I think it comes naturally to every single human how we are similar and different from the people around us. Do we like people that are like us or do we seek just enough difference in other people to make things challenging? In a way it ties into that nature vs nurture debate, but we don’t have the time and energy for that whole spiel.
When we talk about anything to do with the mind, there is more curiosity put on whether we’ve inherited certain genes and/or were they fostered, and of course when it comes to neurodivergent people – especially autistic people – sometimes misinformation about other causes comes into play (talking to you, anti-vaxxers).
Anyway because I’ve always been interested in sociology and psychology, and literally anything having to do with What Humans Do, I made my family take IDR Labs 50-Question Autism Spectrum Test*. I don’t think any of us actually enjoyed trying to answer 50 questions, but like the one above, this one does give an interesting and straight-forward look at areas neurotypical and divergent people could be similar or different.
*Yes I am very aware this online test doesn’t hold much weight but it’s for entertainment and curiosity purposes
Before I show you all of our results, I thought I’d give some background of each participant that might give some more insight:
- I have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, a mild form of OCD with the possibility of complex-PTSD. I have not been officially diagnosed with any neurodivergent disorder.
- My mum was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and PTSD in her mid-30s and was diagnosed with ADHD within the last two years. Depression and anxiety are prominent on this side of the family, especially with the women.
- My dad hasn’t been diagnosed with anything but has always been less social. No mental health discussions have been made on this side of the family. Family background different from my mum’s side.
- My stepdad hasn’t been diagnosed with anything but has had periods of anxiety within the last five years. No special mentions of diagnosis on his side. Family background completely different from my mum’s side.
- My sister has been starting a diagnosis for anger issues possibly from bipolar disorder but so far has only been diagnosed with depression. Also suffers from anxiety.
- My sister’s partner has been diagnosed with anxiety but there has been the possibility of BPD or neurodivergence, likely ADD. Coincidentally from a similar ethnic background as my mum.
- My best friend hasn’t been officially diagnosed with anything but has suspected BPD or neurodivergence and PTSD along with bouts of anxiety and depression. From a different country from me but has similar comparisons in regards to family domestic issues.
Fun trivia: four people above are on the same medication! Can you guess who?
Alright let’s start with mine first:
Nothing too surprising here. I am a very anxious, fidgety, fixated person! I do live in an area that different noises almost always happening so I am very in tuned with how sensitive I am to that.
I’ve had to train myself from a young age to look at eyes (or at least near the area in the middle) but it’s still an all-body difficulty. The same with speech; I have a naturally lower voice but has been less ‘flat’ and more abnormal (changing in pitch, tempo, etc).
Above are my mum and dad’s results. My mum’s for the most part is very typical of her. She is a very anxious person and jumps constantly. I thought noise sensitivity would actually be a bit higher and I personally think she makes pretty good eye-contact, but that could be towards me (and vice-versa). While my mum does fidget a bit she is much more of an easily distracted person but definitely does have what I’d call a ‘normal, typical’ tone, so her scoring low for speech wasn’t a surprise.
My dad is generally a very chilled-out guy (we used to say he’s like Crush from Finding Nemo) but I am absolutely not surprised he ranked higher in social difficulty and fixations. He is absolutely the type of person can do or read about something for hours, sometimes days.
You can start to see some similarities between my parents and me (and even between my parents), but I’ll show all the graphs off at the end of an easy comparison.
My sister is where some areas drastically differ. She is definitely someone who can easily look at someone in the eyes (sometimes she can just
glare stare at strangers which is just ….!!!
Again no surprise with speech or sensitivity being low and aggression, but higher in anxiety and fixations.
At what I can only describe as an almost 180 is my stepdad, who has been with my mum for over twenty years. The biggest surprise is the noise sensitivity as he does have issues with his ears and any higher-pitched sounds. I can’t actually remember the questions focused more on social difficulty but am not surprised it was his highest as for as long as I’ve known him he has had difficulties when it comes to others, including so-called “friends” and co-workers.
On a more personal note I will add that dynamics between him and me as well as my sister and him have been incredibly complicated and misunderstood at times.
As I said earlier, my sister’s partner is from a demographic background very similar to my mum, i.e. southern European immigrants with very strong family dynamic. You can see between the graphs some of the similarities but also differences; with her partner identifying difficulties in other areas while my sister doesn’t.
Last but not least is my best friend. While our cultural backgrounds are completely different we have gone through similar traumatic events. Like my sister and her partner, my friend and I are quite a few things in common like yeeeees, anxety! So much anxiety!
She is definitely the more aggressive one between us but has petered off as we’ve gotten older.. while I’m just the same curmudgeon.
At first I was surprised how high she ranked with poor eye contact because we seem to look at each other pretty well when together, then I thought it over and I realised she does use a lot of arm movements – usually flappy and twirling wrists with talking with others and how that possibly is her way to misdirect others from looking at her in the face (or the very least, her eyes). I should say though we can easily relax and communicate without looking at each others faces as we live long-distance from each other and have never put that burden on ourselves or each other.
There we all are! It took a while to get everything together but I’m fascinated by this. You can really see how different we look according to the test when the results are all side-by-side. I thought we were a great mix of biologically, experience, background similarities and difference even though it only gives a a minute picture into each of us and how each area affects us.
It’s no surprise to me that my best friend of many years and I have similarities, as I do with both of my parents. More curious though is that my mum has been diagnosed ADHD and has brought up autism in the past, while I have talked to her about both.
Again, while it isn’t the whole story or even a big chunk of one, this has been very interesting to look at possibly confide in health professionals with… I mean, one open ear at a time, right?
Sorry for the crappy image formatting I spent over 20 minutes trying to fix it but it somehow got worseeeeeeeeeeee