A trip through your psyche - Part 3

Written on 06/11/2011 by Patrick Bregman

First of, a new table of contents, and then on to the real content.

Alright, last time I told you that I got a call from the professional help to which I subscribed. As many of you may have guessed I had an appointment with a psychologist. This was only the first appointment so nothing really exciting happened. The strange thing is that I was so worried before going there, with thoughts like "What is she going to ask?" and "How am I going to react to a unknown person asking all kinds of stuff?". In the end everything went very well and I think I told her about as much as I told a good friend of mine earlier. At the end she asked me what I wanted to reach within the standard 8 sessions. Given the fact that the main reason that I go there is because I can sometimes explode in anger with no apparent reason, I said that I wanted to ease those explosions and that I would like to be able to feel them coming. So, this is what I am going to work on in the next 7 or 8 sessions.

One other thing I think I want to tell you is that after my last explosion a friend of mine told me that I should look into Asperger syndrome since she thought I had a lot of characteristics of it. So, after reading the Wikipedia page (I went for the Dutch one, since I am Dutch) I have to agree with her. Why, you may ask? Well, let me tell you.

The first characteristic on the Wikipedia page is social interaction, with a lack of empathy written there first. I used to work at a call center where I did customer service. My manager always told me that, while I scored high to very high on the technical part, I missed the empathy in there. For me, the only thing which mattered was the problem and the customer was just a tool to solve it. I tried to change this, but everything I tried just didn't feel right to me. Wikipedia then lists a few other things like unlike those with autism, people with AS are not usually withdrawn around others; they approach others, even if awkwardly to which I can't totally relate myself (I can only really approach someone when I know what to expect or what I want from him/her).

Next up, Wikipedia lists restricted and repetitive interests and behavior, which is also quite applicable on me. My interests are quite limited. I used to like computer programming a lot, but that is slowly disappearing. Nowadays my main interest is Japan, ranging from the culture to the language. I tried a few language courses but eventually dropped out. For the culture, while I can read for hours about the older culture, I mostly entertain myself with the more modern culture, like anime and manga (Japanese animation series and comics). Also, I am slowly developing an interest for photography, since I want to share pictures of my figures with the world, and I dislike it if those pictures are not superb quality.

Then it lists speech and language as the last specific point. One of the main things inside this section is atypical use of language. A few points are listed on the page so I am only going to highlight a few of them.

  • literal interpretations - I often do this, which can lead to some strange situations. For example, I only recently started a new job and I can't always quite figure out what they want or mean so I take the most literal interpretation
  • miscomprehension of nuance - Also a yes, see the last point for the explanation since I feel those two are quite close to each other in a normal conversation
  • oddities in loudness, pitch, intonation, ... - Again, yes. I do have (or at least had) problems with the level of my voice. People often told me that I am talking very loud. I try to do something about it, but it doesn't always work. I am also told that at the end of a sentence my voice goes up like everything is a question. Again, something I really didn't notice.

Lastly, Wikipedia lists an others section with a few more things to which I can relate. Of course Wikipedia shouldn't be used to completely diagnose yourself, as is written in the medical disclaimer on the site. So, after reading this I went to find a few online tests to see what the change was of me having Asperger syndrome. I found two really different tests and a lot which looked like each other. The first test I found was this one consisting of 50 questions. The result was 34, while the site ways Scores over 32 are generally taken to indicate Asperger's Syndrome or high-functioning autism, with more than 34 an "extreme" score. So, after doing this test I Googled a bit more and found the Aspie-quiz. Filling in this quiz takes a bit more time as there are 150 questions. In the end you get quite a long report as PDF and a graph indicating how you scored. I filled it in a couple of times over the time of 2 weeks and while the graph wasn't exactly the same, there was roughly the same shape in the same direction.

Unfortunately my psychologist doesn't really think I have Asperger syndrome since I understood her humor. I need to find a way to convince her to give me some sort of test because I want to know for sure if I have it or not. It is not like it is going to change who I am, it is just that I think that I would like to know it. Even if it's only because my parents are absolutely sure that I can't possibly have anything on the autism spectrum because my brother was tested for it. Yes, you read that right, I can't have anything like it because my brother was tested for it. I don't see the link between this either.

As always, any and all comments are appreciated!

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