Diagnosed during the late 20s: can a diagnosis still help?

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Dataunit
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23 Sep 2017, 6:14 am

Hi everyone,

I'm in my late 20s and have only been officially diagnosed for three weeks (by an autism expert, not by an ordinary psychiatrist like I was years ago).

My reaction to the diagnosis is a mix of vindication and anger. On the one hand, I feel relieved that I didn't have my social difficulties due to rudeness, laziness, a lack of trying, a lack of morality/manners, etc but autism. I've been going through particular events in my mind where I lost friends due to my inappropriate actions/words that I genuinely hadn't realised were inappropriate. Instead of being quietly told that I shouldn't have done that, and given a chance to apologise, I was often badly punished and yelled at/insulted as if I had been purposely malicious. Naturally, I couldn't help my mistakes so I grew up feeling like I was just a failure. This led to many years of social anxiety and low self-esteem.

On the other hand, I'm angry that I had all those unfair accusations made about me and wasn't given extra help at school or at home. Maybe if my autism had been recognised, people would've cut me some slack.

My question is: what use is a diagnosis now, other than relief at knowing that I wasn't a bad child? Can a diagnosis still help an adult?


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renaeden
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23 Sep 2017, 6:47 am

I was dxed at 27.

You could be eligible for services that you weren't before. Like various disability services, help for your social skills or help to get a job (I don't know if you already have one).

You may find an autism support group in your area.



Darkrose50
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23 Sep 2017, 8:40 am

I was diagnosed in my 30's and it was pure cathartic bliss.

Having said that I have a disability, and it can sometimes make things hard. To have an average brain and the same IQ would likely mean superior career and financial success. If I were to have the opportunity to have an average brain and average IQ, then it would be quite tempting. The easy[-er?] button would be calling to me.

Knowing how your brain works, and being able to read about how your brain works. That is a godsend when your brain works differently. The younger you are when you know how your brain works, then the more self aware you could be, the better able you would be to manage your resources, and the better your choices would/should be.

I envy you.



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23 Sep 2017, 9:18 am

A proper diagnosis can help you avoid getting in bad situations. For instance, some Aspies have issues with crowded grocery stores. You may now be able to shop when the store is less busy and make better decisions because you aren't so stressed out.



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23 Sep 2017, 10:45 am

Even if the diagnosis can't change anything that has happened, it could still help you. Like you said now you know that some problems you've had weren't because you are lazy or something but that there was a reason for it, one that you didn't cause, so at the very least even if others won't understand or forgive some things you have done it might be easier to forgive yourself. Also, now that you know what makes you different it might get easier to find some help, if nothing else then talking to other people who are or have been in similiar a situation.



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23 Sep 2017, 10:54 am

Well, maybe you can get money.

When people, and memories, berate you, you can say, "I did all right, considering." If "all right, considering" is good enough for you. It never was, for me. I didn't want to be "OK, for a retard." I wanted to be just "OK."

You can make life choices in view of the statistics. I didn't want to be limited by the statistics; I wanted to live my life, whatever it was going to be. I went ahead and tried to pursue a career and ultimately gave it up to be a wife and mother. That was a bad choice. I'm a pretty good mom, from a functional standpoint. They're all clean, hugged and kissed, used to get played with, realistically mentally healthy, taught life skills, taught to deal with problems, admired... you know, all the real stuff kids need. But I can't make social connections for them or go on playdates or do pretty things with their hair or teach them how to be feminine (because God in His wisdom gave a mannish borderline-asexual woman three daughters) (and for that matter, it's not real socially cool for a boy to learn "man skills" from his mom, either).

You can limit your expectations so you don't exhaust yourself trying to jump a bar you were never meant to reach.


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rowan_nichol
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23 Sep 2017, 12:39 pm

Being diagnosed as an adult does have some benefits I have found. Depending on the laws and employers' policies it can swung a few adjustments to work to ease how work presses on the pressure points.

More important, I find it is like finding a missing chapter from the manual. It helps me be forewarned about situations which will take a bit more effort to manage.

There is not a huge amount out there for adults on the spectrum and I get the impression that if the presentation is not severe enough for residential care, then one is expected to wing it as best ibe can, and thus having those missing pages from the manual in the form of a diagnosis or assessment is one more tool to use.

I find it better than having been diagnosed as a child, because my Adult assessment was a process I was responsible for. I followed up suspicions, did research, looked for testimony from others on the spectrum and compared my experience, and went to assessment when the time felt right. It was, as a result, not my parents having a professional pin a label on me which other children could use for bullying or teasing, it was the professional repeating the researchers I had done and confirming that my suspicions had been sound.



Javier9119
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23 Sep 2017, 1:28 pm

Like some people already said, the value of having a formal diagnosis of Asperger’s is that it can be cathartic (that is, makes you feel cleansed as if things make sense). Also, now that you know you are Aspie, you can find a psychologist who knows how to help aspie people construct and derive algorithms to navigate the social landscape.

Mostly, having the label of aspie has been helpful to me personally-privately to allow me to accept that the strange social interactions I have are the result of something (non-standard processing) within me and not because I am inherently unlikeable or unworthy as a person.



