I have recently received a diagnosis at the grand age of 52. it's a game changer but at the moment i am feeling a bit sorry for myself. My life has been fraught with broken jobs and relationships, loneliness, not fitting in, anxiety, fear and suddenly vanishing friendships. at least i have some insight now but i can't undo the past and all the loss that went with it. How have others managed to reconcile the fact that life could have been so different if only you, family, friends, employers might have known?
I live with my three dogs and have been off sick from my job for four months with the anxiety that I now know is driven by autism. I will not be returning to my job but i have to find a way of paying the mortgage, on my own but how? really I need to work for myself as I am just no good working with or for others.
while i'm thinking aloud i would love to hear from others, particularly older autistic people and those diagnosed later in life. I would love to hear your stories and how diagnosis has changed life for you or how you have reevaluated life before diagnosis...
so, Hi and thank you for having me here
Welcome, I hope you'll find new friends here. I was diagnosed at 45, F. after my daughter was diagnosed. I could have written much of your post, broken jobs, not fitting in, anxiety, suddenly vanishing friendships... A lot of bullying and abusive dynamics at work..
When my daughter was diagnosed, I did re-evaluate my life, it gave a name to the thing that was happening to me. It gave me a key to try to understand the mechanics and try to help myself with my difficulties, to reinterpret what I experienced. Before that I often was at the receiving end of accusations of having this or that intentions or having 'done' this or that , which in fact I didn't do and didn't intend. :) Sounds familiar?
One of the things that were important to me early on was the definition of disability in the equality act: doing things differently, not in a deficient inferior way, but differently and needing and in fact having a right of this difference being accepted and accommodated. This really shaped my concept of autism and helped me to cope with the educational saga of my children. Having two children on the spectrum and being a SAHM, autism plays huge role in my life. Another thing I learned more recently is the double empathy problem. It does explain a lot of the issues for me.
Having been on this forum I've read a lot of accounts of what happens in employment. Unfortunately it doesn't sound like employers knowing about autism helps a lot. I was pushed out in quite traumatic way a few times specifically after disclosing. Too often that helps them to manage you out :(. I also came across accounts of families and friends jumping on the bandwagon of ableism, because there is no proper support for families and relationships and hate groups have hijacked this territory.
I think autistic people are at their best continuing functioning in their autistic way doing what they are good at and sharing knowledge and supporting each other.