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How does social anxiety differ for autistic people?

Posted by: alisrowe, January 9, 2020

Long before I knew I had Asperger’s Syndrome, my GP said I had social anxiety. I did some reading on social anxiety and although it did sort of fit me, it wasn’t an exact fit. Most of the literature on social anxiety talked about people who have self-critical, negative thoughts such as…

“Nobody likes me”

“What if I make a fool of myself?”

“I’m such a failure at socialising”

I sort of had these thoughts, but wasn’t really sure. Those thoughts were probably more linked to being young and feeling insecure generally rather than anything else.

As I got older and after I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome I realised that the thoughts I was actually having were more linked to my social communication difficulties rather than believing people to be judging me. I like myself and I know that I am a nice person! So once I fully understood and accepted that I had Asperger’s Syndrome, I no longer had those sorts of thoughts at all. The reason for my social anxiety, now that I know I have ASD, is more to do with finding social interactions extremely difficult and overwhelming.

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