Saturday, November 12, 2005

In the beginning (part i)...

It all began one day a couple of years ago when my partner and I bought -- just out of curiosity -- the "Harvard Guide to Psychiatry" -- as one does.... We got hooked on the chapter about personality disorders and spent several days "diagnosing" all our friends and relatives (we know a lot of "odd" people). ;)

When we got around to diagnosing ourselves (we knew full well that we, ourselves, are very odd indeed), it became instantly clear to us that I have Avoidant Personality Disorder. Oh yes -- this is me to a tee! >>

  • persistent and pervasive feelings of tension and apprehension
  • belief that one is inferior to others
  • excessive preoccupation with being criticized
  • avoidance of social/occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact because of fear of criticism/disapproval
  • associated features may include hypersensitivity to rejection and criticism

We reckoned that we had me figured out -- so we continued working on my partner's diagnosis. The closest we could get was Schizoid Personality Disorder -- these bits fit pretty well >>

  • almost invariable preference for solitary activities
  • lack of close friends or confiding relationships (or having only one) and of desire for such relationships
  • marked insensitivity to prevailing social norms and conventions

But, the rest didn't fit at all -- for example, "few, if any, activities provide pleasure." Nuh-uh.

We really felt the "Harvard Guide" had let us down here. There we were -- left not knowing what my partner's diagnosis was -- even though clearly there had to be something!

During the following weeks, I did some research online into both Avoidant and Schizoid Personality Disorder -- Avoidant certainly was me -- but Schiziod was not my partner.

Then, one day I stumbled across Asperger's Syndrome. Eureka! My partner in a nutshell. >>

  • marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
  • failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
  • encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
  • apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
  • the disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning
  • no clinically significant general delay in language
  • no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood
  • criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia

Stay tuned for my next post in which I'll describe even more 'ah-ha!' revelations that led me to realize that I, too, am an Aspie -- an AspieGirl...!