View Full Version : Mild PDD or something else?


cyonce
03-17-12, 06:59 AM
A whopping chunk of my life and behaviors have been explained by finally finding out ADHD has been onboard for most of the ride.

There are a few things that aren't explained that well just by ADHD though. Many of these I've become much more aware of from adderall keeping me more in the present moment. Some of these I've never shared with anyone as an adult because my experience being different suggested pretending to be normal was much less painful.

I'm not expecting a diagnosis here, just looking for the opinions of others with personal experience as to whether the following seem to fit somewhere in here or not.



I don't seem to understand other people's emotions and how to react appropriately very organically. Its almost like I need to run the raw data I get from interacting with them through a translator to understand whats going on. If I can find a way to relate to what they're experiencing its much easier but its like I have to match up what they tell me almost piece by piece with my own experience to 'get it.' It really doesn't seem like most people have to do this kind of jumping through hoops or at least the process for them is much more instinctive/seamless



It feels like I have very distinct and different 'personas' for different life situations. Its difficult to transition easily between them or access the skill-set of another persona. None of them really seem very natural or genuine a lot of the time though. Each is more like a pretty rigid set of learned behaviors that didn't come easily and don't adapt on the fly well at all to the unexpected.



My default ways of speaking/thinking/writing are often very clinical and impersonal. I don't have a lack of inflection but I find I often have to put in some effort to make what I say or write more 'other people friendly' and less like a lab report.



I understand humor and am actually decently skilled at it (at least I think so), but that's been a process of many years and lots of effort



When I was young I was incredibly literal. I also had a lot of trouble (significantly more than average) with the whole 'grey area' concept, in fact I still do sometimes. I learned that good people did good things, bad people did bad things and anything less concrete than that was really disturbing. When I was 10 or so my mother took a knife from a hotel with a kitchen we stayed at. I remember clearly being completely baffled. Mom was a good person. . .right? And stealing was something only bad people did. So. . . . . . . . .error. . . . . . error. . . .



I had a sensitivity to physical and environmental stimulus bad enough that my parents gave up trying to get me to wear normal clothes or eat foods/engage in activities I didn't like. They also had to get rid of our tv for a number of years. Having any show on but Mr Rogers tended to make me melt down from over-stimulation.



I still struggle with a severe lack of interest in engaging in or talking about subjects that don't interest me.



If I *am* interested in a subject however I tend to obsess about it and gather every shred of information I can. This is a quote from an excerpt about Aspergers that fits me to a 'T': "Children with AS want to know everything about their topic of interest and their conversations with others will be about little else. Their expertise, high level of vocabulary, and formal speech patterns make them seem like little professors." Usually this happened as a child and still happens some as an adult with whatever my current obsession is. I've learned the hard way over the years that usually no-one I talk to is ever as interested in the given subject than I am. Its still a struggle to hold back.



Routines and familiarity are very important, almost more so now as an adult though. For example I usually will find one thing I like on a menu at a restaurant and then order that every time rather than risk disappointment



My thinking is almost always more derivative than innovative. I can come up with 'new' ideas but its usually very obviously as a result of putting together 2 ideas from some other source. While this might seem like the process everyone goes through, I can't extrapolate well at all with information from different areas without spending significant effort linking the ideas together.

cyonce
03-17-12, 03:07 PM
Its a little ironic that I ended up staying up till 4am writing this. . . .awareness be damned.

cyonce
03-17-12, 04:29 PM
A few more occurred to me.


Social activities and playing with other kids (especially in large groups) didn't go so well while I was growing up. I had only one friend for most of my childhood (who was younger and would let me make all the decisions) and only 2 in high school.



I actually realized at one point when I was growing up that I really didn't recognize the person in the mirror at all. It was as if I knew that was supposed to be me but up until a certain point I'd never really looked very closely at who was there. I'm not sure what that relates to but it was a very peculiar experience that's stuck with me.



I'm not entirely sure how true this was for me as a child (although I suppose I could ask my parents for their impression) but for most of my adult life eye contact has been very challenging. I've had to train myself to make and maintain eye contact, especially during conversations



Eye contact training seems to have created another difficulty though. Now I feel like I *have* to make eye contact before starting talking to someone or even acknowledging a person out in the world. It seems to freak some people out.



It's difficult for me not to stare at people. I'll realize it and catch myself before the person notices most of the time but sometimes I don't. It definitely makes people uncomfortable when they notice.



Although as a child I didn't appear to have gross motor delay in most areas, looking back it seems more like I did but found ways to compensate. Activities with momentum were ok but more complex athletic skills evaded me. My inner-ear balance is very good (I've never experienced motion sickness, I actually still find being dizzy enjoyable) but my coordination and ability to master new skills was bad. For example, I learned how to skateboard and ride a bike pretty early on and did those for many years. However, pretty much all the complicated skateboard tricks and bike jumps other kids seemed to learn pretty easily were totally baffling to me.



