Sunday, September 8, 2019

My name is Anja, I'm 25 and I come from Slovenia. Right now I'm am working in a medical shop, where we sell and rent out medical equipment, but we also make orthopedic shoes for people who need them.

I am not officially diagnosed with ASD, but I strongly suspect it. As well as ADHD and a little bit of OCD and dyslexia. I can see a lot of symptoms in myself, but I haven’t had the courage yet to speak to doctor or anyone about it (not even my family).

The main reason I think I could be on the spectrum is because of how I interact with other people. How to talk to them, when to talk to them, what to talk about… Especially in a group. I often don’t understand social clues, sometimes I don’t understand when people are just joking or when they are serious. In this situations I often laugh, even if it’s not appropriate (people probably think I just always have a smile on my face). Other things that fit with me and ASD, I am very good at math, I have high IQ and a perfect pitch, I would rather spend time with my cat (or other animals) than people. My handwriting is awful. I can obsess over movies or TV shows, music (anything really) and the next day I totally forget all about it. I can be really hard to talk to, but I can speak a lot about the things I know (school, work, what I already did in my life, things that happened to me). I like routine and when I have a plan of what to do throughout the day. I don’t really have meltdowns (not bad ones at least), but I get really, really annoyed if my plans suddenly change. I stim quite a lot (I wiggle my toes, bite my tongue, scratch my fingers…), but is not that noticeable. Also rocking back and forth or side to side is very calming, but it is not something that I need to do a lot.

Things I associate with ADHD are the fact that I can’t really sit still, I always have to do move some part of my body. My mind can race a mile a minute. If I speak really passionately about something, I can mix two or more sentences together, so it doesn’t make any sense. I get lost in what I am talking about (I just have to explain backstory of a backstory of a backstory, so I lose/forget about the main one).

The most common sign of dyslexia is mixing letters b and d (I figured out how to tell them apart). Also, I am a slow-ish reader and I get lost when reading. I have some trouble distinguishing between left and right (I am right handed, so when I look at my hands then I know which is which). I have trouble reading sheet music (for example, I know where C1 is, so I have to count up to figure out what is the actual note I am looking for is).

And for OCD I just like to do some things in a special order or have it in a special way and you can’t tell me or make me do otherwise.

The scariest part of all of this and sort of why I haven’t gone to a doctor yet is that right now, it’s still all in my head. So maybe it’s not true, maybe I’m just a little bit weird. And if I go to a doctor and they say “Yes, you are autistic,” then it will be final. Then, I am autistic. This is what scares me. Or worse, what if they say “No, you are just imagining it.” What then? Also what good does the diagnosis do for me now, when I’m already an adult, with a job?

I found out I could be on the spectrum through one of my obsessions. One of those things was reading fanfiction (with obsess, I mean I was reading literally all day. I just stopped for eating and nothing else). One story was written by a girl with Asperger syndrome and she coped with her autism in a way that she portrayed her life events on fictional characters. At the time I knew almost nothing about autism so I read it. I was joking with myself and thinking that’s almost like me. Also a lot of the time I like to research phrases that I don’t know (in this case Asperger syndrome). You have no idea how shocked I was reading the symptoms of AS, as it was almost describing me to a point. A lot more researching followed and here we are today.

As a child I probably wasn’t diagnosed, because I didn’t cause any trouble. Yes, I was energetic, but I didn’t disrupt class, apparently I didn’t talk much (I was told this by a classmate in high school) and I had very good grades. I don’t know.

If I am autistic, I would just want people to know about it, without me explaining. Family, friends, people at work… And I don’t want them to treat me differently. Or pity me. Just except me the way I am, watch out for things that trigger me, but don’t treat me differently.

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