Unpacking forty years of feelings

As I write this it’s eight months since diagnosis, I thought that it would answer some questions. I thought that I could get the answers in this short time.

However it is not the case. It seems that I have only scraped the surface. over the last week or so, I have realised that this is going to take a while. It is not going to be easy to do as, there is a lot of grief and pain. Most of it becaue of not being diagnosed as a child, even though I struggled and never achieved what I was capable of.

How do you sort through all these feelngs and begin to heal and understand. At the moment, I am learning how my senses are affected by my enviroment and the world as a whole. It feels so overpowering at times, I just want to hide. I have spent so long masking and trying to be “normal”, I feel I lost the real me. On my report, the assessor proudly wrote “the client has managed to mimick others, so to fit in”.

So hear, I am struggling to understand myself, because I cannot understand my past. I am not sure if I will ever fully understand, my past. But I need to try, because I need to move on and be the quirky person, I am meant to be.

Finding my Feet

So here I am, almost eight months on. It has been a rough time, learning to adjust to understanding the diagnosis and how it has affected me. I ahve gone through grief, anger, saddness and the realisation that I am not defective.

As time has gone on, I have found that my voice can help other autisics. There are some in the Autism Community, whose voices can’t be heard. I feel that as someone with lower support needs, I can advocate for them.

Over the last few months, I’ve managed to make some friends and people who support others. They have shown me that as a community we can work together to make a better society, where autistics support evereyone. Including those who self identfy, because they can’t obtain a diagnosis.

Because of the pandemic, I have had to adjust more than I expected. As time has gone on, I have learned so much about how autism is both a benefit and a curse.

Real feelings

So back in March, I thought I’d be so happy that I was diagnosed.

My feelings are now more about grief and anger. I feel that I have, may have underestimated the strength of these feelings and their consequences.

For the first time since this process started, I feel that I could really benefit from support.

I have not received any support or even the offer. The assessment team did try and keep in touch.

At the moment i feel lost.

Seven months on

So it’s seven months since my diagnosis. In that time I’ve had to fend for myself, without support.

The effect on my mental health has been tough. I’ve got to a point where, I have had to ask for help.

The Covid-19 situation hasn’t helped. The pandemic, has stopped my hobby and has isolated me.

I am thankful that I have made some connections on twitter, who have been supportive.

I’ve also struggled with my creative side, I’ve not been able to write any poetry, in months.

Lockdown has caught up with me

So the last six months have been ok. But now I’m feeling the pressure of loneliness.

I’ve got awesome friends and family, people who care.

This week, for the first time, I have struggled to deal with my emotions. I feel like I’ve been on the brink of a meltdown.

Dealing with my emotions #ActuallyAutisic #AllAutistics

As an autistic person, according to the stereotype. I should be emotionless, like a zombie. Even my diagnosis stated, he didn’t show any emotion.

This is as far from the truth, than possible. Because I have spent my life masking and trying to fit in. I have bottled them up. Now I have the diagnosis, there are times that my emotions overflow. I wonder sometimes, how I survived without losing my mind totally.

One of things that I am finding is in some ways I’m more emotional. There are times when I’m tired, stressed or sick, that I can’t control them and it ends in a meltdown.

I know this will get better with time and experience. But for now, I suppose that I should try and enjoy the ride.

Six months on.

So it’s just over six months ago, since my diagnosis. Things are quite different for me.

As I’m navigating the last forty seven years of missed opportunities and dealing with some resentment.

I thought that the six month anniversary would bring me more peace,  it hasn’t.  It has brought some more uncertainty and anger.

I feel that I now live in a world that isn’t made for people like me. I feel that as an autistic person,  I am less.

I am more aware of my differences and how they affect me. One of my challenges at the moment is, understanding when I need to rest.

I have had some major sensory issues and some meltdowns.  I’m slowly beginning to realise that I need to start looking for the signs of a meltdown and the triggers.

As things stand, I really don’t know how I’m meant to deal with these feelings.

Since diagnosis, I have had very little support or signposting. I feel that I  have been let down, because I’m “high functioning”.

If I was diagnosed as child, there would have been support and help.

Functioning Labels #Autism #ActuallyAutistic

So, another elephant in the room. Functioning labels, how these are really bad for the community.

I’m considered “High” Functioning, because I live alone and work. This dosen’t equate to “easy” autism. To be frank there are days i strugle to cope with the little things, being able to prepare breakfast or get a coffee. The problem with functioning labels as a late diagnosed autist, are complex. Because I have managed to get through almost fifty years by making do. For all this time I have been masking, which is draining and has caused mental health issues.

I didn’t really see the scale of my problems until after my diagnosis in March of this year. Because of my masking, I have ended up with long term burnout. Which is one of the biggest effects of masking.

As for “Low” functioning, this is an insult to autistics, who need more support. In some respects, they can be as talented as any of us, if not more so.

Autism isn’t a straight line, it’s a true spectrum.

Late diagnosis #ActuallyAutistic #AllAutistics

Five months ago, just before lockdown here in the UK. I had a call that changed my life for the better.

At the time I was mentally a mess. I knew I was different.

For most of my life, I have struggled with the “normal” things in life. From an early age my parents knew there was something a bit different. I struggled with lots of things at school, mainly my handwriting and integration with the other children. My parents were obviously worried about me, they had a lot of meetings with the schools. I saw many specialists and therapists.

As time has gone on, I have learned to cope with the struggles of  life. This hasn’t been easy. I have learned to mask my autistic traits, which has caused my mental heath to deteriorate to the point that I genuinely  contemplated suicide.

It wasn’t until four or five years ago, I thought I maybe autistic. It still took me a few years to ask for a referral. The diagnostic process was difficult because, it takes so long. The uncertainty is quite painful, no one can really understand, unless they have been through it.

My experience has been one a lot of adults face. Frustration, anger at not being diagnosed earlier. Sadness of missed opportunities and time lost in life.

But, the positives outweigh the negatives.  I can now be true to myself and start living.

As I have written before, self-identification is valid as diagnosis for adults is  a privilege.

Diagnostic report. A reflection # ActuallyAutistic

I recently posted, my initial thoughts was focused on the negitives. After reading the report several times over the last few weeks. I have realised that this is report was written from the perspective of a neurotypical doctor, who has only met me twice.

The way I see it is, I am not the sum of my deficits. I have manged to live a good life for over forty years. I have been to hell and back over the years.

So my thoughts on what is says, well for me it shows that I am resilient and I can mask very well. I believe that I am not the sum of my deficits.

The one thing that does annoy me is the label of “high functioning”. I feel that puts presure on me to be more “normal”. It feels that sometimes people want an excuse to diminish the problems autistic people face. Just because I am “high functioning”, doesn’t mean I am less autistic. It means I have been able to hide my issues well enough.

On a plus point, understanding more about myself has helped my mental health.