Reframing My Life Following an Adult Autism Diagnosis
March 8, 2019 10:13 AM   Subscribe

"I guess I’m lucky really; if my daughter hadn’t been diagnosed with autism, I probably would never have realized I was autistic. I would never have had the opportunity to re-parent myself like I am. I honestly feel like I’ve been re-born; that’s the only way I can describe it. And as that little girl inside recovers and grows, so do I. I can suddenly see that other than the difficulties that I have with life, I also have many strengths..."
posted by stoneweaver (8 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yeah it feels like this for a moment until you realize that the hardships don’t stop afterwards because the neurottypical world doesn’t really care to accommodate your autism even as you work toward accommodating the neurottypical world. Then you return to feeling like anxious, demoralized shit.
posted by Young Kullervo at 10:30 AM on March 8, 2019 [8 favorites]


I had a lot of trouble following this essay. I wish I could understand her experience better.
posted by SPrintF at 10:55 AM on March 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yeah it feels like this for a moment until you realize that the hardships don’t stop afterwards because the neurottypical world doesn’t really care to accommodate your autism even as you work toward accommodating the neurottypical world. Then you return to feeling like anxious, demoralized shit.

Realizing I'm autistic certainly hasn't fixed everything, but it's fundamentally shifted how I approach life. Yes, I still have difficulty with executive functioning, sensory overload, not understanding group loyalty, etc., and doubt that kind of thing will change. On the other hand, since I realized it I haven't felt suicidal once, and the depression I've been struggling with since elementary school has been much, much easier to deal with.

Anyway, what's the alternative? It's not like there's a way to not be autistic. My experience is that being autistic in a non-autistic-oriented world is much easier now that I know that's what I'm doing, instead of thinking that I'm failing at something that I should be able to do. The world is still too loud, bright, rough, poky, etc. but now I'm more able to recognize what's likely to be difficult, take steps to mitigate it, and be kind to myself if the inputs exceed my tolerances and I have a shutdown.

Executive functioning is probably my biggest problem at this point, and I'm trying to find ways to get help and work around the issues I recognize. I don't think I'd be able to do that if I hadn't realized I'm autistic. If I thought I "should" be able to do this, I'd probably still be beating myself up about it. Instead, I'm looking into how to hire a part-time assistant to take care of the things I know I need to do but just can't (making appointments for routine things seems to be impossible for me).
posted by Lexica at 11:43 AM on March 8, 2019 [16 favorites]


I certainly wouldn't say I was anything like reborn but a lot of lingering questions did get answered. I also stopped wasting time on stuff that was never going happen. Could have really used the insight about a half century ago, though...
posted by jim in austin at 2:53 PM on March 8, 2019 [3 favorites]


The perfect rebuke to the anti-vax assholes (and, in fact, a partial explanation) would be to declare that autism is at least partly hereditary.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:22 PM on March 8, 2019


No, the perfect rebuke would be for it to be an after-effect of measles.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 7:09 PM on March 8, 2019


Rubella literally causes autism and we've known this since the 1970s but this is sort of a derail.

Knowing the shape of a problem is fundamental to solving it, I'd say more fundamental than even whether you solve it or simply learn to work around it, whether you have help or have to figure it out on your own, whether you learn to deal with it quickly or slowly. In a better world we would have a budget for adult diagnoses and counseling for these sorts of conditions instead of accepting as a society that millions of people's most productive years should be wasted in stress and pain of failing to cope rather than enjoying time with their family, working, making art, etc.
posted by fomhar at 8:06 PM on March 8, 2019 [3 favorites]


The perfect rebuke to anti-vax assholes would be for them to have no salience at all when it comes to talking about autism.

Particularly adult-diagnosed autism, which comes with so many complications* which are very different to the grotesque portrayals of nonverbal autistic people that anti-vaxxers wave about.

*a much higher suicide rate, particularly amongst women, for starters.
posted by ambrosen at 12:20 PM on March 9, 2019 [3 favorites]


« Older Eat the rich. Please.   |   Simply gazing somewhere around the face/head area... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments