Originally Posted by notaboson
There are major functional differences in the brain between a "neurotypical" and an autistic person. For example, I was diagnosed not just through a psychiatric evaluation, but also according to MRI.
I believe that INTJ's might have more autistic traits than other neurotypicals. However, there are certain major behavioral and perceptional differences:
Thoughts become completely obsessive, your inner world is very dense and you can spend multiple hours in your "world" without sensing the time has passed
I do this a lot but I also always wear a watch and look at it pretty often so it doesn't get in the way of what I need to do.
You are extremely sensitive to sensory stimuli and experience a "meltdown" when you can't take it anymore. This meltdown is uncontrollable. For example, I behave like a seemingly normal (just a little odd) person in the public if I am in a really small town or village. If I go to London, then the noise and the crowds make me literally crazy because of all the stimuli I have to cope with, and I start walking in circles, I can not produce any words out of my mouth, I get extremely frustrated and can start screaming. If I am in a metro, I will rock back-and-forth, because it automatically helps me to cope (soothes the nervous system). And then, trust me, others perceive it very badly.
I'm very sensitive in the same way as well, but I don't have meltdowns. It's extremely draining though and feels as if I am surrounded by a swarm of bees, or like having something invisible pressing in on all sides. It also makes me rather irritated and much more difficult to find the words to say if I'm in a small group of people and we are all talking, because of feeling so overwhelmed. My brain automatically tries to focus in on every single conversation going on around me at the same time, so it kinda just goes blank like it's in shutdown mode or something because of that.
Your voice is completely monotonous and you have a hard time to make it more "emotional". I have learned that neurotypicals use their voice to describe emotion. It is completely alien to me. So in order to look "normal", I have to mimic other people's tone of voice, but I have no idea what I am doing exactly.
I used to have this problem a lot throughout most of my life, and I still do to an extent but I've gotten much better just by studying how to do inflection and all that. Being in drama club in high school and doing several plays also helped a lot. In one, A Midsummer Night's Dream, I even watched one of the movies of it since our script very closely follows the lines in the movie, and I devised a note taking system (on my own) to write down how exactly they say the words including variances in speed, inflection, and pauses, and then figured out the patterns to it all so that I can apply it to talking in general while adding in observations of how people around me speak to further refine it. My part was Oberon, so I was in every act except for one and had a ton of lines, most of which were pretty long. Everyone thought I did an excellent job and they said I was one of the best actors in the play. I think acting is excellent therapy for anyone with asperger's or other ASD's.
Becoming an intelligent adult, you have to start analyzing everything around you and asking a lot of neurotypicals and psychiatrists about the logic of behavior of others. It is a very difficult process. All of the social behavior is learned. Nothing is natural.
I've never really asked anyone about all that, I just worked on figuring it out on my own through observation and reading. Since I was only diagnosed a few years ago, this has all been very recent.
There is a major disfunction of oxytocin production in autistics, which may be greatly responsible for the lack of empathy. And it is not just a neurotypical "I don't care". It is when you absolutely can not understand or feel why others are sad, why a certain situation saddens them, you can not relate at all, and thus everything around you seems very weird and you just don't understand the mechanics of the situation. This also causes problems in relationships.
This has happened to me a lot, but as I mentioned in the last one, I've gotten much better by thinking about it myself and figuring out the logical steps or branching pathways of how one emotion leads into another and what causes and effects are linked to them. I think I've become pretty accurate at that, and people who I've been involved with where I helped them with their emotional problems have said I'm very good and were quite appreciative of my help as a lot of it is stuff they have a hard time seeing themselves, but can more fully realize it when I basically walk them through the process beginning to end, so they can see why things went the way they did and what went wrong and how to be better able to see those things while they are in the middle of it all in the future so that the outcome will be better.
Extreme sensitivity to touch and light. Some pain can be extremely enjoyable, some autistics hurt themselves during a meltdown because it soothes them - it looks horrible for others, but trust me, there's nothing one can do. It is great and enjoyable. Sometimes it is a horrible feeling when others hug you, as if there are a million knives stabbed in to you and you are dissolving into the small space between yourself and another person.
I am very sensitive with both touch and light but not to a really extreme extent. With light, it is not so much the intensity, or color/warmth (wave frequency and hertz), but rather things like signs that have a high contrast of colors, such as black and orange, with highly defined areas and no color gradient. It makes me feel irritated in a very odd way. For touch, I am very sensitive to pain and cannot stand it so I avoid it whenever possible, though if I can't do anything about it I push through it, like when I was in Air Force basic training. When it comes to contact with other people, it is very odd because when someone else initiates it, especially unexpectedly, it gives me a pretty bad feeling (even a hug) that makes me want to get away, but when I initiate it, it feels somewhat better. It feels better both ways when there is an emotional connection; the stronger the connection, the better it feels.
An obsessive interest means that you can spend days, sometimes multiple days, without a break and be fully functional at dealing with your obsessive interest. For example, mine is Physics, so it means that I can work on several problems for 8+ hours straight with really short breaks, not taking my mind off it, and not finishing until I reach my goal.
I have done this as well, a lot in the past with playing video games for a ridiculous amount of time, but these days I have responsibilities that require more variety in what I do, so that doesn't happen as often. I limit myself to no more than about 3 hours in a day, usually about 2. I used to do the same thing with researching various topics that interest me, spending all day and sometimes multiple days on end focusing on just one.
I think a lot of it just comes down to learning coping mechanisms/thought processes through personal learning and/or therapy that will allow you to logically work through things that are naturally intuitive to most people, as well as getting into habits to counteract the habits you naturally have so you can be more socially functional, not just with relationships but also simply being able to take care of yourself and be independent; being able to do all the basic every-day tasks.