View Full Version : Autistic traits? Something 'developmental'? ADD? *confused*


Luthien
01-21-13, 02:41 PM
Hi all,

I'm wondering about in what terms to think about myself. Until a while ago it was something like "inattentive ADD with a couple of unexplained other features", but a recent talk with the psychiatrist has made me think again.
I'm sorry that it has grown into such a long post. Again. I suppose it's just a bit complex.
I've read a couple of threads in this forum, and I recognise myself in some (like Geno's post here (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=130575)) - but to a degree. I wonder what to make of it?

Last week I saw that psychiatrist for a routine medication check-up. Because she'd never seen me before she asked me all about how medication worked for me: where it helps, where it doesn't; what has changed after I started on them (5 years ago), etcetera.

All in all I am still quite satisfied with the dextro-amphetamine that I have, especially since I finally managed to find a long-acting variety here. But there are a couple of symptoms where I have seen no improvement at all. Most significantly, my executive skills are still as non-existant as ever. And also, everything relating to group processes remains a no-go area, which sometimes results in social anxiety.
I told the psych the same things about it as I have told others, like a counselor: that I have always felt as if these two areas stopped developing at a certain age; that I had the sensation of other children of my age overtaking me development-wise, later even children who were physically younger.

I was surprised that she immediately seemed to accept my explanation: the counselor never knew what to do with it. She added that it indeed made a lot of sense to address a certain deficiency (like those executive skills) in a way that is appropriate for the age at which it stopped developing.
This is exactly what I figured out myself over the last few years: it doesn't really help to teach me planning skills or something like that. The cognitive side is peanuts: I know how to use an agenda or, say, a software planning tool. The problem lies elsewhere: I miss the first prompt to step outside whatever I'm doing, and I also find it amazingly difficult to take up that position of 'internal manager' in which I can plan my things.

I found this out slowly, by experiences such as - that I have no problem carrying out a number of tasks when someone else asks me to do it. But I find it near impossible to give myself that same task, so that I act upon it in a similar manner.
The only way around this seems to be: to use some or other "anchoring point" outside of myself, for instance: if I really want to accomplish something, I can ask someone else to periodically ask me how things are going with that. For some reason, extending the thing to beyond just my own head makes it possible to get some planning done. It is still difficult, and it gets easier the more that other person is involved in it: but already a simple question such as "hey, how's (this or that) coming along?" already works wonders.

This has bothered me a lot. It makes no sense at all why this part of me persistently feels like it's a ten year old girl. And it's not the only part of me that feels out of sync: some have always felt older than average; some (much) younger. I don't experience this directly, as internally ill-fitting or whatever. I only notice it comparing myself to others.

The psychiatrist told me that this points somewhat to the autistic spectrum. It does not, by far, add up to any official dx.
But I don't know: as far as I'm aware, both ADHD and autism are developmental issues. Why then would what I experience suddenly be not part of ADHD, but of autism, even if ever so slightly?

I have looked into autism / asperger before and I have never recognised much in it, or in the core symptoms anyhow. I don't have any problems with social interaction, at least not in one-to-one interactions. I can be uncomfortable when I'm in a group of people whom I don't know but I believe that is mostly due to social anxiety. In any case, I never experience this in a group of people whom I know.
I don't have the stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest either, nor the adherence to routines, nor the motor mannerisms.

I am very sensitive to sounds though, hearing things that others don't. I certainly recognise things such as about that CRT whine (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2725). Some other 'asperger characteristics' that I recognise are: (great) discomfort manipulating or "playing games" with others - or rather: I find most of that group behaviour extremely objectionable, to the point that I really do not understand why a distaste for it is listed as a 'problem'. I recognise that most people do engage in it, and that it is apparently part of how people are. Still, I think the world would be a lot better off without it.
Others are: a naļve trust in others - though I am also very sensitive to people having a 'hidden agenda' so I rarely run into problems there; difficulty adopting social masks - though I am also very sensitive to other's people's feelings, and can (and will) take those into account.
I can summarise it as: being (very) sensitive and respectful to other people's feelings and mood; but at the same time I find anything related to group dynamics objectionable, mean and silly: I rather endure loneliness than to have to conform to that.
Now, if that's (somewhat) autistic, then so be it. I would rather say that I measure the degree in which someone acts like a decent person as to what degree they are able to suppress the (apparent) inclination to be controlled by group dynamics.

To add it all up: I was developmentally quite early in some areas. For one thing, I could really speak around my first birthday (not just some garbled words but complete sentences): my mother still tells the story of how flabbergasted a visiting lady was when I asked asked her "Who are you, ma'm?".
I was always very interested in, well, practically anything; but I devoured books about science, especially astronomy starting around 6 yrs old. However, I also delighted in the usual adventure / fairy tale books, played indians & cowboys, built tree huts and whatnot.
I was tested gifted in second grade (percentile 100) and was maybe a bit shy. From about that same age I experienced a growing discomfort with group dynamics - who's popular, who isn't, "belonging to groups" yadda yadda. Although I never went along with any of that, I made myself less visible because I sensed that being upfront about myself - how I thought about things, what was interested in etc. wasn't going to earn me a "group-wise stamp of approval". I played the piano and liked classical music .. maybe it would have been more difficult when I would have been a boy. I think being a tomboy somehow protected me, some of the popular boys seemed to like me.
I had/have friends, but never a zillion .. I rather have a few good ones than many superficial ones.

Around my 13th I started to notice that I had an attention problem, and where I had never had any problem at school I now started to have difficulties learning things "by rote". I still liked science, especially physics, but I had a problem with math that I still do not fully understand: I seem to thing very much bottom-up, instead of top-down. In mathematics, new concepts are often presented with "let's assume for now that ..." - followed by this-or-that assumption. That's where my problem starts: I immediately think "uhm, ok - but *why*? Couldn't it *also* be like <this>, or <that> .. and how does that assumption you're talking of actually work?" etcetera, and the end of it is that I get completely lost on trying to understand the pending assumption while the teacher / professor is already five pages further in the book.
These sort of abstractions - presented to "accept for the time being" without further explanation - always trip me up. I want to understand the bottom of it, before I can accept it and move on. This basically made studying physics (what I had wanted) impossible and has troubled me greatly.
I later realised that I can actually understand something much more easily if I start with the details, and build up my understanding from the bottom up. After I had left the university, I applied for Art School (which is a different institute in the Netherlands, not an university) and was admitted. One of the (short) jobs that I had in that time was at an audiovisual institute belonging to another technical university: they found out that I was quite good at creating animations for the instructional video's that they produced there, and I remember one mechanics professor being really bewildered how the heck I was able to figure out how a certain machine worked, just by looking at a short video shot they'd taken, and create an animation that accurately depicted how it worked.

