If you are interested in sharing your insight...
You may not be old enough to be dealing with this yet, but I felt like perimenopause made me feel "more autistic" until I got it under control with hormone therapy. Not sure how many aspie women have more trouble with their perimenopause than NT women.
I also wonder how any executive dysfunction interacted with being a woman and thus, assumed to be the caretaker/housekeeper/social secretary for the family. For me, that's been an issue - my ex was thoroughly convinced that because I'm a woman, obviously I know how to keep a house clean and if I didn't it was because I was careless or lazy. He couldn't deal with my need for specific instruction and prompts - especially because I knew how to do the specific tasks necessary, eg I know how to clean a toilet, but couldn't put them together to keep the house maintained.
I like a lot of the ideas already mentioned. Especially interested in ways that people learn to blend in with the NT world and the amount of energy that it takes to do those things. Also interested in the different ways to help autistic people thrive while they are growing up and how not being diagnosed at a young age can affect people. A couple of more things are the different perspectives that autistic people have about the world and ways that nonverbal autistic people can use to communicate their thoughts.
there are so many ways you can go with a book. you may have already decided on what you want to write. The work place is one place where I have the most difficulty. I think in over 35 years of working I have only had one job where I had a social group where I felt I belonged. I think that the only reason I belonged to the group was because of one of my co-workers. I have always been outside of the social dynamic.
for many years I did not have one job that lasted two years. one problem was that I would make mistakes, another was that I did not perform up to speed because of perfectionism. also I did not usually make a social connection with other co-workers. this lasted for about 13 years.
the next time barrier was 5 years. the problem was that when there was a layoff I was one of the first to go. many companies depended on personalities and social interaction as a means of a person's value. also, many people are good at pretending to be a good worker, at knowing what is measurable to display a veneer of performance. I could never do that I always have had an idealistic view of real performance and I never was very good at making sure that my better qualities were visible. I actually prefer to be invisible which works against me in a workplace.
another aspect of work is the complexities of getting a new job. there were only a very few times where I made to decision to leave the company and take on a new job. the anxiety of being unemployed and looking for a new job is severe. the days when I had to knock go to companies to apply for work were very painful. currently I am at a professional level where recruiters get the interviews for me. having to interview is one of the most painful experiences I have to go through. the anticipation of the interview, having to meet new people, having to dress in uncomfortable clothes. the stress of the interview causing a mental block where I can't remember things that I know. the agony of waiting for the call (if they have the courtesy to call) whether I have the job.
if this is what you are interested in I would be glad to provide more information on my own experiences. I think I have about 2 or 3 books on the subject that I could write. My current situation is that I am agin between jobs. also I have the added anxiety that because I am out of work we may have to move thus removing one of the main anchors in my life (the other being my wife).
I have not been diagnosed with aspergers, but that is the only logical conclusion.
What an interesting thread!
I'm not sure there's much I can add here, except to concur with the idea of detailing the experiences of other women who are diagnosed in adulthood. I know I'd be interested in reading them.
Best of luck with it all!
There's lot of good stuff already been said, but, having read your book again recently Lianne (i get it out of the library every now and again for a 'refresher'), i would like to see
1. More stuff about the positive side of being AS, and what we can be proud of.
2. More stuff about what it means to be diagnosed as adults, and how many of us have adopted 'personas' or 'social fronts' to get by. And the toll that takes on us.
3. More about the differences between female and male aspies.
sorry I was trying to send a message I did it wrong LOL
Hello Liane. :)
First off, I agree with both Katharine and Gabby earlier in this thread. Along with Katharine's point: I am a multiracial woman with Asperger's, and I haven't found very many non-white Aspies in the community sharing their experiences or even visible. That's one of the reasons I started my second blog, Woman With Asperger's -- to reach out to Aspie women, but also Aspie women of color to share experiences, compare notes, etc. It's at http://womanwithaspergers.wordpress.com
And Gabby mentioned about Aspie women who were sexually abused/raped...I experienced physical, mental, and some sexual abuse as a teenager and now am trying to heal and recover. I was diagnosed with PTSD and I think that the effects of that disorder intersect with the already existing tendencies towards anxiety that Aspies experience anyway. I think that growing up Aspie can be a very tough experience, as you may not feel like you fit in anyway...but an Aspie growing up in a dyfunctional family, especially if they end up in the "scapegoat" role as I sometimes did, may encounter stronger feelings of shame...feeling like a "freak" for not fitting in. And because they get cast into that role, they get blamed for everything that goes wrong in their family...as I did.
In regards to empathy: I find that I do feel empathy in the truest emotional sense, but also the mental sense. My problem is a) finding appropriate ways to display that empathy, and b) being overwhelmed by my own feelings and those of others that I sense. I guess this jibes with the "intense world" theory of autism spectrum disorders. I recently wrote a post on my blog about the empathy issue: http://bit.ly/axTYIx
Liane, I think it's really great that you came here and asked for our input. I read your first book earlier this year and it's one of the things that helped me realise that yes, I do have Asperger Syndrome. I do not have an official diagnosis yet, but I'll be working on that...the issue is trying to find a practitioner in Central Ohio who works with adults on the spectrum. But the book really helped me make some connections to my own life and past. I'll be looking forward to the next one.
Just came upon this topic - would love to hear more from you, Liane. Your first book was so moving - it finally gave me someone to relate to. I cried reading the part about losing your way once you hit college and about one of your gentleman friends there - god, sounds so much like my high school experience. And the dance classes, in early childhood. And how you were also called (exactly) "smart but spoiled" as a child.
The book you contributed to, on adolescence, was also fantastic. Loved the lists on coping with sensory/motor issues. One of the best self-help books on autism I have on my shelf, and believe me, I have alot! I think it goes far beyond just teenagers - even now, facing my twenties, I look to it. And even those much older could get something from it.
I hope you are well. I just heard from Dr. Shana Nichols that your new book is really good. I can't wait to get my copy!!!!!!!! I'm so excited.
All the best,
I agree with an earlier comment by Gabby that the issue of sexual abuse and resulting PTSD is important. I have a late in life understanding of my AS and was sexually abuse twice for long periods growing up. I can see now how AS made it very hard for me to understand what was happening to me, especially the second time as it involved a complex social environment and was not overly violent so I couldn't identify what happened as rape or abuse for 35 years.
Now that I know about AS I also wonder a lot about how various forms of "mental illness" might really be misunderstood AS, especially in women. It seems possible that many cases of personality disorder and even schizophrenia could really be AS compounded by inappropriet interventions and misunderstanding.