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csuli
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16 Sep 2010, 10:18 am

Hi, all. I'm 36, and as yet undiagnosed, but finally realizing the likely cause of that the outrageous social problems I've had over the past couple of decades. My question is this: My parents say I was a very outgoing child, and I remember as a kid actually seeking people out wherever I went, and never hesitating to engage with them. (But, then, maybe I was extreme on this scale, since as an elementary-school aged kid I would walk down the street and knock on doors to hang out with various housewives.) Not until my 20s did things take another turn, and I became "antisocial" and introverted, to the point of losing contact with most people from my past.

So, is this typical? I'm still trying to get beyond wondering if I'm just depressed...



Asp-Z
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16 Sep 2010, 10:24 am

Asperger's can't just develop during your life, you are either born with it or you're not, but it is possible you are an Aspie and your behaviour just changed.



BTDT
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16 Sep 2010, 10:25 am

No--it is generally considered a developmental disorder that makes it hard to learn to socialize normally--you don't learn non-verbal social skills. It is true that some older Aspies, who isolate themselves for many years, forget or lose the adaptations to get around these missing skills, but this doesn't sound like your case. An analogy might be someone who is deaf and learns to read lips--they have adapted around their disability.



azbluesgal
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16 Sep 2010, 10:39 am

I had no idea what was wrong with me for most of my life, except that i knew i was "different". Now, i'm retired and all alone - no parents, no kids, only one sib left (and she is no help in a crisis trust me). I have 3 college degrees, multiple certificates of higher learning, and even rose in rank in healthcare to carry the keys to the nuthouse (nurse rachet) but had NO idea what was wrong with me. had a major meltdown lately with an online romance that I reacted to "inappropriately" and feeling very low about that. ancient???? wanna even guess???[b]



azbluesgal
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16 Sep 2010, 10:50 am

the higher your IQ when you are younger the easier it is to "pass for normal". getting kicked around a lot eventually allows you to learn "the rules" even if they are so stupid.. now that I no longer have a "professional" life, I have no facade...does that make sense?



Another_Alien
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16 Sep 2010, 11:41 am

I experienced something similar(ish):

I showed some signs of Aspergers as a very young child, e.g. little professor, but my life was pretty normal until puberty (and I was pretty ourgoing). Then I stopped developing emotionally for about 10 years, i.e. until about 23, then started to improve slowly, before improving much more rapidly in recent years (I'm now 44).

I have 2 theories for the OP:

1 - People with Aspergers are NOT always naturally introverted. This is a myth. Sometimes Aspies are naturally extroverted, but have rubbish social skills, so they lose confidence in social interaction, and become withdrawn, i.e. they really want to socialize but don't know how. I'm pretty extroverted myself. Even when my ASD was more 'severe' I had no problem initiating conversation, making jokes, etc. I simply struggled with mature conversation (relative to my age), and didn't have the confidence to talk at length to people of my age or older (except family and some close friends).

2 - If a person with Aspergers is extroverted, but very immature, their condition may not always be obvious when they're a child because (1) they are extroverted and (2) their childish behaviour is simply written off as, duh, childish behaviour. In their teens and twenties, though, it becomes obvious that they're much less mature than their peers, and that something is very wrong. Also, as their peers mature rapidly at this time, emotionally, the Aspie is left behind, and may become isolated.



Another_Alien
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16 Sep 2010, 11:44 am

azbluesgal wrote:
the higher your IQ when you are younger the easier it is to "pass for normal".


This was especially true in the days before Aspergers (or mild Autism) was recognized, i.e. before about 1994. I think a few people thought that I was too intelligent to have something seriously wrong with me.



azbluesgal
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16 Sep 2010, 12:01 pm

i didn't know the NAME of what was wrong with me until i was 45 years old, and had just "shot down" my 10 year nursing career with a meltdown. I finally got on disability with the second try, but living with ADD all these years - NOW i find out I also have AS!! !! I think my NF (neurofibromatosis) has something to do with my "nervous system" which is unlike any other human i have ever encountered.....NF did not manifest until diagnosed in my late 20's - now that I'm OLD and have lost a lot of weight my NF's are more prevalent and troublesome. I need a neurologist, not a psychiatrist - which is what I CANNOT make my doctor understand - and i'm not quite ready to go doctor shopping. HELL - if they didn't understand me when i was growing up, what's the possibility of getting the treatment i need now to keep from going crazy (ok I can live with a LITTLE crazy but not this much)// sorry to vent, i'm really suffering today... Zig



buryuntime
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16 Sep 2010, 12:30 pm

csuli wrote:
Hi, all. I'm 36, and as yet undiagnosed, but finally realizing the likely cause of that the outrageous social problems I've had over the past couple of decades. My question is this: My parents say I was a very outgoing child, and I remember as a kid actually seeking people out wherever I went, and never hesitating to engage with them. (But, then, maybe I was extreme on this scale, since as an elementary-school aged kid I would walk down the street and knock on doors to hang out with various housewives.) Not until my 20s did things take another turn, and I became "antisocial" and introverted, to the point of losing contact with most people from my past.

So, is this typical? I'm still trying to get beyond wondering if I'm just depressed...

