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    • JMW77
    • By JMW77 12th Mar 18, 11:04 PM
    • 774Posts
    • 334Thanks
    Self diagnosed autism at 46
    • #1
    • 12th Mar 18, 11:04 PM
    Self diagnosed autism at 46 12th Mar 18 at 11:04 PM
    It have just realised I think I have had autism all my life ,I always realised I was different but I thought it was because I had been emotionally and mentally abused since I was 3 years old. I didn't even really know what autism was till my son was diagnosed with it , he has quite severe autism but its early days but he's in a special school so he's in the right place.I have always been really quiet and found it impossible in social situations I can never start conversations and I always avoid people so I don't have to talk . I do cover it reasonably well as I didn't realise I could have a disability I just thought I was just really shy and just had to get on with it,people tend not to try to talk to me as they know it will be hard work.When I think about my life I have made so many bad decisions over the years as I had no one to talk to.I feel like I need looking after.
    I am in a relationship but I can't do anything on my own like parents evening, doctors appointments, shopping I always need someone with me .
    No idea what I'm ever going to do if I'm single again I think I would really struggle to cope , im not about to be in that situation anytime soon but if I should ever be alone caring for my autistic son im in trouble.
    I looked up how autism effects females and how it is so different to boys.Im convinced I have it but not sure if I should go and get diagnosed or even if a doctor will refer me.Or if I will even go to the doctors as I will be too embaressed to go.
    Im really angry that I was abused so badly and now I think I had a disability which makes it twice as bad , nobody cared enough to stop it.
    I lived through horrendous emotional abuse so much so I can't even call my dad DAD as I was brainwashed never to call him dad .I still can't do it even though he's not with her now.
    My life is a complete mess even though nobody would know I just carry on and cry when i'm on my own.So many people treated me badly when I was younger and I was always trying to fight the fact I was different but I 100% thought it was the abuse and I thought maybe one day I would get over it.Thinking I might of had autism all this time is unbearable especially when no one did anything to help me I lived with it constantly feeling always out of my depth in every situation.
    Anyone else in a similar situation?
    Thanks for reading.
Page 1
    • UnionGirl
    • By UnionGirl 14th Mar 18, 1:05 PM
    • 172 Posts
    • 506 Thanks
    • #2
    • 14th Mar 18, 1:05 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Mar 18, 1:05 PM
    I have no experience of autism at all, but a Drs appointment wouldn't do any harm. Maybe ask about some counselling or CBT with a psychiatric nurse. I'd just tell the Dr what you've posted here and hopefully you'll get something to help you.
    As my Mum always said "Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves"
    • BorisThomson
    • By BorisThomson 14th Mar 18, 2:52 PM
    • 1,586 Posts
    • 3,420 Thanks
    • #3
    • 14th Mar 18, 2:52 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Mar 18, 2:52 PM
    With a history of abuse and being female you're far more likely to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder or complex PTSD than ASD. (I'm not suggesting you have any of them, only a mental health professional can do that.)

    Your GP will be aware of the ASD diagnosis pathway in your area and whether you qualify to be assessed. In most areas the waiting list is in years. Be aware though that you may end up with a different diagnosis, and that might be more difficult to deal with than the one you expect.
    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 14th Mar 18, 8:25 PM
    • 5,157 Posts
    • 6,403 Thanks
    • #4
    • 14th Mar 18, 8:25 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Mar 18, 8:25 PM
    I think you might find it interesting to look for blogs by other adults with autism to see how diagnosis affected them, and if there are any coping techniques you want to adopt. I don't know them well enough to recommend any in particular.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
    • Jojo the Tightfisted
    • By Jojo the Tightfisted 14th Mar 18, 9:16 PM
    • 24,245 Posts
    • 95,788 Thanks
    Jojo the Tightfisted
    • #5
    • 14th Mar 18, 9:16 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Mar 18, 9:16 PM
    With a history of abuse and being female you're far more likely to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder or complex PTSD than ASD. (I'm not suggesting you have any of them, only a mental health professional can do that.)

    Your GP will be aware of the ASD diagnosis pathway in your area and whether you qualify to be assessed. In most areas the waiting list is in years. Be aware though that you may end up with a different diagnosis, and that might be more difficult to deal with than the one you expect.
    Originally posted by BorisThomson

    However, the fact that your child has been diagnosed with it is relevant - explaining that to your GP (and perhaps having a chat with your son's teacher, as they encounter a lot of undiagnosed parents) would quite likely steer them towards the Adult ASD assessment, rather than a 'simple' psychiatric referral where the staff are expecting people with mental illnesses and personality disorders to attend, rather than people with undiagnosed Autism.

    If it does turn out that you are confirmed to have Autism, in some ways I think you will find it easier to come to terms with your past - of course you were suffering, you had Autism and were appallingly treated - understanding and knowledge gives you more insight and you can work with 'what you've got' rather than wishing to get better and wondering why you still have problems (and there's no reason why you can't have trauma and Autism, which gives you two aspects to understand and learn to deal with in some way).

