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After all these years, finally demystifying my life!

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Ken, Dec 1, 2019 at 11:30 AM.

  1. Ken

    Ken Active Member

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    After 67 years, I’m just now figuring out my life – and, I couldn’t be happier about it!

    I Self-diagnosed myself with ASD about last April - May 2019 after studying autism. This is profoundly revealing and demystifying. It’s a total revelation.

    All my life has been fraught with depressing difficulty. I never fit in. I had trouble in school, work, with friends and family. I was (am) terrified of children – even when I was a child. I never knew why I was so different. I just always considered that I was a totally defective person. Almost always depressed - riding the edge of suicide. Life is simply no fun, no value when feeling defective.

    Then in April 2019 I stumbled across a news report of Greta Thunberg making a speech about climate change. In her speech, she mentioned that she was autistic. What?? I always thought that autism was a seriously disabling mental condition. She did not seem disabled. In fact, she said that her autism was her superpower. Really?? That prompted me to do some research on autism. Then I learned that autism is on a spectrum with a wide range of symptoms – not all are disabling; some are even empowering. I watched some YouTube videos and began to recognize a lot of my life experiences. So much of it was an exact fit with my life. The mysteries of my life started dissipating. I started seeing why I had so many difficulties, why I was so afraid of people, why I was so self-conscious and overwhelmed with anxiety at any social event and why I had so much trouble in school and so many more mysteries answered. That’s when it hit me; I am autistic! It may seem strange, but I am very happy about that realization. The depressing mysteries of my life are now answered. Now I understand. There is a reason for all my difficulties - and successes.

    I now understand that everyone is blind to something. I don’t mean visually, but that there are so many aspects of life that are not perceived and I don’t just mean for autistics, even NT’s are blind to many things and many of those things’ autistics can see clearly, but, generally, people are not aware of their blindness. For example; if someone is born visually blind, they would never know they were blind until they learned that other people can see – that vision is even a thing. I did not know I was blind to nonverbal body language until studying about autism. I also did not know that I was blind to my own nonverbal body language, facial expressions and verbal tones. I was completely unaware that that was not automatic to my feelings, nor that it was automatic for NT people. I didn’t even know that that was a thing. Now that I know that, I understand why having a conversation with almost anyone was dangerously subject to inflicting anger and I never had any clue why. I have had a lifetime of confusion and mystery as to why this so routinely happens.

    The movie, “Hitch” has a line that may or may not be truly accurate, but it fits my life experiences precisely. In the movie, Hitch is a dating coach. In one scene, Hitch is explaining human interaction to a client. He explains,

    Sixty percent of all human communication is nonverbal, body language; thirty percent is your tone. So that means that ninety percent of what you're saying ain't coming out of your mouth.

    My problem is that my ninety percent communication is uncontrolled. I am oblivious to everything except for that ten percent verbal communication. Now I realize that ninety percent of my communication was totally inappropriate to what I’m saying. Now I know that NT’s gets that ninety percent expression, body language and tone that I am completely oblivious (blind) to.

    Now I think I understand small talk. At a social gathering I am always dismayed when a few people are gathered together- all talking at once and no one saying anything. There is no discernible information from any of them. Now I understand it is that ninety percent - all the expressions, body language and tones that is the communication and why I can’t get it and why it is too overwhelming for me.

    I have had three pivotal moments in my life – the kind that results in a very different life between the before and the after. The first was becoming a type-1 diabetic. The second was marrying my wife and now the third is the discovery that I am autistic. It should be noted that all three of the pivotal moments resulted in a profoundly better life on the after side – yes, even the type-1 diabetes.

    Note the smile in my avatar. My wife taught me how to do that.
     
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  2. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    So nice to hear Ken. I discovered my own autism five years ago, when my husband was diagnosed. Had no idea that females present differently than males. It's been a revelation and something very much like an odyssey toward my discovering this. I can now be who I actually am, without anxiety related to always doing the right thing.

    I'm glad learning about autism had that effect for you, it has for me as well.
     
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  3. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    It's great reading that people have found acceptance and awareness in themselves.

    Others of us sledge thru with a combo pac of abuse, depression, and the cherry on the top is the spectrum label.

    But in your case, you are making it work and bringing a success story here. We really should have a serials ofsuccess posts of people like you.
     
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  4. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

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    I completely understand! I was thrilled with my autism diagnosis, too. It explained everything, and I stopped feeling defective. You sound like you’re in a very happy place in life now. Good for you!
     
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  5. Alexej

    Alexej Member

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    Glad for you that things are making more sense for you now
     
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  6. Ken

    Ken Active Member

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    Thanks to everyone for the kind, positive words. I guess that nothing has really changed except now I know why I'm so different and that I'm not alone. I'm very happy to hear that an autism diagnosis has been positive to others. Thank you to all for sharing that.

    It also feels good to know that autism also has some very powerful benefits. For example, it is now clear that my career would have never happened if not for my autism, and if I were not autistic, I would have never progressed as far as I did.

    It is my wish that everyone on the spectrum can see their "superpower" just like Greta Thunberg.
     
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  7. LateBloomer

    LateBloomer Member

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    Your story is almost exactly like mine . Late diagnosis ( 66 ) , always felt different , never could figure out why . After getting the DX at first I was pissed , really pissed but now I have come to accept it as being the first thing in my life that actually made sense .
     
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  8. Ken

    Ken Active Member

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    My “pissed” time was pretty much all my life prior to realizing I was autistic. I think the reason I was happy with the diagnosis is because of how it evolved. First, I was curious about Greta Thunberg and how she could give such a speech while being autistic and then her “superpower” claim intrigued me.

    As I researched autism, I became relieved as my life started making sense. Like a weight (perpetual depression) was being lifted. Not only did it make sense, I came to realize that most – if not all – of my life’s greatest achievements were due to autism – could not have happened otherwise. I now see all my “issues” from a different perspective. Not until the diagnosis did I realize that I have actually ended up in a better place than I or any of my family ever expected me to be.

    What I now realize is that Autistic Spectrum Disorder is a mislabel. I do not believe it is a Disorder. It is just a different configuration. I now see that NT’s also have issues that I do not – we all have issues, but that does not make me or anyone else disordered. We just see the world from a different perspective.

    I do expect that if most, if not all adult aspies were to examine their life, they will realize huge benefits to being autistic. Yes, there are always plenty of cons, but the cons always seem to grab our attention the most. But if you look through all the layers of life, I’m sure there are many bright shining accomplishments to be proud of. In fact, now I can see many of my huge cons were in reality, huge benefits even though I hated it at the time. At this point, I think that all the cons of being autistic are really just differences that we call cons. I have to agree with Greta that its really all the NT’s that are pretty strange.
     
  9. LateBloomer

    LateBloomer Member

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    The biggest problem I have with Autism is that it didn't come with an owners manual .