Hi, I'm new to autism, so my special interest is now autism

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NowWhatDoIDo
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27 Oct 2023, 8:18 pm

So, it's something I've suspected for a while, but I recently started seeing a therapist who has agreed that I'm autistic. Next month I will see a doctor for an official diagnosis. I'd say I'm pretty high-masking, but as I'm getting older that's become more difficult, and I'm finding myself exhausted from trying. Getting to read more about autism has been a steady firehose of "aha!" moments, and I finally realize I'm not broken, and that I'm not alone.

That's all to say, "hi!"

But on the topic of this post, my new obsession seems to be autism and what it means to me. I've told a few friends, and they've been really great, but what I really want is for them to ask more questions about what it's like and how I knew it about myself, because I'm fascinated with it and have so much to say. But since it's about me, I can't just come out and demand they spend a few hours talking about my current special interest which just happens to be me and my strange brain :-)

Anyway, if anyone here is so inclined, I would absolutely love it if you ask me questions about what I've learned, how I am processing this, and letting me know how you did the same.



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27 Oct 2023, 8:42 pm

Welcome to WP! I hope you like it here.

And, I agree, I used to know nothing about Autism. My total knowledge was that the movie Rain Man existed, but I'd never seen it. If anyone had asked me if I was Autistic I would've immediately dismissed the possibility. Then in 2019 Reality "told" me to read up about Autism on the Internet...and it fit. So, I got a professional Adult Autism Assessment and now I am officially Autism Spectrum Disorder, Level 1 (Mild).
Now it I could find some way that knowledge is useful, other than telling my bride
"I have a doctor's note for that!"


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NowWhatDoIDo
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27 Oct 2023, 9:01 pm

Thanks!



Lorikeet
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27 Oct 2023, 9:30 pm

Hello, I am new here too, and also late diagnosed. Also high masking and as I got older my mask sort of fell off and I burnt out.

When did you first start suspecting you were autistic? Do you have autistic family members? I always felt different and nqr compared to others but didn’t really know anything about autism until my son was diagnosed at aged 7. His diagnosing clinical psychologist just looked at me and said “you know this is genetic right?” You should think about being assessed. So then the deep dive researching, and after another 7 years of self identifying as autistic I got an official diagnosis. It makes life finally make sense.



NowWhatDoIDo
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27 Oct 2023, 10:39 pm

Lorikeet wrote:
Hello, I am new here too, and also late diagnosed. Also high masking and as I got older my mask sort of fell off and I burnt out.

When did you first start suspecting you were autistic? Do you have autistic family members? I always felt different and nqr compared to others but didn’t really know anything about autism until my son was diagnosed at aged 7. His diagnosing clinical psychologist just looked at me and said “you know this is genetic right?” You should think about being assessed. So then the deep dive researching, and after another 7 years of self identifying as autistic I got an official diagnosis. It makes life finally make sense.


I started wondering a few years ago and asked friends if they noticed me masking. A few autistic friends said yes, but I really wasn't ready to dig in so I didn't follow up. Maybe I was afraid of the answer? Maybe I didn't know where to start?

A few months ago I crashed hard and found a therapist who specializes in ASD. She is also autistic so it was just so easy to compare notes. After a few sessions she said it was obvious to her that yes, I am autistic!

Now i have an official assessment scheduled, so we'll see.

But autism explains so much and fits so well, I'd really be shocked if a doctor disagrees!



jimmy m
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28 Oct 2023, 8:25 am

NowWhatDoIDo wrote:
Anyway, if anyone here is so inclined, I would absolutely love it if you ask me questions about what I've learned, how I am processing this, and letting me know how you did the same.


I have gone down this rabbit hole and this is what I arrived at.

It really began very early in my life. Human construction is much more complex then anyone currently realizes. This is because humans are an advanced species. We have developed multiple brains. One exist on the life side of our skull and the other on our right side. The left side is dominant. It is our daytime brain. Our right side is a support brain that exist in REM and NREM sleep. But for some of us, somewhere around 50 percent of the population, we had a brain flip. Our two sides changed places and that is why we are so very different from other people. How did this happen? In my case, I DIED. I was around 3 or 4 and I was attacked by a large bull. I weighed around 15 pounds and it weighed over 1000. It was like being attacked by a dinosaur. I died and my right side of my brain, my normal night time brain came on line about an hour later. I experienced what is referred to as a NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE. I stood next to my dead body. I stood right next to it. I could see the utter fear and horror within my mom and dad. They stood right across from my body. A voice spoke and said, "Live or Die, Choose". I couldn't stand the horror in my parents. So I said LIVE. I came back but as a very different person. I WAS FEARLESS.

Humans are one of the most complex species that have ever existed on this planet and perhaps the entire universe. Many of us died before birth or during the birth process. Others like me die at an early age. We die before we transition from being a child to becoming an adult, around age 11 or 12.

I wish you good luck on going down your personal rabbit hole.


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ChicagoLiz
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28 Oct 2023, 1:33 pm

NowWhatDoIDo wrote:
Anyway, if anyone here is so inclined, I would absolutely love it if you ask me questions about what I've learned, how I am processing this, and letting me know how you did the same.


Welcome!

What is the most helpful thing you've learned so far, and what was it "a few years ago" that made you start asking your friends if they could see symptoms in how you interacted with them?



