Where do I start?

Hello all!

I thought I'd introduce myself here for a bit before going in-depth or posting around, so hopefully I can get to know a couple of you and get into the swing of things. I can be very awkward with posting online (either I go crazy and write essays at people, or I get anxious about speaking up and don't say anything even if I want to).

So here goes...

Hi I'm Pip :). I'm aged 25, and am female. I've always been "odd" - introverted, sensitive, but easily excitable, with strange interests. I've also been writing for years, so I just interpreted my "weirdness" as just being a "creative spirit" or something like that.

I met my partner 7 years ago. He was diagnosed with ASD as a child. He has his difficulties, but I've always loved his straight-forwardness, goofy humour, and his odd ways of remembering things. We've always got along and adjusted to one another well. I am told we are quite alike in some respects. We live apart, semi-long distance. It's not always been like that, but this works for us at the moment even if it's unconventional. 

My own issues have been different from his, so it never crossed my mind that I might also have Aspergers. I've been diagnosed with PTSD, GAD, depression ... all sorts during several years of distress and struggle. I'd like to go into it but I'd be here all day. 

Long story short is: I eventually read up about ASD in females, realised that I am just another different variation of it, and went for a diagnosis...which took a good year or so of being on waiting lists. That was an experience in itself lol

I was finally diagnosed with Asperger's / High-functioning Autism last December. It makes sense. But I still don't know how to feel about it. I am now even more anxious about my future. I can't relate to these stories that are like "Oh I was diagnosed with Aspergers as an adult, everything fell into place and I was finally happy." ...or whatnot. 

I could talk for ages about what's been bothering me, but I'd be happy just with knowing I'm not alone at the moment. 

Right now I am mostly obsessed with my cat, which has kinda led into an interest in animal behaviour. For the past year or so I've been intrigued by bats, and nocturnal wildlife in general. But generally speaking, I like anything nerdy I guess...video games, computers/technology, anime/manga. Lately I'm also obsessed with collecting stuff - magazines, plushies, dolls/figurines, postcards, candles, you name it. I basically like owning stuff - and if it comes in other colours, sizes, or in a set, guaranteed it won't feel "right" to me unless I have the whole lot. XD ! My room gets kinda messy because of it, and after I'm done with collecting something I seem to easily be able to throw it away and go to the next thing...

"But isn't that what everyone does anyway?" - I still have trouble discerning what "most people do" and what is obsessive/aspie-like behaviour. It's still all a blur to me. 

Anyway, feel free to chat to me! :) Looking forward to hearing from some of you around on here!

  • I have just joined also as needed to be able to communicate with other people who are not going to react with disbelief and denial about autism. I have spent 15 year working with young adults with autism and learning difficulties. We decided to foster now our own children are older and began fostering a child who is very intelligent and also autistic. I did some research and courses as i had no experience in this area. I have for the last 10 years believed my daughter had autism but as it didn't affect any areas of her life as we created coping strategies, until uni, did not believe she needed testing. As part of my research i decided to buy the girl with curly hair book, read it and pass it to her to read. This was 10 months ago and during reading it I had a major melt down lasting days if not a week as i realised i am also autistic. When i spoke to my family about it after writing list of my traits the only supportive person was my daughter, who is a speach therapist, she said she knows I am and has been trying to let me know but didn't know how to. My husband,other children, parents all believe I am talking myself into it by researching and reading too much, it makes me feel as though they believe I have a mental illness. I am 43 and don't feel I need a diagnosis for myself but am thinking I need it to be taken seriously. I realise I have become a master of creating coping strategies to get me through life, this does cover up my traits. I am trying to understand my reactions to different experience and to recognise when I am becoming to get stressed so i can act to hopefully prevent major melt downs. Sorry for woffling on. It would be nice to hear about your experience of getting a diagnosis.

  • Hi Pip, a lot of what you describe sounds familiar, I too am a wildlife fanatic, with a zoology degree, and I spend a great deal of time researching it. I'm sure you're more than familiar with the drawbacks of being on the spectrum, but I do find a deeper sense of connection to the natural world is something that it helps me with, because when things are in synchrony with one another, with nothing invasive (like sirens, flashing lights, or helicopters) with all the ecological interactions, etc, I appreciate the detail and see everything together as one big picture, rather than as isolated subjects. 

  • Hi Pip,

    I can honestly say you're not alone in this. I was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism around 14 months ago and I wish I could say "yeah it's all roses" but that would be a lie. I can honestly say I've been to hell and back since I was diagnosed and sometimes I wish I had never been told I'm autistic.

    For the first few weeks after my diagnosis I spent every single waking second of my day frantically researching what HFA was, who had it, what it meant etc. I read medical journals, research articles, newspaper clippings...anything to give me more information. But being that I'm a 32 y/o female there wasn't much out there in terms of anything useful to go on so I quickly exhausted the meagre sources I had.

    After this initial research phase I slipped into one of the biggest meltdowns of my entire life...it last around 3 months. I barely spoke to anyone, I was completely numb to the world, I literally forgot how to 'human'. It was truly harrowing and I'm not sure how I came out of it to be honest. I felt like I was living my life behind a piece of glass...on oneside were all the happy autistics and on the other were all the happy NT's, and I was stuck in a void in between the two. I couldn't make sense of my diagnosis and what it meant for me and my future. I felt angry that I wasn't normal and that I wasn't what you'd perceive as 'classically autistic'....I was this shade of grey in the middle that didn't belong to either community. I was impossible to be around during this time; I was irational, snappy, angry, despondant, raging, numb, lacklustre, full of fear. I simply could not wrap my head around my diagnosis; it was like someone had come along, taken a pin and popped the bubble that was my carefully contructed world.

    I'd love to tell you what changed in me, what's made me more accepting of my diagnosis but I just can't because I don't know. Time maybe? A good support network perhaps? I have no idea, but all I can as is that I am on the right side of it now, I'd guess around 85% comfortable with being autistic. I still have days where I am filled with rage and fear and anxiety and anger at my diagnosis. I can't say that I am 100% cool with it because I'm not...I still haven't worked out what it means to me yet. I guess I'm just muddling along like everyone else does because what else is there to do?

  • Relieved to hear it won't be all roses for most* ? of us!

    Am currently trying to get a diagnosis of Asperger's / High-functioning Autism, as I am loath to retain the current diagnosis of " Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder"

    Nope, I haven't got a clue what that actually is either!

    Where did you start, for getting a diagnosis?