Maybe it's related to how my thoughts work? Unlike many people on the autistic spectrum, I do not think in images. I tried once to visualise something I read in an exercise to discover that I couldn't. At all. Even simpler images (a red square, yellow triangle) didn't work. But then I found that imagining tactile, spatial objects was easy: like a cold, glass sphere, or the bark of a tree. It even extends to surroundings, smell of the air, etcetera. I can easily imagine 3-D structures, too, and was surprised to read Richard Feynman describe the way he solved physical problems as exactly similar: he imagined the problem as a kind of clockwork mechanism, where the inter-related physical entities were represented as cogwheels, levers, etcetera - so that he could sort of imagine how the whole thing behaved in one go (it's in Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!).

Funny enough, I found that the way I think bottom-up also applies in visual arts. When I start a picture or drawing, I have no idea what it is going to look like - well, maybe I do have some sort of internal representation of it, but certainly not as an "image". It is almost like a "memory" that I can enter, and walk around in, so that I can sort of reconstruct the image afterwards. This created some conflicts with teachers at the academy who felt that you should work in a certain way (usually their own way, I suppose) while I can only "build up my image" like MC Escher does, not "throw myself on the canvas" like a true tormented artist :)

:) I just realised that I was planning to summarise things - about halfway up. I wonder what the tendency to write such long posts signifies :eek:
So, here's another attempt to summarise; including both things that seem a bit autistic-spectrum-like, and things that don't:

- sometimes overly sensitive to other people's mood / feelings
- I am (all too) easily upset when people are angry with me, or even just ignore me or act dismissive
- very sensitive to tactile sensations, such as that I dislike formal / tight clothes
- I DO like change, even to the point of chaos. I love unexpected things.
- however, I DON'T see what's so appealing in breaking the rules just for the heck of breaking them. I have no problem adhering to the speed limit because it makes sense. But when on foot I'm not going to wait for a pedestrian red traffic light if there's no other traffic in sight.
- I don't mind to be alone, but not for too long. I really like other people's company, as long as everyone is allowed to mind their own business as well
- I love being touched. Especially being touched on my back causes a very profound sense of calmness inside, that even surpasses the effect of dexamphetamine.
- I find it impossible to watch violent / gory movies. My body reacts to it as if it were happening for real; I also just hugely dislike that sort of thing - why people find that entertaining is beyond me.
- I find it impossible to tell children what to do - I mean, in an adult role. I tried. It feels ridiculous, and I have the idea that they know that :)
- I cannot bring myself to treat "important" people differently than others. This is as well because I really would not know how to act; but I also find it nonsensical to do and dishonest. I can't help but think "So, you're supposed to be 'important' huh? Big deal. Yawn."
- Though, I do respect people who have a genuine quality
- I can be deeply touched if someone is being spontaneously friendly
- I can't imagine sex without intimacy and romance. Anything "kinky" is wasted on me.
- I oftentimes fail to understand if someone is teasing me (good-natured). Or maybe I do understand it somewhat, but part of me seems to always check whether it is maybe serious (you never know)?
- I can experience a kind of "pressure cooker" creative mode, maybe it's a form of hyperfocus. When I'm in that, things happen that I cannot really explain logically .. it's a sort of very fast associative process. To me it often feels as if ideas just pour in from somewhere, without me actually creating them.
- I'm easily touched / emotional. This is not always uncomfortable: it also happens as a kind of ego-death / zen-like state which is actually very calming and positive.
- I find fashion, trends, being hip (or whatever the current/local term is) usually inconceivably obtuse. I love what's authentic, personal, earnest. And I don't understand why people have such a hatred for anything that's old-fashioned or quaint: they react as if it threatens to bite them, or whatever. I'd say that there are much more pressing reasons to dislike "being fashionable": if you don't comply, you're in the out-group :eyebrow:

Even though I could not finish my physics study, it taught me to think rationally / reasonably. As many others who were raised in a religious faith, I lost it at a certain age .. I think it was around my 11th year or so.
And though I found that rationality was the only area (or view on) of reality that was consistent, I always had a notion that it wasn't the alpha and omega of it. Since a couple of years I am beginning to develop a sense of what that other part might be. I won't go into that now, because this post is already way too long. Or maybe just this: I feel that it's got nothing to do with belief, or factual supernatural whizz-bang; rather with imagination and enchantment.


So, the psychiatrist seems to think that I'm ADD-with-some-semi-autistic-quirks.
I find that rather unsatisfying, because I feel that it comes down to broadening the definition of autism so much that it could include near anything.
Some traits could possibly be interpreted as autistic, but there seem to be more that deny that?!

And: if autism and ADD are both developmental issues, where stops the one and begins the other?

The only description that really makes sense to myself is something like this: that some parts of me developed faster than average, and some others developed slower or maybe not at all. This leaves me feeling inwardly consistent, but sometimes it's very hard to figure out why some things that others take for granted seem to be so damn difficult for me. Or: why I sometimes feel as clueless as a 11-year-old, all the more because other parts of me seem to contradict that?

Anyhow, if there's anyone who recognises (part of) this, I'd be delighted to hear it :)

Thanks for reading!

- lu

silivrentoliel
01-21-13, 03:52 PM
It sounds like you've been living in my head, which is creepy because I'm not 100% sure what all lives in there myself.

Unlike you, however, I do see things in pictures. I've always been that way and it gets in the way of reading comprehension... although I've always testing pretty high on the standardized tests I'd have to take as a child. I speed-read through things and (still, to this day) can't tell you what I've just read unless I replay the "movie" in my head. (And by movie, I mean whatever I just read... as it turns into a movie of sorts).

I don't know what CRT stands for, but I've always had a bit of tinnitus- I always figured it was from listening to loud music as a child, but DH has it and never did... I guess my theory on that will have to change, but I just figured it was damage or allergies or something that caused it.

I was going to say more, but my dog kicked my computer out of my lap, and in retrieving it, I forgot... I'll come back when I remember more.

Luthien
01-21-13, 04:55 PM
I'm not sure what all lives inside my own head either.
Or, maybe it's the other way around: that I'm not 100% certain whether or not I live entirely within my own head.

