Not fish related at all...

Alessa

Member
Not fish related at all...(Please Help)

HI guys!

I know this may not be the best forum to ask this question, but I judge the people at fishlore to be very intelligent people, who I can be sure will give me an honest answer in this touchy subject. Besides, this is the only forum I am part of (and trust).

How do you tell someone they may have Asperger's syndrome (or some form of disability?)

I met one of my best friends like 3 years ago, she is the sweetest person I have ever met, she is nice, thoughtful and very sensitive. Being a girl myself I never really got along with other girls until I met her.

She had been going through a lot of things in her life when I met her; her dad was on a terminal stage of cancer, and she had grown up in a very stressful home. She had graduated from college, and was in search of a job. I helped her get one, and that is how be began our relationship. As our friendship grew, I (and the other people around me more so) began to notice, "peculiarities" about her behavior: She would not understand sarcasm, or non-verbal types of communication, she would not really get most "joke" comments. (I.e. - Ugh! I am going to jump of a bridge! - she would reply: "NOOOO! why would you do something like that?!).

She had NO friends when I met her, she has had very few (and for a short time) boyfriends, and the only acquaintances she currently has are only associating with her because she has met them through me.

She has a problem not doing anything in a non-linear way, she cannot multi-task, she follows a daily routine religiously and gets upset if she must break it for whatever reason. She needs excessive help in some simple tasks. She gets obsessed with a very limited range of interests easily. She repeats herself over and over again about the same piece of information she already shared several times.

She is however, good doing anything that is highly structured, because she can follow it perfectly well.

I always thought it was just her personality. Recently however, it has gotten more and more obvious. What drives me to think it is Aspergers is that she really does not understand most non-verbal communication other people would understand. This is causing her a lot of issues at work with her coworkers (i.e.when someone wants to be left alone and they are stressed, she will just stick by them and continue bothering them until driving them crazy, (and it is obvious she is not aware of what is going on).

My first reaction when I first thought something was going on was: how come her family did not notice? - but then, knowing her family's rough past, it became obvious that under certain situations, those peculiarities may have gone... unnoticed?

I am no psychiatrist or anything... but I am really thinking there is something going on with her, and if there is, I want her to get help, because her behavior is really affecting her life. The thing is, how do I tell her that something may be wrong and to get diagnosed/seek help without hurting her feelings?


Thanks again fishloreans for listening.
 

fishdaddy725

Member
Kudos for being a good friend, but I'm not qualified to answer that. That sounds like something to ask a professional or at least one of those newspaper advice columns.
 

ppate1977

Member
My girlfriends son has this disease as well as CF. I still don't know quite how I would break it to an adult/adolescent ( not sure of age here). Perhaps ask her if she ever feels odd? Only a Dr can diagnose aspergers vs high functioning artist. Wish I could help more, it is a touchy subject.
 
  • Thread Starter

Alessa

Member
@fishdaddy - Thanks
@ ppate - She is 25.

She has this thing that she will ask someone the question: "I know... I am a freak right?" So I guess she might feel odd, or worse yet, people have called her like that... (She did say people were particularly cruel to her in high school).

I only mentioned aspergers, because that is what my research of her symptoms brought up... I really wish she could be evaluated by a professional. I know she would listen to me, but I just can't bring myself to telling her she is behaving in an "odd" manner.
 

uztadzmalek

Member
...she need a lot of help support from you .... the company she working at should have notice her problem its the human resource division task to talk her and maybe they could give a psychiatric evaluation. or if you could talk to her and take a test since your the person she thrust.
 

catsma_97504

Member
While being a very tough subject to approach, if you feel comfortable addressing this with your friend, maybe you could mention that you are concerned because you have noticed.....

And, suggest that she might see a doctor to make sure this is nothing that can cause permanent damage.

Or, something along that line.

Best of luck.
 

Paigee

Member
I admire that you have noticed this and want to help your friend. Lots of people would probably just say "This person is weird" and distance themselves from her. The only advice I can offer is to think long and hard about how your friendship might be affected, what the pros would be of her receiving some sort of evaluation and/or treatment, and the cons of if she took offence.

I was in a similar situation when I was in high school, I am fairly sure my best friend had some kind of mood disorder, but I did not have the courage to really have a good talk about it. I mentioned things in passing, but she always denied a problem.

I hope you find the courage to decide what is right for your friendship
 

Cognity7

Member
this is a very delicate situation.

In my opinion- since she is new to friendships (or relationships at all for that matter) you must approach her with extreme caution. I would not recommend stating the name of the disorder you think it might be. You do not have a PhD nor MD and you don't want to scare her with big words.

I would begin by discussiong one of the 'symptoms' you told us. Maybe have a discussion with her about understanding jokes. This could very easily be a result of her family life and maybe she is just not used to people making jokes so often. Maybe take her to a comedy night at a club somewhere and see what her response might be?

Then maybe talk about how structured her life is. Make sure she understand you are not trying to "change" her, but maybe invite her out for a spontaneous night with just you and her and give her a list of places she can pick from. Keep giving her opportunities to be spontaneous.

Make sure you do your research before you make any conclusions. She could just be very naive and not used to some of the social customaries we all take for granted.

After you have spent some good 1 on 1 time with her and you still think she needs professional help I would recommend starting with a support group. Say that you read about this support group and you think it might be interesting and ask her to go with you. Hopefully that might open her eyes up to see that there is help out there for her.

