I'm 33 years old and was diagnosed with ASD earlier this year.
I have 3 children, one of whom has also just been diagnosed with ASD and is about to start school, and a very stressed partner of 10 years.
Since diagnosis I have been 'taking stock' if you like. I have always had a history of anxiety and depression, which has led to a circle of medication, supression, comming off of medication, slowely getting more anxious and stressed again and repeating the cycle. The cycle time varied from 1 to 3 years in most cases and has been going on since the age of 16.
I have a stressful job as an analyst, but this is the part of my life I find easy. I have control of everything in my job. I get stressed trying to hit deadlines, but this is all within my limits to control. Instead my struggle is at home.
I love my children and partner, and would do anything for them. However I struggle to 'live for the day' and am always being told 'life is to short'. I feel a huge sense of guilt that I am so stressed and anxious in so many situations that I am reliably informed there is no need to be stressed about. My patience in some things, like researching data is almost infinite, but with children I am unable to think at their level and remember that they are illogical, and that is ok for them. I want to explain in words my partner can understand that thinking differently is something I wish I could do, but cannot. To people on the outside I am a grumpy 33 year old who shouts at children and spoils their fun.
If I take one of my children out on their own I can have a great time, but more than one child are destined to argue, and that is something I cannot deal with, and will shout and resolve the situation that is not ideal. In addition to this we have neighbours with 3 children of a similar ages to mine, and they play in or house and theirs. I have experienced complete sensory paralysis at having any number of children doing different things, and not being in control. I have personal space issues, and having any strangers in my house is something I take time to adjust to, and having young children asking me questions in my house, when I do not know exactly where mine are causes what I can only explain as a short circuit in my brain and I cannot function. I have found myself shaking and almost crying, and completely useless to help my partner manage our children and our neighbours.
All of this makes me feel that I am not doing my job as an adult and a parent, which themn makes me more anxious and stressed, which in turn makes me irritable with my partner. What I miss is the ability to talk on a level platform with my partner about this, but since my diagnosis, I am not merely a grumpy person, which has changed our dynamic. For my partner, she says that I am making myself change because of the diagnosis, but for me, I want to deal with the situation I see as being the route cause, rather than sedatinig till later with medication.
Writing this does have a somewhat therapeutic feeling, and I hope that I can do more of this. It is good to have an output between appointments with the ADS team where I live, and also putting it in writing means I can then print it off and save having to try and reword this again.
Thanks for the platform to vent,
I completely understand how you feel. My partner and I brought up two children and found it very difficult - we are both "Aspies" but didn't know it then. As they got older we struggled to do what seemed to come easily to other parents. Even when they were younger, I could get quite distressed by the level of noise when my two played with a close friend's two children, while it didn't bother her at all.
I think that the first step is for you and your partner to understand each other's needs so you can support each other. I take it your partner is NT (neurotypical, not autistic) so I will give advice based on that assumption.
Your partner's view that you are making yourself change to fit your diagnosis suggests that she is worried that the knowledge you now have will make things worse, so you need to convince her that knowledge can improve things. Also, we do tend to change when we find out, because we often realise we have been masking our true identities to try to fit in and we get distressed because we haven't been given any coping strategies to live without that mask.
For me, learning about why I behave or react like I do and how I am different to NTs has really helped. I recommend reading "A field guide to Earthlings: An autistic/Asperger view of neurotypical behavior" by Ian Ford. It explains the difference between how NT and Autistic brains develop through childhood and adolescence, leading to us having the sensory and emotional issues that NTs easily filter out. You have to remember that we need to understand that it is difficult for NT adults to understand and empathise with our problems, as they have little to no direct experience of it. Biut hopefully if your partner sees you are trying to understand yourself and her better to improve the situation, she will want to learn more about your issues to help you.
With regard to the children, 3 is very hard work for an Aspie so you shouldn't be hard on yourself. Children can often be understanding if you explain things in an appropriate way - I remember reading the account of an Aspie mum whose child was quite understanding of the fact that she would get stressed and when that happened she needed quiet time. Your partner and children will have to learn to accept that you may often need quiet time alone to "de-stress" and your children may also learn that taking turns to spend time with you can be more rewarding, when you can give them undivided attention without distractions.
Good luck and feel free to post any questions on here.
I think that makes a lot of sense. I shall add 'A field guide to earthlings' onto my reading list thanks. You were correct in assertaining my partner is NT.
When I was diagnosed it helped knowing that the reason I am so mentally shattered after a day at work is more to do with the effort of 'passing for normal'. As much as I know my other half is probably just worried and does care for me, it does make me wish I could help her more, rather than adding to the pressures of the household.
I have an appointment in a couple of weeks with my ASD worker, and I am hoping to discuss these issues as well as get some focus on dealing with the things I have prioritised. I find if I can put strategies in place I can then deal with things as they are 'known' quantities, rather than unknown and uncontrollable worries.
It makes a massive difference to have a portal for putting things 'on paper' and having other peoples thoughts, experiences and tips to add to my own toolbox. I know the more I can understand myself the better able to cope I will find things, and also the more familiar I will hopefully become to my family.
Do you know of any good examples that people can read that help show my NT family how my aspergers brain works in a way that I can't? I know that as a parent with an ASD child they gave us a story called 'Welcome to Holland' which is a fantastic way of explaining what learning your child is Autistic is like. I would love something simlar to outline how my brain is actually feeling, without me having to explain, which usually is hard, and can go on for too long and leave people more confused than me