CRT means Cathode Ray Tube - the old bulky TV tubes. Because of the way the image was built up in them, there were components in the TV that generated 16000 Hz electric signals which always caused some audible noise of that frequency. People are normally not supposed to hear those sounds after their 18th or so, but apparently some do.
As a child I remember walking past a TV shop where about twenty sets were blaring out that high pitched noise .. it was so loud that I could not imagine that anyone could walk in there voluntarily, let alone work there.

I also have very slight tinnitus sometimes, but I know it's caused by the dexamphetamine rebound so it doesn't bother me much.

Incidentally, I am quite surprised to see your username, which means something like Silver Coming in Sindarin. Do you speak it / write in it maybe?

He dregas ad, dan ho nerant:
Tinśviel! Tinśviel!
Eneg edhellen dīn estant
adhor ennas lū hen lastol.
Ne phost thent Beren, tśliel
Na lūth ed lam dīn gen gwedhant,
Si barthannen Tinśviel
Dorthas vi rainc dīn thiliol.

fracturedstory
01-21-13, 08:17 PM
Everyone can have a degree of autistic traits, especially in ADHD. What makes it autism is when it impairs your everyday functioning.

People with ADHD can have sensory sensitivity. Thinking in words or images is not exclusive to autism or ADHD; everyone has a different learning style.

I'm the opposite with tasks. I'll be defiant towards anyone that tells me to do something but I can do it fine myself.

This could all just be ADHD. There are so many people here who relate to many of my personal quirks, except having an attention to detail.

I don't go for mild mild mild Asperger's. Come May 18 you won't actually be diagnosed, especially if you can't be diagnosed now.

Yeah I sound blunt and rude. I have classic autism. I have no interest in people. I stim. I hate change. I need a repetitive routine for sanity's sake. I have extreme sensory processing issues that I can't even just pop down to the shops without the right supports. I can't even work. I don't have social anxiety but I still don't know what to say to people, or want to say anything. I have meltdowns over what seem like little things. I'm probably going to be dependent on my family for the rest of my life.

All these things you listed are just traits. Even people in the general population have them. I was surprised when I found this out too.

Scientists agree with you and they are limiting the autistic criteria. Have limited it. Autism is not a broad spectrum. It is a neurological disorder and those diagnosed fit under three types of severity. The diagnoses is about treatment and support services, not a badge of honour. Sorry, I have known people that just use the label to think of themselves as the next step in evolution.

And lot of people are probably confused because I talk about autism being a positive thing - because I have to. I have so many mental problems now that I need to hold onto a shred of confidence which is taking advantage of the symptoms of both autism and ADHD. If I didn't I'd be in a body bag. That is the reality.

fracturedstory
01-21-13, 08:33 PM
*Sigh* My stupid Ritalin is making me say sorry for my bluntness. I'm going through a lot right now and I usually try to write open minded posts, but my issues have been so extreme lately.

I overlooked the part where you were doubting it and wondering where autism stops and starts if it can be so broad.

If you want to think yourself as being a bit autistic, go for it. I'm sorry. I never say sorry but I am.

Fortune
01-21-13, 09:36 PM
Ginniebean found a study a month or so ago that showed that people with ADHD tend to have a few more autistic traits than the general population. Most do not qualify for a diagnosis, but it's there.

Sandy4957
01-21-13, 11:20 PM
Ah, LUTHIEN!!!!! So good to see you, dear!!!! :D

What you say is interesting. Luthien, for what it's worth, you "feel" more autistic-spectrum-y to me than ADHD-ish. Now, what the heck do I know, so take that with a grain of salt. :rolleyes: I say that based SOLELY on my interactions with you here online. I suppose that we've had telephone calls, right? But it isn't based on those. It's on how you interact here.

You are VERY interested in Sindarin, to the point of being similar to some of our other autistic folks' fascination with other topics.

You don't "get" sarcasm. One has to bear that in mind with you, because one may inadvertently offend you (i.e., you'll take something at face value when it's meant as a joke), and/or you may feel left out, because you don't "get" the joke, even when it's not sarcasm directed "at" you at all.

You're exquisitely sensitive to others' emotions, picking up vibes when people don't even know that they're giving them off. That has to do with how closely you are reading posts...

You're extremely good at logical and literal thinking and reasoning. Better than the average person. Remember when we were trying to puzzle through certain posts, which were put together in a sort of code? You got it WAY better than anyone else... :D

To me, you feel like a bit of a hybrid. I can definitely see similarities between you and, say, Fractured, in how I interact with both of you.

Just my two cents, viewing you entirely from the outside, of course, but as one who has known you for a few years now (wow; it's been almost FIVE years, Luthien!!!!!) :)

In any event, I'm so glad to see you, Girl!!!! :)

fracturedstory
01-22-13, 03:02 AM
Oh yeah, forgot to add, you can be both :o

SquarePeg
01-22-13, 05:07 AM
Ginniebean found a study a month or so ago that showed that people with ADHD tend to have a few more autistic traits than the general population. Most do not qualify for a diagnosis, but it's there.

I have also thought this as well. A lot of my problems with social interaction are listed as autism symptoms but I can“t find any mention of them as being adhd symptoms.

sarek
01-22-13, 07:22 AM
Of course, Lu, we talked at length about some of this. But it keeps amazing me how many similarities there are between us although there is a lot you are able to do with such incredible ease that would be far beyond my abilities.

As you know I am ADD-PI and I consistently score rather high on aspie tests but never enough to obtain a full dx. And just like in your case my social functioning is pretty much normal as far as functionalities go.

Luthien
01-22-13, 08:22 AM
Hi Fracturedstory, thanks for your reply.

(...)
This could all just be ADHD. There are so many people here who relate to many of my personal quirks, except having an attention to detail.

I don't go for mild mild mild Asperger's. Come May 18 you won't actually be diagnosed, especially if you can't be diagnosed now.

Maybe I wasn't clear about this: but I have never pursued an AS diagnosis. I have always resisted and still resist the idea because it does not feel right.

My problem is that there are a couple of quite significant traits that definitely bother me and keep popping up here and there in my life. They are not addressed by ADHD counseling nor medication; and whenever I mention them the conversation always seems to drift off towards autism.

I don't seek an additional label; I merely want to get a grip on those traits / issues.


(...)
All these things you listed are just traits. Even people in the general population have them. I was surprised when I found this out too.
True. I listed them to complete the picture.
However, it is different with the two 'traits' that I cannot get a hold on because they feel definitely under-developed (or not developed at all). I'm not saying that it is autism-related. My psychiatrist did. I don't give a flying frak what they are called ;) as long as I can find a way to work around them.


