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greeting from Canada

NeuroQuest

Member
Hello everyone,


I'm John from British Columbia, Canada. Originally from the U.S., I've lived in Canada since late 2010 following my marriage to a lovely and intelligent Canadian woman.

Throughout my life, I've struggled with social difficulties. These challenges were so severe that I couldn't tolerate school, leading me to drop out after 9th grade despite having good intelligence and a love of learning. Nevertheless, I managed to build a professional career in museums and the arts, beginning as a teenage volunteer.

In my 40s, I started wondering if I might have Asperger's or be autistic. However, as you all know, the condition was not well understood then, and none of the literature I found seemed to align with my experiences.

About 5 or 6 years ago, I began writing a semi-autobiographical book. I became enormously frustrated that I couldn't explain my life in a way that made sense, even to myself. This led me to see a therapist experienced with autism. Within a few sessions, she suggested I was on the spectrum but wasn't technically qualified to provide a formal diagnosis.

After about three years and extensive searching for resources for a late-in-life diagnosis, I finally found a qualified professional. In December 2023, following extensive testing and consultation, I received a formal diagnosis of ASD Level I, with additional alexithymia. I was 64 years old.

Now, I'm working on letting go of the feeling that haunted me throughout most of my life – that I was somehow "broken." I'm developing a growing sense of self-compassion, something I haven't experienced before, and it's transformational.

I'm excited to join this forum and build a community of online friends and acquaintances. I'm interested in everyone's experiences and perspectives, but am especially keen to hear from others with a late-in-life diagnosis.
 
Hi and welcome. There's quite a few of us here with experiences similar to yours. Just this afternoon I answered a question for a government research project, they wanted to know how a diagnosis had changed my life:

"I was diagnosed late in life, and by the time I went for a diagnosis I had already learned enough to know that I was autistic. Understanding how my life started so well and ended so poorly was a great relief. Vindication and validation, confusion dissipation. Sense of it all at long last."
 
Welcome to the Autism Forums. An excellent place to begin pondering whether or not you are on the spectrum. To interact with who just might be considered "your own kind". To compare your traits and behaviors with ours...and possibly discover an answer to who- and what you are.

Far better than reading dry neurological documentation from medical sources.
 
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Well, I was also 64. I disbelieved the diagnosis, so I made autism my new special interest and read everything I could to prove I couldn't be autistic. Instead, the research absolutely convinced me. This was about a year and a half ago.

I did reasonably well career-wise. I retired from my last job after 32 years. But I was always pretty demanding of myself. I could never treat anyone else as brutally as I treated myself. Not knowing anything about autism, I just considered my struggles as "weaknesses" and/or "laziness". At least I had the good sense to allow myself plenty of alone time, and particularly alone in nature time. Otherwise I would have crashed hard at some point. I was basically living in forced-march mode.

I'm retired now, and don't have to play normal for others anymore. I can choose if and when to socialize (hint: almost never), and I can get lots of solitary wilderness time. A nice contrast from the above.
 
Hi and welcome. There's quite a few of us here with experiences similar to yours. Just this afternoon I answered a question for a government research project, they wanted to know how a diagnosis had changed my life:

"I was diagnosed late in life, and by the time I went for a diagnosis I had already learned enough to know that I was autistic. Understanding how my life started so well and ended so poorly was a great relief. Vindication and validation, confusion dissipation. Sense of it all at long last."
Many thanks for the kind welcome. Yes, validation. One thing I have been struck by during these past several years is how much the older autistic community is overlooked in terms of access to diagnosis and other supports. Society doesn't seem to see past autism in children. Diagnosis and support in childhood years is of course CRITICALLY important, and there should be even more resources for this. But even in adult and senior years it seems - from my own experience - vitally important, too - just in terms of self-care of mental health, and knowing how to seek accommodations and help. Access to diagnosis and support is not only critical for individuals - of all ages - but it just stands to reason that it benefits society, too - fewer suicides, more development of potential, for example. Childhood diagnosis and support and adult/senior diagnosis and support is not an either/or but a fundamental both in society. Anyway, so very happy to be included in this forum.
 