My fine motor skills like handwriting, shoelace tying and drawing/painting were way behind and many still are well below average since I never practiced them once I didn't have to any more.



According to my parents I never crawled as a baby. In their words: "You didn't even really walk at first. You ran and fell down over and over again until you got the hang of it, walking came later."

trishcan
03-17-12, 04:31 PM
I don't know. Everything you've written in this thread describes me, and I've given up on figuring out why.

cyonce
03-17-12, 05:11 PM
I'm on a mission, lol.

I want to know where this stuff fits because it makes it much easier for me to accept things if I understand them. The more I can accept these parts of myself, the less energy I spend trying to pretend they aren't there.

fracturedstory
03-17-12, 08:16 PM
Sounds more like Asperger's than PDD to me. How were/are your social skills?

PDD is what you're diagnosed with if you don't have enough symptoms of autism or don't have enough symptoms that are mild. But PDD can cover the whole spectrum from severe to mild.

cyonce
03-17-12, 10:39 PM
Sounds more like Asperger's than PDD to me. How were/are your social skills?

I had terrible social skills as a child. This has gotten better as an adult but never really stellar. I learned a lot after I quit drinking and started going to 12-step meetings but it was a slow process. Taking ADHD meds has made things a lot easier but that seems more due to making it easier for me to do the substantial processing necessary to understand other people in the moment.

cyonce
03-17-12, 11:11 PM
It seems like a lot of the symptoms aren't obvious to others because I've learned how to hide them or work around them. For example I asked someone I know who does behavioral assessments/diagnosis of children and she immediately told me I don't have Aspergers. However she doesn't know me that well so I'm guessing that's her making a snap judgement based on my outward manner. She's also used to looking for the signs displayed in children rather than adults.

cyonce
03-17-12, 11:16 PM
I just took this test:

http://rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php

The results were:

183/200

fracturedstory
03-18-12, 07:14 PM
That's a pretty high score. Do you want to get diagnosed or just want to know?

A lot of people that know me can't see my autism in me. I'm medicated half the time so that could be why. I'm more willing to be social and boy do I ever talk. I finally sound like the little professor stereotype.

cyonce
03-19-12, 01:29 AM
That's a pretty high score. Do you want to get diagnosed or just want to know?

I want a more definitive answer than I can come up with myself, otherwise I keep doubting the accuracy of what I think is going on. I feel a lot better about (and more accepting of) my behavior patterns when they can be explained by a specific cause. Naming the cause helps takes the power and fear out of it.

I've learned over the years to be very cautious of accepting the conclusions I come to. I have a bad habit of overlooking crucial facts or omitting things because they don't fit the picture I'm trying to paint.

At the same time, no one else knows me as well as I know me, lol.

Fortune
03-19-12, 02:30 AM
I don't know. Everything you've written in this thread describes me, and I've given up on figuring out why.

Have you considered the possibly that you might be on the spectrum? You've described a lot of spectrummy traits over time.

Sounds more like Asperger's than PDD to me. How were/are your social skills?

PDD is what you're diagnosed with if you don't have enough symptoms of autism or don't have enough symptoms that are mild. But PDD can cover the whole spectrum from severe to mild.

PDD is a category of diagnoses that currently includes autism, PDD-NOS, Asperger's Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder, so not technically inaccurate, just imprecise.

Fortune
03-19-12, 02:36 AM
A whopping chunk of my life and behaviors have been explained by finally finding out ADHD has been onboard for most of the ride.

There are a few things that aren't explained that well just by ADHD though. Many of these I've become much more aware of from adderall keeping me more in the present moment. Some of these I've never shared with anyone as an adult because my experience being different suggested pretending to be normal was much less painful.

I'm not expecting a diagnosis here, just looking for the opinions of others with personal experience as to whether the following seem to fit somewhere in here or not.

I can't tell you whether you're autistic or not, but you described several traits I have, or have heard about from others. It's probably worth investigation.

A lot of psychiatrists and therapists are fairly ignorant about autism. They don't know what to look for, or operate from sweeping assumptions like "autistic people don't realize that other people are also people" and thus are likely to disqualify you on the basis of arbitrary perceptions that have nothing to do with diagnosing autism in the first place. It is usually best to see someone who specializes in diagnosing it, otherwise, a lot of signs may go ignored while the lack of certain stereotypes counts against a diagnosis.

trishcan
03-19-12, 03:49 AM
Have you considered the possibly that you might be on the spectrum? You've described a lot of spectrummy traits over time.

Haha for real? Everyone else seems to think I have some sort of personality disorder. I don't know what the hell I am. We should PM about this at some point, as I'm mildly intrigued, for now.

