OLDER ASPIES (Over 40, More Like Over 50) Do you think?...

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Mountain Goat
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01 Oct 2020, 4:50 am

ezbzbfcg2 wrote:
Mountain Goat wrote:
Much worse because if I am on the spectrum, I hit burnout several times as I am older which I do not remember hitting in my youth.


@Mountain Goat:

Good point about Aspie burnout happening at various stages throughout life. Indeed, the mental and physical toll this takes on a person inevitably adds to the aging process. I was hoping maybe such burnout would become less common or disappear with age, but it's not necessarily so.


I never knew what they were called until recently when I found out via this site. I joined to find out what I now know are called shutdowns.

But the burnouts I have been through since about 2007 though I may have had a smaller one around 1996... But I noticed that each time I went through it, it hit me harder then the one before and it really took me a couple of years to recover from it.
Last one that hit me was the last time I worked back in spetember last year. It hit me hard. I was in a mess! I am still trying to recover and am no where near back to where I was before yet, and before I was still recovering from the one before that and the one before that! This time it scared me because it really hit me in a physical way! I realized that if I had another burnout I would loose my ability to walk and drive which frightened me quite a bit!


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ezbzbfcg2
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01 Oct 2020, 4:52 am

Steve1963 wrote:
I was diagnosed at age 55. My social skills began to disappear when I stopped drinking/drugging. I guess that's not a big surprise.


Did you quit drugs and alcohol before or after the diagnosis? If it was before, then I can see why the social problems would set in or become more noticeable/less tolearable and you'd eventually end up looking for answers (leading to the diagnosis).

I know some people here don't drink or use drugs, but I suspect a lot of *undiagnosed* Aspies do so... either as a means of escape or as a coping mechanism.

Did the drugs and alcohol help you cope, or was it mainly a numbing agent? I myself admit I drink more beer than is healthy. I try to drink responsibly (on my night off, with no responsibilities / no need to drive the next day). For me, it's partly escape, but mostly a numbing agent. One of life's vices that make things more relaxing and the world less stressful. Again, I know it will catch up with me in time. Maybe this is another factor, as many Aspies use/abuse substances in their younger years as a coping agent and pay for it later.

Hope your diagnosis has shed some light on your situation.



ezbzbfcg2
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01 Oct 2020, 4:56 am

Mountain Goat wrote:

I never knew what they were called until recently when I found out via this site. I joined to find out what I now know are called shutdowns.

But the burnouts I have been through since about 2007 though I may have had a smaller one around 1996... But I noticed that each time I went through it, it hit me harder then the one before and it really took me a couple of years to recover from it.
Last one that hit me was the last time I worked back in spetember last year. It hit me hard. I was in a mess! I am still trying to recover and am no where near back to where I was before yet, and before I was still recovering from the one before that and the one before that! This time it scared me because it really hit me in a physical way! I realized that if I had another burnout I would loose my ability to walk and drive which frightened me quite a bit!


So it seems that burnouts and shutdowns get harder with age. Take a greater toll. And it's harder to bounce-back physically and mentally the older one gets. And they don't go away, they can still happen in later years.

Very elucidating response. Hang in there.



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01 Oct 2020, 4:56 am

ezbzbfcg2 wrote:
Steve1963 wrote:
I was diagnosed at age 55. My social skills began to disappear when I stopped drinking/drugging. I guess that's not a big surprise.


Did you quit drugs and alcohol before or after the diagnosis? If it was before, then I can see why the social problems would set in or become more noticeable/less tolearable and you'd eventually end up looking for answers (leading to the diagnosis).

I know some people here don't drink or use drugs, but I suspect a lot of *undiagnosed* Aspies do so... either as a means of escape or as a coping mechanism.

Did the drugs and alcohol help you cope, or was it mainly a numbing agent? I myself admit I drink more beer than is healthy. I try to drink responsibly (on my night off, with no responsibilities / no need to drive the next day). For me, it's partly escape, but mostly a numbing agent. One of life's vices that make things more relaxing and the world less stressful. Again, I know it will catch up with me in time. Maybe this is another factor, as many Aspies use/abuse substances in their younger years as a coping agent and pay for it later.

