I'm worried that I might have adult Asperger's or some similar social disorder that is keeping me from living a full and happy life. Lots of details after the jump.
Basic stats: 21-year-old, female college student, intelligent, and in good general health. My Myers-Briggs type indicator is INTJ.
I've been thinking about the possibility that I have Asperger's or something similar for a few years now but have felt that something is off especially acutely lately. Prompted by another AskMe answer, I took this quiz
and got 36.
Brief history of my life: happy childhood, wonderful, supportive family. I was awkward in high school and had very little social life but did have some close friends. Most of my time was spent studying or reading/researching my hobbies. Now I attend a elite, small, liberal arts college where I am generally well-adjusted and have an excellent group of friends.
What concerns me are two general fields in my life: feelings and social interaction.
Now, I have feelings, where I feel affection or admiration or enthusiasm. But something tells me that I don't feel as strongly as normal people do, that I ought to feel a stronger tie to my friends and family. I have a hard time showing empathy; when someone I love is sad or disturbed, I often feel out of place and wish I could comfort them, without really knowing what to say or how to act. I feel fairly stoic most of time, though I can have times when I am fairly dejected and not feeling very well.
As for social interactions, I have gotten better than I used to be, where I could barely talk to people in social situations. Growing up, I always preferred parties with adults since I found it easier to converse with them than with my peers (this is less true now that I have a great peer group at my college). With the onset of legality, I've appreciate the help of a drink or two to help me relax in social situations and feel less ill at ease. Still, there are times when I'm in a car on the way to an event or in the middle of a circle of people and all I can think is "Get me out of here." I find small chit-chat hard to handle and forced.
Also, it's hard to read people. While I have a dry sense of humour and enjoy employing sarcasm, I find it hard to tell when others are sarcastic. Apparently I also project an unfriendly air; I have been told that some people though I didn't like them when I only felt indifference to them. On the topic of romantic relationships: I've never had an official one, just a few "things" with some guys in high school and college. This does bother me.
I read a lot and get really drawn into the story, especially with fantasy or science fiction. Sometimes when I'm reading, I look up and feel almost surprised to *not* be in the world of the book I'm reading. I'll get sometimes a sense of dreaminess when I walk around, a sort of quiet detachedness.
In the area of my personality, I am very introverted and can spend lots of time by myself. I tend to get intensely into my hobbies and kick things off by buying a lot of books and doing a lot of internet research when I find something new. For example, I was really into Lord of the Rings in high school and I learned Quenya, read The Simarillion, made costumes, bought the atlas, etc. I haven't dropped that interest entirely, but I'm less into LotR now, and more in the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So I watched the whole series, read the comics, looked up quotes online, read the Wikipedia entries on the episodes, etc.
This guy's question
also resonated with me. I love facts and trivia (as evidenced by six years on Academic Teams/Quiz Bowl) and I hate the idea of being shown up in knowledge or knowing that someone is wrong and won't admit it. I like to find typos and correct them and have been known to correct teachers and profs (I know this is smart-assery, but can't help it).
I know I should probably talk to a professional about this, but I'm not on campus this summer and the school therapists are not therefore an option. I'd probably have to talk to my parents first, and I think they'd be really thrown by this. In many ways, I am at my best with my family since I love them and am comfortable around them, so they don't see my extreme reactions to social situations or social trepidation. I feel that if I shared this with them, they'd be surprised and confused and not necessarily reject it out of hand, but I imagine they'd not see it coming.
Please help me, AskMe. This is really been frustrating and I'd like to make some progress in my life.