Fortune
03-19-12, 04:33 AM
Haha for real? Everyone else seems to think I have some sort of personality disorder. I don't know what the hell I am. We should PM about this at some point, as I'm mildly intrigued, for now.

I don't have an opinion on that but the two are not exclusive.

cyonce
03-19-12, 04:51 AM
I can't tell you whether you're autistic or not, but you described several traits I have, or have heard about from others. It's probably worth investigation.

I'm considering going back and seeing a therapist I went to for a few years for at least a short while to talk about this (I might not have stopped seeing him but the cost became an issue). I'm not sure how much experience he has with the autism spectrum, I'm definitely going to clarify that first.

Fortune
03-19-12, 05:10 AM
I'm considering going back and seeing a therapist I went to for a few years for at least a short while to talk about this (I might not have stopped seeing him but the cost became an issue). I'm not sure how much experience he has with the autism spectrum, I'm definitely going to clarify that first.

That probably could not hurt. If he's at all like my therapist, he won't immediately tell you whether or not you're autistic. My therapist told me what she'd observed over time, and would make observations that helped me understand things a bit better. At first, she didn't really know what to look for, but toward the end, she told me that she had never had a client whose brain worked like mine, so I think that in itself is kind of telling.

Marla911
03-19-12, 07:00 AM
I have wondering if I was on the autism spectrum (is that what it's called) too. I don't know that much about it though. The main thing that has always made me think I'm NOT on the autistic spectrum is that I feel like I"m quite intuitive to peoples emotions (but in saying that I seem to read people 'wrong' a lot so maybe I"m actually not?) and also I don't have any particular interest or obsession (quite the opposite).

But the whole social thing has always been incredibly difficult for me to the point where I just don't ''get it'' even after years of desperately trying. And I really don't fit in with people at all and I honestly think it's because I just don't ''understand them'' but is that just some kind of social anxiety? Because I"ve been told I have that too.

I have a lot of the ''hypersensitivity'' traits and also some of the odd behaviours like staring and occasionally weird tick things, but it seems these are more of a compulsion? idk sorry to butt in on your thread cyonce but Im curious to know what other peoples thoughts were.

BTW I've been to a lot of drs too for different things over the years and no ones ever mentioned that I might have it do you think they would have?

Fortune
03-19-12, 01:38 PM
I have wondering if I was on the autism spectrum (is that what it's called) too. I don't know that much about it though. The main thing that has always made me think I'm NOT on the autistic spectrum is that I feel like I"m quite intuitive to peoples emotions (but in saying that I seem to read people 'wrong' a lot so maybe I"m actually not?) and also I don't have any particular interest or obsession (quite the opposite).

There are times I feel acutely aware of other people's emotions, but that doesn't really give insight into why they have those emotions or when I'm saying something to prompt an unexpected emotion.

But the whole social thing has always been incredibly difficult for me to the point where I just don't ''get it'' even after years of desperately trying. And I really don't fit in with people at all and I honestly think it's because I just don't ''understand them'' but is that just some kind of social anxiety? Because I"ve been told I have that too.

Social anxiety can present symptoms that look superficially similar, but not actually understanding people is not actually a symptom of social anxiety.

I have a lot of the ''hypersensitivity'' traits and also some of the odd behaviours like staring and occasionally weird tick things, but it seems these are more of a compulsion? idk sorry to butt in on your thread cyonce but Im curious to know what other peoples thoughts were.

It's possible to have weird tic-like things too.

BTW I've been to a lot of drs too for different things over the years and no ones ever mentioned that I might have it do you think they would have?

I don't think most doctors are really sensitive to it. I mean, you might be showing signs but if they don't see you for very much time and you're not talking about the problems, odds are it won't come up.

cyonce
03-19-12, 02:59 PM
Watch out, this is going to be long! :)

The main thing that has always made me think I'm NOT on the autistic spectrum is that I feel like I"m quite intuitive to peoples emotions (but in saying that I seem to read people 'wrong' a lot so maybe I"m actually not?)From what I've read (which matches my experience very closely) a frequent misunderstanding about AS/autism is that it involves a lack of empathy. Whats really going on has way more to do with shutting down due to emotional/empathetic/sensory oversensitivity than any lack of feeling for others.

I often have the same feeling that I can read other people's emotions easily but seem to come to the wrong conclusion regularly, especially with people I don't really know well. ADHD plays a huge part for me in this as well in that I can't always access the information I've learned about others when I need to use it to figure out whats going on with someone in the moment. Too many times I've jumped to an incorrect conclusion about someone else only to realize later that I've made the exact same mistake before.

I have trouble being rational and empathetic as the same time as well and both skill sets are required to see whats going on with someone else and also feel compassion/empathy. Sometimes I experience a significant emotional delay where I have the feelings related to what I observed a good while after.