And lot of people are probably confused because I talk about autism being a positive thing - because I have to. I have so many mental problems now that I need to hold onto a shred of confidence which is taking advantage of the symptoms of both autism and ADHD. If I didn't I'd be in a body bag. That is the reality.
Well, it doesn't confuse me.

I overlooked the part where you were doubting it and wondering where autism stops and starts if it can be so broad.
If you want to think yourself as being a bit autistic, go for it. I'm sorry. I never say sorry but I am.
No need to say sorry. It was a very long post after all ;)
But anyhow, I don't think about myself as even slightly autistic. If anything, I am seeking clues that prove the opposite.

Luthien
01-22-13, 08:37 AM
Ginniebean found a study a month or so ago that showed that people with ADHD tend to have a few more autistic traits than the general population. Most do not qualify for a diagnosis, but it's there.

Hey, that's interesting. It points indeed to that idea that the whole axis can be seen as a continuum, on which autism and adhd are two focal points. The things I mentioned do feel as development-related, but surely nothing like autism anyhow.

I just remembered a discussion I had three and a half years ago where I pointed this out to a counselor, upon which she subtly hinted that 'autistic people are notoriously bad at self-assessment'.

Yeah, thanks. Talking about Kafka :eek: - or at least a venomous Catch-22:

- if you say that you do have autistic traits: hmm, let's look into that
- if you say that you don't have autistic traits: hmm, let's look into that anyhow, because autistic people tend to misjudge themselves

And that was about the last conversation I ever had there. They gave me the choice of either to undergo a full autism evaluation, or to leave.
I left.

Luthien
01-22-13, 09:26 AM
Ah, LUTHIEN!!!!! So good to see you, dear!!!! :D

Same here! I missed you!

What you say is interesting. Luthien, for what it's worth, you "feel" more autistic-spectrum-y to me than ADHD-ish. Now, what the heck do I know, so take that with a grain of salt. :rolleyes: I say that based SOLELY on my interactions with you here online. I suppose that we've had telephone calls, right? But it isn't based on those. It's on how you interact here.

Well .. I think that this is maybe very helpful to figure out why I sometimes feel pushed into that direction, even when I don't want to. Let's see ..


You are VERY interested in Sindarin, to the point of being similar to some of our other autistic folks' fascination with other topics.
I don't agree with that - but I must admit that I have thought that "someone is probably going to mention that" ;)

If that were so, you could label any strong interest that someone has as autistic. I know a few others who have a similar fascination, but they sure aren't autistic either.
Besides, with me it's part of something much larger than that. And it isn't limited to just the linguistics or whatever. I know a couple of people who have indeed a much more technical or detail-focused interest; compiling tables of irregular verbs (which are very useful btw ;) ) and even lecturing on those. My fascination isn't technical, but rather something on the border of creativity and spirituality.

Besides, it is by far not the only thing that I am interested in; I'm also very much into making music, animation, painting, open source software, writing a children's book, and long distance bicycle trips :)



You don't "get" sarcasm. One has to bear that in mind with you, because one may inadvertently offend you (i.e., you'll take something at face value when it's meant as a joke), and/or you may feel left out, because you don't "get" the joke, even when it's not sarcasm directed "at" you at all.
Well, that's indeed true, and probably the reason that that psych points at autism as well.
But exactly as Fracturedstory, I would not call that autistic.
Look at what it exactly is: it's related to social development - not the 1-to-1 kind, but the "group" kind (hmm, aren't there better labels for that?).
It's related to that "playing games" that people do, and of which I have at times wondered how they manage to keep track of all the different roles they have to play depending on the context. It's not only stupid and damaging, but also damn difficult and complex. So more reasons to not indulge in it, I'd say :umm1:
This is indeed one of the areas that feel not-developed (or under-developed), but again, is that autism? I think not. Take a six-year-old, who has not yet developed this "social lobe" yet: they won't understand sarcasm, nor do they social games.


You're exquisitely sensitive to others' emotions, picking up vibes when people don't even know that they're giving them off.
True. I'd say that that is the opposite of autistic.

That has to do with how closely you are reading posts...
I don't think so.
It has to do with how sensitive one is about how people use (written) language; express themselves; and I have the exact same thing in real life.
I should say that this shows that I am highly empathic; and that I'm good at anticipating other people's feelings.
Incidentally: one of the voluntary jobs I've done was giving first-line support over the phone and leading self-help groups for lesbian women / girls who just had their coming-out. Do you think that an autistic person could have done that?

You're extremely good at logical and literal thinking and reasoning. Better than the average person. Remember when we were trying to puzzle through certain posts, which were put together in a sort of code? You got it WAY better than anyone else... :D
Well, thanks for the compliment .. but what does that mean?
If you're good at something doesn't mean that you're - even slightly - autistic, or do you?

To me, you feel like a bit of a hybrid. I can definitely see similarities between you and, say, Fractured, in how I interact with both of you.
I don't know Fractured enough I'm afraid!
You know: I am aware that I may have some traits that resemble traits that autistic people also have. But they are always the "fringe symptoms" that aren't even in the DSM criteria.
The fact remains that I do not recognise myself at all in the core symptoms of autism; rather the contrary.

Just my two cents, viewing you entirely from the outside, of course, but as one who has known you for a few years now (wow; it's been almost FIVE years, Luthien!!!!!) :)
In any event, I'm so glad to see you, Girl!!!! :)
:) same here .. maybe I sound a bit defensive, but that's nothing personal!
I am really glad to see you too.

PS I think that I sent you a mail not too long ago via Linkedin ...? Did you get that?

Luthien
01-22-13, 09:26 AM
Oh yeah, forgot to add, you can be both :o
I know, but I don't think I am.

Luthien
01-22-13, 09:47 AM
Of course, Lu, we talked at length about some of this. But it keeps amazing me how many similarities there are between us although there is a lot you are able to do with such incredible ease that would be far beyond my abilities.
There are probably things that you can do much better than me, too. One thing that crosses my mind right now is your job, which I could never do.

As you know I am ADD-PI and I consistently score rather high on aspie tests but never enough to obtain a full dx. And just like in your case my social functioning is pretty much normal as far as functionalities go.
Well, and that's the strange thing. I did take some of those tests as well, because I am of course curious. But I score very low on those: they usually say something like "you probably have no Asperger's".

Judging by the sort of questions those quizzes ask I can see where I fail to meet the criteria very well: I am actually very fond of being with other people, and I love interacting with them.
My problem is that as soon as they start to operate as a group, I'm lost.

I can have significant social anxiety, but I only have it with people whom I don't know. As soon as I am familiar with them, it's gone.

