New here, looking for other older autistics

Page 2 of 2 [ 25 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

IMSpringer
Butterfly
Butterfly

Joined: 29 Jul 2022
Age: 59
Gender: Male
Posts: 14
Location: Sacramento

13 Aug 2022, 11:19 am

Hi Max,

To be honest, I am pretty new around here myself, and I certainly can't speak for anyone else. But I will say this:
My understanding of the nature and purpose of this site is that it is for people who feel different, and who are feeling at home here. Neurodiversity is not exclusive to ASD, as it has other forms, such as ADD; I happen to have both conditions myself. Anyway, I think that if you feel that you belong here, that is all that matters. If you are getting something out of being part of this community, I am delighted to get to meet you.

It is my understanding that this site doesn't expect or require anyone to have a formal diagnosis. I consider that to be a personal choice.


I got my diagnosis because there was an overarching mystery in my life. Like Godzilla storming through Tokyo. It has never made any sense, and I have suffered horribly. A friend of mine who had been married to an autistic man, suggested that I might be on the spectrum. This was a huge epiphany for me. I asked my doctor about it, and they gave me a cognitive function test. This suggested that I was not on the spectrum. I was devastated. It uprooted me. I had been thinking that I was finally going to understand myself, and this outcome really pulled the rug out from under me.

That was a silly reaction on my part. The truth is, if I am like people on the spectrum, and I can benefit from being involved in ASD-rleated communities, nobody who matters will care what my doctors think.

But as it happened, I pressed the matter, asking what my cognitive function had to do with being on the spectrum. It was a great question, and they sent me for more comprehensive testing. And thatcame back positive.


The diagnosis has radically changed my life. Everything makes sense now. All of my challenges, all of the disastrous outcomes in relationships and jobs, they are all explained by the characteristics of ASD.

Why does this matter to me? Because knowing that I am “in the club” means that what people here are doing to cope are things that work and that can help me as well. My life is hugely improved since I have understood and begun learning to adapt to my new understanding. And after being a hopeless misfit for 58 years, I finally have a place where I belong unquestionably. It has improved my confidence in advocating for myself. Even when I don't tell people of my diagnosis, it is easier than it was before for me to say, "this situation is difficult for me; I need to take care of myself by doing...." or, "you can support me if you are willing to....". Before, I lacked the confidence, when making these requests, to make an impression on people. Now, it seems, my requests feel more authentic to them...because they feel more authentic to me. I am no longer doubting that I have a right to ask.

I am a huge fan of being authentic, and embracing who I am. I hope that you will feel safe and welcome here, and not worry about any trolls who feel a need to judge you for unimportant differences that will arise. It is a sad aspect of human nature that affects all of us, neurodivergent and neurotypical alike.

Can you imagine? If I went to the library, and the librarian kicked me out because I wanted to read the newspaper, and not Steinbeck?


I really enjoyed reading your story. Thank you. And Welcome!



IMSpringer
Butterfly
Butterfly

Joined: 29 Jul 2022
Age: 59
Gender: Male
Posts: 14
Location: Sacramento

13 Aug 2022, 11:45 am

For anyone who may have doubts that they belong here:


It seems that our understanding of ASD is constantly evolving. It used to be Autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Now, the conditions are combined into a spectrum, and they call it Autism Spectrum Disorder. I recently read somewhere (I don’t remember where, but here is a site with a very similar explanation: https://themighty.com/topic/autism-spectrum-disorder/autism-spectrum-wheel) that the Autism spectrum is not one-dimensional, with (formerly referred to as) low-functioning people at one end and (formerly referred to as) high functioning at the other. Now, it is seen as a wheel. The center represents the lowest degrees of any aspect of autism, the outer circle is the highest. The spectrum actually radiates from the center outward. Now we recognize that “the spectrum” is actually a collection of spectrums, each one applying to a different characteristic of autism.

In my case, I am heavily impacted in my relationship abilities, moderately impacted in my communications outcomes, and very mildly impacted in my affect…what people often describe as “looking normal.” I am formally diagnosed ASD.

My sensory sensitivity is very mild compared to the stereotype. I don't love sunshine, but I'm not afraid to go outdoors. Loud noises cause me physical pain, but they don't freak me out. If my computer cord touches my arm when I am computing in bed, it makes my skin crawl. Eating a sandwich that is falling apart in my hands is really uncomfortable. Not just annoying. Creepy.

Like many of us here, nobody ever suspected that I might have Asperger's, but most people always experienced me as weird and discomforting. My voice is loud, and I’m not at all good at “reading the room.” It has often been hard for me to connect with other people. I have had disastrous communications issues with people who would punish me for not picking up subtle cues in our conversations.


Anyway, you are the only person who gets a vote on your membership here. Welcome!



RALowe
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 24 Jul 2022
Age: 69
Gender: Male
Posts: 6
Location: Portland, Oregon

15 Oct 2022, 9:43 pm

So here’s a good example of one of my autistic characteristics: I posted the original post in this thread, got a couple of great replies, and then haven’t been back here for a couple of months. I’m the guy who likes to post on FaceBook but rarely reads anyone else’s posts. I see this as the inward focus that’s part of my autism.

Someone raised the question of whether to tell medical providers about our diagnosis. I’m going to broaden my response to the question of whether to tell friends, acquaintances, co-workers, or anyone about our diagnosis. I’ve told a few close friends (which led to an interesting discussion with one, who I now think also is autistic) but it feels risky to tell people whom I don’t know well - like it might lead them to write me off. Here’s what I’m thinking of saying:

“I’m really enjoying our conversation and would love to get to know you better. But I want to ask your help with a couple of things. First, I’m incredibly bad at recognizing people; it’s called face blindness or prosopagnosia. So when you see me, if you can say, ‘Hi, Bob, it’s Amy, we met at the event at Bill’s house,’ I’ll immediately know who you are and be delighted to see you.

