Too neurotypical to be autistic but too autistic to be neurotypical

Lately I've felt like I don't fit. Like I don't struggle enough to be considered autistic. I do struggle, of course. I probably struggle more than neurotypicals do. And I know that being autistic isn't only about struggling. But sometimes it feels like I am faking it. Like it's just another mask that I put on. These sentences are so hard to write. It's like trying to catch a specific snowflake in the blizzard that is my brain. So I'll just stop here. Have you ever felt this way?

  • Pixie, I'm pretty simialr to you I was given the diagnosis of Aspergers, but lately that diagnosis dosen't seem to be valid, we're all included under the umbrella of autism, which is great in many ways, but in others I think it confuses. I think it confuses others more than autists, because, as you say it is such a wide spectrum and can't be plotted that easily and no assumptions can be made about someone capabilities. I do know a couple of people who are getting wary fo the whole idea of spectrum disorders, just because there are no clear diagnostic criteria like the are with a disease like measles or chickenpox. But those people are very straight line vertical thinkers who do no tangents or shades of grey, everything seems very binary to them.

  • Yes, you’re still autistic. It’s not your fault that things like the PIP parameters expect us not to be able to tie our own shoelaces (so to speak) to qualify so we’re forced to approach some external validation markers as though we were doing a broad brushstrokes Job-interview ‘fake  it til you make it’ exercise, instead of being allows to just communicate with nuance and necessary intricacy of revelation the many varying-in-intensity but overwhelmingly stacked chakkenges we have compared with ‘the average person’. Even after formal diagnosis the inherent deep scepticism in the benefits application process is designed to make us feel (more as a side effect to money saving than anything else) exactly like the second part of your last sentence there. It’s not fair and I hope you’ll see that with some additional reassurance here. 

  • I too wonder the same sometimes, I self diagnosed after people I worked with assumed I was anyway, so I did the research and online tests and yes, they suggested I was on the spectrum.  

    Now that fits with how I've felt all my life and explains a lot of my behaviour so it's vindicating and allows me to feel better about my idiosyncrasies. But at the same time I've got a degree (archaeology) was in that career 30 years, so I feel like I was successful to a point, it's only in the last 5 years since everything in my life charged that I have found myself struggling to get back to where I think a 50 odd year old person should be...and I'm not anywhere near.  I am an introvert anyway, no real friends to tell other than one who is miles away and didn't seem surprised. So I just carry on in my small world and question myself. Am I really? Is it in my head? Then I decide to be kind to myself and accept it and feel better.  Sigh... I've always just assumed I was wierd.  

  • [Disambiguation......I have read fully the words that Aurumoon as written, and I agree with these things very much.  I have not, however, found the time to read below other contributors comments.  I hope that doesn't upset anyone else here?]

  • I love that term 'pretty normal autistic person'  Slight smile 

    Also I think it could be true that 'we don't look like we unconsciously think we should '. That's a lack of knowledge, though - researchers are still finding out more about autism all the time, but as a society we were only shown occasional stereotypes like rain man, or children with very severe learning difficulties, 

    The thing is, autism is such a wide spectrum. There will probably always be autistic people who will not be able to look after themselves, so for those of us who can live independently, or who may have been to university, or who may have a partner and perhaps children too, it's difficult to for them to reconcile who they are with the previously established 'idea' of autism.

    When I first discovered I was on the spectrum, I described it as "Aspergers" to people I worked with, as that was still the term in general use for " higher functioning " autistic people, so it made it easier for them to understand. But now, as more knowledge is becoming available, I'm quite happy to say "I'm autistic" and to help other people learn more about it if they're interested.


  • By the sounds of it you seem a pretty normal autistic person going by many of the replies to this thread. I think we must all hve some kind of unconciously internalised idea of what autism is and what it looks like. Only we are autistic and we don't look like what we unconciously think we should. I wonder if it's to do with low self esteem?

    Do I deserve this diagnosis?

    Am I so bad that I deserve all this fuss when there are others so much worse off than me?

    I think many of us not only mask but we have unconciously internalised those masks and when we look at ourselves we feel unease and maybe even guilt?

    I dont' know, this is just off the top of my head.

  • This was supposed to be a reply to  and it’s very long oops. I guess I’m venting cause I have no one who understands how I feel.

  • I feel the same, except I struggle to be organised. I got diagnosed two months before I turned 18 last year! by random nance due to a CAMHS appointment where the wonderful psychologist I was seeing picked up on it and got me referred (and the referral sped up since I was approaching 18.) I’m now at uni though my lack of organisation means I’m taking a more scenic route to medical school than I hoped, and I constantly feel like an imposter since I can “function” pretty well and if my backup plan works out will be in my desired career one day, even if it took longer than planned,

    I can cook, clean, do my shopping etc. But after doing some research and reading my diagnosis letter I realise I am I indeed autistic. I did well in school throughout and was pretty close to the grades needed for medicine, so people don’t realise how bad my executive dysfunction is, yet I know that where I could have got an A or A* in one subject I got a B due to my lack of organisation and any study skills. I can do alright with uni but have also had points this year where I was so exhausted and burn out from having to do life and be “normal” that it made me physically ill and I missed a few days of uni. I’ve struggled with my mental health since I started secondary school, and now know it was most likely due to the then undiagnosed Autism. My only support is a lovely mentor allocated to me by my uni, but other than that I’m on my own because again late diagnosis, so no ECHP and no idea what I need.