My idea of a sort of "social paradise" is a community of people who are basically friendly towards another, who dare to be individuals and don't act like social lemmings like most people today. Who try to "do the right thing" without being fanatics, but in their own (small or not) way. Who would not be led by fear for what's unknown, but by courage and interest. Who would not dwell on their ego.
When I try to picture a community like that, I feel that it's not that far-fetched or unattainable. Yet, I never see it around me.
I often feel that I am somewhat odd for longing for something like that.

Sandy4957
01-22-13, 11:15 AM
I don't agree with that - but I must admit that I have thought that "someone is probably going to mention that"

:lol:

silivrentoliel
01-22-13, 03:28 PM
I'm not sure what all lives inside my own head either.
Or, maybe it's the other way around: that I'm not 100% certain whether or not I live entirely within my own head.
Very well put. I know I often reside outside my own head, but it's still a contained "Whitney-verse" type place... Which is totally off topic... :lol: sorry.

CRT means Cathode Ray Tube - the old bulky TV tubes. Because of the way the image was built up in them, there were components in the TV that generated 16000 Hz electric signals which always caused some audible noise of that frequency. People are normally not supposed to hear those sounds after their 18th or so, but apparently some do.
As a child I remember walking past a TV shop where about twenty sets were blaring out that high pitched noise .. it was so loud that I could not imagine that anyone could walk in there voluntarily, let alone work there.

I also have very slight tinnitus sometimes, but I know it's caused by the dexamphetamine rebound so it doesn't bother me much.

Oo! I wonder if that is the same type of thing that causes fluorescent lights to whine or our TV to screech sometimes... we have a new TV, but it emits the loudest screech if it's quite in the house... it's really annoying. I have a few heat bulbs for my reptiles that make noise as well...

Incidentally, I am quite surprised to see your username, which means something like Silver Coming in Sindarin. Do you speak it / write in it maybe?

I don't. It's actually a translation of what my name means, I believe, albeit a bit simplified... I'll PM you though... :lol: as that's a bit of a bunny trail

Everyone can have a degree of autistic traits, especially in ADHD. What makes it autism is when it impairs your everyday functioning.

People with ADHD can have sensory sensitivity. Thinking in words or images is not exclusive to autism or ADHD; everyone has a different learning style.

I'm the opposite with tasks. I'll be defiant towards anyone that tells me to do something but I can do it fine myself.

This could all just be ADHD. There are so many people here who relate to many of my personal quirks, except having an attention to detail.

I don't go for mild mild mild Asperger's. Come May 18 you won't actually be diagnosed, especially if you can't be diagnosed now.

Yeah I sound blunt and rude. I have classic autism. I have no interest in people. I stim. I hate change. I need a repetitive routine for sanity's sake. I have extreme sensory processing issues that I can't even just pop down to the shops without the right supports. I can't even work. I don't have social anxiety but I still don't know what to say to people, or want to say anything. I have meltdowns over what seem like little things. I'm probably going to be dependent on my family for the rest of my life.

All these things you listed are just traits. Even people in the general population have them. I was surprised when I found this out too.

Scientists agree with you and they are limiting the autistic criteria. Have limited it. Autism is not a broad spectrum. It is a neurological disorder and those diagnosed fit under three types of severity. The diagnoses is about treatment and support services, not a badge of honour. Sorry, I have known people that just use the label to think of themselves as the next step in evolution.

And lot of people are probably confused because I talk about autism being a positive thing - because I have to. I have so many mental problems now that I need to hold onto a shred of confidence which is taking advantage of the symptoms of both autism and ADHD. If I didn't I'd be in a body bag. That is the reality.

You are the first person to actually *explain* autism to me... and while you may think this was an abrasive post, I found it immensely helpful, and nonabrasive at all... although, we both share an O.D.D. trait, so I don't take things as others tend too. I don't mind a well written argument either :)

I can't type worth a crap this afternoon... so I'll leave my ramble here and continue on :)

Luthien
01-22-13, 07:28 PM
and while you may think this was an abrasive post, I found it immensely helpful, and nonabrasive at all... although, we both share an O.D.D. trait, so I don't take things as others tend too. I don't mind a well written argument either :

I agree: it was indeed helpful, and I didn't think it was abrasive either. Actually, I could understand why you (Fracturedstory) wrote it down like that. After all, it IS kind of annoying if people go like "hey, look, in-grown toenails! *points at toenails*! I have {whatever}" or, whatever.

silivrentoliel
01-22-13, 07:48 PM
I agree: it was indeed helpful, and I didn't think it was abrasive either. Actually, I could understand why you (Fracturedstory) wrote it down like that. After all, it IS kind of annoying if people go like "hey, look, in-grown toenails! *points at toenails*! I have {whatever}" or, whatever.

I agree. I cringe when people are scatterbrained for a day and go around telling people they are "so ADD" ... I actually smacked my best friend for saying that once... now she just says she left her brain at home :giggle:

Electra2
01-22-13, 08:15 PM
Hi Luthien,I recognosed so much of my self in your post it was incredible,but I think in pictures too.I didnt have asperger because I had a very high level of empathy
explained my psychologist.
My tendency to isolate and hyperfocus had to do with my ADD,he explained.

Luthien
01-22-13, 09:20 PM
[QUOTE]I agree. I cringe when people are scatterbrained for a day and go around telling people they are "so ADD" ... [QUOTE]

Yes, exactly! And I imagine then that people pronounce that "ssso ADD" with this hissing, affected, mincing, mannered, pretty-pretty, minikin s that has spread like wildfire among especially American women (though I've already heard some English ladies utter it as well. Woo, begone!! ;)

Ah yesss, it'sss like awesome, you know, sssort of, I mean like, TOTALLY, like, like, ADD, sssort of, you know - and then I wasss like OHMYGOD.

Maybe they should devise a new character for this s - something like ś maybe?

sarek
01-23-13, 08:23 AM
There are probably things that you can do much better than me, too. One thing that crosses my mind right now is your job, which I could never do.

"There was some scattered clapping, but most of them were trying to work it out and see if it came to a compliment":)



I can have significant social anxiety, but I only have it with people whom I don't know. As soon as I am familiar with them, it's gone.

My idea of a sort of "social paradise" is a community of people who are basically friendly towards another, who dare to be individuals and don't act like social lemmings like most people today. Who try to "do the right thing" without being fanatics, but in their own (small or not) way. Who would not be led by fear for what's unknown, but by courage and interest. Who would not dwell on their ego.
When I try to picture a community like that, I feel that it's not that far-fetched or unattainable. Yet, I never see it around me.
I often feel that I am somewhat odd for longing for something like that.

