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What would a diagnosis mean to me?

Gift2humanity

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
It's honestly about 50/50 whether I am on the spectrum. I had a long post listing the evidence for and against, but I deleted it in favour of this simple question. I do have ADHD, my wife has ADHD, and is also on the spectrum, and she says something like 50 percent of people with ADHD are on the spectrum, which lead me to wonder... I do have some autistic traits, I also have some very non-autistic traits.

Whenever someone asks if they have ADHD, or whether they should seek a diagnosis, I always say that what they need to ask themselves what a diagnosis would mean to them. Getting a diagnosis as an adult is hard... If you don't have any support needs, and you don't particularly identify with the condition, then why bother? In this regard, I have always considered the possibility that I am on the spectrum to be a non-issue; I am low-support, and I identify way more with ADHD than I do the autism spectrum. But in the season for new years resolutons, I have started to question this.

See, one of those autistic traits I do have is extreme social... let's say... difficulties. I don't really have any friends, apart from my wife's friends. That's no way for an adult to live. Plus, with her being on the spectrum, I can't give her the alone time she needs. So, is there a possibility that with a diagnosis, there's be some sort of treatment that might make this a little easier for me? Of course I understand that there's no medicinal treatment... there's no pill I can take to make this easier, but not all treatments are medicinal.

Or then there's just the possibility that simply understanding my place on the spectrum would help... That was my experience with ADHD... For all the treatments and therapies, the most significant thing that helps is simply the understanding that you have the condition, and the ability to see issues framed by that.

My wife suggested that I try a self-diagnosis on for a while, and see if it fits, like trying on a new dress. But I haven't taken it out on the road yet. I am just sitting here on the couch watching Youtube videos about the history of video composite cables, thinking "this is because I am autistic, and it's okay".

There is also the strong possibility that I am misunderstanding social difficulty as an autism trait... My wife doesn't have any trouble making friends.

So, the question is: what did a diagnosis (even self-diagnosis) mean to you guys? Did things get easier when you were diagnosed, or began identifying with the spectrum? Did that open doors to treatments you could receive, or strategies you could use?
Personally, I felt validated, I was diagnosed at 54.
I think the friends I used to meet for coffee would think me annoying etc, if they did not know why I rocked back and forth.
I got a support worker and I feel the attitude of the mental health staff is different as well, they seem to take the AS into account.
Some people claim they understand autism but don't.
 

Kemetic

Active Member
I am currently a bit divided myself. 40 years old, female, probably on the spectrum... and I am doubting.
Is there any benefit to having even a self-diagnosis? I have been aware of my personality traits even without that label.
I have learned a great deal in the last 20 years, how to fit in, how to interact... Is all of that just "masking" and should I stop doing that?
Am I using my exploration into autism as an excuse to avoid human contact even more than I did before?

So, I guess I don't have any useful advice for you right now. Just that I think it's super interesting but I am reluctant to bring it up with my family and I am doubting if there's any real benefit in applying another label to myself. I used to just identify myself as "someone who's smart, has no patience for superficial small talk, and though female by sex and gender has some traits that society would call typically male." - all of that stuff still applies, and I am just unsure if adding "...and that's because my brain has some autistic wiring" to my self-identity is of any use.
 

AutistAcolyte

Active Member
How does it follow that one can't have both ADHD and autism? The way I see it, there's a Venn diagram... a lot of overlap... a lot of symptoms could be either, but lots of symptoms that are distinctly one but not the other too.

My wife definitely has both, because autism just wouldn't explain her ADHD symptoms. Likewise, with me, ADHD just wouldn't exolain my autism traits.

Plus, the standard treatment for ADHD is a stimulant that's related to meth, with a high potential for abuse. But I couldn't abuse it if I tried, because it just makes me feel normal and clear-headed. You're definitely atypical if a stimulant doesn't stimulate you. To me that ends the possibility that I don't have ADHD. So if I have autistic traits as well, what am I to make of that?
as someone with adhd and autism, you can definitely have both lol
 

Au Naturel

Au Naturel
I am currently a bit divided myself. 40 years old, female, probably on the spectrum... and I am doubting.
Is there any benefit to having even a self-diagnosis? I have been aware of my personality traits even without that label.
I have learned a great deal in the last 20 years, how to fit in, how to interact... Is all of that just "masking" and should I stop doing that?
Am I using my exploration into autism as an excuse to avoid human contact even more than I did before?

So, I guess I don't have any useful advice for you right now. Just that I think it's super interesting but I am reluctant to bring it up with my family and I am doubting if there's any real benefit in applying another label to myself. I used to just identify myself as "someone who's smart, has no patience for superficial small talk, and though female by sex and gender has some traits that society would call typically male." - all of that stuff still applies, and I am just unsure if adding "...and that's because my brain has some autistic wiring" to my self-identity is of any use.
Not an excuse. You don't need an excuse not to do something you don't want to do. You do it out of necessity, or you don't do it.

