I was just formally diagnosed with ASD-- and I'm lost. Help!

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N.G.Water
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31 May 2020, 10:31 am

Hi.
I was just (well I received my formal diagnoses on April 30th of this year) with Autism Spectrum Disorder and I am sort of lost as what to do next. I suppose for context- it would help you all to know I'm 24, female, a noble gas geochemist, own my own company, am employed full time, and would describe myself as rather independent. (Most of my friends describe me as fiercely independent and stubborn).

I went to a neuropsychologist (& her team) to get a full eval of... well everything mostly because I suspected PTSD due to a childhood trauma and/or anxiety and I wanted to sort it all out before I seriously considered gunning for a PHD program in about a year. While the ASD isn't a complete shock-- I have researched it in the past and it lines up neatly with me, I always assumed I could fool the world a bit better.

It's been a month, but I'm still not really dealing that well. My question for you all-- the experts in this new world for me is-- what's next? What do I do? Is there an informal autism starter kit of products you can recommend to me? I have always had a lot of trouble with my senses- sound and light especially-- and I figured you all must have tons of work arounds for how unnecessarily loud and bright the world is.

My current/past adaptions:
I have always used Bose noise canceling headphones and I have for the last couple of years slept with a weighted blanket. As for staying on track, I keep a written planner that's color coded, and while at work, so I don't have to look at people in the eyes, I take notes even though I don't need them because its a great line of defense to not let my brain wonder off and people always assume you are paying attention if you are taking notes. I have a label maker and label everything so people stop taking my stuff, and I keep checklists. When I get worried, I make a new checklist about what steps to fix what I am worried about. (That doesn't always work for the big worries. It only really works for the small stuff.) But that's about it.

Any help/ advice/ suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am really blundering around blind-- and the whole SARS-COVID-2 thing means that I can't work in my lab- so the last three months have been really hard.

Thank you.



starkid
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31 May 2020, 2:34 pm

There isn't anything in particular that you have to do after getting diagnosed. Just keep in mind to look up autism-specific solutions the next time you have a problem (which you are doing with this thread).

Do you actually have any sensory needs? If you are doing fine and can't think of any specific problems...there's nothing to do really. There are plenty of websites and posts here to browse.



BTDT
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31 May 2020, 4:23 pm

I think this is "normal." Or as normal as it gets for someone with autism who is also intelligent.

You will need time to process what you have just been told.
Autism varies so much from person to person that you need to figure out how it applies to you.

Good luck!



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31 May 2020, 5:42 pm

Hi and welcome :)! It’s still early days for you, having not been long diagnosed, so go easy on yourself. Give yourself time to process and come to terms with it all. Hopefully, it will help you to understand your past alot better, and over time, it will hopefully become second nature for you, to take it in your stride, all that is necessary for you to live comfortably in this world. To destress after work, headphones, music, a long bath, a swim whatever it is that works best for you. Ensuring you have breaks from work as needed, so as not to burn out. Even though some of us might love our jobs, and be totally in our element in what we do, we can push ourselves beyond our limits without realising it, and suffer from burnout. We can wind up with secondary conditions if we’re not careful, such as OCD, and we need to learn to recognise our limits.

Protecting ourselves from the over-stimulation and stress from “people”, and learning to politely decline invites for self-preservation can be crucial. That’s not to say we shouldn’t attempt to stretch the comfort zone from time to time, to broaden our horizons, but basically no-one but you, can truly understand your experience of life and of others and the effects that these have upon you. Life can be a beautiful thing, if you manage it in a way that respects who and what you are, and with acceptance and a positive attitude. Anything worthwhile in life is never easy. If you find you have anxiety or depression that impacts your life in such a way that you cannot enjoy it or feel happiness, I hope you seek assistance. There are alot of positives, from my perspective of being on the spectrum. Since, you’ve not long been diagnosed, you may find yourself researching it to the hilt, and going through quite a range of emotions. You’re not alone. Life can be pretty good, but if you have any problems, we’re here for you. xx



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31 May 2020, 6:01 pm

Hello and welcome to Wrong Planet. I am glad you are here.

You are doing a great job finding your own work arounds. Good for you.

I didn’t realize I was autistic until a couple of years ago. I have a doctorate and also run my own business. You can do it.

Learning I’m autistic has given me a platform for making sense of the world. Over time I suspect you will also make further progress with this information.


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ASPartOfMe
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31 May 2020, 8:01 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet.

Research ASD with the same tenacity as you do chemistry. Research Asperger's also. Asperger's was formally a diagnosis and is still used to describe Autistic people who have high intelligence and can function decently although with difficulty in society.

Linked below is some reading material to designed to help Autistic females
Books of Special Interest to Women


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B19
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31 May 2020, 9:19 pm

Welcome to the forums and your new journey forwards. A book you may find very helpful at this stage:

"an Adult with an Autism Diagnosis - A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed" by gillan drew (also on the spectrum).

He has a gift for writing in an extremely clear and accessible way, with great empathy and understanding.

Best wishes for your adjustment journey.