Hope your diagnosis has shed some light on your situation.
I quit drinking/drugging about 20 years before my diagnosis. Apparently I used them as a numbing agent as well as an escape from the realities of the world. I don't only have an aspie diagnosis, but also bipolar with some disassociation thrown in, as well as some social issues.



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01 Oct 2020, 5:34 am

ezbzbfcg2 wrote:
Dear_one wrote:
The AS stuff has been quite constant; getting a DX at age 56 just made sense of my life. The accumulated PTSD from trying to interact with NTs before I really understood their limitations has gotten worse.

@Dear_one:

What are these limitations of NTs (in a nutshell) that you've come to understand? Are you saying ignorance was bliss? Now that you've realized these limitations of NTs, are you saying accepting that they exist and will never change has caused more PTSD than when you were younger and less aware?


Until quite recently, I assumed that IQ and Emotional Intelligence were not independent. I thought that socially adept people must be just shirking work when they claimed to have trouble with math and engineering. I was always expecting too much of them intellectually, and they expected too much of me emotionally, assuming that if I was smart, I'd be able to do everything they do. Ignorance wasn't bliss - it kept getting me into trouble. I only figured it out after PTSD had forced me into retirement.



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01 Oct 2020, 6:09 am

Dear_one wrote:
Until quite recently, I assumed that IQ and Emotional Intelligence were not independent. I thought that socially adept people must be just shirking work when they claimed to have trouble with math and engineering. I was always expecting too much of them intellectually, and they expected too much of me emotionally, assuming that if I was smart, I'd be able to do everything they do. Ignorance wasn't bliss - it kept getting me into trouble. I only figured it out after PTSD had forced me into retirement.


Okay, seems you were more rational, they were more emotional. If they seemed intelligent socially, their lack of rationale must have seemed like laziness. Got it.

What I would ask you is this: Did you not realize you were less socially adept than these people? Or did you think that since they were more socially adept (and socially smarter) than you, then their intelligence would carryover and overlap in areas of rationale (which, in reality, it didn't)?

Why has your PTSD gotten worse since retiring? If you now see the separation of IQ and emotional/social intelligence, and are no longer in the rat race, wouldn't there be less trauma?



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01 Oct 2020, 6:24 am

ezbzbfcg2 wrote:
Dear_one wrote:
Until quite recently, I assumed that IQ and Emotional Intelligence were not independent. I thought that socially adept people must be just shirking work when they claimed to have trouble with math and engineering. I was always expecting too much of them intellectually, and they expected too much of me emotionally, assuming that if I was smart, I'd be able to do everything they do. Ignorance wasn't bliss - it kept getting me into trouble. I only figured it out after PTSD had forced me into retirement.


Okay, seems you were more rational, they were more emotional. If they seemed intelligent socially, their lack of rationale must have seemed like laziness. Got it.

What I would ask you is this: Did you not realize you were less socially adept than these people? Or did you think that since they were more socially adept (and socially smarter) than you, then their intelligence would carryover and overlap in areas of rationale (which, in reality, it didn't)?

Why has your PTSD gotten worse since retiring? If you now see the separation of IQ and emotional/social intelligence, and are no longer in the rat race, wouldn't there be less trauma?


I knew that I wasn't in the popular crowd, but I always had some friends who at least tolerated me, and sometimes a fellow misfit I'd spend more time with. I had technical skills that people didn't want to chase away, but it took me far too long to realize that irrationality was the rule, not the exception. I gave people the benefit of the doubt until they had none left.

The last trauma was very severe, and sent me into isolation. The new location still has traumatizing elements that I am still very sensitive to - fading about 5% per year.



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01 Oct 2020, 7:20 am

ezbzbfcg2 wrote:
...your Autism has "improved" with age, gotten worse, or stayed the same? Has a diagnosis had any bearing on improvement OR regression?

I came across an article that seems to suggest Autistic hindrances actually get worse with age, with or without an earlier diagnosis. If you're an older Aspie, what say you? And do you feel worse off compared to NTs your age in regards to the natural aging process (like worse cognitive, psychological, physical problems than your peers)?