There are rules of the road one learns to navigate the world. That's just collision avoidance. Unless it exhausts you or builds anxiety, or you are putting a lot of effort into creating a false persona, there's no reason to stop doing what you are doing.
 

Gift2humanity

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I am currently a bit divided myself. 40 years old, female, probably on the spectrum... and I am doubting.
Is there any benefit to having even a self-diagnosis? I have been aware of my personality traits even without that label.
I have learned a great deal in the last 20 years, how to fit in, how to interact... Is all of that just "masking" and should I stop doing that?
Am I using my exploration into autism as an excuse to avoid human contact even more than I did before?

So, I guess I don't have any useful advice for you right now. Just that I think it's super interesting but I am reluctant to bring it up with my family and I am doubting if there's any real benefit in applying another label to myself. I used to just identify myself as "someone who's smart, has no patience for superficial small talk, and though female by sex and gender has some traits that society would call typically male." - all of that stuff still applies, and I am just unsure if adding "...and that's because my brain has some autistic wiring" to my self-identity is of any use.
I think it's personal whether people want to self diagnose or get an official diagnosis.
For me, a diagnosis helped, for instance, I had a meltdown and when I tried to explain them, before diagnosis, a professional said I do not know I am autistic until I have an official diagnosis, but everyone differs.
l have 2 failed diagnoses behind me.
My psychiatrist liaised with the autism people and I got diagnosed at 54, two years ago.

Learning to fit in and interact is masking in my opinion.
In my opinion masking behaviour is not our authentic selves, so we live with unnecessary stress of trying to be like NT's.

While human contact is necessary, autistic people need time alone in my opinion.

To me, the label means people know I have different needs. I find professionals to be more understanding than when I self diagnosed.
 

Kemetic

Active Member
There are rules of the road one learns to navigate the world. That's just collision avoidance.
Collision Avoidance!! I love that, thank you for that thought.
In future I will ask myself: "is this useful collision avoidance or just unnecessary masking?" and reflect my behavior on that base
 

Au Naturel

Au Naturel
Collision Avoidance!! I love that, thank you for that thought.
In future I will ask myself: "is this useful collision avoidance or just unnecessary masking?" and reflect my behavior on that base
Yeah! That's the question I always ask.

Life is a whole lot like driving. It is a bit dangerous, and risks must be taken. Taking risks allow me to exist within a larger area, giving me opportunities I wouldn't have. It enhances my personal freedom and can be a source of pleasure.

I try to understand the rules of the road and drive defensively to minimize the risks. It reduces my risk from people who have a moment of carelessness (everyone does) or think the rules don't apply to them. Driving defensively also helps protect me against my own occasional carelessness by creating time and space cushions.

Masking is pretending to be something you cannot be.
 

MTA-P

Member
I am currently a bit divided myself. 40 years old, female, probably on the spectrum... and I am doubting.
Is there any benefit to having even a self-diagnosis? I have been aware of my personality traits even without that label.
I have learned a great deal in the last 20 years, how to fit in, how to interact... Is all of that just "masking" and should I stop doing that?
Am I using my exploration into autism as an excuse to avoid human contact even more than I did before?

So, I guess I don't have any useful advice for you right now. Just that I think it's super interesting but I am reluctant to bring it up with my family and I am doubting if there's any real benefit in applying another label to myself. I used to just identify myself as "someone who's smart, has no patience for superficial small talk, and though female by sex and gender has some traits that society would call typically male." - all of that stuff still applies, and I am just unsure if adding "...and that's because my brain has some autistic wiring" to my self-identity is of any use.
That is the question, isn't it... 'what's the beneft of the label?'

It does sound like you're experiencing some anxiety about the label, like too many labels would make you a hypochondriac, or someone with an irrational need to pathologise and label normal human experiences. I've gone through that, and I reckon there's no need to worry. If we stop thinking of autistic people as having something wrong with them, then there's no value judgement in the label. Why shy away from a label, if that label simply describes a way of being that's neither right or wrong. It would be like having red hair, and saying "well, I have all the traits of a redhead, including red hair, but I don't know if I should use the label 'redhead'."

Unless, of course, you didn't actually have autistic traits, then the autistic label would definitely be of no benefit. Doesn't sound like that's the case though. But that's why I suggest trying the label on, and seeing if it fits.

That thing about having male traits though... When I was a kid, they thought that males were more likely to be autistic; there was even a theory that that was because autism was an exaggeration of the male mind, male minds meing more analytical, and less socially driven. In the last couple of years we've learned how false that is, as more and more women have been diagnosed, mostly as adults, because when they were children, society didn't recognise autism in girls. Feeling like you might have male traits isn't irrelevant, though. I identify as non-binary myself, assigned male at birth, and still present mostly as male, but I don't see myself as male. The way I see it, gender is a construct, and neurodivergent people have little time for societal constructs (you say you don't like small talk). So it's not about having male traits, per se, it's about being gender non-conforming. And again, it's a much easier label to accept, when you realise that it's just a way of being that fits some people.
 

