Hiding in plain sight

Hiding in plain sight


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.

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Comments

  1. Have you read Aspergirls yet? (I don’t remember if it was you I recommended it to – I think it was…) I’m going to be posting “my diagnosis story” soon – I think you’ll relate to it. It is my feeling, that once you’re an adult, “if it looks like a duck, and it smells like a duck, and it walks like a duck, it’s probably a duck”. Especially with women. I think there’s a big problem in the Autism community with discrediting adults who self-identify as “somewhere on the Autism Spectrum”. Sure, there are probably a few misguided individuals, but really, most “high functioning” adults who go through all the painstaking effort of learning enough about Autism to be able to understand it and see it in themselves, are probably on the spectrum. (and really, let’s face it, the adults who go through that much effort, are the ones who thought “hey, this sounds like me, let me go read tons of books and figure out if this really is me… “)

    Also, have you ever heard of the “Broader Autism Phenotype” (BAP)? Here’s a good blog post explanation: http://kwomblescountering.blogspot.com/2011/07/bippity-bappity-boo.html – but if you’re interested, look it up on google.

  2. With all due respect to our therapist friends in the twittersphere, I think the best way to know if you are an aspie is whether or not you have always felt different and if you self-identify as an aspie.

    Here are two online aspie tests. It would be interesting to see what your scores are.
    http://rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php
    http://www.piepalace.ca/blog/asperger-test-aq-test/

    • Thank you. When I started to write this post I had intended to tell people what it is like to try to function in this world. Then I don’t feel authentic because I don’t have diagnosis. I think that is a major thing I have been struggling with lately.

      I took one of the tests and scored a 44, I have taken other tests in the past and I always score in the range of having Aspergers. I just want to be authentic. I don’t want to say I have Aspergers if I don’t. And in reading that last couple sentences I realize that is an aspie thing to say!

      I wanted to get therapist eval but haven’t found anyone to diagnose adults in my area. But you are right they aren’t the best. They base so much on outward behaviors. Behaviors that I have worked my whole life to try and minimize in my attempts to blend in.

      I think I can move on now. Thank you again.

      • I was diagnosed by my cousin first. She is a professional therapist who specializes in autism. But since it was an informal diagnosis by a relative, I also wanted to be “authentic” like you said, and I also was getting ready to write a blog about it so I wanted to have a “real diagnosis”. So I went to a therapist who confirmed that I have Aspergers Syndrome, but I was not impressed. She didn’t seem to know nearly as much about it as I did. She had never even heard the term “mind blindness”. It was a waste of my money. Each clinic has their own definition of what Aspergers Syndrome, autism and PDD-NOS are. A study was done of diagnoses that proved this. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/237515.php

      • Yes I often feel I know more than the professionals. Quit taking my son to psychologist when I realized she didn’t get it. Easy to say that with son, hard to say with self.
        Thank you!

  3. karenaspergersmom says:

    I’m no therapist or diagnostician but it sounds like you are on the right track here. Every since I found out my boys diagnosis, I’ve been self-diagnosing, myself and my husband. My husband especially has a lot of traits leaning in the Aspie direction, but the eye contact has never been an issue. As for me, I am the scatter brain who probably has a little ADD. Keep searching for your answer. And keep sharing. Hugs to you and Sheldon…

  4. I needed to think overnight on your post, because it brought up so much emotion in me.

    I went through a similar process myself last year. In fact, I had my very first thougts of seriously being on the spectrum right after February break last year.

    I embrace you full on as a sister Aspie. I was given these supportive words from the coordinator of the Asperger’s Associateion of New Englad, when I called to ask of help: “If you have ASD in your immediate family, and you think you might be on the spectrum, too, there is a 98% chance that you are.”

    This was not science speaking but a person who works with hundreds of AS people. I took those tests and scored similar to you. I am an autistic woman. Diagnosis, no diagnosis–you know yourself best and I accept you as an awesome blogger and kindred spirit.

    Thinking of you,
    Lori

  5. Chick. You’re an aspie… accept it!

    One of us…. one of us… .:D

  6. Ola! Aspieside,
    Interesting Thoughts On a side note while there are issues in a relationship or marriage, good communication is very essential between the partners and it’ll make the life and the relationship a lot easier. Emotional bonding with the partner is also very important. Additionally one needs to make certain that the problems along with the issues are taken care of quickly.
    I look forward to your next post
    Have a nice day.
    cheers!
    Pearlene

  7. Thanks for sharing! I too have not had a “formal” diagnosis, but my son has. He is a mini version of me, with some of the same challenges I had throughout my childhood and teen years. I’ve spent 30+ years teaching myself to “fit in”, but just like you…. I need my space, and run into the same pitfalls.

    thanks for sharing! You can read about my crazy thoughts and life at http://www.so-calledgeek.com

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