Asperger's worse with age? Medical retirement?

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Shrewsred
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09 Jun 2021, 8:04 am

Hi all. I was wondering how Asperger's had affected you through aging?

I'm 52. I've always masked my Asperger's really well such that nobody knows I have it and have a pretty good job several grades up the management ladder.
The trouble is that although Asperger's symptoms don't necessarily worsen, I'm finding that my ability to cope with them or hide or manage them is dwindling. This is compounded by having to return to a more normal situation after what has been an almost ideal 18 months for me of social isolation due to covid.
All my previous coping strategies and ability to 'pretend' to be normal have been forgotten or deserted me such that I now feel absolutely unable to cope. What were basic work tasks for me now seem impossible. My competence and critical thinking abilities are at an all time low. I genuinely fear work and wonder if I can ever regain my competence levels of if ill health retirement (if at all possible) is the only answer.
I've gone from being the person everybody has always turned to in work for solutions to worrying if I'm going to be marked as incompetent.



browneyedgirlslowingdown
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09 Jun 2021, 10:57 am

Hi, I am only 34, and only recently diagnosed, but I can say that over time, my ability to tolerate indifference to my difference has decreased over time. As a result, I have had to find alternate ways of existing and making a living that support me better or better consider my differences. Basically, a change in environmental expectations led to better outcomes for me, is it possible to change places of work but stay in the same profession? Or change roles?


_________________
Diagnosed ASD 5/17/21
AQ 40/50
Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 153 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 50 of 200
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie)
Systemising Quotient (SQ) 78
Empathy Quotient (EQ) 41
CAT-Q 156 Compensation 56 Masking 48 Assimilation 52


Shrewsred
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09 Jun 2021, 12:57 pm

Hi Brown eyed. I've always tended to move from role to role on a 2-4 year basis since I started work. Due to the nature of my work and natural progression, that has never stood out as odd to others as I've been picked for new roles and had others created for me so that I could manage a particular work situation etc. Unfortunately now though, I can't really move on without advancing the particular project that I'm on but I just don't think I'm capable any more of focussing on work. It just seems to overload my mind. The work isn't particularly hard as such for me and I'm really happy with the team that I am working with but I just can't manage pretending anymore that I'm 'normal'. It's too difficult now to try and decide what is polite and what is too direct. I can't think easily enough about what maybe polite and appropriate conversation. It is too difficult now to try and decipher what people mean from what they say to give appropriate responses. Hiding the aspie is all just too difficult now.



DoniiMann
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09 Jun 2021, 3:51 pm

It sounds to me like you've proven yourself at work. You've been there long enough to change roles, climb the management ladder, you have a project, etc. How bad would it be to reveal that you're ASD? Who do you answer to?

If the choice is reveal vs having the job/career, well you wouldn't be the first to reveal. From there you could openly explore your options, make changes.

It would be a shame to lose it all over this. Unless you want to retire.


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browneyedgirlslowingdown
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09 Jun 2021, 4:26 pm

Shrewsred wrote:
Hi Brown eyed. I've always tended to move from role to role on a 2-4 year basis since I started work. Due to the nature of my work and natural progression, that has never stood out as odd to others as I've been picked for new roles and had others created for me so that I could manage a particular work situation etc. Unfortunately now though, I can't really move on without advancing the particular project that I'm on but I just don't think I'm capable any more of focussing on work. It just seems to overload my mind. The work isn't particularly hard as such for me and I'm really happy with the team that I am working with but I just can't manage pretending anymore that I'm 'normal'. It's too difficult now to try and decide what is polite and what is too direct. I can't think easily enough about what maybe polite and appropriate conversation. It is too difficult now to try and decipher what people mean from what they say to give appropriate responses. Hiding the aspie is all just too difficult now.


Hi, I think I understand. Your particular field requires that you collaborate and interact with others. There doesn't seem to be a way for you to stay in your work without being forced to hold your autistic characteristics under wraps. I guess then the question is can you continue to work in a much lesser capacity? Like as a consultant? Do you need to keep working for financial reasons? You are really young to bow out now, is there a way to make a lateral move that would allow you to keep working, even with a possible pay cut?


