Hi. This is my second post. I am in my late 40s and realised a few months ago that I am Autistic. I am not sure if I will seek a diagnosis as I’m not sure it will help in any way. Having realised, my first response was relief but I have also been dealing with a little grief when thinking about how I could have been kinder to myself through my life and perhaps sought help for areas in which I have difficulties. Occasionally I have even been having sudden moments of almost excitement in the realisation that I can be myself now. I haven’t felt myself in so very long. Just recently however I have found that I am not coping with things that I do struggle with as well as I usually do. Stuff like noise and people talking to me when I am needing time alone or people upsetting my plans ( even stupid domestic ones like what order to sweep and vacuum in - my poor husband). Has anyone else dealt with this on diagnosis/ realisation? Am I letting my guard down because I’ve realised what I have been doing and I’m sick of it? Am I just letting go because I need to? Or am I just being selfish. Am I over analysing? Thanks
This is only my second time on here and I’m in my late 40s too!
Everything you said resonated with me and I don’t think your being selfish at all. I realised after reading many books and researching a few years ago. I can remember the moment where it all made sense and I felt such relief. I burst out crying. I also went through a grieving period and a period of feeling like I could finally have acceptance of who I am. I think from what I’ve read this is quite a natural process. I still feel as if I need a diagnosis because when I try to explain to others then it’ gets dismissed because I’m not officially diagnosed.
Have a look on Facebook at ‘seeing the unseen’. It’s a video of a really powerful poem of autistic women. I watch it when I’m struggling and find it really empowering. It also answers some of your questions.
Hi, you're by no means alone - everything you've said is something I (now diagnosed) and many, many other people here have been through and still going through to some extent.
So try to be kind to yourself - of course you're going to grieve for the you that you thought you were, whilst equally being excited at having met the real you.
You're not being selfish - you're dialling down the effort you've invested in masking, because you now see it clearly as something that is placing unfair and dangerous demands on your mental capacity.
Well done for realising!
I've definitely felt like this since realising I'm probably autistic. I've decided to seek a diagnosis so that I can get to know myself better and work out what I can do to make life easier.
Try and be kind to yourself - these feelings are all very normal.
Hi, I'm in a similar situation - have known for a long time that there was a chance I might be autistic, but managing as an independent adult meant no one took me seriously when I tried to talk about it. At nearly 30 I have finally convinced someone to listen to me, conveniently this person works for the library so helped by borrowing some books for me. As I read about all the sensory issues (my only previous knowledge of these being tv documentaries of kids having meltdowns in shopping centers, and I've never experienced anything that severe), I realised that a lot of my strong likes and dislikes of very specific things, and unusual reactions to situations, are probably related to this. Directly afterwards I started experiencing some of them stronger than ever - instead of just struggling with people wearing too much perfume, I felt uncomfortable near anyone wearing perfume at all, for example - my theory is that our brains have been compressing certain traits in order to appear normal, and when we begin to accept the reasons behind them it stops doing that. So yes, I think it is part of the realisation that these things are part of you, and are ok, and there will be a process of learning to cope without denying who you are. Your husband will learn to cope, too!
The ‘penny drop moment’ when you realise that you are autistic is such a revelation and the mixture of relief mixed with regret is a very common reaction that many people including myself have had. I think the effort of trying to fit in with others but never quite managing it, is bound to catch up with us eventually. If you are sure then it might be worth pursuing diagnosis. I have found my diagnosis incredibly liberating, I don’t need to keep trying to fit it any more and even more importantly, I now know why I don’t fit in and it’s ok.
Thankyou, I will have a look at that video it sounds great. It’s interesting what you say about needing a diagnosis for others to understand. I can see the merit in that although the cynic in me thinks doubters will always be doubters and that I would rather put my effort into understanding myself rather than convincing others. Although I suppose we need for others to understand don’t we.
Thankyou. I am being kind to myself today by visiting a psychologist for the first time in my life. I’m afraid I will waste the whole expensive session choked with tears! I think you are right about the masking. I just can’t do it anymore. I don’t know if it’s that I can’t or I don’t want to or I feel resentful that I have for so long. I feel I need to develop strategies to protect myself and I’m not sure where to start.
thankyou. It helps to know I am not Alone in these feelings
thankyou. It’s interesting that it all comes out once we recognise it.
Thanks Kitsun. I am kind of on the fence with diagnosis. I guess if it helps people understand that this is how I am it could be worth it.