My name is Carl, and I'm 50 years old. I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at 43.
I joined the Royal Navy at 17 as a submariner, for 18 years. I went from junior mechanic to Chief Technician. I am most proud of earning my Dolphins, as a qualified submariner.
Stimming is natural and vital. I was bullied for my stims during my service. When I was underwater for long periods (75 days was the longest I did), I ate, slept and worked in a closed container with 130+ other men. I used to try to find a small, empty compartment to be on my own.
The diagnostic process was the most helpful, then the online community. My attempts at getting medical help have been fruitless. On occasion I have had to use the services of the local crisis team. I have been on different types of medication for anxiety, depression and panic attacks since 2001.
I want those who are autistic to know: Be yourself, look out for burnout, once it happens you wont be the same. Find something that you enjoy and are good at, then stick with it. Look to your disabilities adviser at work if you need adjustments. I chose not to have children of my own.
Two of my nephews were undergoing investigations for ASD traits at school. My sister had the notes about the triad of difficulties. My wife read the notes and said that it was like me. We asked for an assessment from my GP. He said he didn't think i was autistic, but would refer me. I have the full diagnosis report in PDF format if it will help your research, but it is not for publication. When I was given the diagnosis in the last meeting, i was so relieved that there was an explanation for how I am. I am not surprised I was not diagnosed earlier. I think the AS diagnosis became relevant in the mid 90's in the UK, but they were just unaware of it.