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Just learned I had HFA at 38 - Musician and writer based in NYC

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by strawberrysoda, Aug 13, 2020.

  1. strawberrysoda

    strawberrysoda New Member

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    I recently discovered I have HFA/Asperger’s. I used to think I was on the spectrum but I didn’t research it until January and it was obvious almost instantly. I’ve experienced most of the common symptoms for most of my life, though some have become more prominent with age (such as sensitivity to loud noises and certain odors).

    I’m a writer and musician in NYC. I’m also an armchair psychologist and psychiatrist—I am not a doctor but I’m well read and know myself well.

    I’m interested in becoming more involved in activism work and am considering ‘coming out’ about my autism and mental illnesses through my writing, though a public disclosure is a big step so it’s something I’m taking slowly with my doctors. I watch TED talks on autism and I think, I have plenty to add to this conversation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
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  2. VictorR

    VictorR Random Member

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    Welcome!

    I think it's quite common for those who go through the discovery/realization on to have an interest in advocacy.

    For me, it's a realization that though I've ended up okay, that I would have really benefited if I had an earlier diagnosis, and that I'd like things to be better for those in the next generation, and to also fight for those who are unable to fight (in my case, as a union rep specializing in work accommodations).
     
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  3. strawberrysoda

    strawberrysoda New Member

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    I appreciate that comment about advocacy. Still, I think my situation is not well characterized in that way. I’ve managed mental illnesses since I was a boy too and was first diagnosed with a condition at 17. I’ve wanted to step up and speak about it since my late 20s but I wasn’t ready. I think I am now but I’m concerned about receiving abuse, mainly online, and I suspect my health disclosure would greatly affect my ability to get jobs. I earn a living in tech.
     
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  4. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Welcome to the site strawberrysoda.
     
  5. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member

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    Hi there.
     
  6. Giraffes

    Giraffes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi and welcome, working in Tech you may have some Aspies colleagues undisclosed already as it's a popular profession for N/D people, many links here reference the 'disclose not to disclose' thing, my disclosure goes via a personal assessment and risk assessment, kindof a good bad and bad list, i also have a interest in psychology and have experienced mental health issues some linked to ASD some linked to interpretations of who i am and reactions to prior experiences, hope you enjoy it here, i've learnt so much about myself, and found this forum friendly, entertaining and at times on a 'bad' day a blessing.
     
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  7. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi and welcome. I didn't know I had high autistic traits or Aspergers when I came out as gay back in the 90s. I met with considerable discrimination at work, not from colleagues but from the management who turned out to be homophobic. As an educator I was subsequently able to use this experience to aid my own research and to raise awareness in my teaching role. However, at the time it was fairly devastating.


    A lot of people with autism have comorbid mental health conditions, sometimes related to the autism effects other times not, it's probably good to get used to the whole picture of this before you take risks with your health or livelihood.
    Sounds like you are aware of the pitfalls, and won't be taken by surprise, whatever you decide, but the actual experience is usually different from what you think you can foresee. Depends what support and finances you have as to how that would go I guess.

    I hope you enjoy it here, people are friendly.

    :cactus::turtle::palmtree::snake::cactus::bug::palmtree::dragon::cactus:
     
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  8. Dadamen

    Dadamen Well-Known Member

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    Hi and welcome! You are one of the many with self-diagnosed ASD. Noticing it is hard even for psychiatrists (my didn't notice, he thought that i have anxiety).
     
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  9. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

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  10. strawberrysoda

    strawberrysoda New Member

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    Yeah, I know a coder I used to work with who was open about his autism. I don't work as a programmer. I'm on the business side where I think fewer ASDs are found. My career path isn't exactly a recommended path for an autistic. Can you share links to the disclose not to disclose thing and any other info you think would be helpful? Would be cool to link up and private message, if this site allows it and you're into it.

    A big thing for me, beyond disclosure, is just finding people who I have some commonality with.
     
  11. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

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  12. strawberrysoda

    strawberrysoda New Member

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    Totally. Do you know anyone who has disclosed online? Curious if there's anyone I can talk to. For many who become activists, or just want to be authentic at all times, they disclose and later say it opened them up in so many great ways and gave them opportunity to educate others. But then there are the folks who say their disclosure brought more harm than good, and others you don't hear from who might not have survived the ramifications of disclosure at all. It doesn't phase me that some folks who disclose end up being abused to the extent that they can't go on living. This is all very real.
     
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  13. strawberrysoda

    strawberrysoda New Member

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    Excellent, I'll read these. I for one am far less concerned about disclosing my autism. In fact, that doesn't phase me much at all. It's my mental illnesses that are more likely to fuel stigma, IMO, especially my cyclothymic disorder. The minute you say you have a mood disorder, the stigma explodes. There is a long history of Bipolar 1 in my family tree and I find the stigma against Bipolar to be immense, even among 'woke' progressive circles.

    I was misdiagnosed with Bipolar 1 at 18. Years later I was convinced I had Bipolar II and so did my doctors. It wasn't until this year that I learned I had cyclothymic, which means rapid changing mood shifts with no clear pattern but ups and downs that are less severe than someone with bipolar 1 or 2. But that condition never came to my mind because my depressions are so severe. It never made sense.

    So when my current doctor explained that I had cyclothymic, it was coupled with another realization that came at the same time. We did genetic testing and it turns out I was born with a rare genetic mutation that means my serotonin levels are very low from birth, so even though my mood disorder in itself means less severe highs and lows, my lows are incredibly severe due to my genes.

    For me, partial disclosure is an option, like saying I'm autistic and nothing else. But to discuss autism without discussing my mental illnesses seems fruitless and deceptive. For me, autism in itself isn't a disability--it's how I think. It's my interactions with people and my environment that disable me. To tell the true story of my life experience, it's not possible by just disclosing autism alone.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
  14. Giraffes

    Giraffes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi there. As a new member take time to 'connect' with the site and members, as i think you'll find 'commonality' within this community.
     
  15. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Welcome to the Forums