_________________
Diagnosed ASD 5/17/21
AQ 40/50
Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 153 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 50 of 200
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie)
Systemising Quotient (SQ) 78
Empathy Quotient (EQ) 41
CAT-Q 156 Compensation 56 Masking 48 Assimilation 52


Shrewsred
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10 Jun 2021, 12:16 am

Hi Brown eyed. You've hit the nail on the head.
I'm just not sure whether what I'm going through is some form of burn out (ie temporary and I need to get through it and can then carry on) or if it is due to aging and a natural reduction in ability to cope ie permanent. Wondered how aging affected others with Asperger's before I make any decisions.

(Thank you everyone for taking the time to read all this)



browneyedgirlslowingdown
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10 Jun 2021, 8:18 am

Shrewsred wrote:
Hi Brown eyed. You've hit the nail on the head.
I'm just not sure whether what I'm going through is some form of burn out (ie temporary and I need to get through it and can then carry on) or if it is due to aging and a natural reduction in ability to cope ie permanent. Wondered how aging affected others with Asperger's before I make any decisions.

(Thank you everyone for taking the time to read all this)


I think I can relate. I did go through burnout. I actually quit my job, two back to back because I could not meet NT demand for constant collaboration and interaction, working with women too makes this even more exhausting for me. So I looked for a more autonomous position, that required much less in-person interaction or relationship building. I have not started yet, it starts this fall, but I made some standards for work positions as well and sought a position that fit my needs most. Have you considered writing down what would be best for you in a position? Then maybe start looking for positions that measure up as much as possible? If you like I can share my list here. Let me know.


_________________
Diagnosed ASD 5/17/21
AQ 40/50
Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 153 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 50 of 200
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie)
Systemising Quotient (SQ) 78
Empathy Quotient (EQ) 41
CAT-Q 156 Compensation 56 Masking 48 Assimilation 52


RadioDog
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10 Jun 2021, 12:01 pm

I went through something similiar several years ago. I learned then that it's quite common for people on the spectrum to crash in their 40s or 50s just from sheer exhaustion. Having to fake it and fake it and fake it, and never doing it quite good enough to make it a great deal of the time, and dealing with what seems to be the utter unnecessary ridiculousness of non-spectrum people and their games and layers of meaning when none are needed, etc. I learned we often reach a point where we just can't bear it anymore.

My crisis in this lasted several years before I began to work it out for myself again. I changed how I viewed others, what I expected of myself, and so on. I think it's a personal journey for each of us, finding out what works individually.

So I can only say that it's not surprising this is happening, and it is survivable.


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Professionally diagnosed: Autism Spectrum Disorder.

"Autism isn't an illness but it's a condition that messes with our ability to have our psychological needs met." - DuckHairback on this site.


Shrewsred
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10 Jun 2021, 2:45 pm

Hi Radiodog. Thank you for that....really interesting to hear. I suppose in one way good to know that this may be a temporary thing that I can work through but potentially also disappointing in that it may take quite so long! I guess time will tell. Just have to battle on I suppose.
Glad things worked out ok for you in the end and thank you again for the input.



RadioDog
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11 Jun 2021, 9:19 pm

Shrewsred wrote:
Hi Radiodog. Thank you for that....really interesting to hear. I suppose in one way good to know that this may be a temporary thing that I can work through but potentially also disappointing in that it may take quite so long! I guess time will tell. Just have to battle on I suppose.
Glad things worked out ok for you in the end and thank you again for the input.


Hi Shrewsred - It may not take you so long. Everyone is different. I had negative family support at the time I was going through it, and was getting in trouble for ASD related things at work (which, despite what's often suggested, was **not** fixed by letting it be known to my boss and coworkers. In fact, it made things much worse).

I think mine went on for so long because I wasn't finding the help / support / self-understanding I needed for a long time. Once I began to put those together, it started getting slowly better. Not that I changed all that much, but I've learned ways to help myself more, and I've gotten thicker skin and smarter for a lot of the non-ASD people nonsense. I also at the end found a psychologist who specialises in ASD treatment, and he would just give diagrams and checksheets each week so I could begin to understand things like "Frenemies" and such. I still don't "get" (or want to get) most of what non-ASD people do, but I now understand the basics of things like, "Don't be open about issues at work even to people who seem friendly and inviting it".

You'll get where you need to be :)


_________________
Professionally diagnosed: Autism Spectrum Disorder.

"Autism isn't an illness but it's a condition that messes with our ability to have our psychological needs met." - DuckHairback on this site.