    I realise a lot of the outbursts I had when I couldn’t hold things together were also due to the autism but gowing my entire childhood without knowing and being a girl! I got very good at masking so was more likely to take things out on myself and implode. I used to headband as a toddler and would walk on my toes, until I stopped due to being told to walk normally, I stim but only in spaces where I feel safe because the days of not knowing mean I find it impossible to unmask, for fear of judgement. I often feel like I need to pause life and find having fo function as a new adult draining psychologically and feel like I may implode at any moment. On the flip side, my motivation to become a doctor forces me to do things way out of my comfort zone like volunteering in a people facing role, because I’m stubborn and hyper focused? on it and medicine as whole and won’t let the difficulties I have stop me from getting there one day. 

    In summary, I often feel like an imposter because I’m very good at appearing as functional and learnt to internalise all my struggles until I implode or less often explode and have a meltdown. I struggled a lot with my mental health because if this, was in and out of therapy and CAMHS appointment from yr 7 until I turned 18 and my late diagnosis means I’ve learned to cope and get through life without any obvious signs and no support. Since I’m at uni and doing fine to the outsider, any outpatient services would never help me and so I question how autistic I am.

  • I have not read all of this thread and can't afford the time right now, but yeah, me too. 

    Me three.  A lot.

  • I have not read all of this thread and can't afford the time right now, but yeah, me too. 

    Thanks to teh stirling work you guys below also put into the ADD Autism thread a few days back I understand myself a lot more.

    All natural things seem to "wax and wane". Autsm is the same. Add is the same. Totally faking "normality" is like holding back a pressure, and can be done for varyng lengths of time, depending on the circumstances.

    As a child between 6 and 16 when my sucess at that task was measured in intervals between outbreaks of viiolent "correction" my personal best was two weeks. Under less strngent examination and in a situation where I am regularly removed (like work) I believe I can manage longer periods until I get discovered and punished for being me. 

  • Yes I also had same thoughts like what I’m doing here, since I’m not diagnosed… but my various struggles especially now in new job just remind me that I’m on the spectrum. I feel like I fit here and this is the only social media I really like and enjoy. And it helps me emotionally a lot. 

  • Mee too

    Im 49 and as Sally said gone through mainstream school, work, friends and everything else in between. My son is autistic and I have so many similarities to him as well as I understand him like no one else can. Yes I do feel fake sometimes depending on my mental state and even feel sometimes like I shouldn’t be on here due to not being diagnosed, I do seem to fit here though and am extremely comfortable being part of this community…. It’s been such a positive thing for me to be here. I can also feel alone even though I’m surrounded by people and loved ones. 

  • I totally get this, I'm not diagnosed but two of my children are and it explains so much about them and me, the difficulties we have with too much noise or bright lights in certain shops or changing our plans at the last moment.  I'm 50 and have managed all my life in main stream school, work and friendships but gosh it's overwhelming and lonely even when surrounded by loved ones x

  • Thanks Pixie

    I'm the opposite to you I can do a supermarket shops, but not an online one, I get very confused.

  • I think the nuanced thing is one of the biggest barriers to understanding, on both sides of the divide. For the ND it seems to be a driver for feeling like an imposter. People feel they don’t tick enough boxes to be considered ND. And NT see the same thing, assume you are also a typical like them, and then fail to see your issues for what they are. 

  • I think that’s a very wise and also quite heartening description of being ND

  • This week very autistic, next week not so much. I’m not diagnosed, so I have only my intuition, scores from self tests and feedback from my family to go on, but I can really relate. It feels at times like there ought to be a different classification for people like us who seem to veer in and out of the condition. I just don’t know. Maybe my mask slips and a see what’s beneath then put it back on. 

  • You're welcome. Also, have you seen the 3 Good Things thread? It is probably the most used thread on here and one of my favorites.

    Yes, definitely. I was diagnosed when I was very young, not exactly sure when, because I can't remember it. I do remember seeing some books about autism and Asperger's on the counter when I was first diagnosed but I don't know when that was Slight smile. It was only this year that I started figuring out what that meant for my life, being more proud of my autism, and unmasking more. Now it is common knowledge among my peers that I am autistic and I'm glad of that. This year I also self-diagnosed myself with ADHD. My mom always thought of it as something I should hide and my school is very joke-y about disabilities in general, so I still have trouble telling people. SO. That was way longer than it was supposed to be.

  • Ah thank you so much! 

    Have you been diagnosed for long?

  • Yesterday! Congratulations!