First of all I need to clarify that I have not been officially diagnosed. You can read more about that here and here if you wish. I do believe that I am an Aspie and I have done my best to blend in. It is not that i mean to hide but i didn’t know any other way of survival for the past 40 years.
Although I have been successful by most people’s standards (I won’t list them here because really they are just superficial) I am not happy. It is miserable what I have to go through every single day. Whether I am an Aspie, have ADHD, neurotypical, schizophrenic, paranoid, or just plain odd it doesn’t matter, I know the following to be true.
1) I hate interacting with people. I want to help people but I do not want to chit chat with them. I think that my work performance should be based on that, my work performance. But that isn’t how it works. My boss clearly measures people’s abilities by their ability to socialize with him.
2) I hate making eye contact with people. I am not sure how well I did at eye contact prior to college. What I remember is taking a speech class where they talked about making eye contact makes you believable.
Making eye contact is uncomfortable for me but I have practiced it for a long time. I never know how long to look at people and quite honestly I am guilty of often looking at my phone or computer instead of talking to people.
Eye contact should not be a measure of how professional someone is. I feel it is discriminatory.
3) During meetings I need to fidget with things. Depending on your working environment this is either okay or not okay. My boss has recently been on this whole kick about how we should not be on devices during meetings. It irritates the crap out of me. I am still trying to work around that. One of my co-workers with the same issue started bringing an iPad and tells people she is taking notes. Clever. I will be buying one soon I believe! Writing notes is considered active listening so it is actually a really good cover.
4) Some of my quirks I just can’t help though. I try not to eat with people or I am careful what I order because I have so many food issues. But no one watches me eat and thinks that I am an aspie. They call me odd for the behaviors. While eating is the one time I just can’t lose certain behaviors. Shuddering at thought of trying.
5) Some things I just can’t hide. But since I am hiding in plain sight I guess no one sees me for what I really am. I want to be in my own world. I am often lost in my own thoughts. I get asked all the time what is wrong. I have standard answers. “I am tired”, “I am really busy”, “I am going through my to do list”, “I am thinking about what you just said, can you show me the email, I am more visual (because I completely zoned while they were talking!!!)”
6) Co-workers comment on my scary memory. I had no idea. For a long time I thought everyone was like that. When someone forgot something I would get aggravated with them. I had to really work on that and expect others to not remember things.
7) I have very direct and detailed communication. I recently had to attend training on communication. At first I was mad but then I was grateful. I learned about different styles of communication and how some people need to have information communicated in a different format than others. It was very logical to learn how to assess someone else and then communicate with less or more details. And then others need more fluff or more encouragement. This is work but it is helpful.
8) I need an office that I can go in to when I need to get away from everyone else. I need to be able to close the door and not interact with anyone for a certain amount of time every day. I can feel myself start to get overwhelmed with people and I just need to get away some times.
9) The above has been in draft for a while but I decided to pull this out today because I am so lost in thought. I don’t want to tweet today or talk to anyone. I am not sad, not mad, not anything, I don’t really feel anything. I get like this sometimes and it is really difficult when I feel this way. A friend had a birthday party today. I did not want to go but she is that person that does every thing for everybody. She does a lot for me and I had to go. My husband went and asked me if I had a good time. I said yes but not really. Not that I had a bad time I just existed. When I get like this my husband asks me multiple times what is wrong. I tell him nothing or tell him I am tired. Nothing is wrong at all. I just feel lost in my thoughts but it is nothing to say out loud. In fact my mouth is literally clenched shut. The dentist has harassed me about having a night guard because I clench my teeth at night. I know I clench them during the day a lot too.
10). I don’t know why I am telling you this. Maybe I wonder, is this autism? Being lost in my thoughts, completely content not wanting to talk to people? Wishing I didn’t have to work. Wishing could just exist in my world? My son gets this way a lot. This is why I am okay with autism and asperger’s being under one diagnosis. Yes there are differences but i think there are core similarities. Just my opinion.
Update: Result from aspie test that Aspiekid recommended
On the first test he linked to I received a 170, most likely aspie. Second test I received 44 and it said I am an Aspie.