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31 May 2020, 9:42 pm

I'm exactly twice your age and am figuring this out myself. I just got myself hi-fi earplugs (reduces decibels but keeps integrity of speech) and polarized sunglasses --- and rose-colored sunglasses, which really do make me happy. I also bought a few fidget toys and those have been helpful --- I like the gears that go fit around a finger, and the infinity cube. It's a nice alternative to doodling, hair twisting and ear rubbing.

Most importantly I am learning to assert myself rather than be ashamed. If you own your own company you may have already figured that one out, at least privately.


These past couple months I've dived into my personal Special Interest (NTs would say hobby) to relax. It kind of bugs me b/c I am a Type A and could use those HOURS and HOURS of time to write a book or do some awesome things, but an ASD woman's got to deal somehow.

Welcome to WP!



N.G.Water
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06 Jun 2020, 10:35 pm

Thanks everyone for your advice. I really appreciate it.

I think one day in the distant future I will have figure this out a bit more; but for now I suppose I'll have to somehow be comfortable in the fogginess of the unknown.



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07 Jun 2020, 7:24 pm

I spend hours in the yard working on my flowering shrubs. Everyone walks by my house to see what is blooming!
I have a yellow Bartzella peony that is in bloom right now.



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09 Jun 2020, 1:35 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet! :)

I was diagnosed with AS when I was 13 and at first I had no idea what my specialist was talking about in part because I was recovering from the loss of my father (who passed one year before), raging hormones, and of course bullies who saw me and a few fellow misfits as easy targets for intimidation.

Yes, give yourself time to accept this diagnosis as a part of you and not as a burden. In fact, there will be a point where you may be able to be open up to people about you being on the spectrum.


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09 Jun 2020, 2:40 pm

A good starting point are some of the Tony Attwood videos on youtube. Often the emphasis is on children and one has to frequently extrapolate effects to present and even future circumstances. As there are varieties of how the neurological variance called Aspergers (now ASD) present, it would be difficult to compile a "now what do I do" package that would work for everyone.

You might want inventory your weaknesses and strengths. For example, if you find comfort in absorbing yourself in work, you might want to question if this is where you will want to spend the rest of your life. If you have a desire for a family and children, you might find that time passes quickly and can shut the door on options you would like to have exercised.

Finding a routine that is comfortable can be difficult enough and may lead us to stick with something even if it shuts us out of other opportunities. Selectively confronting weaknesses may allow the development of skills so that new routines can be experimented with. You will have to take on the role of experimenter and make assessments of what your personal goals are and the effort and risk associated with attempting them.



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09 Jun 2020, 3:19 pm

BTDT wrote:
I spend hours in the yard working on my flowering shrubs. Everyone walks by my house to see what is blooming!
I have a yellow Bartzella peony that is in bloom right now.


little off topic but i have never seen a yellow peonie ,, am amazed ,
i have pink white and a deep royal red just came up this year got the first time. Congrats on your yellow one . :D


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BTDT
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09 Jun 2020, 3:25 pm

Bartzella is an intersectional peony, a cross between a herbaceous peony and a tree peony. I also have High Noon, a yellow tree peony. The pink Sarah Bernhardt just opened up today. I bought it from Aldi's for 99 cents. To be honest I bought four from Aldi's for 99 cents so I suppose it really cost me $4. But I learned a lot about growing peonies from just one little eye. The other three haven't died. But they are only three inches tall. I also have a second Bartzella that I grew from a piece of root while moving it from a temporary location. It has a big bud on it.



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09 Jun 2020, 4:34 pm

Welcome. Even though you've just recently received a diagnosis, you've been autistic all of your life. Your resourcefulness and your independent spirit are evident in the coping strategies that you've developed; you just didn't know why you needed the coping strategies. Now you do.

You're already keenly aware of your sensitivities which is a good step (self-awareness).

Research and beware of "autistic burnout". Self-care is extremely important over the long term. The challenges of your life will tend to have a gradual deleterious cumulative effect on you as you get older if you don't take care of yourself now.

Without healthy self-care you're likely to get to a point similar to a nervous breakdown where you feel you just can't do it any longer (e.g. work/career/running your business). Even if at that point you correct the situation, you're likely to retain trauma from the period of time that you were not caring for yourself.

I'm living that now. I'm a bit older than twice your age. I also ran a business and by necessity tried to do everything from administration, HR, accounting, sales, CEO functions, property management, etc. I was not cut out for some of those things. I didn't take a vacation for 13 years straight in spite of the justifiable objection of my family. Each year it wore on me to the point it greatly affected my mental and even my physical health. It nearly ruined me until I could barely function.

I was able to sell the business and take a job with much less responsibility and a four day work week and now permanent work from home status. That's been much better for my stress and anxiety level, but the cumulative trauma of those twenty years where I ignored my needs might never go away.

Take care of yourself!



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09 Jun 2020, 6:32 pm

wow magna had no idea on your history ,, very impressive. And am personally appreciative to hear of your realizations of the side effects of your history upon your own well being . It was very
enlightening ...... Realizing my own history now makes much more sense. Thank You very much for sharing that information..... The commonalities , between what you Have described regarding effects on your health and psyche , and length of time regarding recovery or degrees of non recovery .
Had spent great deal of time feeling it was just all me . Had noone to discuss or compare these experiences with . just btw , TY for being on here .


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