My Traits

Looking at getting an official diagnosis, I’m having to think about why I think I may have ASD. A lot of people don’t realise that I’m this way because I’ve become very good at “masking”, as most females with ASD do. It’s a reason why so many more males are diagnosed than females. Anyway, here’s the list I’m working on:

Sensory, Sensitivity and Motor Issues:

  • Very picky eater, yet the dislike of food is almost always down to texture and temperature rather than taste – I gravitate towards crunchy or chewy foods, chips have to be over cooked, I don’t like sandwiches unless the bread is toasted, and toast has to be buttered while hot so the butter melts I’ve always disliked most vegetables and beans due to the texture.
  • Very sensitive to scents. Musky fragrances can trigger a migraine, floral fragrances are irritating. I only ever use unscented laundry detergent. Unpleasant smells make me gag very easily.
  • As a child, I used to have meltdowns going to school because I couldn’t bear my teacher’s body odour. It was bad enough for me for the teacher and headteacher to have to hold a meeting with me and my mum.
  • I get really irritated if someone sprays a perfume near me.
  • Certain sounds can be too distracting to focus.
  • I’m very clumsy and have no coordination. I’m often tripping over my own feet or walking into things.
  • I can often learn the theory of something but I’m unable to show it in practice. For example, I find music theory very easy, but I struggle to play an instrument.

Social and Language Issues:

  • I’m very shy. If someone is in my way, I often don’t feel comfortable saying “excuse me” to get them to move.
  • I’ve always been told I’m selfish or insensitive, and people used to find me rude as a child as I would say offensive things without realising.
  • I’ve always hated working in groups.
  • I’ve never fitted in with a group of friends. I’ve found I could often join friendship groups at school, but always as an outsider. The others would often socialise outside of school but I usually didn’t.
  • Preferred to stay inside and play on my own as a child, or read, even when all the other kids played outside.
  • Making friends was never an issue, but keeping friends was.
  • As an adult I have social anxiety that can feel very severe at times. Socialising is exhausting and never feels worth it.
  • I’d rather do things by myself that a lot of females like to do in groups or with partners – shopping, cinema, travelling, eating out.
  • Socialising in a group is very stressful for me. It feels like each person is speaking a different language. If several people are talking at once I can’t follow anything. If more than one person is talking to me I want to put my hands over my ears and scream.
  • I struggle with knowing when it’s “my turn” to speak.
  • I hate being interrupted because it’s so hard for me to talk, and I feel like I can’t pick up from the point I was interrupted at and have to start at the beginning.
  • I don’t always pick up on sarcasm and can get very offended by “banter”, things said in jest.
  • I’m always the last to get jokes, and usually need them explaining. It’s very upsetting for me when I don’t understand them.
  • I’m told I overshare, or say too much. I’m told to stop talking about certain things in front of everyone.
  • I’m told that people find me annoying because I’m loud and squeaky, or they think I sound like a child.
  • I’m often told to stop shouting when I never even knew I was.
  • I find it difficult to tell when I’ve offended someone or made them jealous unless they tell me. They usually don’t understand how I could not be aware that they would be feeling that.
  • Once I’m focussing on a small detail of what someone has said, I can’t process the rest of the conversation.
  • People call me a know-it-all, but that’s because while being of higher than average intelligence, I will only state facts as facts if I’m 100% certain of them, and if I’m not, I will check them because I hate not knowing something.
  • I have often found myself in awkward situations with men that I haven’t realised were flirting. There have been countless occasions where I’ve ended up feeling like I’ve had to sleep with someone because I’ve realised I’ve led them on by welcoming their “friendliness”.
  • I’ve never had a long term relationship because I’m too hard work.
  • It’s very rare I connect with anyone so when I do, I become too obsessed with them and push them away.
  • I hate when people assume they know what I’m thinking because they’re usually wrong.
  • People often use me and take advantage, because I can be very generous in an attempt to make and keep friends. I usually end up lending people money and never getting it back.
  • I’ve had people ask why I have to be so precise, for example, if they ask the time, I give it to the nearest minute. I doesn’t feel honest saying “quarter past three” if it is 3:16.
  • I can’t deal with the uncertainty of people. If someone says they might pop round, or they might ring me, I get really anxious waiting for them and feel unable to do anything else. It’s caused a lot of problems in relationships.
  • I hate when people act unpredictably. I get really upset if I don’t get the response I expected, and it’s not always because the response was bad, but because it threatens the existence of the world I thought I understood.
  • I can’t forget things that people have said in the heat of an argument. I’m often asked why I keep going on about something, but things like that stay right in the front of my mind unless I feel they’re sufficiently resolved.

Special interests:

  • I’m either not interested in something, or it becomes an obsession, and I’ll read anything I can on the subject to become an expert.
  • A lot of my special interests have reflected my desire to find some way to fit into society – I’ve researched several religions – Islam, Paganism, Buddhism, Taoism – and even languages – German, Japanese, Chinese, Hindi, BSL – to immerse myself in another culture to escape from the society that I feel I’m not part of.
  • I’m a qualified make up artist and use make up as a costume.
  • I seem more into collecting things to do with an subject, or making lists, than the actual subject itself. I often get bored of the subject once I’ve collected everything I can and move onto something else that becomes an obsession.
  • As a teenager I became addicted to RPG video games as I preferred that world. I used to skip classes to stay home and play games. I have to stop myself playing any games now because I just become addicted and they take over my life and I get depressed if my interests aren’t productive.
  • I like to be really good at something so when I start to find something difficult, I can give up and lose interest very quickly.
  • I love listening to music, almost any genre – classical, folk, indie, punk, country – except pop and dance music. When I find a song I like I can’t stop replaying it, and I have to be able to know all the lyrics so I can sing along. I also like to look up the meaning of the lyrics if it is obscure.

Other issues:

  • I suffer from depression, usually feeling misunderstood, feeling like a failure to myself and my daughter.
  • I struggle with anxiety, a lot of which I believe is related to ASD. Anxiety symptoms involve struggling to breathe, loss of appetite, and IBS in the form of painful abdominal spasms and diarrhoea.
  • The anxiety of being interrupted during a task is so bad that I find starting the task too overwhelming if I know I might be distracted.
  • I struggle to sleep and to stay asleep. I usually wake up between 2am and 4am and can lay awake until 6am sometimes. I have no problem sleeping during the day though in bright sunshine and the sounds of people shouting outside. I also struggle to stay awake in public transport.
  • I also go through phases of suffering with sleep paralysis.

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