Newly diagnosed (23f) having difficulties accepting myself

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StealthMode
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06 Dec 2022, 1:59 am

Hi everyone,
I'm a newly diagnosed autistic female. I am 23 years old and I live in Canada. At first, this was mostly a relief and I was happy that I finally connected the missing pieces of things that didn't make sense in my life. I started off being proud of myself but now, as I go through my part-time job in retail and try to find my place in the world, I realize how disadvantaged I really am compared to my neurotypical coworkers and I'm having a hard time with that concept. Even when people know of my diagnosis and I explain it to them, they still expect me to act, behave and perform like a neurotypical woman would and refuse to provide me with accommodations or opportunities because of it.

For example, I explained to my boss today how I find working cash really exhausting and feel that I would be much better working stock but he said something along the lines of "if you have a hard time working cash, why do you think you'll have an easier time working stock?". He then compared me to my neurotypical coworkers and commented on how he doesn't believe I would do well because I don't "take as much initiative" as them.

I pointed out that it's hard to take initiative when I'm exhausted. It's conversations like this that really derail my confidence in myself. What's the point of saying you're an accepting workplace when you don't accept disabled people? when you think they're not as good for business? On top of all that, another coworker of mine who just started working with us who is more "obviously on the spectrum" has his behavioural interventionist with him and he's working stock/in the back. It just reminded me of what the ASD specialist said about people who hide their autism better and get diagnosed later- that research shows that they have a harder time than those who are more "visibly" autistic because the world doesn't expect neurotypical standards from those individuals while they do expect neurotypical standards from us. How is it that when I literally confront my boss about this, my boss who has a son on the spectrum, he still seems to want to treat me like I'm neurotypical?



Tim_Tex
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06 Dec 2022, 9:06 am

Welcome to WP!



Double Retired
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06 Dec 2022, 10:49 am

Welcome to WP and congratulations on the diagnosis. It is wonderful to understand your life better.

Regarding work? I dunno. I was not diagnosed until shortly before my 65th birthday. However, I managed to retire at age 56...which means I'd muddled my way through my work career suspecting a difference between me and the other folk but not knowing what it was, or even if I was just imagining things.

And, yes, I was unhappy the vast majority of my work life. (Throw in a part-time side job for more than a decade to add to the discomfort.) From where I am now, retired, I'm glad I persevered. Having adequate money during my work years was convenient and now having adequate money without working is wonderful!

You are correct that having the correct job is important to being content. And I understand that looking for a new job would be incredibly unpleasant...I pretty much avoided it by working in large organizations that mostly moved me around (within the organization) to meet their needs. If you do decide to hunt for another job I suspect you should be sure you have it before you ditch the current job, if possible. Having adequate money is convenient.

But keep your eye on the long-term goals. Adequate money and retirement with adequate money, and necessary benefits before and after retirement. Unfortunately, the unhappiness is sort of an investment...and I agree it is unpleasant...most of my work career I was unhappy, and sometimes really unhappy.


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06 Dec 2022, 11:31 am

Yes, I think you are right that you would perform better in a back room working stock. But I think you are taking the wrong approach. Using your spectrum as a deficit to change how you think people should treat you, in my humble opinion, is the wrong approach.

You have a skill set and they are different than most NTs. If you position yourself into your skill set, you will produce better and be more of an asset to your company. You will perform better. So where does that leave you?

I have worked many jobs in my lifetime. I enjoy work. Some jobs suit me better and I excel. Other jobs, no so much. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Chose a job that utilizes your strength and avoid jobs that focus on your weaknesses.

Find your niche in life.

When I looked up the word niche on the internet it said:

people struggling to find something need to improve their looking skills. They need to do more experiments with their lives and more passionately invest in those experiments. Far too many people dream about a different situation but take little action, and the actions they do take are by half, with one foot always on the ground. They never realize it’s their lack of commitment that causes the emptiness that disappoints them. But of course there are no guarantees: it’s always possible you’re looking for something that doesn’t exist. The rub of being a seeker is the acceptance that not everything can be found.