Hope this was helpful!
 

FishResearcher

Member
I have a brother who is mildly autistic and this sounds a little bit like him. He struggles socially (has no barrier or filter as to when something is appropriate) and often repeats things over and over. He is almost totally petrified in front of crowds but is a huge chatterer to people he knows well. He struggles in school, but is a genious at anything to do with the weather, which he is constantly obsessed over.

Also, my cousin has autism. He is shy and stutters and mumbles over his words a little bit. He also has the habit of rocking back and forth when he is nervous. His autism is far more severe than my brother's. He also struggles with social awkwardness.

I'm not necessarily saying your friend is autistic in any way, I am no doctor. Some of the things you said just reminded me of them. I would recommend looking at
Read up on that, see if it fits. But remember never to jump to any conclusions, the problems could just stem from her personal way of dealing with the problems she has had to face in life. Be very sensitive if you do approach her, and do not mention any names of disorders to her (her feelings could get hurt, but also some people with disorders like this have hidden anger.) Good luck! Feel free to ask me anything else about this, you are doing a great thing for your friend
 

Cognity7

Member
FishResearcher...

I love your quote.

"Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines."~Satchel Paige
 

FishResearcher

Member
Thank you very much *ALERT: Don't take offense when I speak of religion.* I think that a lot of people blame God for things, but few people thank God for things.

This also really applies to overall outlooks on life.
 

sanjin

Member
Oh no, the computer lost my response. Typing this so it will show up on my threads and I'll try to come back and re-type it later.
 

MD Angels

Member
I think you've been given really good advice. Keep in mind there is no "cure" for something like aspergers. In fact, she may not see her behaviour as a problem (like a personality disorder). If she does in fact have this syndrome, the best thing you can do for her as a friend is accept her and support her. Talk to her bout it, and voice your concerns. Use "I" statements, not "you", because it makes a person defensive. For example, say,I feel , or I'm concerned, etc. She may already know what is different about her (not what is wrong with her). You sound like a great friend. Good luck with this.
 

aylad

Member
+1 to Cognity7 and MD Angels.

This does sound like people I have known with autism/signs of autism/Asperger's. On the other hand, it also sounds like people I have known who simply didn't have a healthy family life that taught them how to deal with normal social interactions.

If I were in your situation, I would step back, shed as many personal opinions/assumptions/prejudices as possible, and ask myself: is my friend ACTUALLY less happy because of the symptoms I've identified? Do I know for a FACT that she would be more happy if she were receiving some form of counseling, or am I just assuming that she wants the same things from life that I want?

If the answer is yes, absolutely, then you might want to approach her as described above.

If the answer is no, then go on and enjoy your friendship without worrying about intervening.

If the answer is uncertain, I personally would choose to step back, observe more, and re-evaluate later. She will have a long, and hopefully satisfying, life whether you speak up today or next month... whereas speaking up prematurely might not be something you can undo.

These are just my thoughts. Whatever course of action you choose, good luck, and bless you for being this person's best friend.

EDIT: On re-reading your original post, it occurs to me that I've known people suffering from anxiety disorders who display most of the same symptoms. I am not a psych(iatrist/ologist) but you might want to keep that possibility in mind.
 

MD Angels

Member
+1 on everything that Aylad said. 100% correct IMO.
 

sarahphim1

Member
This is definitely a hard thing to do and I wish you the best! You are a good friend to notice and want to help. As MD Angels said, you don't want to come at it as if there is something wrong with her. And you really have to come at it in such a delicate way so that you don't come across to her in a negative way. Maybe she feels close to you because you aren't treating her as if something is wrong with her like everyone else. That's something you will want to consider....
 

andrearamirezo91

Member
You're a great friend for giving her an opportunity while others didn't, and now for being concerned and trying to help. I really don't know anything about this, but maybe you could talk to a specialized person who will guide you though the process of helping her or determining what's wrong
 
  • Thread Starter

Alessa

Member
Thanks everyone for the great responses.

I really don't mind the way she is, at all. I enjoy hanging out with her, going to the theater, going shopping, to eat... etc. We have a great time together and I enjoy when I spend time with her. However, regarding whether the way she is is causing her problems is a different story.

The way she comes across to others: i.e. potential employers for jobs she really wants, or people she really wants to be friends with - makes those people run away from her, and it hurts me very much when she comes to me disappointed, not really knowing why she didn't get a certain job, or why a certain person is avoiding her.

I have thought to myself many times, if she does happen to have something, would she want to know it? would she seek help? counseling? and my answer is, I think she would, because she would finally understand the reason why so many things happen to her. And maybe if she seeks some sort of behavioral therapy or something, she can finally feel whole and happy like she has never really been.

If I suspected that she is okay with the way she is right now, and if I knew she is happy with her social and professional life, I would not even think of interfering, but I know she isn't. Also, if I happen to be right and there is something going on with her, could I forgive myself if I never told her? It should be her decision to seek help or not, but I think that I do not have the right to not tell her something that might affect her life forever.

Now to the main question... how?
 

callichma

Member
All good advice above. Above all, give her your love and friendship. If you discuss symptoms with her, don't make a big deal of it. When she has an (what you consider) odd response, casually comment on it to see if she wants to talk about it.
 

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