this helps to calm me down a lot. Thank you!

    • Leigh Forbes says:

      You are more than welcome. I am sincerely glad it helps, and I wish you the very best of luck with your appointment next. Keep us posted!

  33. Spectrum Scribe says:

    Very helpful, encouraging and optimistic article Leigh.

    Our grieving timetables were identical! :-)

    Your practical, real life examples and suggestions should be a great help to anyone considering a diagnosis.

  34. mark blakey says:

    We always get a lot of feedback from the aspergers test site of people who have self diagnosed and then go looking for an official diagnosis. It seems like most doctors don’t want to know and are highly reluctant to make referrals.

    • Leigh Forbes says:

      That’s why it’s so important to gather the facts first. I made the mistake of thinking my doctor would know all about Asperger’s when I went to see him, but he was neck deep in prejudice and misinformation. If I have taken along a long list of how my life matched Asperger’s (as well as someone to support me), he would have had to take me more seriously.

  35. Karen says:

    I’m in UK- I can insist on a referral? Indicated to GP that think may be Aspergic but was told he didn’t think diagnosis useful, because of ‘self-stigmatising’.
    I would be reassured by diagnosis.
    Your advice is appreciated!

    • Leigh Forbes says:

      I’m sorry, that section was misleading: you can insist on an appropriate referral, but not on the referral itself (I’ve edited the article to remove the ambiguity).

      I would encourage you to go back to your GP. But before you do, think of as many examples as you can to offer as proof for your suspicions – show that you know what you’re talking about! Write it all down so you don’t get flustered. Take someone with you to show you have support. The National Autistic Society have an excellent page about seeking a diagnosis (How do I get a diagnosis?), which goes into greater detail about providing a convincing argument.

      Your GP’s “self-stigmatising” argument suggests a “diagnosis is bad” or “pointless” attitude, so try listing all the reasons why diagnosis would help you.

      And don’t forget the enormous support you have from all the aspies who’ve been there before you!

  36. Nicci Davis says:

    Great article, thank you.

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