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06 Dec 2022, 4:23 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet! :)


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07 Dec 2022, 7:45 am

diagnosis is like culture shock. suddenly everything we thought we knew and understood is different. Its a lot to sort, stressful and emotional. do your best self care as you work through all of it. welcome and glad you are with us!


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StealthMode
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08 Dec 2022, 2:48 pm

Double Retired wrote:
Welcome to WP and congratulations on the diagnosis. It is wonderful to understand your life better.

Regarding work? I dunno. I was not diagnosed until shortly before my 65th birthday. However, I managed to retire at age 56...which means I'd muddled my way through my work career suspecting a difference between me and the other folk but not knowing what it was, or even if I was just imagining things.

And, yes, I was unhappy the vast majority of my work life. (Throw in a part-time side job for more than a decade to add to the discomfort.) From where I am now, retired, I'm glad I persevered. Having adequate money during my work years was convenient and now having adequate money without working is wonderful!

You are correct that having the correct job is important to being content. And I understand that looking for a new job would be incredibly unpleasant...I pretty much avoided it by working in large organizations that mostly moved me around (within the organization) to meet their needs. If you do decide to hunt for another job I suspect you should be sure you have it before you ditch the current job, if possible. Having adequate money is convenient.

But keep your eye on the long-term goals. Adequate money and retirement with adequate money, and necessary benefits before and after retirement. Unfortunately, the unhappiness is sort of an investment...and I agree it is unpleasant...most of my work career I was unhappy, and sometimes really unhappy.


Thank you!



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08 Dec 2022, 7:09 pm

StealthMode wrote:
Double Retired wrote:
Welcome to WP and congratulations on the diagnosis. It is wonderful to understand your life better.

Regarding work? I dunno. I was not diagnosed until shortly before my 65th birthday. However, I managed to retire at age 56...which means I'd muddled my way through my work career suspecting a difference between me and the other folk but not knowing what it was, or even if I was just imagining things.

And, yes, I was unhappy the vast majority of my work life. (Throw in a part-time side job for more than a decade to add to the discomfort.) From where I am now, retired, I'm glad I persevered. Having adequate money during my work years was convenient and now having adequate money without working is wonderful!

You are correct that having the correct job is important to being content. And I understand that looking for a new job would be incredibly unpleasant...I pretty much avoided it by working in large organizations that mostly moved me around (within the organization) to meet their needs. If you do decide to hunt for another job I suspect you should be sure you have it before you ditch the current job, if possible. Having adequate money is convenient.

But keep your eye on the long-term goals. Adequate money and retirement with adequate money, and necessary benefits before and after retirement. Unfortunately, the unhappiness is sort of an investment...and I agree it is unpleasant...most of my work career I was unhappy, and sometimes really unhappy.


Thank you!
Good luck!

I'm not going to suggest having specific long-term goals (besides achieving a comfortable life) because I seldom had specific long-term goals. Rather than concentrating on a specific long-term destination I concentrated on repeatedly moving to a better near-term position. A lifetime of moving forward can get you rather far...even if at the beginning of the trip you didn't know where you'd end up.

And the unhappiness was quite a bother. But even if you can't avoid it, perseverance can help you move past it.


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Da_Zero_A_Dieci
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20 Dec 2022, 4:58 pm

^Stealth Mode

You are welcome!

I, just saw your thread.

In my opinion, the context in which you work may be unsuitable for you.

Your employer has a child on the autism spectrum.

And he can't understand that you reason differently from NTs, your colleagues don't expect them to understand.


We don't know what your difficulty level is.

I think everyone here understands what you mean, in my opinion you go into stress overload.

Soon I will see why in Italy there are special lists there is a law N°68/99.

They are considering my position for a suitable job, hopefully on my condition.

With us you can not request disability and ask for inclusion in special lists.


A contact of mine who is a Computer Engineer got the job contemplating the particularities.

§
If autism isn't overtly seen, you're in the limbo of people sworn to NT.

§
Many interesting opinions, you've already received them, I'm late...

1) Diagnosis allows you to understand how you are.
And if well integrated and I don't think so, in the work context, people tend to accept you.

2) Never rely on their understanding of NT or disability.

*Important:

What skills do you have?
Do you have a specialization?
A degree?

Do you think it's really that impossible to look for another job?