Hello everyone,


I'm John from British Columbia, Canada. Originally from the U.S., I've lived in Canada since late 2010 following my marriage to a lovely and intelligent Canadian woman.

Throughout my life, I've struggled with social difficulties. These challenges were so severe that I couldn't tolerate school, leading me to drop out after 9th grade despite having good intelligence and a love of learning. Nevertheless, I managed to build a professional career in museums and the arts, beginning as a teenage volunteer.

In my 40s, I started wondering if I might have Asperger's or be autistic. However, as you all know, the condition was not well understood then, and none of the literature I found seemed to align with my experiences.

About 5 or 6 years ago, I began writing a semi-autobiographical book. I became enormously frustrated that I couldn't explain my life in a way that made sense, even to myself. This led me to see a therapist experienced with autism. Within a few sessions, she suggested I was on the spectrum but wasn't technically qualified to provide a formal diagnosis.

After about three years and extensive searching for resources for a late-in-life diagnosis, I finally found a qualified professional. In December 2023, following extensive testing and consultation, I received a formal diagnosis of ASD Level I, with additional alexithymia. I was 64 years old.

Now, I'm working on letting go of the feeling that haunted me throughout most of my life – that I was somehow "broken." I'm developing a growing sense of self-compassion, something I haven't experienced before, and it's transformational.

I'm excited to join this forum and build a community of online friends and acquaintances. I'm interested in everyone's experiences and perspectives, but am especially keen to hear from others with a late-in-life diagnosis.
I haven't gotten my diagnosis yet, I'm fighting to be assessed.
But I also only started wondering if I might be on the spectrum at 53 years of age.

I'd started researching anxiety and panic attacks, and why anxiety meds weren't really helping and I was getting worse, not better.
A video about how a French lady got diagnosed with autism in her late 40s popped up in my youtube feed, and I watched it out of curiosity.

I was astounded by how much I could identify with what she was retelling. I still didn't think could be autistic. I mean... I was simply a cold hearted, lazy, spoiled and selfish know-it-all. That's what I was told all my life.

But the more videos of other people who were diagnosed late in life I watched, the more it stopped looking like a coincidence that so many things felt right.

Till I found a Brazilian lady's witness about her late diagnoses. And we could have been twins.
Apart from the fact that she is married and had children, our lives are amazingly alike.

All the online test I've done so far indicate that I'm very likely autistic.

I'm so glad you got your diagnoses.
Welcome to the forum.
 
One thing I have been struck by during these past several years is how much the older autistic community is overlooked in terms of access to diagnosis and other supports.
I ran in to the same brick wall in Australia and I'm now helping on a project that's hoping to address some of those issues. This forum is the best adult help resource I have found, and it's nice to be able to talk to people that actually understand instead of just getting their information from books.
 
alligator.gif


Hi and Welcome!

;)
 
Well, I was also 64. I disbelieved the diagnosis, so I made autism my new special interest and read everything I could to prove I couldn't be autistic. Instead, the research absolutely convinced me. This was about a year and a half ago.

I did reasonably well career-wise. I retired from my last job after 32 years. But I was always pretty demanding of myself. I could never treat anyone else as brutally as I treated myself. Not knowing anything about autism, I just considered my struggles as "weaknesses" and/or "laziness". At least I had the good sense to allow myself plenty of alone time, and particularly alone in nature time. Otherwise I would have crashed hard at some point. I was basically living in forced-march mode.

I'm retired now, and don't have to play normal for others anymore. I can choose if and when to socialize (hint: almost never), and I can get lots of solitary wilderness time. A nice contrast from the above.
How interesting that you also got diagnosed at 64, and your aspie quiz radar chart looks very much like mine (attached). I am curious about how/if you got on in school (especially university/higher ed; my difficulties made me depressed and suicidal. I am also curious what general line of work you were in. I love the idea of not having "to play normal for others anymore."
 