Here's the article:
https://www.spectrumnews.org/opinion/au ... n-old-age/


Has my autism improved, gotten worse, stayed the same . Yes. :lol: I was more severe as a young child than I was as a teen. In my twenties I was less impacted than I was I never my teens. Then I had a major burnout episode and my symptoms are worse now than perhaps ever before. I haven't, and likely will never fully recover from that. There is more to it, but that is the short of it. But here's the thing...

My dx helped me tremendously. I was finally able to learn coping skills that I didn't know I needed. I thought everyone was like me. I thought my experiences were typical. Now that I know better I can pace myself and take care of myself in ways that benefit me. Because if that, I feel better now than I ever have in my life. Yeah, my symptoms were not as problematic in my twenties, but my life was a mess and I was a wreck. I feel so much better now despite my symptoms being worse, because I finally know how to cope.

Do I feel worse off than my peers? I'm not sure. Some are doing better for sure, some are likely worse. I'm probably better off physically, I've seen many people in my smallish town I knew from school, who Didn't age well. Psychologically, eh, it's a mixed bag. A little of both better and worse off. Cognitively, I'm probably worse off because of memory issues and executive functioning problems. The things I blank out, forget and neglect can be problematic. My mother once told me god help me if I'm this bad now, wait until I'm her age (she is 79). :lol: But at least I have a sense of humor about it.



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01 Oct 2020, 7:50 am

Has my Autism (actually PDD/NOS+PTSD) improved?  I don't think so; but I don't think it has become worse, either.  What has improved (especially since my diagnosis) is my understanding of myself and the means by which I cope with the world and the people in it.


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Mountain Goat
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01 Oct 2020, 8:10 am

ezbzbfcg2 wrote:
Mountain Goat wrote:

I never knew what they were called until recently when I found out via this site. I joined to find out what I now know are called shutdowns.

But the burnouts I have been through since about 2007 though I may have had a smaller one around 1996... But I noticed that each time I went through it, it hit me harder then the one before and it really took me a couple of years to recover from it.
Last one that hit me was the last time I worked back in spetember last year. It hit me hard. I was in a mess! I am still trying to recover and am no where near back to where I was before yet, and before I was still recovering from the one before that and the one before that! This time it scared me because it really hit me in a physical way! I realized that if I had another burnout I would loose my ability to walk and drive which frightened me quite a bit!


So it seems that burnouts and shutdowns get harder with age. Take a greater toll. And it's harder to bounce-back physically and mentally the older one gets. And they don't go away, they can still happen in later years.

Very elucidating response. Hang in there.


One thing that has got better now that I understand them better is that now I know what the shutdowns are along with what causes them and a better method of preventing them, I am less likely to have full out shutdowns then I was. Partial shutdowns which I experience before they go to the extreme of a full shutdown I tend to be more vunerable to getting. (If it wasn't for this site and a certain member who gave me the shutdown link (Below what I write) and many others who have shared their experiences, so I have realized what it is that are triggers... Prior to this soo much sas a mystery. I just did not know what was effecting me.
You see, somehow I am not fully in touch with my feelings. Example is anxiety. I can have anxiety and not even know I have it until either it gets extreme and my senses are screaming at me or it comes out in physical ways. Example. I could make myself anxious on purpose (I did not know what it was called (Anxiety)) and within five to fidteen minutes I could give myself the runs so fast that whole green leaves and whatever else I had been eating would pass straight through undigested. I told one of my past doctors this and he told me off for saying it as he said it was impossible, but I knew it is possible as I have done it on many past occasions and I have completely worn holes through underpants and trousers through stomach acid in a matter of less then two weeks).
What I am trying to say is that the not knowing or understanding because somehow I think I am missing some sort of connection between whatever I am feeling and what it actually means... Where I feel things, but what they mean... Here is a thought. As feelings other people have. Can it be that they have a feeling which is unusual so they learn what it is, and yet could it be that I normally have a feeling so it does not seem unusual? I don't know! I can't work it out.

Recently though I have felt (Since the last shutdown onwards) fragile on and off. I don't know what it means but I know it makes me into an almost dissabled sort of state but not quite. I am wondering if I may have had some sort of breakdown rather then a burnout? I tend to get it now and then when the stresses get too much ans I can't cope with things...

