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Minuteman
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22 Nov 2022, 5:58 pm

I was talking to my therapist today about my feelings of "why me" when it comes to being on the spectrum. After talking about various things about my past and what triggered these feelings, I think she hit the nail on the head when she asked me if I was mourning the life I wish I could have (of course, she says this at the very end of the session so we couldn't explore it more).

Some background -- I'm in my 50s and only found out a few years ago I was on the spectrum. I realized right away that this explained so much about my problems as a kid and into early adulthood. I don't blame my parents or my schools because nobody knew that the spectrum truly is a spectrum. I just wish my traits didn't hold me back so much.

Does anyone else feel like they're in "mourning" like this? And how did you deal with it?



kraftiekortie
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22 Nov 2022, 6:01 pm

The only way to "deal with it" is to think towards the future, and glory in what you DID accomplish.

I'm 61 years old. I worked as a clerk for over 40 years.

Never became a professional----but I'm retiring in about 1 month with a lifelong pension.

I'm fortunate I did what I did, despite being "disabled."



ASPartOfMe
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23 Nov 2022, 12:43 am

I just think about how I fortunate it was that I was able to find out really late as it was because generations before us never had that chance.

Unlike many of our autistic peers as bruised and battered as we may be we survived and that is no small accomplishment.


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“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


shortfatbalduglyman
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23 Nov 2022, 9:42 am

Mourning is not taboo, bad, or wrong, but sooner or later you have to move on with your life (multitasking)



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23 Nov 2022, 7:11 pm

Finding out I was autistic at age 64 was elevating…a relief…finally something that made sense of the chaos of my life.

I really don’t mourn for a life missed for lack of a “normal” life. (From time to time I briefly mourn some other missed opportunities.)

And as ShortFat above said, it is ok to mourn.

And then move on. :)


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Rossall
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28 Nov 2022, 4:24 pm

I'm 51 and autism/ADHD wasn't talked about when we were growing up. Not our fault.

Thankfully things have moved on..


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livegeekdie
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29 Nov 2022, 8:16 pm

I'm 35 and have always had the feeling that somehow I was flawed, or something wasn't right, and realising that's because I'm autistic has brought me comfort because I have proof that I'm not broken or faulty, and that I'm doing a good job at being a person. I think it's easy to focus on the things we think we're missing out on and blame that on autism (when there's no guarantee we'd have them if we were neurotypical) instead of thinking of the things we have. I personally wouldn't change anything about my experience because my nephew is autistic, and my being autistic and being an example that it's your brain working differently will hopefully help him to be comfortable in his skin in a way that we aren't since we spent so long being told we needed to conform to neurotypical norms.

Perhaps it's time to stop mourning the life you wish you could have (but can't) and consider how to be the best, happiest version of yourself. Also, please stop comparing yourself to the neurotypical majority, to put it bluntly, you'll always feel as though something is wrong or you're not good enough if you do because we can't change the way our brains are wired. Instead, talk to your therapist about goals and standards you want in your life and consider your progress in that context. Finally, try celebrating some of the traits of your autism. You might be in a place on the spectrum defined as a disorder but that doesn't mean everything about being autistic is bad. I love that I can experience sensory input more deeply than the average person (except when I'm near a perfume counter or the laundry aisle in a supermarket). My attention to detail is much better than most. I don't say one thing and mean another (that's a stupid trait that many neurotypicals have).

As for dealing with mourning if the above isn't useful to you, look at the techniques people use to manage grief. Mourning the loss of something you never had or won't have is still a kind of grief.

Note: please excuse me if something comes across as harsh or rude, it's not intended that way. Let me know and I'll try to adapt my behaviour accordingly.



Minuteman
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29 Nov 2022, 8:57 pm

livegeekdie wrote:
Note: please excuse me if something comes across as harsh or rude, it's not intended that way. Let me know and I'll try to adapt my behaviour accordingly.


No worries. Nothing struck me as being harsh or rude at all.

My attitude has been mostly good regarding learning more about myself. I just got caught up in the "why me?" issue that I'm sure lots of people have. Just a temporary thing I suppose. Now that I have it somewhat dealt with, I can go back to focusing on doing the best I can with the tools I have.



livegeekdie
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29 Nov 2022, 11:19 pm

I think everybody has a stage like that, even myself, although in my case by the time I realised I had autism I'd already had to deal with that because of being mostly homebound with ME/CFS. Also, I think perhaps I have a different perspective of autism based on my upbringing. I had an intellectually disabled uncle and a grandfather who was an amputee (he had lost the fingers and thumb on his left hand), so I don't have the stigma associated with being perceived to be not normal, because for me not normal was somewhat normal. Also, by this point I was well aware of well-known people who had been diagnosed, and my nephew has the diagnosis of ASD.
Add that to the fact that I've always felt inherently like I didn't fit, no matter whether it was among family, close friends, etc. I think that may have been my subconscious realising that no matter how well I mask, it's not a natural social environment for me.
On a complete tangent: I read about something called the double empathy problem and I genuinely think some of the difficulties we face interacting with neurotypical people are the result of it (sorry, too much typing to explain, better for my ME/CFS if you look it up)



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30 Nov 2022, 12:45 am

it took me too long for me to figure out or have dawn onto me, that there are reaping lifetimes and sowing lifetimes. this present lifetime is one where i have to learn [sowing] and the next lifetime i will "reap" the benefits of what i've learnt in this lifetime.



jogashill
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03 Dec 2022, 7:52 am

i am finding that i have a double mourning - the life lived before not knowing what had set me apart; and the life that will be lived now knowing but that knowledge won't make anything different outside of myself - it'll still just be ME making the effort to TRY and gosh that just seems so... defeating at times.



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03 Dec 2022, 8:49 am

^^^welcome to our club :alien:



AprilR
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03 Dec 2022, 1:05 pm

Yes i mourn it too, but at the same time i am proud of the imperfect life i lived an am still living. The perfect life i wish i lived doesn't exist in this world bc this world is a world of limitations and trial. I hope to reach a better World after i die.



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03 Dec 2022, 3:47 pm

Not only the life we never had...the life we were told we COULD have had, even though we probably never could have. The people who told us this didn't know any better.



shortfatbalduglyman
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03 Dec 2022, 4:25 pm

ezbzbfcg2 wrote:
Not only the life we never had...the life we were told we COULD have had, even though we probably never could have. The people who told us this didn't know any better.


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The people that told you that, did not know any better. They were trying to give you "hope". They truly believed what they told you. They were trying to "help", but they didn't know anything about autism. So they can't be blamed



paralian
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04 Dec 2022, 12:37 pm

This is something that draws me to the autism forums (even though I'm not sure if I'm autistic or not). I'm meeting other people who have struggled in similar ways that I have, and who are grieving similar things. I didn't realize how isolating it was to be me, in a world where everyone else seemed to be able to move past what I was still struggling with.

Knowing what to accept and grieve, and what I can change (even though it doesn't feel like it now) is tricky. I don't want to limit myself by giving up on things I could actually change, but I don't want to keep trying to change myself at the cost of my mental and physical health either.

I'm 33, so sometimes I tell myself to be grateful that I'm relatively young, but I need to make sure that this gratitude doesn't just paint over the grief for all that time spent trying to "fix" myself. I come from a family with well-meaning toxic positivity, so gratitude is tricky and nuanced for me.