    In the meantime, try and think of things outside that specific childhood experience that really bother you - do you find lights too bright? Is noise difficult for you? Does mess stress you out? Do certain textures, seams, labels in clothes irritate you? Do your bedclothes feel uncomfortable?

    It's common for such things to happen - you could try wearing sunglasses, changing the colour of your lightbulbs - for example, going for Daylight ones rather than 'warm white', getting dimmable lighting, buying some ear filters (20 from Amazon, far more comfortable than cheap earplugs), streamlining the colours, patterns and organisation in your home, opting for smooth/well cut clothing in textures you actually like, looking into getting heavier bedlinen (there are lots of good reports about weighted blankets if adding standard covers doesn't help enough) - any of these could potentially make a difference to your general emotions.

    Even something as simple as making time to sit or lie down in a dark room with no TV, no radio and no little lights, such as standby ones on electricals, just to give you a short time without excessive light or noise, could really help; you could try having a bath with the house (including the bathroom) in complete darkness and then going to lie down.

    Allowing yourself a routine might help. If you feel calmer if you don't have to find clothes in the morning, allowing yourself twenty minutes in the evening before a bath to sort out comfortable clothes and making your bed so it's ready for you could reduce your stress levels both last thing at night and when you wake up in the morning. It's possible that something like changing from, say, having the TV on in the morning to having the Radio on or not having either, could help, as you aren't starting your day with extra stimulation.

    You might need something to keep your hands occupied when you're feeling anxious - whilst there are lots of gadgets/toys that can do that, sometimes other things can fulfil the same role. At work, we have quite a large number of children with ASD diagnoses - some find having a lump of fresh Blu-tak to carry round with them is helpful, I had several who would drop into my office for a chat who were fascinated by my pack of multicoloured cable ties (I do a lot of work with cabling), with the result that they would return to classes happily with a small bundle I 'zipped up' together once they chose the colours and gave to them - so much so, other colleagues could work out they had visited me because they came into lessons with 'something'. There's no reason why you can't have something you like the colour or feel of with you.

    I do appreciate that this is a lot of information. But if something of what I've said makes you think 'Oh, yes, that does bother me', then you can possibly find things to do/not do that immediately help you feel a little better/calmer/happier.

    Some of the blogs written by adults who have been diagnosed might be difficult to read, as they can be written when somebody is struggling and not feeling supported, which might be upsetting for you to read - but some can be very helpful. And in all, it can be overwhelming to try and read about so many experiences. As a result, I am suggesting that you look at the external things I've talked about to see whether any of those feel better first, rather than possibly overloading you with the vast amounts of online information and experiences you could find.

    Oh, and if you do go online, avoid Autism Mom type sites, Alternative Medicine sites and anything that refers to toxins, detoxing, vaccinations and 'cures'. At best, they will annoy you, but at worst, they could be incredibly depressing, offer potentially dangerous medical advice with no regard to Science - and are often offensive in the way they speak about Autism.

    I hope some of this has helped you. It'll be a long process, but the important thing to remember is that, whether you get a diagnosis or not, you have a right to find things or behaviours that make you feel more comfortable. And that can start now - you don't need permission, you don't need a diagnosis, you don't need to feel in the slightest bit guilty/angry/embarrassed/[any other emotion] about making any of those changes.
    I could dream to wide extremes, I could do or die: I could yawn and be withdrawn and watch the world go by.

    Yup you are officially Rock n Roll
    Originally posted by colinw
    • catherine/kate
    • By catherine/kate 18th Mar 18, 7:54 PM
    • 125 Posts
    • 854 Thanks
    • #6
    • 18th Mar 18, 7:54 PM
    • #6
    • 18th Mar 18, 7:54 PM
    I have recently been advised that I am autistic. I recommend Sarah Hendrickx's book Autism in Women and Girls.

    I have been able to use the strengths that autism gives me - logic, an unemotional approach to situations, distance from others - to build a good career and a comfortable, not close, but friendly social circle. I would hate friendships like I see others having, where they are in each other's pockets all the time. I accept that autism makes life different, often difficult, but I wouldn't change my autism; it makes me, me. If you do receive a diagnosis I hope that in time you are able to see the positives in it.

    I find it helpful to look at situations where I have struggled and ask myself, is this something "wrong with me", or is this the normal reaction of an autistic woman. I had a meltdown in the cinema last year, watching a horror film - but on discovering that many autistic people are overwhelmed by noise, lights, and emotions, it made total sense, and I don't feel as bad about it as I would have done previously.

    I understand that more than a couple of hours in a social situation is going to stress me out, so I make sure I always have an escape strategy, but I also make myself go along and be part of things for that short time, so I don't feel left out. Loneliness can be one of the worst parts of the condition. Cut yourself some slack.

    I also find it helpful to set myself structures and routines. I always start my mornings at work with a cup of tea. I write lists all the time. I have three standard conversation openers, and a couple of phrases that I know will keep people talking, and I say "Really? Tell me more about that" a lot. I'm interested in people but I don't know how to keep a conversation going naturally. Now that I know why, I am able to plan strategies to support myself.

    I hope you find some of this helpful
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