Thanks for tagging me @mrmusic
I like this thread, I read through the first couple of pages and I'll definitely read through the rest at some point.
I think I'm autistic, here's a few things that looks like for me/ why I think that...
- I've always felt different and not fully accepted by my peers (as a kid most other kids refusing to let me play with them, in group settings people acting like I just didn't say anything or giving me weird looks when I try to be involved).
- I find it hard to process auditory information, especially when there's lots of layers of noise, and when it doesn't require/ have the opportunity for me to actively interact with the information (to understand what song lyrics are saying I have to see them written down while listening to it or to be more effective sing along as well, in most group social settings most of the time I get way too overwhelmed and just can't follow everything that's happening so I check out and just be there, 'mm'ing and nodding and laughing at the right bits based on tone/ what other people are doing. Sometimes that happens with one on one conversations too, especially if there's several other things I need to be thinking about. That usually goes ok unless people use deadpan humour, that catches me out.
- When something emotionally distressing is happening I find it really really hard to talk about it (or at all) until the situation/emotions are less intense and I just want/ need to shut down until then. That's caused some issues with my husband at times as he feels shut out and wants to communicate then, but he's been figuring out that I just need a bit of time lately.
- I think/ problem solve in a really systematic manner
- When I'm talking I feel a need to be really specific and comprehensive (this and the last one meant I did really well in school and can write a killer essay, but makes it hard to keep the flow going in conversations and it's hard to know how much of it people actually care about but I get scared of saying things that are wrong or not entirely correct)
- I stim by tapping my fingers/ squeezing my toes and knees in a pattern, or twist things I'm holding, or fiddle with my lips, sometimes while doing a task that doesn't require moving, sometimes to ease distress. Often with counting as I tap (that just started after I did drumming for a while)
- There used to be a fairly limited range of things I'd eat (not so limited that it wan't healthy, but once I found something I liked I'd just stick with that rather than try new things) and I'd avoid combining flavours/ textures. This one's just phased out mostly as I've gotten older, not sure why...
When seeing a counselor early this year who suggested I might be autistic (I'd responded by being like 'maybe? but I don't know') at one point he asked if we could look through the DSM 5 criteria for autism to see if I thought I matched it. He was then really apologetic, saying it wasn't as clear or helpful as he'd hoped it would be and that the language was really insulting/ unhelpful (that was my experience too). What do other people (especially those who are autistic) think of the diagnostic criteria?
Also, how have people found experiences of seeking diagnosis's or being diagnosed? Is it helpful? Does it have any drawbacks? If anyone's got experience being/seeking to be diagnosed as an adult, and especially as an adult who can often 'pass' as neurotypical, I would love to hear your thoughts on what the pros/ cons are. (from what I recall you might have some similar experiences @N1ghtW1ng ? No pressure to answer though)
I'm thinking I might want to because there are a couple of struggles I've been having with uni which I suspect are strongly impacted by autism, and with a diagnosis there are a couple of reasonable adjustments they'd probably make. But I'm worried about whether the psychiatrist or whoever will get it right about whether I do or don't have autism, I'm worried about missing important things to tell them, I'm worried about it taking a really long time and/or money to get the diagnosis, I'm worried about if I am diagnosed if I have to tell employers that, I'm worried about being treated differently because of that, I'm worried that it might just be a word with no real benefits.
I'm glad you like this thread @hellofriend!
Thank you for sharing with us why you think you're autistic It's great to be able to have conversations like it and help us understand more about ourselves.
And I would be happy to share my experience with you I don't really know if I can pass as neurotypical, I don't try to hide myself so if anyone knows things, they can probably pick it out, at the very least that something's "up".
My journey getting diagnosed was actually through my mum. It was a couple of years ago now (early 2017) and to be completely honest with you (because I am completely oblivious to everything) I didn't realise what was happening when mum asked me to do it. I thought I was just seeing a psych or something but then we were both given a paper test to fill out, mum's as a parent and mine as myself to answer and give back to them to help with the diagnosis. Then, I went there with my mum and went through the session answering questions and such. I think as an adult I had more... autonomy might be the right word? Because I was capable of speaking for myself (though I couldn't remember anything of my childhood, so couldn't accurately answer things without my mum's help). It meant that "my side of the story" was acknowledged because it was about me after all.
It took my fourth year of uni, over two years later, to finally go to my uni with that diagnosis and say "help me" so at the very least now I can get extensions without a dr's note, which as someone who cannot just sit down a do things, is now a relief that I can extend assignments. So that's definitely helpful.
I wouldn't say there's any drawbacks. My family never talks about it and now the more openly stimmy I am (playing with stretchy things or slinkies is my favourite) they will buy me something. Any drawbacks that would come with a diagnosis (I'm assuming here) would be other people judging you but to be honest, who freaking cares? Anyone who judges you for being who you are is not worthy of your time.
I also wanted to say that I really resonated with so many of your points, even though some of them can be sucky, they're also what makes us who we are and it's always okay to be us
As to my feelings about the criteria... well to be honest I don't really know what they are From the new psych I've been seeing, we talked about it a bit and I think there were three... social something, communication maybe and I can't remember. But what frustrates me the most is how I seem to be at the "high end" but when I am crying at my desk because I can't just write something, I don't feel very "high functioning".
A side note, sorry for this reply getting ridiculously long, but at least I'm nearly at the end now
The last thing I wanted to add is that it is absolutely okay to be worried. I don't know how much it cost, but I think you can (what's the word?) with medicare? But you can always ask the place first. Online tests can be helpful too, to give you an idea of where you might "fit" on the scale but it's always up to you. You also don't have to tell your employers anything, (I'm a bit unfamiliar here, so a professional might have more accurate information) but I don't think your employers really need to know, unless you want to tell them.
There are definitely benefits, in providing understanding for yourself and others who know. In being able to gain support in educational places like uni and possibly other places in the future.
And if anyone decides to treat you differently, or basically be a dick, then screw them. Because you're better than that
Somewhere in here is a huge list and photos of my stim toys that could use updating and a new thread would be the perfect place!
Should I put it in everyday life stuff or somewhere else?
Edit: I've made the thread now, if anyone here's interested here's the link https://forums.au.reachout.com/t5/Everyday-life-stuff/Stimming/m-p/359316#M31626
Things to check out:
Stressed about the bushfires? Have a look here for ways to cope
Here's a calendar of all the discussions we will be having in November!
Share your thoughts in our Special Discussion on Friendships!
Seen something fantastic on the forums?