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  • NeuroQuest Aspie quiz radar chart.png
    NeuroQuest Aspie quiz radar chart.png
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Welcome to the forum. I self-identified at age 64.

I’d been working with people with developmental disabilities for 20 years. Then I read a couple of articles about professional women with autism and it fit me to a T.

The forum has been very helpful to me.
 
How interesting that you also got diagnosed at 64, and your aspie quiz radar chart looks very much like mine (attached). I am curious about how/if you got on in school (especially university/higher ed; my difficulties made me depressed and suicidal. I am also curious what general line of work you were in. I love the idea of not having "to play normal for others anymore."
Odd, my parents never mentioned giving away an identical twin brother. I got through Georgia Tech, but dang! It was the most stressful time of my life up til then. I ate, slept (inadequately), attended class, and studied. TV - ha! Partying - double ha! Attending sporting events - triple ha! Dating - are you serious? BUT, I allowed myself two important "luxuries" - skydiving and backpacking. I didn't overtly realize at the time that these two luxuries were actually indespensible safety valves.
I was only able to afford Georgia Tech by being on an Air Force ROTC scholarship. So when I graduated with my degree in Physics I went into the Air Force as a physicist. After I had been there a while, out of the blue, I was informed I had been selected for a nuclear physics program at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). I had less than a week to accept or decline the program. Being in my early twenties, and being encouraged by 3 colonels in my chain of command, I foolishly accepted my selection. AFIT turned out to be much more stressful than Georgia Tech had ever been, and I could not keep up with the pressure. I developed serious health issues, but I tried to keep "powering through". I was officially notified that I was to be dropped from the program. I could appeal the decision, but by that time I knew shouldn't. It was the first time in my life I had actually failed at anything I attempted. That's not to say everything had been easy up till then. It's just that I had always up till then be able to push myself to get past my "weaknesses".
My oldest special interest has been electronics, especially in relation to radio. I also was always strongly interested in the "hard sciences" (chemistry, physics as opposed to biological sciences). When I left the Air Force, I found employment working with lasers and general electronics. As I mentioned before, I retired after 32 years working with electronics. 90% of my work was working alone, so I was able to excel having fun and getting paid for it. Sure there was administrative silliness to endure, but I looked at it as a game I had to endure to so I could do the "real" work.

I was trying to find a cute way to work-in the statement "And that's what I did for my summer vacation", but I figured this was already long enough. So will instead say - And that was how I lived my adult life up til now.
 
Hello everyone,


I'm John from British Columbia, Canada. Originally from the U.S., I've lived in Canada since late 2010 following my marriage to a lovely and intelligent Canadian woman.

Throughout my life, I've struggled with social difficulties. These challenges were so severe that I couldn't tolerate school, leading me to drop out after 9th grade despite having good intelligence and a love of learning. Nevertheless, I managed to build a professional career in museums and the arts, beginning as a teenage volunteer.

In my 40s, I started wondering if I might have Asperger's or be autistic. However, as you all know, the condition was not well understood then, and none of the literature I found seemed to align with my experiences.

About 5 or 6 years ago, I began writing a semi-autobiographical book. I became enormously frustrated that I couldn't explain my life in a way that made sense, even to myself. This led me to see a therapist experienced with autism. Within a few sessions, she suggested I was on the spectrum but wasn't technically qualified to provide a formal diagnosis.

After about three years and extensive searching for resources for a late-in-life diagnosis, I finally found a qualified professional. In December 2023, following extensive testing and consultation, I received a formal diagnosis of ASD Level I, with additional alexithymia. I was 64 years old.

Now, I'm working on letting go of the feeling that haunted me throughout most of my life – that I was somehow "broken." I'm developing a growing sense of self-compassion, something I haven't experienced before, and it's transformational.

