Hi! I think im Autistic and trying to figure it out in my mid 30's

Hey Everyone, I'm Pax (He/They).

I am in the process of getting assessed for ADHD, which they confirmed I had, and in the process I was told I had a lot of autism traits and that I may want to look into an assessment.

I'm 35, Dyslexic, and have had a very long history of Mental health issues, mainly depression and anxiety and at one point was told I likely had bipolar (though that is an odd story), I'm also Pan, Ace, and Floating around somewhere in the Gender non-binary sea, which I only mention because I've heard that being non-binary is statistically significant in Autism.

I will freely admit I had the wrong idea about Autism when I heard this, mainly due to my lack of education on the matter and my immediate reaction was "Don't be ridiculous", however I did what I assume is a very common reaction and went down a massive youtube rabbit hole and I found I clicked massively with what I was seeing and so much so over the last week I've been getting increasingly more convinced I am. 

Hearing of experiences of feeling like an alien walking around a world I don't understand and trying my best to fit in and descriptions of masking really made the lightbulb click on. Remembering back to times I was literally a host of a house party and I could only stay long enough to say "Hi" before I had to leave and retreat to my bedroom because it all became too much. Stimming behaviors and passive self-harm such as picking etc. These are all things I do and have done for as long as I remember among many others and don't even get me started on specialist subjects!

Anyway I could wax lyrical about this all day and I have a great penchant for over-explaining but the long and short of it is, these are my first tentative steps into seeking out people in the autistic community.

I understand this must be something that happens multiple times a day but if anyone feels inclined to answer I do have a few questions I'd love to get some insight into.

1/ Anyone has any good books on Adult Autism they would like to recommend? I've heard people mention that the field has changed a lot in the last 10 years so I don't want to just jump in there and find I've been reading something wholly debunked. It would be best if it was available in Audiobook btw.

2/ Would anyone like to share insights into getting diagnosed? Mainly from the point of view of if it's worth doing. I was surprised to hear from several YouTubers official diagnosis isn't necessarily a given.

3/ If you were diagnosed as an adult, what was it you wished someone had told you at my stage?

Thank you in advance to anyone that answers any of those, and if my question is treading old ground I'd love it if you could link me to those topics. I'm trying to read through as much as I can but the Dyslexia and ADHD are fickle beasts that make me get distracted and stare at the shiny R2D2 on my desk when I get bored and tired of words. Also, anyone who wants to ask me questions I'm more than happy to talk so feel free to ask.

Thank you once again, Pax

Parents
  • Hi Pax 

    Welcome to this forum Slight smile

    I am dyslexic and autistic ( level 1, high functioning ).

    I actually suspect I have ADHD but cant be bothered going for  diagnosis LOL

  • Thanks Aidie, and Hi!

    I can't say I blame you for not being bothered if it doesn't affect your day-to-day existence too much. I need help with concentration and stuff for work ( I work for myself from home), but honestly, the biggest issue the ADHD gives me is a really hard time sleeping, so if I can fix it, it'll all be worth it.

    I have to admit it was a little disappointing finding out a lot of the things I assumed was ADHD and would be fixed by medication for it etc is actually very likely Autism 

Reply
  • Thanks Aidie, and Hi!

    I can't say I blame you for not being bothered if it doesn't affect your day-to-day existence too much. I need help with concentration and stuff for work ( I work for myself from home), but honestly, the biggest issue the ADHD gives me is a really hard time sleeping, so if I can fix it, it'll all be worth it.

    I have to admit it was a little disappointing finding out a lot of the things I assumed was ADHD and would be fixed by medication for it etc is actually very likely Autism 

Children
  • it does effect me a wee bit,  i can go of in all directions at times and so easily distracted its mad !

    but i am now (trying) to use my meditation techniques to pull myself back to what i am supposed to be doing quicker and quicker LOL

    yes I dont know for sure if constant distractions are the autism or ADHD  to be honest.

    But all is OK really I'm fine I have everything I need  ,,,,, there are people in terrible positions now eg in India where COVID is killing so many people.

    What are the treatments to ADHD,,,,,,, is it low level stimulants ? 

  • Mindfulness and meditation do seem to help me somewhat so I hope it works out for you. It certainly helps for me to recognize when I get stuck which I struggled with before

    There are 2 techniques I've done that have worked so far, the one I've done most is micro rewards. Basically, identify your tasks and then do the task and immediately give yourself a small reward for finishing that task. For example, I need to list a load of products on Etsy so I got a small kinder bar and for every 2 listings, I get a little piece. It doesn't have to be food, it can be anything finite you can see and get pleasure out of so not something like a computer game or watching tiktok etc that might draw you in. Someone else I know loves stickers so gets a small sticker at random from her sticker bags whenever she does a task.

    The other that seems to be working right now is timing myself, I think it originally called the Pomodoro Technique but altered a bit for ADHD, basically use a physical kitchen time (not a phone or app etc) turn it to 20 mins (20 is best for me but 10, 15 or 25 would be fine if they suit you better, work for that time and then give yourself a 5 min break (I time this break too or I will suddenly find I have had a 30 min break). Continue the cycle and give yourself a longer break of about 30 mins every 3 to 4 cycles. My ADHD likes the rewards of timed breaks and the Autism likes the structure. 

    I tend to use micro rewards if I'm doing lots of smaller tasks that take all different lengths of time and use the timing when I have a large block of continuous work (e.g. doing my taxes)

    What are the treatments to ADHD,,,,,,, is it low level stimulants ? 

    They're probably the best know treatment. I haven't actually got to treatment yet because there's an 8-week wait between diagnosis and treatment right now, but my understanding is there are 2 different types of dopamine modifiers and one of those is the classic stimulant, and some are better for different people than others. Also, some people manage it without medication using lifestyle and mental techniques. I know one person who has done a great job by making those around them informed on ADHD and recruiting them to assist him.

    Sorry for the huge message, I can never seem to stop writing when I start