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Does Autism get Worse as you Age?

Tom

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Logic tells me that it’s probably just part of the process of getting older. Less energy and less inclination to keep holding up the mask, a little less caring of what others think, grumpy old man syndrome, etc.

These examples seem to be related to normal aging process that everyone goes thru. And I have read people express the same ideas quite a few times on autism forums. Personally, while I do believe it can have an effect on our autistic side, indirestly, I would guess it would not change the nature of our autism itself. Like I wouldn't expect autists with poor face recognition to suddenly see an improvement after age 50, etc. I could be wrong. I really haven't seen any studies that look at this aspect.

For me the physical and to some degree mental deterioration is obvious and automatic in a sense. I don't have to work at things wearing down. While my autistic condition and awareness follows its own path based on level of understanding, what I have learned. So while some things are harder, I am better equipped mentally to handle things better. That too will go down the tubes eventually I suppose, if I last long enough to engage with senility.

But at this point I try and choose the optimistic outlook. Autists do apparently have shorter lifespans on average then NTs. Multiple studies are validating it. One recent study (article with link below) has my average lifespan at 58 years. So I have already beat that by 6 years and counting. So while things may be harder, technically I shouldn't be here, so I see that as a winning season. ;)

Why Do People With Autism Have a Lower Average Lifespan?
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
The great thing about **old** , I quickly decide if l wish to mask. It's like a click button. Yes l mask, no, piehole, l am not masking. I have noticed l am starting to ignore rude people, not even a nice response ,(no mask).
That is a freedom of sorts.

I also hate people who manipulate and l do speak up about that. Something l didn't do in the past.

So does this mean my autism is worse, or am l more aware? Not sure.
 

Hypnalis

Well-Known Member
Aspychata

Seems like more aware, and I think also "more comfortable in your skin".

I suspect my Autistic traits have been constant all my life, but that I've got better at accepting and accommodating them.
Perhaps the same has happened with you?
 

yogabanana

Active Member
I turn 40 soon. I used to be able to work a normal work day in the office. Now I can do a remote job and if I have to be socially on through video for a few hours it takes me a couple of days to fully recover. I think that I have less energy to use for masking and I'm more aware of the difference between my masked state and my not masked state.

However through this experience I also realized that I am masking in some way all of the time except when I am truly by myself. Even just around my autistic husband who I do not believe holds me to allistic expectations for how my face looks, I mask to some extent. He and I both need about an hour before bed to be totally alone. I am realizing now it is so I can take that mask off a bit before I go to sleep. I didn't realize how much I keep a mask on all the time til this social event fallout where I just could NOT keep the mask on even around my young child and that felt horrible. No honey I'm not mad at you I just can't help sounding like this right now. :(
 

Outdated

I'm from the other end of the spectrum.
V.I.P Member
Wow! The response to this topic has been huge, and incredibly helpful to me.

I'm not real good at accepting advice, I often react very strongly to people telling me how I should live my life, but getting a consensus from people with similar experiences really helps with how I look at myself.

Until I got my diagnosis I was always unsure if I was autistic or just clinically insane. The answer to that is probably still open to debate but reading all the posts in here has made me feel a lot better about myself.

Thank you all.
 

Outdated

I'm from the other end of the spectrum.
V.I.P Member
@yogabanana , your comments about the masking also struck a chord with me. I only started to learn more about autism in the last year or so and I'm still getting used to a lot of the terms commonly used. I was always very consciously aware of my masking, I called it "wearing the face", I could even present two different faces to two different people in the one conversation.

It's only since I started learning more about autism that I started to realise the extent of my masking and it's now got me asking the question "How much am I trying to mask from myself?".

The answer to that is probably irrelevant but it's a curious question.
 

Atrapa Almas

70% INTJ + 30% ASPIE = 100% HUMAN
V.I.P Member
"How much am I trying to mask from myself?".

The answer to that is probably irrelevant but it's a curious question.

Its not irrelevant at all. Masking do have a price. There is many info about the costs of Masking for autists people.

You may have enougth energy/skill to not notice how it affects you, but it does.

You will probably find out as you learn about autism.
 

Sherlock77

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I've always been slightly grumpy, have never smiled that much (which some people give me a hard time for)

But at age 50 I'm as active as ever, classic car shows, events in the local cultural scene, just going for walks often along with my photography...
 

grommet

Well-Known Member
I'm 51. Yes, I think it's normal. I've become less social, I go out less, spend most of my free time alone, don't seek out social interaction, don't mask as much, more entrenched in routines. I also don't cope with stress so well.

I am 54 and this describes me exactly.
 