It's typical. What you describe is in no way normal socialization. No child knocks on doors to hang with older people. What you're now experiencing is not antisocial, it's asocial or withdrawn.



pandorazmtbox
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16 Sep 2010, 1:14 pm

buryuntime wrote:
csuli wrote:
Hi, all. I'm 36, and as yet undiagnosed, but finally realizing the likely cause of that the outrageous social problems I've had over the past couple of decades. My question is this: My parents say I was a very outgoing child, and I remember as a kid actually seeking people out wherever I went, and never hesitating to engage with them. (But, then, maybe I was extreme on this scale, since as an elementary-school aged kid I would walk down the street and knock on doors to hang out with various housewives.) Not until my 20s did things take another turn, and I became "antisocial" and introverted, to the point of losing contact with most people from my past.

So, is this typical? I'm still trying to get beyond wondering if I'm just depressed...

It's typical. What you describe is in no way normal socialization. No child knocks on doors to hang with older people. What you're now experiencing is not antisocial, it's asocial or withdrawn.


Exactly. The fact that you were social doesn't mean it was normal. Also, I have kind of run across two "types" of Aspie males (throw tomatoes if you like guys...I'll prolly earn them for this): ones that tend to be slick operators and ones that are more withdrawn. This disorder requires all of us to 'fake' or put on a persona to navigate the NT world. Some of us are better at it than others. I've noticed that the 'slick' dudes are pretty savvy at managing people's impressions of them--perhaps a little too savvy, almost like a special interest. So...just because your parents saw you as social doesn't mean you were or that it was normal by any means. Only you know what was going on in your experience...why talk to adults? why not the kids? did something trigger your loss of interest in contact? or was it simply that you didn't know how to maintain the relationships? or both? The answers to those will give you a clearer picture, I think.


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Claudio
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17 Sep 2010, 1:49 pm

I found out recently that I have AS and I told a friend who has known me for a while. She was surprised because she's always thought I was so social. She had no idea how much I was faking it. It made me feel kind of lonely that I was living a lie. I always wondered why everything (work, socializing) was so exhausting and yet other people seemed to be fine with it.

Before I found out about AS I think I began to instinctively recreate my life so that it reflected my interests. If my work, and my social interaction reflected my interests than I would be happier.

Now it all makes sense. I'm 38, and I feel a little bitter and sad that I've lost so much time trying to be someone I'm not. I also have a mess of a life that needs cleaning up. I could never hold down a job for longer than a year, etc...

Thanks for listening.



morrison
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23 Sep 2010, 8:59 am

I think so hanging around with people of a different age as a kid is also a give-away to aspergers, , I was mostly hanging around with smaller kids or much older kids but rarely apart from my best friend and some birthdays across the year, with my age peers. especially going from door to door I wouldn't rate as something an NT does. I was also at a swimming club and I also often hung around the older ones there.



RomanceAnonimo
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23 Sep 2010, 1:35 pm

I read something that may be a good indicator for the OP but wanted to get other opinions about its accuracy before portraying it as a point.

It was, that a way to understand at least a part of what Asperger's Syndrome is - was to understand that people who are neuro-typical have a "social instinct" that enables them to have fluid social interactions, by giving them natural cues as what "to do next" during any social encounter. Whereas people who are Asperger's do not, but rather engage in a process where they must observe social interactions, collect information or 'data' in the memory regarding the experiences of social interaction, then reference the memory of that data in order to respond in a social setting, a net result being, that a lot of processing capacity of the brain is used in accessing and processing data rather than facilitating emotion.

Further, that it can generally be said that at least in this one regard of Asperger's, there is a clear and 'observable' distinction between neuro-typical and Asperger's individuals. It is the efficiency and accuracy of data access, and the contents of the data itself, that leads to relative capacities to socially interact. The less 'accurate' the socially responsive (or reciprocative) behavior is for an Asperger's person, the lower 'functioning' they are considered in regard to social interaction. The gist is that in neuro-typical people, the 'social instinct' part is really known as 'personality'.

The ability to effectively 'replicate' human behavior can be a factor for those that want to socially interact. The drain on mental energy makes it an important consideration to make on the part of the Asperger's person in regard to the extent to which they want to socialize, work, go in public, etc., because in exchange of exerting large amounts of mental energy on that behalf, there is often a pattern of becoming physically energy sapped, sometimes even physically ill.

What does everyone think about these assertions? Is it good information for the OP to consider?



ScottyN
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23 Sep 2010, 10:36 pm

The OP needs to know that AS is a developmental disorder which you are born with. You cannot be outgoing and sociable as a younger person and "develop" AS symptoms as you reach a certain age. It does not work that way.



Bethie
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28 Sep 2010, 2:50 pm

ScottyN wrote:
The OP needs to know that AS is a developmental disorder which you are born with. You cannot be outgoing and sociable as a younger person and "develop" AS symptoms as you reach a certain age. It does not work that way.



It most certainly can and often does work that way.

In some situations (such as childhood's relatively simplistic social interactions) it may be easier for an Aspie to mimic others,
but this becomes more difficult as their peer group matures and social interactions evolve in depth and complexity.


Though I do agree that the post might more accurately be titled "Adult Onset of SIGNS OF Aspergers",
and Aspergers by definition is characterized by a combination of traits, not just asocial behavior however late in the game.


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