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WarWraith
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15 Nov 2013, 1:17 am

If you could call three years "a while".

I actually forgot about my account here and then started getting newsletters from Alex a couple of months ago.

But last night brought me back.

Last night I was formally diagnosed by a clinical psychologist as being autistic. I figure in pre-DSM5 language, I'm an aspie, but she says it's now all "Autism Spectrum Disorder".

Two of my kids are on the spectrum as well.

It was a relief at first, liberating. I felt vindicated.

This morning I woke up with a sense of loss and grief. This is it. There's no shrink or counselling or meds that will give me the magic key to understanding relationships or not obsessing over things. I'll never be neurotypical.

I've always wanted a formal diagnosis, and now I've got one.

Be careful what you wish for, I guess.



zaneaspie
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15 Nov 2013, 12:50 pm

Yes, it's a unique feeling of loss and grief, isn't it? I felt very hypocritical when I received my diagnosis because as a mum of two on the spectrum I'd always felt ok about their neurodiversity. I felt that it suited me just fine, that as a family we had been privileged with autism. So, when the pain of diagnosis scythed into me in waves my own grief seemed illogical to me and I felt angry with myself. I've been diagnosed eight months and I still sometimes feel a sense of grief over my diagnosis, but more often I feel grieved that I didn't understand earlier on in my life. It has only since I've realised about my own autism that I've gained some real friends, for example. If I'd known earlier, maybe my adulthood would not have been so friendless.

Give yourself time with the grief. Whatever anyone says about it not being constructive, I think it's probably inevitable and it's probably a lot less constructive to deny it. But diagnosis is also a touchstone for understanding oneself better, and enabling others to understand you better. For me, it's a relief that my husband can see a common denominator for so many things that are me and potentially complicate his life. There's nothing simple about it, but it's a start.



eggheadjr
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15 Nov 2013, 2:12 pm

For me, the formal diagnosis answered a lot of questions that I had and it helped me to understand who I am.

There's a sadness to it though, knowing that for 40 plus years my trying to fit in was probably a waste. I'm still working on accepting me for being me - and there are a lot of issues in my personal life as a result.

The one thing that has helped in this board and knowing I can reach out to others like me and that I'm not quite so alone in the world.


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Jensen
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15 Nov 2013, 2:14 pm

I´ve had my diagnosis for two months now. To me it feels like a relief and, as you call it, a bit of a vindication because I have had so many strange diagnoses, that have made me feel so bad, - and now it´s only AS! Sometimes I can identify, and sometimes not. The discussion goes on.
Yes! Now it is "Autism Spectrum Disorder" or, "Pervasive developmental disorder".
I don´t like that....not that it is pervasive....it is more the "developmental disorder" part, that bothers me.
Tony Attwood estimates, that there are something like 1 out of 50, who is on the spectrum in various degrees. That is a lot!

Why wish to be NT? Trying so hard has only made you miserable anyway. NT´s have their weaknesses too, you know.
Learning about yourself and finding the positive sides and strengths to being an aspie can make you an even more wonderful father to your kids. Who else should teach them self accept?

It is a loss not having known before, yes!
Take your time and learn about yourself.

Read Tony Attwood "A complete guide to Aspergers Syndrome", in case you don´t know it already.


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WarWraith
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26 Nov 2013, 7:54 pm

Quote:
Why wish to be NT? Trying so hard has only made you miserable anyway. NT´s have their weaknesses too, you know.
Learning about yourself and finding the positive sides and strengths to being an aspie can make you an even more wonderful father to your kids. Who else should teach them self accept?


Because... the world is built for NT people. I'm surrounded by NT people with their NT expectations, and I've spent years doing my best to "be" NT.

Now it feels like a waste of time, and mental resources. All of these coping mechanisms I've built work to produce a simulacrum of the desired result, but I've realised recently that they have a cognitive cost. It takes lots of mental resources to fake it.

I'm nearly 40, and the coping mechanisms are pretty much on autopilot now. That doesn't take away their cost though. I'm exhausted ALL the time.

Almost two weeks later, and I don't know if I'm still grieving or if it's tipped me into full-on depression. (I have a long, clinically diagnosed history of anxiety/depression issues, surprise, surprise).

I've spent my entire life trying to be something I "should" be, trying to "fake it 'til I make it", and what for?

It was a waste of time that I could have used investing those mental resources into something I could be excellent at. Instead I squandered them all on trying to be like everyone else.|

My memory is shot, and as I said, I'm exhausted all the time.

I don't know what to do now.

I've had people in my life who've loaded me up with guilt about focussing on my obsessions over the years, and now I can't enjoy any of them without this overarching sense of guilt that I should be doing something else.

I'm sorry for venting, but I'm tired and angry and depressed.

I wanted to for so long to have a formal diagnosis. Be careful what you wish for, indeed.



WarWraith
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26 Nov 2013, 8:48 pm

I came across this blogpost just now and wanted to start yelling "THIS! THIS! THIS!" at he top of my lungs.

Hidden Autistics



Adamantium
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27 Nov 2013, 10:26 am

WarWraith wrote:
This morning I woke up with a sense of loss and grief. This is it. There's no shrink or counselling or meds that will give me the magic key to understanding relationships or not obsessing over things. I'll never be neurotypical.