As far as social anxiety goes, that is pretty similar to my situation although perhaps its for a major part not the actual anxiety but the introversion that keeps me from interacting with strangers.

I gladly sign up for your social paradise right away. But then again, by having found this forum, I sometimes feel I have already found it. If only we could make that a physical reality.

And no, that longing does not make you odd, it makes you special.

Luthien
01-23-13, 09:00 AM
Hi Luthien,I recognosed so much of my self in your post it was incredible,but I think in pictures too.I didnt have asperger because I had a very high level of empathy
explained my psychologist.
My tendency to isolate and hyperfocus had to do with my ADD,he explained.

Hi Electra, thanks for your reply!

I'm actually very glad that I started this topic because now I feel a lot more confident in talking to the counselor and psychiatrist (I'm seeing the counselor tomorrow) should they further want to label me with something like "partial autism".

Here's what I thought up by way of analogy :)


=== The story of Ellie, who moved to Omaha ===

Once upon a time there was a country called Axis One. Or at least, that was how people from the large Kingdom of NT called it. Now, because the people of Axis One weren't very good at administrative tasks, they had outsourced that to NT - whose inhabitants were very good at things like that. Conversely, the people of Axis One were, albeit a bit unpredictable and chaotic, very skilful and creative and provided the whole planet of DSM with the fruit of their labours.
Thus the whole thing was more or less in balance.

By some curious coincidence, Axis One had the exact same shape as the present-day United States - although it was a lot smaller. Even a number of larger Axis One towns had the same names as cities of the USA and were found in the same general location.
Over time, people with similar inclinations had flocked together and thus you could find very active and venturous folk in the North-Eastern town of New York: they loved to work on large scale projects that involved daring physical activities. They talked and sang and cheered while they worked, often partying all night long to celebrate some success. Of course some of them clashed with another because of their sheer enthusiasm, but in general they got done what they set out to do.

A little further south one could find the village of Washington. People who lived here weren't nearly as busy as their neighbours and instead of a bustling town, Washington was a very rustic community. The houses stood well apart, with trees between them. The people there were quite private, even silent at times; but inside their minds would whirl and dance around just as it was with the New York people. Therefore, while they appeared quiet and dreamy, they could think up weird and wonderful things, and some among them put those to paper, or worked them in stone and metal - oftentimes inventing wonderful new things that the whole world would benefit from.

At the other side of the country, there were two major towns, close to one another: Los Angeles and San Francisco. The people who lived here were quite unique and wonderful although some of them found it hard to talk to others, especially when it served no real purpose. Their real talent was that they had a very different view on the world, even compared to the people on the East Coast. To them, every single thing in the world was unique and thus they refused to throw things together in categories, as most others did.
Because of this, they could find other ways to look at things and solutions to problems that no-one had ever thought of before.

Now, as has been told, all administration of Axis One was done by the born administrators from NT. But you know how administrators are: they are practically the exact opposite of those West Coasters. They thought only in categories; and oftentimes a thing was either this or that - black or white, left or right.
This was also how they had arranged the land register: as far as they were concerned, people either lived at the East Coast, or the West Coast. But surely not somewhere in between. The only flexibility that they had shown was that they had grumpily allowed to distinguish between the aforementioned larger communities on either coast.

Now, it chanced to happen that a girl was born, and she was named Ellie. Her parents lived on a ranch somewhere in the midst of the country, but formally it was a Washington address (you see, the administrative practice of NT resulted in very long roads): 39814, Rural Road nr 218, Washington it was ( :) )
When Ellie grew up, she was raised under the system that was formally assigned to her: that of Washington. And sure enough, she was at least partly a true Washingtonian: a bit quiet and dreamy, and she was quite good at making all sorts of things.
But she also had another side that reminded people a bit of what they had heard of the West Coast: she was maybe a bit more quiet than was usual in Washington, and came up with some really unusual ideas.
When she was grown up and ready to leave her parent's house, she went to the harbour and booked passage on a boat to NT. It was custom in those days that everyone who newly settled or moved, had to travel to NT's Cadastral Office in order to confirm their town of residence.

She entered the Cadastral Office's building and queued up for the Address Register's pigeonhole, and after one and a half hour it was her turn:

- Hello miss, what can I do for you?
- Hi, I would like to apply for a new address.
- Newly settled or moving?
- Newly settling, I'm going to live by myself.
- Ah, I see. Have you got your SFM-22 form filled in?
- I hope so, ... here it is.
- And your passport?
- Ah, yes. *hands it over*
- Thank you. Hmm let's see ... *mumble* ... *frown* ... *turns page over* ... *mumble* ... hmm yes, miss ... ?
- Ellie, ma'm. Yes?
- It says here that you want to move to an address in Omaha.
- That's right. It is not far from my parent's house.
- But that is formally a Washington address. You cannot fill in "Omaha" here.
- Why not? I like to live in the middle of the country, because that reflects how I feel inside.
- But you were raised in the ... *leafs through paperwork* ... under the Washington system, as were your parents.
- Well, you see: part of me is not really Washingtonian.
- Really? *frowns, looks at Ellie over rim of spectacles* .. well, if you feel that way, we should evaluate you for re-assignment to San Francisco or Los Angeles.
- But I don't want that. I'm not a West-coaster either. I'm an Omahanian!
- "Omahanian" doesn't exist, my dear. There are only East- and West-coasters in Axis One. *arranges paperwork, picks it up*. And if you're not an East-coaster, you are a West-coaster. What's so difficult about that?
- Aaargh! *grabs paperwork, runs out*
- Hmm. Silly child. *picks up phone* ... "Hello? Yes, Address Register's office here. We've got a stubborn case at our hand here, wants to create her own address-category to live in .. yes, definitely. Washington, yes. "

Hmm, I have not figured out yet how it ends! :umm1:

- to be continued (I hope) -

Stevuke79
01-23-13, 12:56 PM
Awesome post. You said a lot - to much to remark about all that rang true.

