Hello, I've joined under recommendation of a mental health care professional. I've had trouble with my mental health for many years and now in my mid-twenties its believed that all these difficulties are due to undiagnosed autism. I'm looking to find out more about autism in adult women and the effects autism has on daily life. Any treatments that may be useful (I've read somewhere that CBT can be effective), any coping mechanisms that aren't harmful etc.I'm also just looking for general support during my diagnosis period. The NHS obviously missed all this so I paid for a private assessment, I now have to wait for my GP to refer me to specialists in Cambridge to have my official diagnosis. I'd also appreciate stories anyone might have on how their families coped with the diagnosis. My family have no idea about my mental health struggles and I'm scared I would disappoint them when I tell them.
Thanks for reading so far and I'm looking forward to having a nose ache around the community.
Hi! There are quite a few late-diagnosed women (and men) on the forum, as you'll see on the various Threads. There have also been a few Threads started in the past month or so about women and ASD and there's a lot of useful information on those as well as tips from people who have been on this journey longer than I have (4-months since my own diagnosis). I can't think of a topic that hasn't been covered at least once in that time (!) and I've found people on here to be really helpful.
I think my main coping strategy at the moment is to remember to take things slowly! There's so much information out there on ASD and I jumped in voraciously at the beginning, I'm learning now to take things slowly and just acclimatise to how I feel about each new revelation.
As for family, I've so far only told my partner and our two eldest daughters and they weren't particularly surprised. ASD isn't all bad news and so I wouldn't have thought your family would be disappointed (?) concerned perhaps (especially if they don't know much about ASD or what it means) and curious but I and my family have seen it more as an explanation than a diagnosis of something new - after all, it is a lifelong thing so I've always had it whether I knew it or not.
P.S. I've had eye-ache from spending too long looking around the forum but never "nose-ache"! LoL!!
Thank you for your reply. I've had a quick browse and have found a lot of threads. Thanks for the coping tip, I'll be making a list so I can slowly work through it. That way I won't lose any threads I want to read. My partner already knows so its not like I'm going to be hiding this from everyone. The reason I worry with my family is because I'm generally very harsh on myself. I try to be perfect and obviously telling them I have been suicidal in the past and may now be diagnosed with ASD won't make me "perfect". I'm the only child that has appeared to have done what they wanted... (I've re-written this about 5 times now... sometimes expressing my feelings/thoughts is difficult). As for the nose ache... well! I'm obviously not scrolling properly ;) lol
I found it difficult to express myself when I first started using the forum, mostly because I'd never used any sort of chat forum before (I don't have Facebook or any of those things.) but it does get easier with time once you get to know a few people.
What helped me was co-opting a few of the analogies I read from others such as diagnosis being like "being given the instruction manual at last" - to ourselves, life, the rest of the world! It made sense to me. Also, the female representation of ASD being like a swan, calm and together on the surface but paddling furiously to stay afloat underneath! That one might be useful if / when you do decide to speak to your family about things. I'd say it's more important to work it all out for yourself first though.
Thanks for your replies.
You're very kind & helpful.
Swan seems about right... I like that way of describing it.
Family won't know until the official diagnosis by the specialist referral so I'll have a while to figure what I'll tell them and what they'll be best not knowing about.
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