Self identified at 56 years old

Hi everyone! This is all new to me! I have recently self identified as autistic at 56. I have been referred to and accepted by the autism assessment team but there is a 3 1/2 year waiting list. Since the penny dropped, I have become increasingly scared, bewildered, angry, depressed, feeling defective, and that my entire life has been a lie. I am I assume, high functioning, I have a masters degree, I have had good jobs, I have brought up a child alone whilst doing all of the above. At the moment I feel like I have opened pandoras box and really want to put the lid back on as I really don't like what's in it! I also feel like a bit of a fake in that I've got this far without any problems but realising that actually, I've always had problems. I guess I just want someone to say this is all normal? Thank you for reading!

  • i feel most of that, apart from wanting to put the lid back on, I just want to move forward with my new knowledge and see where lives journey takes me

  • we are similar in that we both got to Masters level and found out after raising kids  that i was autistic.

    your early life isnt a lie. I think my mums plan to just ignore the doctors and raise me as a 'Normal' kid meant i never felt different and so attempted everything. 

    your reaction is indeed normal ----- my mind folded in on itself when i was diagnosed ( by accident )  ---- i was unstable for 6 -9 months. I defo felt a fraud.  

    But only last month a nurse ( a ward sister! ) said " yea i knew u where autistic ".  She was autistic as well !  we had such a long talk about our stories, our matching fingernail colours,  and had a good laugh. I also got my own private room !

    i stopped drinking and started meditation/mindfulness/The Tao/Zen etc and this basically calmed me down, reduced anxiety/depression and allowed me to control more of what was going on in my head.

  • I did wait 3.5 years for my assessment as well. It happened at the begining of September. I'm 42.

    you're doing a lot better than I do, I struggle to find a job, among those nobody else wants to do.

    you are about to start your journey to find out what autism actually is,. Many modern societies propagate such a twisted image of autism you would never suspect that you might be autistic.

  • When I first came to see myself as very much fitting within the spectrum of said traits ... that would otherwise define me with yet - 'just another' label ... I thought 'well that's nice, that explains a lot'  Yet for me, nothing was really new.  I still remained the person I was before, during and after.  Over identification combined with an inherent need to belong whilst living in a world more serpated than not - I have found to be more problematic, than you average citizens perspective on another's categorization. 

    I always find it noteworthy, how often and how quick' individuals first define just how highly intellectual they be, when identifying as on the spectrum.  In the year of 2021 it is commonly known that people on the spectrum are not mute, yet this continuing pattern where people 'coming out' with being on the spectrum most first focus on intellectual prowess sets in motion a stereotype within itself.  Like I say, Noteworthy.    

    As someone also on the spectrum as high functioning, I often ponder how it is that we live  in an age of overidentification. 

    When I discovered a new way of looking at things, or had come to understand why others acted as they did regarding 'me' - who I have always been - I did not become angry or upset.  Perhaps I was somewhat saddened but the way I figure it, the only ones who have missed out are others who simply did not understand me.  The fact that this world in my view continues to thrive on what it does, as it does - whilst frustrating is more depressing.  I see that as more fragmented than the level to which I find myself on.  That same division is well at hand within self made communities where the dynamics of my noteworthy observations I see as being part and parcel in how we inadvertently; separate ourselves.  Again - Noteworthy.

    So with all that said, Welcome to the CLUB!  Not a mentality I myself gell with ... but whatever works.  I understand it's a nice feeling to belong.  Personally I find it overwhelming to be in any group as I see them to be plagued as they be. This facet of group mentality, I find often taints what I find makes me special and unique, what makes me - me.  I also see that dynamic hemming others in ... holding them back.  

    I'm 52 and have many labels. My intellectual ability is irrelevant. There are no two people who are the same on the spectrum.  We are all unique and special in our own right. 

    I come and go ... not a regular in this forum.  So it is that I can talk so freely on such matters without have to worry about a social score.  I wish you well in this new journey as you may see it.  I propose we are the same as we have always been and suggest as cliental within a consumer world, we would do well not to be swept away in this industrialized age of self identity.  There is a reason the term 'spectrum' has been brought into the equation and it helps to understand that the point on which any of us find ourselves to be ... is always moving.

    All the best. 

  • Being raised "normal," I think, helped me with certain things.  My family is the type to not "make a scene."  Any tantrums I had, I was whisked out of the room/building, and now I cannot stand to see meltdowns and tantrums.  They make my eyes and ears bleed.  I'm also extremely polite and reserved, totally nonconfrontational.  Instead of meltdowns, I shut down in public and hubby rescues me and helps bring me back.  Luckily, I'm very articulate and love reading, so school wasn't too bad.  I also loved algebra, even though I have dyscalculia.  My diagnosis answered a lot of questions for me, mostly around socializing but also how I see things differently than others.  

  • My mum is in the same situation as you, I could tell that she struggled with accepting it at first, but doing so has helped her now.

    Hopefully now you know you can work on the problems you had in life, since myself, and my mum, accepted that we are on the spectrum we no longer force ourselves to go to work social events or other things that make us uncomfortable. Good luck with processing the new information - I'm sure knowing yourself better will have a positive impact on your day to day life! 

  • Find the normal good you and don't get into trouble.

    Our life expectancy is 18 years less than non autistics so keep fit and look after yourself

  • I was diagnosed at 46. Similar to you I have had good jobs and am highly qualified, but I have still had problems throughout my life because of my Autism. Diagnosis helped me to realise why I have had these problems, so it was a cathartic experience but it was also an emotional one as well. It was a relief to know that a lot of things hadn’t been my fault. Knowing these problems were caused by Autism as it makes you less hard on yourself. People say it takes a few years to sink in and I think this is the case. Another useful thing I got from diagnosis and by reading accounts written by other Autistic people was knowing what to be wary of. I am now more aware that as an Autistic person, some people do try to take advantage of me and that I have to be more guarded to prevent this.

  • I can certainly relate to this, and am struggling with my own identity now, having only earlier this year begun to realise I am on the spectrum. I am 36 and I too am on the long 3-4 year waiting list and so am self diagnosed also.

    It's all very confusing isn't it, because you know that you have always struggled yet have also managed to "fake it to make it". I had a major meltdown a year and a half ago that has ultimately led me to this point after stumbling upon some information about autism/aspergers that just made sense to me. 

    I do understand the wanting to put the lid back on, but in reality if what's under the lid is your true self then it's important to embrace it and understand it because we've all struggled because we've had to fit in to society in order to survive, even whilst feeling alien or outcast. I guess in finding a community and people who you can relate to and vice versa, that can give us a freedom to explore who we really are without having to hide anymore, and scary as it is its surely got to be better for our own wellbeing.

  • I am now more aware that as an Autistic person, some people do try to take advantage of me and that I have to be more guarded to prevent this.

    Oh yes, since my assessemt I've become so aware of that. With hindsight, I now recognise there were one or two folk in my past who clearly saw me coming.

    Ben