NowWhatDoIDo
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28 Oct 2023, 4:24 pm

ChicagoLiz wrote:
NowWhatDoIDo wrote:
Anyway, if anyone here is so inclined, I would absolutely love it if you ask me questions about what I've learned, how I am processing this, and letting me know how you did the same.


Welcome!

What is the most helpful thing you've learned so far, and what was it "a few years ago" that made you start asking your friends if they could see symptoms in how you interacted with them?


Thank you! The most helpful thing I've learned so far is that I'm not alone! For my whole life, I harshly judged myself for things that I thought were unique to me. For example, I was quickly marked as "gifted" because I am hyperlexic, yet in the context of the "gifted classes" I was constantly in trouble for "bad behavior." So I dragged that guilt around for *decades* when it was the system that failed me and failed to notice that this very bright kid was also very likely autistic. And of course now it's obvious!

What made me start asking was that people told me I came off as very "even-keeled" in circumstances in which I felt anything but! Like, there I was in full social anxiety mode, and people complimented me on my ability to remain calm under pressure. And yet, I was always feeling misunderstood and my relationships (aside from my wife) were always ephemeral. I learned about masking and realized right away I was doing that. So I wondered if everyone I knew saw through it, but hardly any of them did. Many expressed surprise and said "you don't seem autistic at all!"



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29 Oct 2023, 4:30 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet! :)


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NowWhatDoIDo
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29 Oct 2023, 5:48 pm

AnonymousAnonymous wrote:
Welcome to Wrong Planet! :)


Thank you! How did you find out that you were autistic?



r@y
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02 Nov 2023, 8:05 am

How/where did you learn about masking?
If a friend came to you and asked what they should do to accomodate you, make your life easier, what would you ask them to do?



NowWhatDoIDo
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02 Nov 2023, 10:25 am

r@y wrote:
How/where did you learn about masking?


I think I learned about masking from a YouTube video, although I can't remember which one, exactly. However, it instantly made sense as a way to describe my process when talking to people.

1. I tend to pick up sayings from people and use them a lot when interacting with that person.
2. I quote movie lines a lot.
3. I script out conversations in my head before I meet someone.
4. I learned to not say things I'm thinking, but wow, if you get me going about a topic I'm interested in, I'll talk for hours about it.
4. Most people I know didn't catch on.
5. People tell me I come off with a calm demeanor, but inside I'm dealing with constant anxiety.

Quote:
If a friend came to you and asked what they should do to accomodate you, make your life easier, what would you ask them to do?


I don't think it takes much, but I really enjoy quiet experiences with small groups of friends, (although I always felt obligated to want more and felt guilty that it wasn't fun). It always took a lot out of me. So I'd ask them "Hey, is it cool if we don't go out to dinner, let's stay in and cook together instead, or maybe take our dogs for a walk and find a food cart and sit outside?"

I do thrive on human contact, but only in small doses.



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03 Nov 2023, 6:23 am

NowWhatDoIDo wrote:
People tell me I come off with a calm demeanor, but inside I'm dealing with constant anxiety.


I relate so much to this, I have been told this many many times, much to my bewilderment because I'm a hot mess of anxiety and confusion internally.

I'm in a similar boat in terms of diagnosis, I have just finished all of the testing and am now waiting on the official report; the clinical psych administering everything has told me however that I have made the cut not only for ASD but ADHD too, so that was an introduction to an yet another rabbit hole to fall down (yay, two diagnoses for the price of one!).

How has it effected you coming to terms with it? For me I'd had a couple of years chewing over ASD as a possibility so was more relieved when the psych confirmed that, ADHD I had not really been prepared for though and it has shaken me up a bit. Both have given me a great opportunity to reflect back on my life and let go of a lot of shame and self-recrimination.


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NowWhatDoIDo
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03 Nov 2023, 10:40 am

Comet Zed wrote:

How has it effected you coming to terms with it? For me I'd had a couple of years chewing over ASD as a possibility so was more relieved when the psych confirmed that, ADHD I had not really been prepared for though and it has shaken me up a bit. Both have given me a great opportunity to reflect back on my life and let go of a lot of shame and self-recrimination.


I'm not sure I can say that I have, yet. I mean, there's still a chance I get assessed and they tell me they don't agree with my diagnosis. Then what? So for me, once I get through this next phase I'll be better able to answer that question.

I know for sure that when I read about autistic people describing their experiences it closely matches mine. I know when I take the online quizzes, I score in the "moderate" range, which tracks. I know that I am feeling an intense burnout and I'm less able to mask now without feeling really tired. I know that I've always felt slightly alien around most people. I know my brain works differently than my friends.

So yeah, I'm shaken up a bit. But first things first, I'm going through the process of finding out. Then, we'll see!



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03 Nov 2023, 1:34 pm

It is quite possible to have some Autistic traits without having Autism.
 - You might have Autistic traits but not enough of them to qualify for an Autism diagnosis.
 - You might have some other condition which causes some Autism traits.
The best way to know for sure is to get a qualified, professional diagnosis. A correct diagnosis, whatever it is, should increase your understanding of yourself.


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06 Dec 2023, 7:07 am

a little late, but welcome to the group. Its a lot to sort, and the longer you have lived without knowing, the more history you look at with this new perspective. So many "aha" moments and so many "so that's why" moments. I've had a big interest since I learned of my own autism and got diagnosed in my late 60's. Now 72 and still learning. Glad you are with us


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