Outdated

I'm from the other end of the spectrum.
V.I.P Member
I am 54 and this describes me exactly.

As long as you're happy being this way that's all that matters. Other people's expectations of how you live are simply that - other people's expectations. Not necessarily yours.
 

Streetwise

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Its not just autism, if you age and your body becomes signifigantly damaged, you'll be angry, frustrated ,autism is just slightly different, in that perception of pain, stress is more acute, during perimenopause previous levels of oestrogen(the painkiller chemical)begin to be lower so you'll notice! pain!
 

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
As long as you're happy being this way that's all that matters. Other people's expectations of how you live are simply that - other people's expectations. Not necessarily yours.
Exactly, many worry too much about what others think.
 

stevens

Well-Known Member
At 67 not sure still confused to what masking is being retired miss socializing with colleagues a bit.
Yes, I'll second that at about the same age. The mask is off especially since I got a really late (recent) diagnosis and, therefore, a little validation. As for the colleagues, I had a great career that built financial stability, but I wasn't ready for facing the reality that, when I retired, my coworkers were really happy to get rid of me. A lot of those colleagues I related to have passed on, and the younger ones aren't interested in dialogue.

So what I'm doing is attempting to revisit some old interests, maybe build a few new ones, and more or less regress into the time when I was socially isolated in high school, but with interests to keep my mind going. To be quite clear, I am very disappointed in people.
 

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I still have a bit of contact with some of my old workmates, my former employer is more worried about what I did, leaking out to competitors. as they currently have a monopoly on the business.

being cynical is not the way you want to live your life. I enjoyed my last year of high school grade 13, and the three years of college. Even night school was fun I liked being an expert.

What interests you? Physics yanks my chain. Love sorting out real life mysteries.
 

Misty Mountain Hop

Well-Known Member
As I got in to my 50s my autistic traits seemed to get worse, or more pronounced. Logic tells me that it’s probably just part of the process of getting older. Less energy and less inclination to keep holding up the mask, a little less caring of what others think, grumpy old man syndrome, etc.

It seems a bit of a strange question to ask in here but:

Am I normal?
 

Forest Cat

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I have been wondering about this because a few years ago something seemed to change a little and I became more 'stuck in myself', for lack of a better term. It's like some things are more difficult, I struggle a little more with dealing with people and I don't have a good explantation for it. I don't like it. And I find myself not having any goals, a part of me seems to sometimes just quit or give up. Maybe it's nothing, maybe it's normal, I don't know.
 
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Outdated

I'm from the other end of the spectrum.
V.I.P Member
Maybe it's nothing, maybe it's normal, I don't know.

According to most of the replies here it is normal, just a part of getting older. That makes me feel better. We're all different though, I started getting Grumpy Old Man Syndrome in my early 40s.
 

stevens

Well-Known Member
Am I normal?
Oh, is it ever normal.

I was in a support group earlier this year and it seemed to afflict all of us 50+. The "flat" period you mentioned is something that's always happened, but in this instance I'm not sure I expect it to "end." Here are a few features:

1. All along, perhaps we felt that eventually, we'd learn enough to "fix" certain social shortcomings and "get along" better. At some age (results vary), I think a switch flips and one realizes (or at least, I did) that no, there is not ever going to be a "solution" that we devise to "fix" anything.

2. With #1 in mind, we got a lot more comfortable with the idea that masking is a lot of trouble, we aren't really fooling any one (see #1 again) and, well, just why bother?

I'm sure anyone here might be able to continue this list. All I know is that my solution is to withdraw. The pandemic facilitated that worldwide, I think. Some, though not all, autistic people were quite happy to "hide" for awhile. There are drawbacks though. People I used to work with don't return my calls anymore (I'm pretty sure this would have happened, without a pandemic). Everywhere I go, I seem to end up with neighbors from the Midwest where it's just not necessary or desired to talk to one's neighbors. On those occasions I manage to be outgoing, it would be nice to be able to converse with "someone." I have a partner, but I mean some male slob, like me. I'm not a slob either, but I mean that in a kind of "Chicago" kind of way. So I am trying real hard to find lecture series, groups, etc. etc. No volunteering though. That already blew up handily due to social problems.

Oh, and another thing. I am regressing to my interests, 50 years ago. I mean, when I was in high school. They'll never make me any money like my job did, but they're interests. And, of course, because I'm autistic, they're solitary. Grumpy? For sure. I think my models are Burgess Meredith, Walter Matthau, and Jack Lemmon. I love that movie. However, I'm even less socially adept than any of them. I am beginning to understand all the talk about "regression" that I see on websites such as this one.
 

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