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Putting puzzle pieces together.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Randall_L, Feb 25, 2021.

  1. Randall_L

    Randall_L New Member

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    Hi folks. My name is Randall and I'm autistic... and I'm 45.

    My journey started about 6 months ago, after my wife of 11 years (together for 17 years) cheated and left. I met a woman with autism shortly afterwards... within a couple weeks of my wife leaving, and we became friends... and much more. As we got to know each other and talk about her autism, she started pointing out things about me that were spectrummy... the way I avoid eye contact, the way I fidget when I get agitated, sensory issues, the way I repeat what people say and incorporate phrases nonsensically, the way I shut down and withdraw in stressful or emotional situations and other things. She suggested that I could be autistic and sent me a link to an online assessment. Well, according to that, my AQ was 92%.

    Completely in disbelief and denial, I spent a couple months completing other online assessments and reading articles (I'm not really a book person, they're too wordy for the paragraph or so of information they actually contain but articles seem to be a good middle ground) and talking to friends and family about their perceptions of me. There's one set of friends that have 3 autistic children (diagnosed). They said they were wondering when I'd figure that out about myself. My autistic girlfriend was shocked that I didn't know because it was so obvious to her. She thought I just was not telling people, so that's why she just "suggested" it to me. The online assessments... 5 more, different ones over those 2 months didn't drop my AQ below 82% at the lowest and one was 94%. My Stepdad told me stories that my Mom told him about me and how in primary school they thought I was dyslexic and had ADD and was very anti-social and how he had figured there was something like that going on and that's why he introduced me to computer programming. That saved my life by the way, learning to program... how to structure my thoughts and visualize things in a logical way. I was in a very dark place until that.

    So skipping ahead to just before Christmas, I got to acceptance. Things started to go really well. I was thriving with the routines that I had. Everything was getting done. I even managed to pull off my first Christmas dinner with my daughter, turkey and all, swimmingly.

    When my wife left, it was hard enough to figure out how to live by myself, especially after 17 years of having someone to help with things. Add to that having to figure out how to actually parent and co-parent in a useful way, having my daughter with me every other week, and I was so very overwhelmed. Oh, and on top of that, I'm gluten intolerant and have allergies to egg-white, pineapple, garlic, mushrooms and almonds. I was sinking and didn't know what to do. It took me a couple weeks, but I reached out to friends for help, both of whom had previous marriage partners cheat, as I did, so they knew some of what I was going through. I love them, I really, really love them. They helped me to figure out routines for how to live, both by myself and with my daughter. Those routines are on my fridge and on a chalkboard that's in my kitchen and they've evolved to a nicely flowing state that's easy for me to do. I have lists for everything... literally everything. I don't have to refer to them so much anymore, but occasionally I still need them.

    Hmmm... I guess I'm not "by myself" when I don't have my daughter with me, because I also have two dogs. I just couldn't figure out how to incorporate them in here, so I guess now's the time. They have been so very helpful over the past few months. Before too, but especially now. They're my best buds... my stalwart companions. If you want to know what unconditional love is, get a dog.

    Some things I've learned about myself since being on my own: I like to cook and bake and I'm fairly good at it; I have my Mom's green thumb, plants thrive around me; I like to paint murals on walls; I have the ability to phrase things in kinder more gentle ways, but it completely exhausts me and I need lots of alone time afterward. That last one I'm sure will get better with practice.

    I just have to say that I've known something was different (not wrong, just different) about me all my life. I didn't think the way others did, I didn't talk the way others did, I didn't feel the way others did. I don't see autism as something negative at all. Because of it, I'm bloody brilliant at my job. I can think my way around problems that most neurotypicals think are impossible. Learning about autism and thinking about my life through that lens has made so many things make sense. I get my life. I get myself. Since starting to use some of the strategies I've learned in my reading about autism, my life is immeasurably better. I feel like I know who I am now.

    So anyway, that's the autism-relevant part of my story. I'm here to learn and maybe, to get to know others like me.

    Cheers!
    Randall
     
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  2. SimonSays

    SimonSays A work in progress

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    Welcome!

    That was a great introduction. Look forward to reading more of your perspective in other threads.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. OkRad

    OkRad μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος οὐλομένην V.I.P Member

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    Welcome! :)
     
  4. tree

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

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  5. Loren

    Loren Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Welcome : )
     
  6. Gift2humanity

    Gift2humanity Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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  7. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    Welcome to Autism Forums!
     
  8. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝️

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    Hello & welcome @Randall_L.
    Pick Up The Pieces, Average White Band (1974)
    [​IMG] (Your thread title reminds me of THIS SONG... :cool:)
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
  9. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    A big welcome to the site Randall :)
     
  10. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi and welcome, I hope that you enjoy it here, I am sorry to hear about the tough times you have had, and glad things are looking better now. This is a good place to be for conversations and discussions around autism topics or with others who understand the way you are.

    :fourleaf::rose::dog::blossom::leafwind::poodle::cherryblossom::herb::cat::sunflower::seedling:
     
  11. Wolfsage

    Wolfsage In training to be Wolf King.

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    Hey. I'm more of a direct problem solver. HIT IT WITH A STICK!!!LOL.
     
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  12. Skittlebisquit

    Skittlebisquit Hope is faith rewarded in advance

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    Welcome to the forum
     
  13. Bibliophile715

    Bibliophile715 Armin - system member - any pronouns

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    Welcome! That was very interesting to read about how you found out you were autistic that way and I also have many food allergies/intolerances (including a gluten and egg one) so I get what that's like.
     
  14. Linda Night-owl

    Linda Night-owl Member

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    Hello and welcome!
     
  15. Randall_L

    Randall_L New Member

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    Thank you all for the welcome.

    I have to admit that I was a little anxious about how I'd be received being self-diagnosed, but I'm glad I decided to join. I look forward to spending time here.

    Cheers!
    Randall
     
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