Jeff T

Well-Known Member
The benefit of an actual diagnosis varies per person? Lots of variables in play- your age, your employment type, ability of self awareness, social ability, etc. Is the cost of diagnosis worth the hassle or potential self-improvement?

Diagnosed at 59 with ADHD and ASD. It didn't surprise me much, apart from not being diagnosed with something I was sure I had (which was a big relief). The diagnosis from professionals who had much more insight than I did changed my attitude. Before it was "I suspect I'm kind of messed up and I could have ADHD or ASD" to studying the neurotypes with more seriousness. Being more self-aware of how others may perceive me, and becoming very voluntarily celibate.
Realizing my dysregulation of thought and emotion had hurt others over the years. And that the correct medication was a big help in reining in those volatile strong emotions.
 

Kayla55

Member
Does a diagnosis really change who you are fundamentally?
You still think and feel the way you do, you still going to do what drives you, you may not completely understand how different you are

As you age your experience grows, you become more productive
Thinking that diagnosis changes society and prejudice, it doesn't.

Some aspects are there...it's a part of you and diagnosis doesn't alter that you originally had alternative views, or felt strong sense of injustice.
 

Kayla55

Member
Does it matter what nationality you are, or do people and their lives count?
We could say Asia invented martial arts, but I'm, ye you meet many atypical people who are just regular people. Apparently in their culture is was referred to as a curse.

Another thing to remember is if we all robots life would be dull... there are many different people, some creative, some gay, some geeks etc.

Parents faffing over autism....and kids enduring early intervention. Bad idea. Why. Because we are who we are. I'm not going to be a social butter fly.... I knew I didn't like certain jobs. Why I got home and had melt downs was confusing, yes. But adolescents is confusing transition into who you going to be.
You should know you ND your happiness and what you wanted more others. Just get held back in life.
 

Kayla55

Member
Many high functioning people are still not holding down jobs, at times I want to leave society or move to a new town. Not because don't accept others who are different but because of dogma and those who seemingly make life hell, criticise but do little themselves.

A diagnosis is not going to change society's attitude.
I enjoyed series the good doctor, I really appreciate tackling of hard issues
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Does a diagnosis really change who you are fundamentally?
Point taken. Reminds me of that saying, "Which came first? The chicken or the egg?"

Many of us weren't magically told by another, "You must be autistic!" Those of us who had to figure out who and what we are....and that we initiated this "quest" on our own.

That whether or not one sought a formal medical diagnosis did not change what we already knew in our heart and mind.
 

Kayla55

Member
I think better route is for parents to draw a list of what needs attention...

Speech? Schooling? Medical?

Cut out a lot of round trips to specialists, save on the budget.
I think needs to worry about survival skills since need to navigate society and can't find aspie town. Survival skills as opposed to early intervention....

Forcing child to behave against way they are isn't going to work. Rather let's say I need skills to navigate and adapt a way of holding down a job, or I need few pointers on social skills. Many of which can be older child and age specific.

I enjoyed hearing about this debate, nothing new that society is believing the world is flat.
 

Kayla55

Member
Imagine I dragged you around, forced you to do things you don't like. Even insulted or made you feel so bad would you like this iron monkey?
Or would you agree not just love but happiness and freedom can be as important as food. Attachment disorders affect all living creatures.(Does monkey want food or love, does monkey eventually hug it's blanket in absence of mother?)
Ok, so no if it's pts post traumatic stress is name now. Some say schitso is from bad childhood? Huh
Whatever.

Now my baby son didn't want people around and because of it didn't want to leave house. So I decided to take him out anyway for walks alone....he liked this.
We stayed on my friends farm for a bit and many people, he hiding in our room all day. So I said let's try walks in nature alone.....at first hesitant of what I was up to...but even though he couldn't talk I explained it to him...he was loving this afterwards. But no he didn't want to sit by everyone.

My other lost mistake half....saw this and intervened later with take him to creche and leave him crying at the gate. Our marriage turned to a battleground and eventually i ended it before I would've killed him for things he did. Why because he was feeding my son steroids without even doctors advice, for so called undiagnosed allergies. He insisted my son was improving.
I insist that if someone took you ice-skating Nd made your life hell in the teaching it would take long time to shrug it off and enjoy skating again.

I always spoke to him...even if he wasn't verbal, and I was convinced he understood me, just as he could put puzzles together.

We all bloom when we are ready, do not worry if your child doesn't jump through hoops....results are not as important as happiness. Your child is happy, he doesn't need early intervention and have this shoved in his face all day. Maybe social guesses just take longer for him to figure out but in meantime he's occupied with his inner world, respect it.
 

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