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
Hi I'm 47 and I was diagnosed on 16 May this year. All my life I knew I was different and I punished myself for it, all the jobs I'd not stuck at, the friends I'd lost, the relationships that had nerver worked. I saw it all as my fault cos I was broken. I just couldn't see things the way others did and it alienated me. I've had a couple of breakdowns during the course of my life and the last one I had lead me to finding out I am autistic. At first I thought if only if known about this when I was younger, how much better my life could of been, then I read Neurotribes by Steve Silverman and it changed my out look. My mum was a little girl during the war and the book made me realise she was also autistic, left handed and forced to wrote with her right hand for fear of being feeble minded. Then when she had me she used some of the ABA techniques on me, making me sit for hours in front of food I didn't want to eat, restraining me physically when I was having a "tantrum" (meltdown). Forcing me give eye contact or she would ignore me. It helped me realise that had it been known I was autistic, which sometimes I think she had an inkling, it could of been far worse for me in that they were still very stuck of getting the autism cured out of you. All those things she did damaged me further but it also could of been worse. Now I realise that when she called me Dolly daydreamer and calamity Jane that was all part of my autism. Now I see it that it's part of who I am and not something I need to get rid of. I allow myself to be the different thinker, the visually stimulated person. I allow myself to immerse myself in colour, lights, patterns, art, crafts, and the stims I've always had I don't surpress, not that I ever had control over my rocking. I let myself be me and I love myself for it. I wear head phones to block out the excessive noise and I wear sunglasses to hide my eyes and block out the excessive light. I play with putty and fidget toys when I need to concentrate. I feel myself becoming me again, like when I was off on my own as a child in what my mum called cloud cuckoo land, I was happy there. I'm still figuring out how I will earn money as my anxiety is off the charts, I think as we age we have less patients to mask for others, it tires us out more than when we were younger. But I won't be hiding it from any employer, if they can't deal with me being me then I don't belong there anyway. I see it as I'm paving the way for future generations to be able to be themselves. Sorry for the long reply, I don't usually have so much to say for myself but I felt that I had something in common with how you feel.