IgA
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23 Sep 2017, 4:19 pm

Even if you were diagnosed early, you still will get people yelling & insulting you, because that is who they are -- it has nothing to do with you. They are quick to judge & yell rather than helping kids correct mistakes. Autism or not, all kids make social errors -- all adults make social errors. We all should be given the chance to correct our mistakes, but most of the time people don't want to be patient & kind. They love to judge harshly & feel superior. We all have our personal talents -- cultivate them & be proud of yourself. Be your own best friend. That will help you stop caring how others treat you (mostly). As you get older, as long as you practice being your own friend, what others think of you becomes less important. Being diagnosed is helpful, because you have to know what the actual problem is first before you can take steps to solving or mitigate it.



Dataunit
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25 Nov 2017, 3:37 am

Thanks for all your helpful replies. You're right - it's helped me make sense of several past events. Events where I screwed up and was harshly criticised and punished, even though I genuinely didn't know at the time that my words/actions were inappropriate. Knowing that I had a disability all along has helped me forgive myself.

Yesterday, a group of people were laughing loudly at something that I didn't find funny. I became distressed by the loud laughing and wanted to leave the room. Previously, I would've assumed that that's because I am a bore and a 'party pooper', but now I know it's my neurological condition. The diagnosis is stopping me from judging myself so stringently. I guess lowering the expectations I have for myself is one of the best things that's ever happened to quell my anxiety.


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25 Nov 2017, 4:36 pm

Dataunit wrote:
I guess lowering the expectations I have for myself is one of the best things that's ever happened to quell my anxiety.


I would not lower you expectations but get a different set of ones.


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25 Nov 2017, 5:10 pm

Yes, different expectations. Participate in social situations and just remember that if you make a mistake and don't a big deal out of it, most people will forget about it. But, you may find that you can actually do things better than normal people if you take the time to learn at your own pace. Sometimes this is a good thing. Sometimes this is bad because you may try to be perfect all the time. No sense in being perfect chopping up firewood. Your work is going to go up in smoke!



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25 Nov 2017, 5:16 pm

Dataunit wrote:
Hi everyone,

I'm in my late 20s and have only been officially diagnosed for three weeks (by an autism expert, not by an ordinary psychiatrist like I was years ago).

My reaction to the diagnosis is a mix of vindication and anger. On the one hand, I feel relieved that I didn't have my social difficulties due to rudeness, laziness, a lack of trying, a lack of morality/manners, etc but autism. I've been going through particular events in my mind where I lost friends due to my inappropriate actions/words that I genuinely hadn't realised were inappropriate. Instead of being quietly told that I shouldn't have done that, and given a chance to apologise, I was often badly punished and yelled at/insulted as if I had been purposely malicious. Naturally, I couldn't help my mistakes so I grew up feeling like I was just a failure. This led to many years of social anxiety and low self-esteem.

On the other hand, I'm angry that I had all those unfair accusations made about me and wasn't given extra help at school or at home. Maybe if my autism had been recognised, people would've cut me some slack.

My question is: what use is a diagnosis now, other than relief at knowing that I wasn't a bad child? Can a diagnosis still help an adult?
I don't understand why people act like being diagnosed while younger is like some magical light that shines on you and makes all the bad things go away. Of course everyone has there probelms and sometimes the "help" makes them worse sometimes it doesn't sometimes people do alright without supports other times they don't then get them. But in general a diagnosis isn't a magical thing tha makes all your problems solved. Now what a diagnosis can do for you; A. Give access to Medical services. B. Bring a better understanding of yourself and/or autism andor your problems and/or etc. etc. etc... C. Another thing it can do is help you get disability benefits. and lastly D. It can help you get support in school/at work. It's not all sunshines and daisies on the diagnosed <18 side either. They have problems aswell. Now you shouldn't use autism as an excuse for your problems. They are your problems autism is a part of you therefore it's your problem not autism's problem. Now I'm assuming since you are an adult and assumingly out on your own. I'd say that you can atleast function in your day to day life. that's a plus side now you shouldn't use it as an excuse of why you can't do something. You should still on. like ASAPartofme said its' more about having reasonable expectations not lowering them. Lowering them is a slippery slope you can fall down quite easily. Now you said you already were diagnosed so I'm not sure how it will work out for you being already diagnosed but all of that above applies. you seem to be better in terms of ableness than me. So I'm going to give you the benefitof the doubt and say that; also, there is not much that psychiatry (atleast in my experience) can do to help you not commit those mistakes those mistakes are going to be commited. There is always that period where you mkae a slip up and make a poor judgement discission that is normal. I can't even make friends in real life. So I've never lost any :razz:. I think you should try to make them understnad that you might slip up rom time to time and not always say the right things. So they hvae reasonable enough expectations. And won't blame you as much. s


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BTDT
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25 Nov 2017, 9:19 pm

A diagnosis will not help people understand you. Autism is too complicated for normal people to understand. Unless you happen to be exactly like some popular fictional character.

It is possible that things may have turned out worse had you had an early diagnosis. Some people get so much "help" that it becomes counterproductive. Too much effort to make you be "normal."



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25 Nov 2017, 9:56 pm

I am in the process of being diagnosed right now. :'(
I know exactly how you feel. My parents told me that they thought I was just a "problem child" that needed harsh discipline...

For me, a diagnosis is extremely confronting, upsetting but also a good thing in that I hope that I will finally be able to get the help I have needed all my life.


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