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1 year since I came out to my close family about being autistic

Angular Chap

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
So it's been 1 year to the day since I finally came out to my close family about being autistic. 21st June 2023. Nothing otherwise special about that date for me, it was just when it finally happened.

I'm so lucky to have a supportive family, they accepted me immediately.

It turned out to be a good decision, the correct one. There have been no disadvantages so far. If anything it helped other people just as much as it helped me. My parents always tell me stories about other autistic people they have met and how they were able to have long and meaningful conversations with other autistic folks and their families.

Coming out was the reason I joined this forum. I guess I wanted to feel less alone, maybe get support if things didn't go so well.

It took me 4 tries. My first attempt was on my 35th birthday. I thought that would be a nice round number and date. I didn't announce my exact intentions on here, just in case things didn't go to plan and I didn't want anyone to feel disappointed.

At first, I approached the subject gently at dinner and tried to steer the conversation towards autism, using tech to start with since that's what I'm best known for locally, but I kept getting ignored, interrupted and talked over. I tried again a few hours later, again going from tech to autism, but as I suspected from the start, again I just got dismissed.

It took me another 6 months before I tried again. Same idea as before, starting with tech then steering the conversation towards autism. Once again I was dismissed.

Being subtle just wasn’t working, so I made an appointment with my doctor the next day, then just flat out announced that I had made an appointment with my GP for an autism assessment. I was instantly accepted, even more so when my GP gave me 2 assessment forms to complete (AQ-10 and The Weiss Functional Scale) and then referred me to NHS psychiatry for an assessment based on my answers. My parents have since put a lot of effort into researching autism using official NHS resources. Listening and education being the key factors here, rather than out and out fully understanding.

For years, I never actually intended to come out, but in the end it was for the best.

2 main things that made me decide it was time to come clean:

1. Getting my COVID vaccines. As usual, I managed to get lost, flustered and embarrassed at all of my appointments. The fact that the NHS made it all so simple further amplified how hopeless I can be outside the house with this kind of thing. It was time to just admit what the problem is.

2. Not just for my sake, also thinking about other people in future. My mum had a suspected mini stroke and my family would need to know why I would barely be capable of taking care of them properly in future. When my mum had a knee replacement a few years ago, I was praised for how well I looked after her during her rehabilitation. But that was just me being creative, coming up with helpful ways to aid her, building devices to make things easier. Yes, I do help to keep vulnerable people safe as part of my job and special interests, but that involves protecting them from scammers, it doesn't make me a nurse or carer. I didn’t want people thinking that protecting people’s personal physical and financial security translated to me being able to take care of their medical needs. Designing and installing security systems is not the same as navigating appointments and prescriptions. Understanding and teaching people about the social engineering tactics used by scammers doesn’t mean I’m good at social communications myself. Talking to my own clients is not the same as dealing with banks or utilities.

I also just generally ran out of road and people were starting to get suspicious. I couldn’t mask everything any more. Inspired by people on here, it was time to push forward and come clean.

"I thought maybe there was something wrong." Was the about the only suspicion they had. They knew I sometimes had anxiety and knew I “didn’t like using the phone.” Guess I got pretty good as masking, but not air tight. My aunt and uncle suspected a little that I might be autistic, they worked professionally and voluntarily with autistic folks, although mostly children and adolescents.

My traits were mostly accepted. Finally being listened to was a great start. The only hurdle so far is my mum thinks that going for an assessment is some kind of one off magic therapy session where I'll be advised on how to not get lost and magically just know what to do when I go to a public place or interact with people or have to make a phonecall. But I’ll get there. Talking about all the past masking will involve some harder conversations, there will be some guilt involved on all sides. My parents also seem to feel guilty that something was “wrong” and I was struggling with things and no one picked up on anything. When I do get around to talking about the more difficult stuff, some background event always seems to happen and I lose my place and have to abandon the whole thing. But that will all come with time.

I did hit a snag 2 weeks ago with my official diagnosis. I contacted my doctor to ask about my place on the waiting list. Her secretary directed me to the psychiatry department at the local hospital. I contacted them and they told me that unfortunately, due to the current mental health crisis in the country and lack of funding that autism assessments were no longer being conducted. At all. With no time frame on when they will resume. My only option would be to seek a private assessment. So I've started looking into that. The downside is of course the high cost. The upside is the amount of options and flexibility available. I'm lucky enough to be in a position where I could afford to get a private assessment eventually.

So anyway, that’s a more in depth post about me coming out about my autism to my close family, one year on. I’m still on a “need to know basis only” for other people.

Most importantly of all, I have to thank you all for your acts of support, validation and solidarity. All the little things add up to a bigger picture of acceptance. Apologies for any accidental missteps. I had no trouble accepting myself from the day I discovered the term Asperger's Syndrome all those years ago, I was just glad to have answers and an explanation about my situation. Now I’ve also found acceptance from other people.

Much love and respect to you all as always.
Congratulations. You’re not broken.

I started telling people in my family as soon as I found out, at 35ish years old. It’s helped me a lot because they aren’t surprised anymore when I simply cannot do something, like a long trip or a loud party.

I also found out who my friends are. Everyone has sounded interested in me having ASD, but there’s a select few who seem to want to protect me from the a-holes in the world.

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