I'm excited to join this forum and build a community of online friends and acquaintances. I'm interested in everyone's experiences and perspectives, but am especially keen to hear from others with a late-in-life diagnosis.

So happy to have you here and that you found out about your diagnosis. My life was much the same. I was diagnosed at 36. That and going to in-person autism meetings suddenly the Earth made sense. M whole life I thought something was wrong with me, lacking. In that meeting was a roomful of people exactly like me but all strangers. We were just autistic, I was okay. That changed to the root how I felt about myself.

Welcome 🙂
 
Now, I'm working on letting go of the feeling that haunted me throughout most of my life – that I was somehow "broken." I'm developing a growing sense of self-compassion, something I haven't experienced before, and it's transformational.

I'm excited to join this forum and build a community of online friends and acquaintances. I'm interested in everyone's experiences and perspectives, but am especially keen to hear from others with a late-in-life diagnosis.
Hey dude,
Also from Canada and also recently come to the conclusion I'm on the spectrum. Like you it was work with a psychologist while I was in Rehab that tipped me off to the Autism angle. Still looking into someone that can do an official clinical diagnosis but I know the answer already. Every self diagnostic put me well beyond the threshold for being autistic.

Like you I'm in the process of letting go of that haunted feeling. For me coming to the realization that I'm autistic answered a "why" I'd been searching for for 42 years that brought me way down into heavy alcoholism self medicating. Now everything fundamentally makes sense in my life and for the first time I feel like I have a direction where I can not only live a sober life, almost at 9 months, but actually thrive.

So welcome aboard and I look forward to reading more from you as it already seems I can relate to your perspectives.
 
OK - trying to get the hang of where to put things, so appreciate your patience. The following was mistakenly started as a blog, and then probably mistakenly attached to the wrong thread, and so I retreating to my initial thread in hopes of not messing up. sigh. I would love to hear if the following resonates with anyone in the Forum. One of the very frustrating things I have found in life is the use of language. I do not have any overt difficulty with language. If you met me you might think I was pretty articulate, but this is because I have quite a library of memorized mental “scripts” to draw from. These scripts help me mask the fact that I experience a significant disconnect between language and the way my thinking works.

According to Temple Grandin, at least, some people think in words, some people think in patterns/mathematics, and some people are visual thinkers. I don’t think I fall into any of these types, but maybe patterns. My thoughts manifest as what I can only describe as an "aroma" or feelings of associations between concepts. Words don’t do the feeling justice. It’s a feeling of the “direction of possible knowing”, the way a dog might catch the scent of something unknown in the air and then track the smell. It's as if my mind creates a complex web of interconnected ideas and impressions, each with its own distinct aroma that I can sense and navigate.

This non-linear, non-linguistic way of thinking can be incredibly powerful for making unusual connections and insights, in my experience. However, it presents significant challenges when it comes to communicating my thoughts to others. I often find myself struggling to translate these rich, multidimensional web of connections into the linear structure of language. This difficulty in rapid translation makes real-time conversations particularly challenging. While others seem to effortlessly exchange ideas in a fluid back-and-forth, I often find myself needing more time to process and respond. This can lead to awkward pauses, misunderstandings, or the perception that I'm not engaged in the conversation when in reality, my mind is working overtime to keep up. Often, when I get asked a question, I am at a complete loss for words and so remain quiet so long the conversation has moved on to other things. This slow pace of communication has often left me feeling isolated, unable to share my inner world with others.

Even writing, which allows for more time to organize thoughts, can be a very laborious process. I might spend hours crafting a single paragraph, trying to find the right words to capture the essence of what I'm thinking. Just as with my other thought processes, I operate by “feel” or sense of “aroma” and if there is something wrong with the words or syntax that I have written, even if I would struggle to verbally articulate what it is. It’s almost as if written sentences are algebraic equations and I can just sense if there is a flaw in the equation.

Does any of this ring a bell with anyone? Thanks for reading through this!
 

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