Anxiety plays a huge role in this for me too. The more anxious I am, the less I can process things in real-time.

I found some pretty goood information here:
http://www.support-for-add-and-autism-spectrum.com/Aspergers_empathy.html


and also I don't have any particular interest or obsession (quite the opposite).Have you in the past? I've definitely had significant periods where I was depressed and really didn't care about much but distracting myself from the world. Its often been really hard during those times to remember ever being significantly interested in anything. I'm not saying you're depressed, this is just my experience.

But the whole social thing has always been incredibly difficult for me to the point where I just don't ''get it'' even after years of desperately trying. And I really don't fit in with people at all and I honestly think it's because I just don't ''understand them'' but is that just some kind of social anxiety? Because I"ve been told I have that too.What does your 'not getting it' look like?

Mine usually is a frustration with thinking I'm doing what others are doing but somehow not getting the same response they seem to be.

However when I've looked at my behavior objectively though I realize that I tend to do some combination of the following:


Be thinking about myself the majority of the time
Have a negative attitude which I'm never hiding anywhere near as well as I think I am
Not listen very well to what others are saying
Have trouble with distractions in the environment
Have problems taking turns speaking and often dominate conversations given half a chance
Not be interested in most topics of conversation
Have a very difficult time feigning interest in things or masking when I'm bored
Complain excessively about things that are bothering me
Disclose or ask about things that are too personal for a casual conversation and with people that I don't know very well.
Be determined to talk about a particular subject and try to railroad the conversation in that direction
Hurt peoples feelings or offend them by making jokes that seem funny to me in the moment but in retrospect were insensitive
Miss the signs that someone isn't interested in what I want to talk about
Come off as too intense and sometimes angry or even threatening, even when I'm not upset at all.

. . .and that's the short list!


I've also noticed smaller groups of 3-4 are usually easier for me, while larger groups often throw me for a loop but this isn't always the case.


The bad news : Even armed with this knowledge I've still repeated the same behaviors to the point of frequently alienating all but the most tolerant.


The good news: Taking ADHD meds has improved a number of things that have made socializing much easier:


I feel more positive which makes having a fun conversation much easier
Fewer problems with distractions and missing social cues
I remember peoples names now, who knew that was so valuable?
More able to recall previous experience in the moment and then apply it
I'm much more calm and people feel less nervous around me as a result



Anxiety plays a massive role in social problems for me. The anxiety I experience usually seems to come as a result of the emotional discomfort felt in anticipation of a negative outcome. It also stimulates the fight/flight mechanism which makes me more edgy and nervous.



I don't know if this is true for you or not but my anxiety both socially and globally is definitely 'learned' rather than something innate. Having lived with untreated (aside from self-medicating) ADHD until 41 I have amassed a significant amount of negative experiences both in interacting with other people and with the success (lack thereof) of my life in general.


Since I started taking medication and looking at the problems I was having as a result of a disorder rather than my own incompetence it feels like the tide is finally starting to turn. I'm still responsible for my actions and mistakes, both past and present but its such a huge relief to finally feel like they're not due to a lack of willpower or not trying hard enough.







I have a lot of the ''hypersensitivity'' traits and also some of the odd behaviours like staring and occasionally weird tick things, but it seems these are more of a compulsion? From what I've read it seems like compulsions are one of the hallmarks of Autism not just OCD although I guess they present a little differently:

http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/186/6/525.full


idk sorry to butt in on your thread cyonce but Im curious to know what other peoples thoughts were.No worries, hopefully some of what I've rambled on about has been useful.



BTW I've been to a lot of drs too for different things over the years and no ones ever mentioned that I might have it do you think they would have?No-ones ever mentioned it as a possibility to me before either. However, this is understandable considering:



The symptoms I've experienced while numerous are not as severe as what most professionals are looking for
I came to the conclusion pretty early on in life that I needed to hide any strange behaviors I had as best I could, even from myself
I actually blocked out the memory of the stranger things I did in childhood, or at least how they felt for most of my life up until just recently (I was a little suspicious that maybe I was making some of it up just so that it would sound more convincing so I spent some time with my mother verifying details. I not only got verification, she also mentioned additional things I had either forgotten completely or had never known)
It seems like I learned to speak with affect pretty early, basically by mimicking other people, specifically my father (at least at first).
Aspergers didn't even exist as a diagnosis when i was growing up but I think people who saw me later on assumed erroneously that if that was the problem it would have been caught earlier in life
One therapist I think actually started to see the symptoms because she stared asking questions about my behavior but I only saw her with my ex-wife for couples counseling before we divorced, not the most conducive environment for her to diagnose me.



And once again I've written a small novel, lol. Hopefully helpful you or some else but if not it felt damn good writing it.