§
Also in my opinion the approach you use is wrong, wrote Jimmy m. who has tremendous experience.
In my small way I can tell you that I agree.

*See what your strengths are, and what your deficits are.
You can use the former to improve your condition.

The latter to cancel some deficits: those can be worked on, but it takes years, I started on mine after I was 4 years old.

I understood that I had many, but not my autistic condition.

I wasn't interested in the merits, I could only assert those by improving myself, therefore studying as much as possible.
§
Let's see the positive things in which others have the gap towards you.

What do you think you can improve, and above all, do you have the economic and time possibility to take specific courses that give you a title?

Double Retired talks about small steps and in my opinion setting small goals, working on oneself, is the indispensable thing.

I also like to work.

Let's see what you like about your job (if I may ask)?
§
Working from home after a serious course ?


I was looking for a solution in companies like Specialisterne, but I noticed that it is present in Italy, also in the USA, but I could see Canada from memory, so something similar there in your country?
§
Some things you shouldn't tell employers.
I usually worked on my own.

But sometimes in companies with many people.

I tell you the debut of the test of my first job in a company with many employees.

In my sector there was only me, and my employer.
I had no colleagues.

In theory, I had to do the things my employer told me
§
We have a 3 month trial period.
During which the person can be chosen or fired.

Do you know the craziest thing I did after 10 minutes of orders on what and how I should do things?

I said I was used to working alone.

Silly word mine!

But as luck would have it, my boss told me instead: ok!
So I will be able to manage the other jobs with your colleagues and save me 140 km of road and time!

He smiled at me and walked away!

§

It was a whole barracks where I had to do everything from scratch by myself.

I thought: great!

I succeeded.

It was really complicated.

Sometimes I had 6 people who depended on me, some of them thirty, forty years older than me (it was embarrassing to tell them what they should do)
§
Another thing I did was to then check all the electrical and electronic systems.

I found a serious mistake by my boss.

I told him: he thanked me very much because he had mixed different harnesses.
It would have been a real barracks flambé!

§

My construction sites became three!
Then they would have been much more.

I just couldn't handle traveling on public transport, so that was a real problem.

What I overcame later: things get over it, don't get discouraged, let's see if your answers will give us more advice.

*You are not disabled*

You have deficits: as he said, happiness is in doing what's best for you.
§
Let's see (if you want and sorry if I wrote directly, I shouldn't do it, I think that if you have found a job it is because you are worth as a person, so you are worth and you will answer me: certainly yes!)



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27 Dec 2022, 4:41 pm

StealthMode wrote:
Hi everyone,
I'm a newly diagnosed autistic female. I am 23 years old and I live in Canada. At first, this was mostly a relief and I was happy that I finally connected the missing pieces of things that didn't make sense in my life. I started off being proud of myself but now, as I go through my part-time job in retail and try to find my place in the world, I realize how disadvantaged I really am compared to my neurotypical coworkers and I'm having a hard time with that concept. Even when people know of my diagnosis and I explain it to them, they still expect me to act, behave and perform like a neurotypical woman would and refuse to provide me with accommodations or opportunities because of it.

For example, I explained to my boss today how I find working cash really exhausting and feel that I would be much better working stock but he said something along the lines of "if you have a hard time working cash, why do you think you'll have an easier time working stock?". He then compared me to my neurotypical coworkers and commented on how he doesn't believe I would do well because I don't "take as much initiative" as them.

How much and what kind of "initiative" is required in order to work stock, I wonder???

Frankly, I suspect this may be just a made-up excuse.

Working stock does require physical strength and endurance. Depending on what kind of store this is and what kinds of products they sell, it may require a lot of heavy lifting all day.

My guess is that your boss assumed you don't have the necessary physical strength because you are a woman, but was afraid to say this for legal reasons (fear of a possible lawsuit for sex discrimination).

In your spare time, do you do a lot of physical exercise including running and weight lifting? Also, are you familiar with techniques for lifting heavy objects without risk of injuring your back?

If your answer to both of the above questions (especially the first one) is yes, then you might be physically capable of working stock, and you should inform your boss of this. Otherwise, you probably aren't physically capable of working stock.


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