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How did you feel when you discovered that you were, or suspected you were, in the spectrum?

Neia

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
When I first started suspecting I could be autistic or somewhere in the spectrum, my mean inner voice automatically started attacking me.
I told myself I just wanted a way out. I told myself that I am so selfish, lazy and hardhearted that I just wanted to be autistic so I could have a pass.

But the truth is, that it would indeed help me feel a bit more normal if I am autistic.

I could stop trying to change myself, to make myself look more acceptable in other people's eyes.
I spent my whole life wanting to not be selfish, not be lazy, not be cold and uncaring, etc.

I tried so hard, since I can remember, but was never able to change all that.
I learnt how to respond correctly to most situations, to control my tantrums (to a certain extent), to show appropriate levels of emotion most of the time. But I know very well that if I were to open my mouth and speak my mind to the world at large, most would be put off and distance themselves from me completely.

So yeah... I do want to have that official positive diagnosis of autism. then I will know that it's not "all my fault".
There's something in me that can't be changed, just like what number of shoes I wear, my eye colour, or my real height.
 
Initially there was quite a lot of denial about it when I first began to research this strange thing called "Asperger's Syndrome". Only having stumbled onto it in watching a National Geographic tv series called "Taboo". I couldn't possibly be autistic. Nope-nope-nope.

However once I accepted it, I was greatly relieved. That I began to understand that there was a pattern to who and what I am. And that part of it is having the ability to reason things out in terms of pattern recognition. It was no coincidence.

To put it simply, that at the age of 55 I had a tacit answer to who and why I am me! That it involved far more than simply assuming for decades that I was an "introvert". At that point I was at peace over who and what I am, even if it has cost me socially most of my life.
 
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Abaolutely horrible. Autism is not well known in my country and people with disabilities are largely pitied or shunned. So i started to hate myself. It was thanks to forums like this that i grew confident in myself
 
I never considered my neurological difference a pass for anything I did or do that was out of line with the status quo.
It is always simply me that had to own up to my actions.

It was very much a day of enlightenment when I first started to investigate it.

It explained a lot about me, but on the other hand it created a new rabbit hole to get lost in.

I once had a phone conversation with Dr. Grandin, because like her, I think in pictures.
Seeing the movie "Temple Grandin" is part of what spurred me into contacting her.
The best part about seeing it was the ability to show others how some of my mind worked.
Just like she would have done, I reached out to her but got stalled at her assistant's desk at the university.
Dr. Grandin was on a speaking tour and wasn't available.
I left a message with her assistant that I wanted to talk to her, and low and behold, a few weeks later, Temple did call me back.

I come from a family that includes a lot of highly suspected bids to be on spectrum who are no longer with us, but my Dad and a brother share my abilities.
There are two sisters and a brother that don't, so that threw a wrench into the gears of it being an inherited trait across the board.
Some of the offspring get it, some don't.

I still strongly feel that heredity is a part of the mechanism, and then have to wonder how many more are out there that never got an assessment because they had no outwardly appearing traits.
Your normal will always be your normal until you discover that you in fact may be the odd man out.

I haven't posted this in a while, but a pet peeve of mine is that line about if you have met one aspie, you have met one aspie.
Very flawed in my honest opinion because nature never produces carbon copies of anything.
How about drop the neurological part of that statement and work with "if you have met one person, you have met one person"
We are all unique to our individual experiences including environmental factors, so to boil down your personhood to become a label doesn't make much sense to me.

I coined a phrase that will likely light a fuse or two, but many that are at the beginnings of their discovery try to turn themselves into a "professional" aspie, the one that feels the need to check all the boxes in the book in order to be a "true" aspie.
:Tony Attwood says" etc.
Tony may have a firm understanding of a lot of it, but in the end, we all are effected by it in our own unique ways, so no, he doesn't have all of the answers.
Sure wish I didn't have to set the example, but I have some very strong language I use to express my opinion of that.

Once again, I still need to state that there probably isn't a day that goes by when I doubt I'm on the spectrum, but thus far, there are a lot more markers in place that say I am.
 
