"The following profile was created for females who are self-diagnosing or considering formal diagnosis and to assist mental health professionals in recognizing Asperger Syndrome in adult females. Females with Asperger Syndrome experience their symptoms in varying levels, so while some Aspienwomen are highly introverted, others are not. Many women would not meet formal criteria for a diagnosis due to their coping mechanisms. They would be defined as “sub-clinical” or having “residual Aspergers”. Females with Asperger Syndrome or Autism tend to be discriminated due to the wide spectrum of abilities or levels of functioning that exists. The majority of females do not receive a formal diagnosis until well into their adult years." Aspienwomen by Tania A. Marshall
Yesterday, while talking with my beloved bestie like we do all day err day, she suggested that I might have Aspergers based on all the things she knows that cause me great stress and bring me the most joy. Over the years, Melanie has researched this topic in great detail for both herself and her loved ones who are also Aspies, and since she knows me better than anyone else on the planet, I decided to look further into it.
Many hours later my heart was singing and the dots were connecting because of how accurately I was being described in some of the articles I found. My favourite and most up-to-date (May 2014) and in-depth piece by far, was Tania A. Marshall's Aspienwomen: Adult Women with Asperger Syndrome. Moving towards a female profile of Asperger Syndrome. I could not believe how much I resonated with her findings, and side note: I went to bed feeling incredibly affirmed and actually dreamed of dozens of kittens and owls and airplanes and me being filled with so much joy that I was dancing and swirling around and around and around. I woke up beaming!
In her collection of Aspienwoman traits (of which there are over 230!), she divides them into the following sections:
1. Cognitive/Intellectual Abilities
2. Education/University Life
4. Social and friendships/relationships
7. Physical Appearance
9. Relationship Choices/Sexuality/Gender
10. Special Interests
12. Personality characteristics and/or traits and abilities
13. Past and/or current mental health history
14. Coping Mechanisms
15. Sixth Sense, Intuition, Psychic Abilities
16. Unique abilities and Strengths
Although I am extremely tempted to list every single one of the traits that described me to a T (it always feels freaking amazing whenever we find ourselves represented in anything we read or watch), I'd basically be stealing Tania's post in its entirety (save for a few traits) which no author deserves or appreciates, and this post would also become my longest one to date, so here are just a few things that really stuck out for me:
"Books, computers, the Internet, animals, children, nature may be her best friends. She loves quiet, solitude, peaceful surroundings. May prefer to spend as much time as possible by herself, with animals or in nature. Gets pleasure from being engaged in her chosen work and/or special interests. Ability to “hyperfocus” for long periods of time involved in the special interest, without eating, drinking or going to the toilet, is able to hyperfocus on her special interest for hours, often losing track of time."
"Highly sensitive. May not be able to listen to or watch the news, listen to the radio, read the newspaper, watch violent shows/movies or horror movies, see hurt or injured animals, abuse, war, trauma, are sensitive to the emotions and “emotional atmosphere” of the environment, experience referred emotion and psychic “6th sense” abilities, may have strong intuitive and/or psychic abilities."
"Capable of deep philosophical thinking, females with Aspergers often become writers, poets, artists, singers, performers, actresses or professors. A natural born leader, independent, strong-willed, determined. High levels of introversion. Has a high sense of justice and fairness, is a truth-seeker. Highly creative and may have ‘rushes’ of original ideas."
"Preference for one-on-one social interactions, single close friendships. Need more time away from people than their peers. Strong dislike for social chit-chat, gossip, nonsense, lies or conversation that lacks a ‘function’ to it. Has an ability to socialize, however is unable to do so for long periods of time. Suffers from “social exhaustion” or a “social hangover” when socializing too much. The hangover can last hours to days, which can be debilitating."
Even beyond this I learned why I've struggled so much in regular work environments over the years which sometimes left me out of a job (read My Shoe Inspired Trip Down Memory Lane to get an idea of what I mean), and why certain lighting, sounds and people being around me can create a strong reaction on my part. FYI: Paige repeatedly complains about my sensitivity to these things that seem so irrelevant to her. Now I have something I can share with her to explain my struggle with the little things that are actually BIG things to me. Awesome.
Whether it's Numerology, Astrology, the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment tool, the True Colors Personality tool, Tania A. Marshall's Aspie Woman Profile, or anything else that helps shed some light on who we are, I am fascinated by the process of understanding myself and others more fully. It's my idea of a good time.
Especially if I'm free to explore these things on my own, in perfect silence, with the lights just right and my kitties sleeping right next to me :)
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