I've heard it said that autism is a spectrum...nearly everyone I admire is somewhere on it. We should count our blessings - if we left the spectrum, we may find ourselves looking in our closets thinking:

"What was wrong with me when I bought these clothes. They're so 2007!!"

gemini-dreamer
01-23-13, 01:05 PM
Hi all,



- sometimes overly sensitive to other people's mood / feelings
- I am (all too) easily upset when people are angry with me, or even just ignore me or act dismissive
- very sensitive to tactile sensations, such as that I dislike formal / tight clothes
- I DO like change, even to the point of chaos. I love unexpected things.
- however, I DON'T see what's so appealing in breaking the rules just for the heck of breaking them. I have no problem adhering to the speed limit because it makes sense. But when on foot I'm not going to wait for a pedestrian red traffic light if there's no other traffic in sight.
- I don't mind to be alone, but not for too long. I really like other people's company, as long as everyone is allowed to mind their own business as well
- I love being touched. Especially being touched on my back causes a very profound sense of calmness inside, that even surpasses the effect of dexamphetamine.
- I find it impossible to watch violent / gory movies. My body reacts to it as if it were happening for real; I also just hugely dislike that sort of thing - why people find that entertaining is beyond me.
- I find it impossible to tell children what to do - I mean, in an adult role. I tried. It feels ridiculous, and I have the idea that they know that :)
- I cannot bring myself to treat "important" people differently than others. This is as well because I really would not know how to act; but I also find it nonsensical to do and dishonest. I can't help but think "So, you're supposed to be 'important' huh? Big deal. Yawn."
- Though, I do respect people who have a genuine quality
- I can be deeply touched if someone is being spontaneously friendly
- I can't imagine sex without intimacy and romance. Anything "kinky" is wasted on me.
- I oftentimes fail to understand if someone is teasing me (good-natured). Or maybe I do understand it somewhat, but part of me seems to always check whether it is maybe serious (you never know)?
- I can experience a kind of "pressure cooker" creative mode, maybe it's a form of hyperfocus. When I'm in that, things happen that I cannot really explain logically .. it's a sort of very fast associative process. To me it often feels as if ideas just pour in from somewhere, without me actually creating them.
- I'm easily touched / emotional. This is not always uncomfortable: it also happens as a kind of ego-death / zen-like state which is actually very calming and positive.
- I find fashion, trends, being hip (or whatever the current/local term is) usually inconceivably obtuse. I love what's authentic, personal, earnest. And I don't understand why people have such a hatred for anything that's old-fashioned or quaint: they react as if it threatens to bite them, or whatever. I'd say that there are much more pressing reasons to dislike "being fashionable": if you don't comply, you're in the out-group :eyebrow:




I wish the rest of the world were just like you! :thankyou::goodpost::grouphug:

(In case you didn't get from my response, I could ditto pretty much everything you said above)

Luthien
01-23-13, 04:50 PM
Thanks, Stevuke79 & gemini-dreamer!

What I'm wondering about though, is what to make of these non-developed or underdeveloped areas such as "the ability to use group dynamics" and the lack of executive skills (and a couple of others) which renders me feeling more as a kind of grown-up child, rather than an adult.

Despite what some people say about it, I don't believe that this is part of ADHD. At least, not in this degree.
I neither think that it's something autistic.
So, what then is it?

Maybe I should add that these issues have serious impact on my life. Despite that they don't make me feel inconsistent or unfinished or even "less worth" in any way, they can at times isolate me from others; make me feel absolutely clueless; and, in the worst case, they can make me feel as desperate as a child waking up one day to find everyone she loved gone.
Its not that I always feel like that. But it is a fact that I have to deal with.

I don't think that an increase in the medication dosage will really change this (the psychiatrist asked me if I would want to try that). But I'm dead certain that having it labeled as "something vaguely autistic" isn't going to make a great deal of difference either.

Until now I found one solution: the "prompting" by someone else to overcome the executive skill problem. It works because it is tailored to the partial age that I function in for this particular area.
I don't know if there are similar solutions for the other things but it's worth figuring out I suppose.

And oh yes, one thing that I remembered today: a friend told me (almost two years ago now) that whatever I experience could maybe be caused by a less (or non-)lateralized brain: the two brain hemispheres usually become more or less specialised, which favours certain functions. But I don't know much about it, and I could not find any evidence that something like that even exists.

fracturedstory
01-24-13, 02:22 AM
Ha, that was a great post! Reminds me the stuff I come up with when I'm off my meds or on my meds but still can't focus on the right tasks.

I'm not sure if the new diagnosis of social communication disorder which will come out with the DSM 5 would be of use to you? I think many who are mild AS could fit under it. It seems to be social problems without anxiety, I think. I've not read the criteria in some time.

The problem with neurological disorder is that the symptoms are similar. If ADHD and autism are on a spectrum than bipolar, OCD, dyslexia, dyspraxia etc should be too.

I got so sick of being called normal that I told the person, 'no, I'm human.' We all have the same human brain. Of course people can go through what I can but the difference is mine is developed and structured differently than non-autistics. Even the ADHD brain is different. But our brains are still human brains.

See, when people call me normal it's like that are saying everything has my crippling amount of anxiety and sensory processing issues. And they don't actually.

I think ADHD and autism and co-exist together but they are not the same thing. Intellectual disability can exist in autism too but they are separate. The symptoms are clearly defined. That's how I see things.

Maybe just work on the treatment side of things. I got better social skills just by reading a lot. Maybe Ritalin was involved. Even asking questions about social issues online can help.

Luthien
01-25-13, 10:06 AM
Hi Fracturedstory, thanks for your reply. It's very helpful.

Ha, that was a great post! Reminds me the stuff I come up with when I'm off my meds or on my meds but still can't focus on the right tasks.

I still find it very hard to focus on tasks that I find boring. It's as if I have to force my mind back to the task at hand, and put a guard next to it. Then, if I've worked on that task for a bit, I often fall for the seduction of rewarding myself with something that's more interesting.

It's maybe the only way even that I ever get something boring done: if I'd be forced to shoehorn my mind into something unspeakably dreary like, say, java enterprise frameworks for any serious length of time I'd surely go bananas.

It's like in meetings. The only way to sit through them is to allow part of my mind to dart around freely (usually by drawing thing). I never cease to wonder how others can bring themselves to be fully tuned in to that legalised mental torture practice called "work meeting".

I'm not sure if the new diagnosis of social communication disorder which will come out with the DSM 5 would be of use to you? I think many who are mild AS could fit under it. It seems to be social problems without anxiety, I think. I've not read the criteria in some time.

Hey, I didn't even know that a new DSM was in the works. Thanks.
However, googling for the symptoms came up with that it's(...)based on difficulty in the social uses of verbal and nonverbal communication in naturalistic contexts (...)

But I don't think that that's the case with me. I have absolutely no problem communicating to others - at least, as long as the other party isn't playing social games.