I knew I was different from as soon as I started school, it was painfully obvious. I didn't fit any of the molds society was determined to push me in to and I wasn't going to even attempt to try, instead I just had to put up with everyone else's crap while doing my own thing. I was like that from as early as I can remember.

I was like that my whole life. I was fairly successful and I had a lot of fun but I always did everything my own way and simply ignored anyone trying to force me into a stereotype. If they really annoyed me I'd go out of my way to laugh in their faces and rub their noses in the fact that I'm different. I always liked who I am.

I pondered it over many years though, I had heard the word autism but didn't really know what it meant and research and information about it back then didn't fit me at all. Sometimes I wondered if I was a sociopath, except I get along really well with animals. I certainly share a lot of traits with a sociopath.

When I first heard a description of autism that fitted me I had already suffered a major burn out and and had been living in a remote area homeless and unemployed for nearly a decade. I had a lot of fun out there too though and living somewhere like that gave me the peace I needed to focus on myself more and try and examine what had happened to me and why. I had already worked a lot out when I heard a radio talkback show about autism, that was the final key I needed.

It was still a few years before I came out of the bush though. When I had yet again another falling out with the owner of the property I was staying on I figured that I can't just keep going on like that, I'm getting too old for it. So instead of trying to find somewhere else to stay out there I jumped on a plane down to Adelaide with a new plan.

I grew up in Adelaide so I knew the social services were good here. I lived on the streets in the city and put myself through a scheme for homeless people to get social housing. It took 4 months and then I moved in to the home I'm in now. I also put myself up for a formal diagnosis knowing full well by this time that I was definitely autistic.

The diagnosis got me a full pension and I no longer have to keep telling lies on unemployment claims every fortnight.
 
It was a little disorientating at first, but the explanation fit my experience so well I quickly accepted and adjusted to it. It was also good to have explanations for many behaviors I didn't know what to ascribe to.
 
Denial, then some acceptance, then more denial, them more acceptance. I was diagnosed later in life, so I suppose there is so much to 'reframe' it is quite complicated. Issues that I thought were related to other things were more likely related to the 'spectrum'.

I suppose in my opinion the diagnosis is purely a tool for your own validation - how you use that clarification and validation can go in many directions.

It has been a good thing overall, certainly in respect of managing my space, stimulation and socializing (I avoid that without guilt or confusion now) I take those things more seriously and benefit from that.
 
When I first started suspecting I could be autistic or somewhere in the spectrum, my mean inner voice automatically started attacking me.
I told myself I just wanted a way out. I told myself that I am so selfish, lazy and hardhearted that I just wanted to be autistic so I could have a pass.

But the truth is, that it would indeed help me feel a bit more normal if I am autistic.

I could stop trying to change myself, to make myself look more acceptable in other people's eyes.
I spent my whole life wanting to not be selfish, not be lazy, not be cold and uncaring, etc.

I tried so hard, since I can remember, but was never able to change all that.
I learnt how to respond correctly to most situations, to control my tantrums (to a certain extent), to show appropriate levels of emotion most of the time. But I know very well that if I were to open my mouth and speak my mind to the world at large, most would be put off and distance themselves from me completely.

So yeah... I do want to have that official positive diagnosis of autism. then I will know that it's not "all my fault".
There's something in me that can't be changed, just like what number of shoes I wear, my eye colour, or my real height.
How did I feel? Relieved. Relieved of all the questions I had about myself throughout my life. Finally, answers.
 
I knew I was different or neurodiverse, the deficit part was what got to me. Maybe unnecesserily, because it was a result of poor communication with my therapist. We have very different backgrounds and he didn't see autism as a deficit, while I was told over and over throughout my life that I have "traits" but not "deficits" therefore I have no Asperger's.
 
I always wondered why.

Why am I like this? How come I'm not how they want me to be, how I should be?
Why do I always do this? Why can't I be different?
Why is it so hard to be like everyone else?

