I have a high incidence of mental illness in my family. Yes, you may now insert jokes about already knowing that here. The point is, it’s always something I’ve been concerned about. No one wants to know that there’s a ticking time bomb in their head just waiting to go off. This has made me very curious about how the mind works – my own in particular. As such, I’m always doing some test or the other online. By now I know that my IQ is supposedly around 130, my spirit animal is supposedly a wolf, and I was supposedly a Chihuahua in my last life.

As you can tell, I don’t place much credence is such things. Sure, some of these have been illuminating. I’m also apparently an INFJ and I can see a lot of commonalities between myself and the description of the personality type. The one that really surprised me though was when I decided to take the screening test for Asperger’s Syndrome. Of course I didn’t think it would reveal anything. Sure, I had read up on the condition and it seemed eerily similar to me but I don’t like bandwagons.

These days, everybody has something and Asperger’s seems to be the in thing. Supposedly afflicted characters like Reed from Criminal Minds and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory are sufficiently popular that being like them isn’t a bad thing. In fact, some even aspire to it, not getting that a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome doesn’t mean you’re a misunderstood genius. I am not one of these people. I have enough somethings. I don’t want anything else. But I still found myself doing the tests.

The Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ)

ScoreAQ-10 score
My test37.010.0
The average score for females with ASD (242 people)36.87.6
The average score for females with suspected ASD (3258 people)34.46.7
The average score for female neurotypicals (1502 people)22.63.7

The Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised (RAADS-R)

Total scoreLanguageSocial relatednessSensory/motorCircumscribed interests
My Test183.
Threshold values for suspected ASD65.
The average score for females with ASD (1371 people)
The average score for females with suspected ASD (12820 people)
The average score for female neurotypicals (4231 people)82.55.741.520.215.0

The Empathy Quotient (EQ)

My Test22.0
The average score for females with ASD (235 people took this test)22.7
The average score for females with suspected ASD (2310 people took this test)23.5
The average score for female neurotypicals (1137 people took this test)41.9

I guess chances are, I do have some level of Asperger’s. Of course, all of this is in no way a professional diagnosis. I may never actually have one; given that I do not currently live in a country whose psychiatric advancements I have any faith in whatsoever. While highly unlikely, I’m not completely certain that someone won’t shake a broom at me and try to exorcize my demons. Still, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, you can be damn sure I’m going to whip out some curry (you probably have to live here to get that).

Strangely enough, it makes sense. It’s the first time anything has every made complete sense. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always been on the lookout for signs that my mental train was heading off the rails that I’m fairly in tune with my own idiosyncrasies. I can recognize my own behaviours and, in some cases, modify them to mimic what I perceive as being ‘normal’. I think I’ve done a pretty good job but there are some areas that my possible Asperger’s keeps creeping up, especially when it comes to romantic relationships.

I don’t pick up on hints:

Women, at least in my experience, tend to not be very forthright creatures. Of course there are those who take every opportunity to hit you over the head with the fact that they’re interested. But, by and large, the majority tend to send out subtle intimations. For the record, these are lost on me. You can hint from now until your face turns blue that you’d like me to come over and I won’t recognize that’s what you’re doing. If you want something, you’re going to have to say it.

Socializing is incredibly difficult for me:

Being among people is very draining for me. I’m much better in one to one situations. Even the introduction of a third party can be jarring to my psyche. I’ve been in situations where people have put this down to shyness and assumed that I’d ‘get over it’, then gotten upset when I wouldn’t hang out with their friends. Getting over it is not that simple. I will never be ‘part of the gang’ and if I’m willing to even make the effort, you’d better appreciate just how much I care because it is a sacrifice.

Do not expect me to be touchy-feely:

Here’s a quick fact: I don’t hug my grandmother. I don’t generally hug anyone and, if I do, I’m never the one who initiated it. I’ve gotten better at this, having realized that people tend to find it off-putting when I move away like a cat that has just gotten its tail scalded. There are a few individuals who I will allow into my personal space…briefly. To be allowed more than that takes patience, time, and a willingness to let me move at my own pace.

I do not communicate well:

Right about now, you’re probably wondering if you’ve accidentally wandered to another site. Nope, sorry, you’re still on mine. Yes, I write poetry and heartfelt stories, etc. Do you get it? I write. I do not speak the same way. In fact, verbally expressing my emotions is nearly impossible. I’ve been able to make myself look people in the eyes even though it’s uncomfortable. I’ve been able to remind myself that social conventions dictate asking people about their day and not talking about me all the time. But I have not been able to overcome this. You’d better get used to getting lots of notes if we ever have a fight.

My brain works differently to most other people. I’ve always known that, even as a child. I’ve made up theories over the years to explain why this might be so, but it’s nice to have a potential reason that makes some level of sense. It’s helped me to understand myself a little better instead of believing that I’m simply a broken human being. Now if I could just get others to do the same.