For instance: at my previous job there were quite a few of these consultant types. We used to all have lunch together: a fine opportunity for those consultants to continuously tease one another; talk about lease cars; jeer at others who drive "wrong" cars (whatever those may be?); that they just had the winter tires put on their lease car or just had them taken off - in short: to exercise all sorts of communication as long as it's completely pointless.
But when the office manager - another of the few women - had a very difficult time and was all tearful one day, the consultants clam up. It scares them to death. And not just tears: anything that involves real emotions, be it positive or negative; anything heartfelt is a scary no-go area to them.

I'm the opposite. I have no problem listening to someone or to console someone who's sad. I would never laugh at anyone for having the wrong car even if I knew what that was.
I feel clueless with their jokes and their innuendo - of course that's also a man-woman thing, but like Sandy said, I indeed don't understand sarcasm.
I like people who are vulnerable and dare to show what they really think and feel. But those consultants seem to fear them.

Therefore I often wonder: who the heck has the real issue here?
Is it the person who doesn't "get" social games, ego-play and innuendo, but who is highly empathic and has no problem having meaningful talks with others - or is it the person who is fluent in social games, can outwit others and isn't scrupulous about pestering others; but who can't bring him- or herself to really listen to someone else?

That's why I don't think that I have a communication problem. I'm having a problem with social BS.
And what's more: I don't regret that either.
But since I can't change the rest of the world, that's a bit of a problem :)


I got so sick of being called normal that I told the person, 'no, I'm human.' We all have the same human brain. Of course people can go through what I can but the difference is mine is developed and structured differently than non-autistics. Even the ADHD brain is different. But our brains are still human brains.

See, when people call me normal it's like that are saying everything has my crippling amount of anxiety and sensory processing issues. And they don't actually.

Yes. I know what you mean.
This has often annoyed me as well. When someone tells you that whatever you're telling them about yourself is "normal" they are basically giving you the message that you're just posing for attention. Or so I've also felt about it, and one day I explained that to someone who had just said to me "oh, but everyone has that ... that's quite normal". I told him that this felt to me as if I wasn't taken seriously. This startled him because he hadn't meant it like that.

Part of the issue may be that people use "normal" in different ways. Many people use it to indicate that they accept something; that it doesn't freak them out. What this friend was trying to tell me is something like: that I needn't worry overmuch about it because other people also knew this - in essence, to a degree.
It has happened many times actually. I usually tell other people things I've figured out about myself because it helps me understand myself better. But they often understand it as something that I might worry about.

Another thing to consider maybe is that while we might find whatever we tell others nothing shocking; they might feel very different about it.
For instance: I find thinking about myself as a "grown-up child" or "amateur grown-up" not unsettling. It's merely a (quite good) description of how I experience myself.
But someone else might consider that very derogatory. Heck, I can only imagine that too well by applying it (as a thought experiment) to someone else: I certainly wouldn't say that about another person: others would value it differently as I do.

We have often thought long and hard about ourselves. We've gotten used to these things, and can put them in the proper context.
For someone else it's different. They will probably pick up the most average interpretation of your words; they miss a lot of contextual knowledge and feelings; and as I said above: they might give an answer that they think is appropriate but which you feel is entirely off.

I still don't know how to present these things to others without provoking that dreaded "oh, but that's normal!" response!
The only thing that helps is to tell them more about it, I suppose.

And of course there are also those who really think that whatever you say is "normal" - because they're clueless, or because they weren't really interested in the first place and therefore haven't really understood you.
I'd just shrug about those and stop wasting your time on them :)


I think ADHD and autism and co-exist together but they are not the same thing. Intellectual disability can exist in autism too but they are separate. The symptoms are clearly defined. That's how I see things.

Maybe just work on the treatment side of things. I got better social skills just by reading a lot. Maybe Ritalin was involved. Even asking questions about social issues online can help.

Re. "Just work on the treatment side" - exactly.
I just came back from a talk with the counsellor. We discussed what the psychiatrist had come up with. I'm really glad that I posted this topic, because it feel I really thought things over quite well, helped by everyone's input.

@Sandy, I think you maybe be right about the "hybrid case" after all. The counsellor had discussed it with the psych. They seem to have settled on something that's close to what I described here: that there are a couple of issues / traits that indeed go beyond ADD especially because of the clear sense of halted development in those areas; which is *in general* a feature found rather in autism.
But it isn't autism, because I fail to classify for any core autism characteristic.
So whatever it is, it doesn't have a name. It is somewhere in-between; ADD with a kind of roll-your-own developmental imbalance.
Which is not unusual in itself, although my case seemed to be particularly hard to pin down.

Still, it's good to know, now for real. It helps because it offers a handle to address these issues in their age-appropriate manner (such as the prompting). I still have to figure out what else might work .. maybe just the awareness helps, too.

Oh, and we're going to try increasing the dex a bit.

Luthien
01-25-13, 04:30 PM
I was browsing the forum yesterday and hit upon two things that I have always considered unrelated to ADD. I still think that they are unrelated, but you never know.

(I also described these in the topics about these subjects)

One of them was a particularly nasty headache called cluster headache(s). It's a one-sided (right-sided in my case), very intense headache that comes in clusters (hence the name).
The clusters would come twice a year and last about two months. In a typical cluster the pain would come in regular pattern that slowly varied over time. Sometimes a few times a week; sometimes every day; sometimes twice a day.
The headaches themselves lasted between 15 minutes and several hours. Some were really bad.
I had this for a couple of years; they suddenly ceased after I started on oral contraceptives.
I can't say that I miss them :)
The only possible link that I can think of, was that the headaches were partly so hard to bear because they were accompanied by a combination of intense restlessness and "brain fog". It's possible that this was caused by the pain itself of course. I can't tell.
What's also curious was that if the headache would wake me - usually around 5am - I could oftentimes revert it by drinking strong black coffee. When the pain lifted, I would then feel very tired and sleepy.

I never found out whether taking the 'pill' was indeed the reason they ceased, or how that could possibly be linked.

The other thing goes by the wonderful name of Alice In Wonderland Syndrome or AIWS: it was rather unsettling, especially at first (I was six years old by then). But at least it didn't hurt. I've described it here (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1429214&postcount=14).
In short: it is a distortion of both the experienced self-image and vision; also hearing, touch and time-perception can be involved. In some cases where the symptoms occur frequently (or even continuously) it's particularly crippling, but I only had a very mild variety. It ceased altogether when I was 18.

Now I think about it, the headaches seems to have succeeded the AIWS. Luckily nothing else popped up after that went :)