And then came exhaustion.
There was a point where I broke down and my mind, my whole body, refused to work.
I couldn't even eat because I felt unworthy of food.
 
I always knew something was wrong with me. Even when I was just a small child, I knew I was different from the kids in my class and the people around me. There was this indescribable feeling in the pit of my stomach. Something was 'off'. It was not right.

I went through life with a lot of struggles. It's like an absurd amount lmao. Looking at my past compared to now is jarring. I don't even know how I ended up in this current present. I concluded that the way I acted and behaved was a result of trauma and weird personality quirks. I never even considered I was autistic - just socially anxious and awkward - until I was in my 20s and went down the rabbit hole of autism within women.

After getting diagnosed, I felt relieved there was an answer to why I am the way I am.

I still struggle with if it's the 'tism or trauma or laziness or just odd behavior that I have.
 
if i need to be sincere, i didn't like it, i didn't want to be associated with 'mental illness' the autism thing was ugly stuff, but the more i read about it the more i was convinced i was autistic.
 
Sometimes I wondered if I was a sociopath,
I sometimes wonder that too, although it's very weird. I am very empathetic, too empathetic in the sense that sensing other people's feeling is an impediment for me. I feel too much of a need to conform, because I experience other people's feelings strongly and don't want to upset them and hence feel upset myself, to feel them being upset. Very conformist. At the same time, I'm often disconnected from my feelings and they don't affect me as much as most people, I don't behave in an irrational manner like many people do. I don't lose my cool under pressure. That is apparently a sociopathic trait. I often can't quite relate to people, but I know through observation what are their behaviour patterns and how to approach them. I often try to mimic people and it looks as if I'm good at it and that many people like me. People like good listeners, it makes them feel good about themselves. I have no interest in causing harm, though, or in lying. I would want to have positive influence on others and help, I'm just a tad disconnected.
 
I sometimes wonder that too, although it's very weird.
Sociopath does not mean psychopath. It doesn't mean you're likely to go sick in a crowded shopping centre with semi automatic weapons.

The reason I say I share traits with a sociopath is because I can disconnect from my emotions at will, and this usually happens instinctively if someone really upsets me. All of a sudden I'm no longer really human but more like a machine that acts solely on data and imperatives. Then they can no longer pluck on my heart strings, they no longer exist. I can disconnect myself from pain as well.
 
By the time of my diagnosis, I had already lived the bulk of my life, so there was no intent or hope of any sort of excuse. Long past that. For me, it was like opening up the sky, clearing the clouds away. It was the answer to my life. It was like waking up from a full life time of living in a Rod Sterling Twilight Zone.

All my life, with extreme disdain, my father would exclaim to me, "When are you ever going to wake up and act like a normal human being". That question was the theme of my life and the words cut me to the bone. It was a traumatic open wound. I felt totally defective, because I had no idea how to be "normal".

My diagnosis was a benefit to me only on a personal level. Not any sort of relationship or society or assistance benefit. That diagnosis was profoundly valuable to me just for being the answer; the answer to my fathers question. It was no longer the smothering burden on my person. So now I happily have an answer: "When will I ever act like a normal human being?" my answer now is a gleeful, "NEVER! Because I'm not normal and I'm not supposed to be normal - I don't even want to be normal. Yea, my life has be a constant hurt for being different. My diagnosis has not fixed that, but it has at least lifted the burden of it.
 
The reason I say I share traits with a sociopath is because I can disconnect from my emotions at will, and this usually happens instinctively if someone really upsets me.
I think I have a similar mechanism. I can distance myself from feelings pretty much all the time.

As for pain, this is a very autistic trait to not feel pain, apparently. I got very good at martial arts, because I don't feel pain. I can injure myself and not feel it or feel it just slightly and ignore it. I can have a serious injury and carry on. I finished a sparring with hands and legs bleeding and not knowing it. Or knowing I have an injury, because a certain body part won't move as usual. I carry on like a zombie, dead but still focused on the task. Sounds crazy, but it's true.
 

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