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ManWithoutaTribe
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Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

17 May 2021, 5:20 am

I received my diagnosis in March days before my 51st birthday.

That marks the culmination of an 18 year journey. My story is typical of many. I was alienated, awkward and strange growing up, a star student in college, but I could never make things work for me very well vocationally. I first heard of Asperger's when listening to a radio program in 2003, and it revolutionized my self-understanding. I recall ordering a book about the subject, and sitting in the corner booth at a pizza buffet and crying as I saw myself described on about every page.

Elated that I had finally found the key to who I was and an explanation for my peculiar collection of successes and failures. The therapist I had been seeing on and off shut me down on the topic, telling me that since I had a degree in philosophy, there was no possible way I could be autistic. I was to find this typical of most garden-variety psychological professionals for well over a decade--ignorant, incorrigible, and dismissive if you don't fit their autistic caricature 100 percent.

Almost by accident I came across a practice that handled adults, but they were in another city. I emailed their coordinator, and she put me in touch with a colleague in my area. This was in late 2019. Then COVID hit, and I waited another year for things to get to the point where they were making diagnoses again.

I am vindicated and validated, but I can never get those years back where I could have perhaps done more with my life, or gone in more promising directions, if I could have confidently stated the truth about my autism, with medical backing. Things could be much worse for me, but I'm stuck in a life that I never would have chosen if a diagnosis had happened much earlier.

My diagnosing doctor recommends DBT therapy, I don't know. If it's essentially "more effective masking," then I'm not interested. I really don't know what to do other than connect with the community and be as active as possible with ASAN and other groups.

Good to be back here, though.



Mountain Goat
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17 May 2021, 6:49 am

I would have avoided quite a few burnouts had I known, and I would have avoided being the underdog for so long. I just thought that life was supposed to be one where I was the lowest of the low even though I worked harder and had years more experience then the ones being promoted.

I would have just left and walked out and saved myself a lot of mental torture.

But at the same time, had I not gone through the desperate times and the burnouts which could be breakdowns, I would never have found out about autism. I prayed and God answered.
I still do not know for sure if I am on the spectrum or not though as I am waiting to be assessed. Maybe I am. Maybe I am not. All I can say is that autism has ticked so many boxes that nothing else has ticked. Nothing else makes sense. It is like the jigsaw now sees a picture and is waiting to be assessed for the final few pieces to fit.



Double Retired
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17 May 2021, 10:23 am

Congratulations on the understanding you now have. I was also happy because the diagnosis explained so much.

Welcome to WP! I think you will find some nice people here to visit with, too.


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aquafelix
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18 May 2021, 4:59 am

Welcome to the club, the membership is not that exclusive



AnonymousAnonymous
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19 May 2021, 12:47 am

Welcome to Wrong Planet! :D


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Jewel Robbins
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Joined: 19 May 2021
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Location: Worcester MA

19 May 2021, 11:18 am

Welcome. I was diagnosed with Autism as a child & was not accepted by parents or by the family that I married into, even though my husband is a wonderful Asperger's Syndrome man. It has been nearly impossible to find friends among neurotypical people because whenever I go to a social event I am always the underdog nobody at the party wants to speak to & that was been hurtful to me. I'm hoping that with this website I may meet people with similar experiences who can be more compassionate & caring than the "nerd and typical crowd."



longshot
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19 May 2021, 3:38 pm

Hello and welcome to Wrong Planet , I'm not the bellhop; however, feel free to search out the entirety of the site and know your within a safe, comfortable realm amongst other autistic persons.


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Mona Pereth
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29 May 2021, 1:09 am

ManWithoutaTribe wrote:
The therapist I had been seeing on and off shut me down on the topic, telling me that since I had a degree in philosophy, there was no possible way I could be autistic.

That's just ridiculous. On the contrary ....

Look again at Plato's dialogues and ask yourself: What kind of person would have this kind of conversation over dinner?

Hint: Not most people. Probably, not even most philosophy professors. Probably not most autistic people either, but certainly a significant minority thereof.

ManWithoutaTribe wrote:
I was to find this typical of most garden-variety psychological professionals for well over a decade--ignorant, incorrigible, and dismissive if you don't fit their autistic caricature 100 percent.

This seems to be commonplace, alas.

ManWithoutaTribe wrote:
My diagnosing doctor recommends DBT therapy, I don't know. If it's essentially "more effective masking," then I'm not interested.

It's not about masking, as far as I can tell.

I don't know a lot about DBT, but it seems to be targeted at people who have extreme mood swings, or extreme and rapid changes in their attitudes toward other people, or a tendency to be obsessed, to a harmful degree, with unpleasant thoughts. Here is one online resource about Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. DBT was originally invented by a person with Borderline Personality Disorder, for other people with BPD, but it can also be helpful to people who have some BPD-like issues though not full-blown BPD. Thus it can be helpful to some autistic people who have difficulties with emotional instability, anxiety, tendencies to see other people as either angels or devils, etc.

If emotional regulation is not a big problem for you, then you might be better off with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) -- but only with a therapist who is knowledgeable about adult autism. With a therapist who doesn't understand adult autism, CBT can be worse than useless. With an autistic client, the aim of CBT should be to identify both your strengths and weaknesses and find creative ways to use your strengths to work around your weaknesses.

I'm currently seeing a therapist at a CBT-based practice.

In any case, I think it's important to distinguish between masking and what I call autistic-friendly social skills, as distinct from blending in with NT's.

ManWithoutaTribe wrote:
I really don't know what to do other than connect with the community and be as active as possible with ASAN and other groups.

Alas it appears that the Autism Society of North Carolina does not currently have any support groups for adults on the autism spectrum. Looking at ASAN's list of affiliate groups, it appears that their only affiliate group in North Carolina is a student group in Greenville. Have you tried looking around on Meetup.com?


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Double Retired
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29 May 2021, 11:04 am

ManWithoutaTribe and Jewel Robbins: I hope you both find you like WP!


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When diagnosed I bought champagne!
I finally knew why people were strange.