Question?: Autism Symptoms In Teenagers

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Susan asks…

I think I may have mild autism?

Okay I’ll try keep this as short as possible, but I am looking for some advice..

I think I may have mild autism, I was watching “embarrassing bodies” and the chap said take the online autism test and I scored 20+ over all my friends who also took it, my result registered “mild autism” then I was a bit shocked as I didn’t really know what autism, I still don’t to be honest, just upon researching I can relate to a lot of the symptoms. I find socializing with people quite difficult, I often feel awkward around people, whether I’ve only just met them or known them years, especially when in smaller groups. I have lots of friends and generally it’s fine, but it’s when say we’re not walking through a mall, or at a concert, we’re sat face to face having lunch, or in a situation where were not preoccupied by something else and the only thing we’re doing is communicating, if that makes sense? I do find it hard to look them in the eyes and I have no idea why, lately I’ve started to notice how much I subliminally attempt to deter from this, for example, looking at my phone screen whilst chatting, looking away and making a comment about someone passing..etc. Especially at tutorials at university, 1 on 1 with my lecturers, I just don’t know how to react in these situations. I find conversation hard to engage in sometimes, when in larger groups it’s somewhat easier, as I can passively listen and the main emphasis isn’t on myself, I can just speak up accordingly and then carry on happily not engaging in conversation. Recently, I’ve started to look into “social anxiety” as part of a university project, and also relate to many of these symptoms. Which is weird, because I go out ALOT, it’s only now I’ve started really thinking and looking into things I think something may be up. When I’m walking the street I often feel awkward, like people are watching me. I don’t know why, I highly doubt they are and have no idea whatsoever why I feel like this, I often feel awkward with my hands whilst walking, I usually have to have something in them to avoid feeling awkward, which sounds strange typing this out. I get intimidated extremely easy, especially around new people or at large gatherings which leaves me feeling quite insecure. Sometimes when I’m out, socially, I feel inferior and afraid to fully let go and by myself, no matter how well I know these people or how close of friends we are, like there are some kind of inhibitions holding me back from having a good time. If we’re going out somewhere, or to a party, I need to know specific times, exactly whos going to be there, what it’s going to be like…etc I’ve always put this down to the OCD I self-diagnosed myself with years ago, but maybe it’s something more? I have to have things a specific way, do things a certain way, live by specific times and routines, when these aren’t in place I do feel distress.

I could go on and on about my problems but i’ll shut up and get to the conclusion of asking is this normal? I’m 19, is this part of being a teenager and growing up or should I take it further? I’ve always thought about seeing my doctor about my OCD tenancies, but I feel is there even anything he could do about it? I just feel I’d be wasting his time and I fear the social situation of sitting there alone with him whilst blabbing on about my problems as this would be too unbearably uncomfortable as I’m guessing you’ve figured by now I hate chatting face-to-face, especially about myself, I usually just look down and nod and hmm and speak as small sentences as possible. Sitting down alone at my pc desk and typing it would be so much easier, like now, I have time to think and don’t have someone staring at me waiting for a reply. But a doctor can’t make a diagnosis from an email can he. I’ve asked my mum, but she says there’s nothing wrong with me, to her I’m happy and social and go out all the time with my friends and have a great time, but she doesn’t know all of this or how I actually feel when I’m out, to her I’m just normal.

admin answers:

Having suffered from social anxiety most of my teens and early adulthood, I would say you’re just shy.

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