If you’ve ever had the following thoughts, this could be a sign of autism. Don’t let autism sink under the radar. These thoughts are very telling.

I’m on the autism spectrum, having been clinically diagnosed in spring of 2022.

It’s astounding how only in middle age it dawned on me that I could be autistic, despite having had specific recurring thoughts throughout my life — thoughts that just don’t seem part of being neurotypical. 

Below are the thoughts that I — and four other autistic people, all diagnosed in adulthood — have had.

Very oddly, these thought processes never made me consider that I might be autistic!

Some or most may resonate with you. If you’ve frequently had similar thoughts and reflections, you’ll want to consider the possibility that you’re autistic – especially if you’ve experienced several other traits such as:

• Scripting in your mind future anticipated conversations with real or sample people, then rehearsing them over and over in your mind or even out loud.

• Unusual interests and hobbies that you’re intensely passionate or “obsessed” about.

• Sustained repetitive movements such as rocking, swaying, bouncing your legs together, ringing or flapping your hands, clicking your teeth, nibbling on your knuckles, walking on your toes, spinning in a chair, finger fiddling with or gnawing on objects, etc.

• Difficulty making or keeping friendships.

• Feeling that eye contact requires too much conscious energy or is sometimes distracting during conversations.

Thoughts that May Indicate Autism Spectrum Disorder

“I can’t believe I’m one of them. I can’t believe I’m the same species.”

I’d think this from time to time while resting in between sets at the gym, looking at all the people around me.

“Wouldn’t it be great if the majority of people thought like the Vulcans on Star Trek?” 

“If Vulcans existed I’d prefer to be around them than humans any day.” 

“Socializing is a waste of time.” 

“So, autistics miss social cues? I don’t miss social cues. It’s the other way around. People miss MINE.”

“I’m too weird to ever get a serious boyfriend.” 

“I was born in the wrong era. I wonder if 10,000 years ago, more people thought like me.” 

“I wonder if half a million years from now, most people’s minds will be like mine.”

“I can’t just automatically love someone just because they’re my niece or nephew.”

I actually spoke this to a friend, Mike. He wasn’t a close friend (according to my definition), but more of a buddy climbing partner with whom I got along great and had had many interesting conversations. 

One day he was over my condo and somehow the topic of nieces and nephews came up.

He was troubled that I didn’t love any of my nieces and nephews. I’d been upfront and honest with him in that conversation, and I could clearly tell it wasn’t sitting well with him.

I kept trying to explain that I couldn’t just automatically love someone just because of a genetic relationship, and that in order to love them, they’d have to be a regular, recurring part of my life—and my nieces and nephews had always lived out of state, limiting our contact.

He said he automatically loved his nieces and nephews, and kept disagreeing with my position. I never heard from him again after that.

“How could she love the baby?”

I’d often wonder this in reference to women loving their unborn child. How could they love a person they’d never met, never seen, never held?

I couldn’t understand how a woman (or man) could be devastated over a miscarriage when they had never interacted with the unborn baby in physical and visual form.

“How do you love someone you’ve never seen?”

When I read about women who’ve had miscarriages, I don’t feel anything.

But if I read about a German shepherd that died in a house fire, I’ll definitely feel something for that dog’s owners.

Why? Because I once had a magnificent white German shepherd in my life who died before age nine from a brain tumor.

It’s common for autistic people to feel empathy for another person only when the situation is similar to what the autist had once experienced. 

“Why is she crying?”

This was what I wondered when a girl in my third grade class began sobbing upon talking about her grandmother’s death.

We all had to get up in front of the class and read an essay we wrote. Joan casually took her spot at the podium and in a regular voice, began reading, “When my grandmother died…”

She stopped, staring at her paper, then pasted both palms to her face, covering it. She began sobbing. I watched, wondering why she was crying. The teacher told her to take her seat.

I was seven and eight in third grade, and up until that point, had had limited contact with my paternal grandmother (who never showed much interest in me nor my siblings), and even less with my out-of-state maternal grandmother.

I always used to think that’s why I couldn’t understand Joan’s grief. And maybe that’s partly why.

But gee, shouldn’t a little girl understand the grief, even if her grandmothers weren’t stereotypical, involved, lovey-dovey grandmas?

Thoughts Other Autistic People Have Had

“I feel like an outsider looking in all the time. I just don’t understand them.” 

         — Brad Biren, tax and elder law attorney, diagnosed with autism at 35.

“What am I supposed to do with my eyes when there’s another person walking towards me?”

“How many times am I supposed to nod during this conversation?”

       — Victoria Jones, educator and entrepreneur, diagnosed with autism at 30.

“I don’t understand why I feel like the outsider even among my friends.”

“Man oh man, if I actually acted out some of the things I do in my head — people would think I was nuts. I’m glad I can keep it inside.”

“Why can’t people just follow the rules? They’re there for a reason!”

       — Justin Haley Phillips, writer and editor, diagnosed with autism at 36.

“The overall sound of someone crying annoys me.”

       — Robin Young, fitness site owner, diagnosed with autism at 34.

Psychopathy vs. Autism

I used to think that maybe I had a little sociopathy or psychopathy in me, that maybe I was 10% psychopath.

But now I know the truth: I’m autistic.

“In many ways, being autistic and being a psychopath are polar opposites,” says Dr. Jessica Myszak, licensed psychologist, and director of The Help and Healing Center, whose practice is mostly autism assessment for adults.

“Psychopaths engage in antisocial and manipulative behavior for their own benefit without consideration for others.

“This is in direct contrast to autism, where many individuals mask and alter their behavior significantly to make others feel more comfortable, often at their own detriment.”

If you’ve ever had any of the thought processes discussed here, along with a lifelong feeling of always being disconnected from people and never fitting into any groups you were with, you just might be autistic. Perhaps it’s time to pursue a formal diagnosis.

Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. In spring 2022 she received a diagnosis of Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder. 
Brad Biren, Esq, LL.M, specializes in assisting individuals with special needs and diverse talents who are overcoming sudden adversity. He utilizes his inspiring tale of overcoming unexpected adversity to help motivate others in the community to pursue their goals. iqmop.com
Victoria Jones is an educator and the founder of Curriculum & Culture. She is passionate about sharing her love of books with students and inspiring them to develop an authentic love.
Justin Haley Phillips (Haley) is an autistic writer, editor and all-around creator who lives her life according to the mantra that “stories will save the world.” She loves tea, travel, fun socks, baking and her fur babies. Haley’s debut self-help/inspirational book, “Blossoming in the Breach,” is on Amazon in both print and Kindle. facebook.com/groups/storieswillsavetheworld
Robin Young runs Fitness Savvy and has a YouTube channel dedicated to building muscle and a stronger body. An entrepreneur, he also runs gardenfurnituresales.com where you can buy garden furniture at cheap prices. He’s based in Banbury in the UK.
Dr. Jessica Myszak is a psychologist who specializes in autism assessment for both children and adults. She sees clients in-person in the Chicago area and over telehealth in 31 states and counting! Learn more about her practice at helpandhealingcenter.com.

 

Top image: Freepik.com, marymarkevich