“The other thing is that I’m not always good at picking up on nonverbal cues. So if I’m missing something, it would be a real gift to me if you’ll tell me in words.”

I could modify that when dealing with a medical provider. My idea is to describe the autistic traits I have that may impact our interactions, not to name the diagnosis - which just confuses people who think they know what autism is but may not really get it.

Does this make sense to others? Thanks!



IMSpringer
Butterfly
Butterfly

Joined: 29 Jul 2022
Age: 59
Gender: Male
Posts: 14
Location: Sacramento

15 Oct 2022, 10:02 pm

Yes. I think that makes perfect sense. As divergent individuals, advocating for ourselves is an essential skill. People don't know that we're different unless we tell them, and we don't get what we need if we don't ask for it.

Many people aren't comfortable with that; we live in a society that is not always very welcoming of behavior that is different. I have no problem with that. I don't need to have people in my life who are that rigid in their thinking. When people genuinely care about other people's needs, receptive to those kinds of requests, they are people who belong in my life. I try to always treat others in like fashion.

Thanks, RA. This is a really nice contribution to the discussion.



autisticelders
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 23 Feb 2020
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,122
Location: Alpena MI

16 Oct 2022, 6:47 am

I'm glad you came back and posted again. You have found other old autistic individuals here! I was diagnosed formally at age 68, 3 years ago and am 71 right now. Learning of my autism even at such a late stage in my life has changed everything for the better. Hope you find answers to help sort it all out. You are definitely not alone. (PS I have prosopagnosia and also learned after I got my diagnosis that I am also aphantasiac! I had no idea almost everybody else could see pictures in their minds!)


_________________
https://oldladywithautism.blog/

"Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.” Samuel Johnson


RALowe
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 24 Jul 2022
Age: 69
Gender: Male
Posts: 6
Location: Portland, Oregon

16 Oct 2022, 1:57 pm

@austisticelders , I’m intrigued by your statement that knowing you’re autistic has changed everything for the better. I’d love to know more about that; perhaps I can follow your example?



autisticelders
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 23 Feb 2020
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,122
Location: Alpena MI

17 Oct 2022, 5:59 am

thanks! happy to correspond in the messages in the group or discuss in emails, etc. Lots of great insights to be had by asking autism related questions right here.

There are long life times of autistic living,right here all together! so wisdom of experience to be had for the asking! It does take time to sort out all our previous history, emotional struggles, beliefs and etc from years ago.

Don't expect over night change, it is gradual as you get adjusted to seeing everything from this new perspective.

For me suddenly all my sordid past, my painful experiences, my ideas about almost everything had new light and new, fresh, and very different perspectives. Stood my world on its head and shook it hard!! !!

It is sometimes super Upsetting, lots of emotional homework, etc.

Be patient with yourself and practice your best self care.

Some people say they go through all the stages of grief, anger, sadness, denial, bargaining, acceptance over and over in any order and maybe all of them or some of them for a long time or more than one together (mixed state).

I spent a load of time on the internet looking at studies, pages, blogs, forums, etc. Autism has become a passion and a topic I spend hours each day studying and writing about. We are a very interesting bunch of folks! You are definitely not alone!


_________________
https://oldladywithautism.blog/

"Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.” Samuel Johnson


emellish
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 20 Oct 2022
Age: 77
Gender: Male
Posts: 5
Location: East Anglia UK

20 Oct 2022, 10:51 am

Hi, I was always the kid on the outside looking in wondering why rejection followed me everywhere. I'm 77 now having lived a friendless life of weirdness over a checkered past. I recently submitted to an ASD diagnosis that proved positive. If there was any consistency throughout my life, it was with repetitive attempts to join social groups always ending in failure with my inability to connect with people, and becoming stigmatized in various ways. I have always held down a job, sometimes excelling at my work but never as a team player. My first wife of 12 years marriage, walked out because I was boring. My current marriage of 35 years only lasted because my wife has got her own issues dealing with agoraphobia---what a pair we make! We both realized there are few people out there who would put up with either of us---so stick with who you know. It's been a marriage of toleration as I really don't know the meaning of love. I was an unwanted child---that's the way I felt. I was not abused in any way but just felt unwanted. I had an older brother (nine years) who never married, and died at age 51. I believe both he and my father also had this "malady" indeed when I recall memories of my uncles and cousins they all had their emotional issues. Closeness and engagement wasn't a trait on my fathers side of the family. So here I am through many twists and turns 3k miles away and home from what used to be home. I don't pretend to to be some sort of sage or to offer useful advise as my engagement and history of reciprocity with people would not fill an egg cup.



RALowe
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 24 Jul 2022
Age: 69
Gender: Male
Posts: 6
Location: Portland, Oregon

23 Oct 2022, 10:00 pm

@emellish, thanks for writing. You're actually a very strong writer; your words are so clear ... and so hard to read because they remind me of myself. I am married - for 30+ years - and we have one daughter, who is estranged. We suspect that she's autistic, too, but she doesn't seem interested/willing to pursue that possibility. In any case, I was probably pretty insensitive to her feelings at times when she was younger, and she holds a lot of anger about that.

I'm trying to learn to be forgiving of myself. I've always tried as hard as I could to do the right thing and to connect with people, and if my brain interferes with that, it's not my fault (or yours!). I, too, have been pretty successful at some jobs but not so much a team player. I'm quite strong at math and computer work, which helped me as a researcher. May I ask what you did professionally?

Thanks again for writing. Your honesty, openness and articulate writing make me think that you could have more friends than you realize!

bob