Do I have Asperger's Syndrome, or am I merely introverted? I am certainly introverted. But let us consider the Asperger's Fact Sheet and the criteria. Do I meet them?
- Do I have an "all-consuming interest and a one-sided, self-focused social approach"?
I am still obsessively focused, but the focus has become self-organizing network processes. I can sit and talk about that for hours and hours. And I promise you that the conversation will be quite one-sided and self-focused. Most of my conversations have been and continue to be. As a result, I work well with others on projects in which I am interested, but I don't socialize well.
- Is it true that because I "cannot read social or emotional cues well, they come off as insensitive, pushy or strange, yet have very little insight into how they are perceived"?
- Do I engage in "taking turns speaking, staying on a topic for a polite number of turns, and showing interest in someone else’s comments. People living with Asperger’s tend to talk at people instead of with them, and will often talk about their favorite topics long after the other person has become tired of the subject."
- "Having a normal or higher IQ allows a person to learn and know, to push the envelope in intellectual ability, and to rejoice in the pursuit of some realm of knowledge, but there can also be negative effects. When someone is aware he is different, when, for all his intelligence, he cannot successfully make a friend, or get a date, or keep a job, he may end up far more prone to depression and despair than a person with a lower IQ. It has been found that children with both high-functioning autism and Asperger’s suffer from depression and anxiety more than their typical peers."
There are other aspects to Asperger's, which includes thinking style. Bottom-up thinking, analytical thinking, being able to see patterns extremely well, strongly visual thinking -- are all typical of those with Asperger's and autism. I am equally very bad at top-down and strategic thinking typical of neurotypicals. Strategic thinking is extremely exhausting, and I'm not very good at it.
I suppose it is entirely possible to have every trait of Asperger's and not have it, to only be introverted. But my bet is on Asperger's being the most likely diagnosis.