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T.J.
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18 Jul 2016, 5:17 am

Hello everyone,

I'm new here and I couldn't find the information I was looking for so I decided to post something. I am 24 years old and recently I have been diagnosed with High Function Autism/Asperger's (also I am Dutch so my apologies if my grammar is off at times, I couldn't find any decent Dutch fora). I went to therapy a while back because I got burnout after going to University. I did manage to get a bachelor degree in Physics, thankfully. Now it's 2 years later and I am still experiencing the effects of burnout, although they are diminished. My therapist explained to me that it is quite common for people with HF autism who have been undiagnosed to become burned out. She said that not knowing that you have autism means that you will try your best to seem neurotypical. However to maintain a neurotypical personality I have to rely mostly on cognition. This is why social interactions seem to rely on anxiety: I need to keep my mind in overdrive to remain fluent in neurotypical behaviour. She said that the underlying fear of people/not being neurotypical has caused me to continually observe how people behave, find the "rules" and the rythms of social interaction and apply them. Lastly she said that it is probably a good idea to stop doing all that in general, only when it serves a purpose, and find better strategies to cope with an emphasis on "is it comfortable for me?". Trying to force my neurology into something that it is not is simply too much.

Although I only know all of this since recently I have already seen a lot of change within myself. I stopped trying to force my brain to work harder and I have been trying to learn as much as I can about autism. Oddly enough after everything I have been through these past 2 years (becoming burnout and not being able to speak or read, my mother passing away, my father not speaking to me anymore) I am finally happy. I don't recall having ever been happy. I always felt like I was wrong or broken somehow but now I understand that I am not (even though autism is referred to as a disability). I have started doing my "odd behaviours" that I did as a child again, I found out that that is called stimming, and it makes me feel a lot better.

Also I have let go of a lot of the things I did to organize all the information coming in. I used to keep track of everything around me, putting them into my "model of the world" so I can predict it and have some oversight. But that is too tiring, especially in a place with a lot of people. As a result of letting that go sensations come in as they used to: unfiltered. That is one part amazing: music, sounds, images etc are so overwhelmingly beautiful again. I can totally lose myself in anything. But the other part is not so amazing: Bright light, certain noises, textures and all that is sometimes so painfully loud/bright that I just have to it in a dark room for a while (and stim). Also sensory overload which results in a meltdown sometimes has become much more overwhelming as well...thankfully I am very good at keeping meltdown under control. So basically everything has become magnified and hits closer to home.

My behavior has also changed. Well, I have stopped the "neurotypical dance" and I am finding out that underneath that is who I have always been. So why am I writing all of this? Because, like I said, I have let go of my previous coping mechanisms, most of them anyway. The result of which is liberating but also that I now need to find new ones. As of now I don't really know how to function without my previous (and harmful) strategies and I feel like a lost child sometimes, which worries me. Especially when it comes to thinking about things and planning I tend to fall back on some of my previous strategies.

So I have some questions:
-Has anyone gone through something like this before?

If so:

-What was it like for you?
-What did you struggle with and how did you resolve it?
-What were the strategies you had and what did you replace them with?

And for people who have known about their autism since childhood and had had training/therapy/help:

-Can you tell me what you think I should do?
-How do you cope when the "slow part" of your brain isn't willing to speed up/how do you work with it*?

*I have always felt as if one part of my brain is extremely fast and the other is extremely slow. Like I am stupid and a genius at the same time. Normally I would just push away the other part (the slow part) or force it to work with me but that isn't healthy so I need a new way of doing things.

And a more general question to finish:

-What are your thoughts on the above?

I would like to thank all of you in advance. I am so very happy to have found out about this, in hindsight it makes so much sense, but now I need to learn what I should have learned when I was a child and it is a bit confusing and I worry about it. Once again: my apologies if my grammar is off. I look forward to reading your replies.

Kind regards,

T.J.



teksla
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18 Jul 2016, 8:00 am

I was in a similar situation, well except that i was 12 years old.
All i can say is let yourself act the way you want. Stim if you want, although make sure to not change yourself in a negative way. Do research into autism and read about interesting stuff and you'll probably be able to regain energy to do more stuff


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ASPartOfMe
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18 Jul 2016, 12:13 pm

I say congratulations on finding a therapist who really understands Adult Autism.


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Jensen
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18 Jul 2016, 2:01 pm

First: Congratulations. You found an unusually good therapist.
Yes, I do recognize it. It is three years ago for me now.

I remember that "NT-dance", which never quite worked out anyway, because of my naívite, the strain, the categorizing, copying. The exhaustion, that followed the dx lasted some months. It´s normal, when you let go after so many years.

I struggled, and still do, with communication, inflexibility and understanding of others - reading intentions and microexpressions etc.
I had trouble "being present" in the company of others. That was fear.
I´ve also discovered, that I look at different parts of the face and only have very short eye contact.
Both my loving parents were nuts about deep, long eye contact. AAAARGH!

Resolved? Acceptance...and I do try to fit in also, but not in panic like before, because I know, I have this handicap/difference. The old fear still flares up now and then, but nothing like before.

Sensory overload/sensitivity? The same. Some days worse, some days less.
Like you, I allow myself to stim when alone. Otherwise very discrete, if I must.
So, Yes. My behavior has changed, but not radically.

Stupid and genius at the same time? I don´t think in brain halves, but in logical and emotional processes.
Sometimes I wonder, how people can be so illogical , that they cannot see simple, practical solutions right under their noses :duh: ....
and sometimes I wonder, how people seem to maintain their full functional wits under emotional stress. :hail:

When you are diagnosed as adult, it will take some time to find your true self.


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