I'm wondering if I'm autistic as I don't feel things the way others do

DEAR DEIDRE: MIGHT I be autistic? I’ve started to suspect I’m on the spectrum because I don’t “feel” things the way other people do.

I’m a 27-year-old woman and I don’t react in a normal way.

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When I found out my boyfriend had cheated on me, I felt nothing.

I simply decided I couldn’t and wouldn’t trust anyone again, and ended our relationship.

I’ve always put on a face to fit in with the world because I struggle to read other people’s emotions.

If my usual routine is interrupted – say, if a friend changes an arrangement or if the train is late – I don’t cope and instead lash out.

I can’t deal with being in big groups, especially if lots of people are talking.

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I also feel extreme anxiety if exposed to loud noises, bright lighting and strong smells.

Things that make other people cry have no effect on me. I rarely feel any strong emotions and see it as a sign of weakness when others cry.

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DEIDRE SAYS: Many of the things you describe – not liking change, finding it hard to read people, being hypersensitive to external stimuli like noise and smell – do fit with autism.

But it’s a myth that autistic people don’t feel emotion or have empathy.

Quite the opposite. They feel things too much, which is why they shut down.

Self-diagnosis isn’t helpful. You need to speak to a specialist.

Please make an appointment with your GP and also contact the National Autistic Society (autism.org.uk). They can help you get a diagnosis and have lots of information on their website.

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