This I understand completely. I had a similar feeling walking down the avenue in New York after my diagnosis. You realize that there is a profound barrier between you and those people around you and the hope that this is something you can overcome in some simple way or by effort alone is gone.

Quote:
I've always wanted a formal diagnosis, and now I've got one.

Be careful what you wish for, I guess.
I don't get this at all. The diagnosis did not create your situation--it is a professional analysis of the symptoms that led you to seek diagnosis. If you had not sought out a diagnosis, would your symptoms or choices be any different?

Is it that you believe that your diagnosis argues in favor of hopelessness about some aspect of your situation? I would tend to think that diagnosis allows us to approach certain situations more skillfully and this is good.



WarWraith
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27 Nov 2013, 1:54 pm

Adamantium wrote:
I don't get this at all. The diagnosis did not create your situation--it is a professional analysis of the symptoms that led you to seek diagnosis. If you had not sought out a diagnosis, would your symptoms or choices be any different?

Is it that you believe that your diagnosis argues in favor of hopelessness about some aspect of your situation? I would tend to think that diagnosis allows us to approach certain situations more skillfully and this is good.


It's that I thought I might have a couple of days of hopelessness, and then I'd feel fine. I am exactly the same person now as I was before the diagnosis. I just didn't account for this profound and ongoing sense hopelessness. In a decade of thinking "I might be aspie" and five years of being sure I was, but fearful that someone would say "no, you're not. You're just messed up.", I never once imagined "Hey, when you find out you are, you'll feel completely hopeless, and hate yourself for being all the things you've hated for so long.

See, my lack of physical co-ordination, my tendency towards avoidance, my complete disorganisation, my obsessions... they're all things that I was taught to hate and be ashamed of. I had to straighten up and fly right, and work on those things. So I've fought and fought and fought to improve in those areas, as if trying harder would fix those things. At this point in my life, I've learnt to despise those things in myself.

And now I know that those things are part of my wiring. The same allowances that I've been able to make for others, I now have to make for myself. The little voice inside my head, though... that won't shut up.

I'm hope that this is temporary. I've started interacting here because I figure I shouldn't be trying to do this alone, and maybe it's better to talk to people who've been through this.

I can advocate for my son, but for some reason, I can't advocate for myself, to myself.

Does that make sense now?



Jensen
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27 Nov 2013, 2:25 pm

[quote="WarWraith]

Quote:
And now I know that those things are part of my wiring. The same allowances that I've been able to make for others, I now have to make for myself. The little voice inside my head, though... that won't shut up.

I'm hope that this is temporary.
I can advocate for my son, but for some reason, I can't advocate for myself, to myself.
Does that make sense now?


I think it is normal to go through this, but perhaps you are taking it harder than many others.
Feeling vindicated does not automatically lead to self accept. You have spent years trying to fight the results of your wiring and now you have to make changes.
Perhaps you could take care of one trait at a time, make your own strategies for it, - and be sure to find a special strength for each one.

Look at this:
Discovery Criteria for Aspie…
A. A qualitative advantage in social interaction, as manifested by a majority of the following:

1. peer relationships characterized by absolute loyalty and impeccable dependability
2. free of sexist, “age-ist”, or culturalist biases; ability to regard others at “face value”
3. speaking one’s mind irrespective of social context or adherence to personal beliefs
4. ability to pursue personal theory or perspective despite conflicting evidence
5. seeking an audience or friends capable of: enthusiasm for unique interests and topics;
6. consideration of details; spending time discussing a topic that may not be of primary interest
7. listening without continual judgement or assumption
8. interested primarily in significant contributions to conversation; preferring to avoid ‘ritualistic small talk’ or socially trivial statements and superficial conversation.
9. seeking sincere, positive, genuine friends with an unassuming sense of humour

B. Fluent in “Aspergerese”, a social language characterized by at least three of the following:

1. a determination to seek the truth
2. conversation free of hidden meaning or agenda
3. advanced vocabulary and interest in words
4. fascination with word-based humour, such as puns
5. advanced use of pictorial metaphor

C. Cognitive skills characterized by at least four of the following:

1. strong preference for detail over gestalt
2. original, often unique perspective in problem solving
3. exceptional memory and/or recall of details often forgotten or disregarded by others, for example: names, dates, schedules, routines
4. avid perseverance in gathering and cataloguing information on a topic of interest
5. persistence of thought
6. encyclopaedic or ‘CD ROM’ knowledge of one or more topics
7. knowledge of routines and a focused desire to maintain order and accuracy
8. clarity of values/decision making unaltered by political or financial factors

D. Additional possible features:

1. acute sensitivity to specific sensory experiences and stimuli, for example: hearing, touch, vision, and/or smell
2. strength in individual sports and games, particularly those involving endurance or visual accuracy, including rowing, swimming, bowling, chess
3. “social unsung hero” with trusting optimism: frequent victim of social weaknesses of others, while steadfast in the belief of the possibility of genuine friendship
4. increased probability over general population of attending university after high school
5. often take care of others outside the range of typical development


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