I can describe partial and full shutdowns if you like. When I hit burnout when I was working I was working while experiencing strings of partial shutdowns one after the next after the next and was doing all I can to fight off full shutdowns during the whole time. I was only working 4 to 5 hour shifts around 3 days a week so every other day was a day off. I knew the job back to front. I have never had strings of partial shutdowns quite like that before. Yet outwardly no one knew! Full shutdowns are noticeable as I am not able to use my body and my body is all floppy. I can't move and I have lost my eyesight and hear loud tinitus so I hardly know what happens to my hearing while this happens!
But anyway... Sorry. Writing too much about self. My Mum sometimes tells me off in conversations... She says "You are supposed to let other people talk about what they want to talk about" and I accidently said "But Mum. I don't know anything about horses?" which was embarissing because I was standing next to and chatting to my neighbour, and she happens to be a specialist brain surgeon. Oops! I don't know what she thinks of me! HAHAHAHA!


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kraftiekortie
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01 Oct 2020, 8:12 am

Yeah....I've been known to think sometimes :P

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01 Oct 2020, 8:30 am

ezbzbfcg2 wrote:
Or, rather, your social failures have decreased because you've restricted your social interactions. You'd still have those problems, but you're not in the lion's den as often, so the ill effects aren't as prevalent as in your younger years. Not a criticism, as I don't blame you at all. If you have the ability to totally withdraw and still be able to survive and live in peace and relative comfort, it may very well be worth it. Apparently, the out-of-sync nature of Asperger's remains throughout life.

I wonder, though, if the researchers who wrote the article were biased. To them, such social withdrawl from an older Aspie is seen as a NEGATIVE, (because, from an NT perspective, social withdrawal = BAD). So, they say the older Aspie is doing worse for being withdrawn, when it may be saving the Aspie's life. Maybe the ability to withdrawal socially is a POSITIVE and a survival mechanism for an Aspie, and we'd fall apart sooner if it was necessary to still be as socially involved in our later years.

I was born in 1954. I retired in 2011, at age 56 :D. I was diagnosed ASD-Level 1 (Mild) in 2019, age 64. :!:

I was much, much happier after retirement. I shed the "social" interactions from a job I did not enjoy much and gained a lot more control of my life. Since I am a very strong Introvert it is unclear whether there was a social withdrawal because I had never been very social.

From what I've read the autism might be a constant but apparent severity might change. That makes sense; when I have more control of my life I try to make an autistic (me) happy...that might look like I am more autistic.

And of course, more years of practicing my coping techniques should improve them...that might look like I am less autistic. (Example: I have developed dry wit to "lubricate" social interactions because I am predictably not very good at them; if I can get someone to smile they seem to mind my awkwardness less. I believe decades of trial and error has improved my skill at this.)

So, I think my autism possibly hasn't changed with the years but I think I have adjusted my interactions with the world so that I am happier. And whether I look more or less autistic might vary depending upon what you look at.

There is an obvious concern, however. We have no children so if I get really, really good at isolating myself from the world I might have problems as I get older and perhaps less self-sufficient. :?


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kraftiekortie
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01 Oct 2020, 8:33 am

I'll be "singly" retired when I turn 62. Though I'll probably work at least a part-time job after that.

Retired at 56---excellent! I'm close to 60, and not retired yet.

I feel like I would be happy taking a trip around the world.



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01 Oct 2020, 8:43 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
I'll be "singly" retired when I turn 62. Though I'll probably work at least a part-time job after that.

Retired at 56---excellent! I'm close to 60, and not retired yet.

I feel like I would be happy taking a trip around the world.


Let me know when you go round the world. I can wave as you go past. :)


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01 Oct 2020, 8:45 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
Retired at 56

It is possible I did it by squishing more unhappiness into my life before 56...which makes retirement feel even better!

It sounds like you are close enough that you might be developing a detectable "attitude" at work. I'm pretty sure I did, and I'm really sure I didn't care!! :wink:


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kraftiekortie
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01 Oct 2020, 9:01 am

I am fortunate in that I work alone most of the time 8)