So apparently I have doubts if I actually am autistic again. This time the reason is that I can read facial expressions. Not necessarily well, but I can do it. Can I really be autistic then? There are three aspects of this that make me wonder.
The first one is that I have become better at it the last couple of years, I’ve done a lot of misreadings when I was younger. As I wrote about in the post about my eating disorder treatment, my inability to read other people and to be socially smooth provoked people and had a big impact on my relationships to others. So is it possible that I’ve just learned it with a lot of practise?
The second aspect is that most of the times when I’m around other people, the problem isn’t that their faces and body language isn’t telling me something, the problem is that it’s telling me too much. There is so much information that I can’t navigate automatically, instead, I have to think and very consciously debate with myself what the other person really means. Their words say one thing, their tone of voice says something else, there body language and facial expresson give me a third message.
The third aspect is that sometimes I read people too well, I pick up on very subtle things and I can see that they are not telling me the truth. This doesn’t happen very often, however.
On top of this, I don’t lack empathy. It’s more like I’m lacking a shield or some kind of shell and I’m very strongly affected by other peoples emotions. It’s like somebody is pouring a bucket – no, a barrel – of emotions over me when other people have somewhat strong emotions. Like I’m drowning. Of course, this makes it harder to navigate and read other people.
Is it possible to be autistic and be like this? Is it possible that I’m a lot worse, or a lot better at reading people than I think I am? Is it just that I have a way too stereotypical image of what autism is supposed to look like? Or maybe I’m actually not autistic? Is there anybody who shares my experiences?