I am 46 - I do not claim to be ‘from’ anywhere, raised an Army brat. However, currently and for past 43 months live in southeast Florida.
I have not left this planet yet. I have no idea how I am still alive or why. I would say that’s my biggest accomplishment.
I want those who are not autistic to know about autism:
You cannot make a cat ‘BARK’, or a dog use a litter box.
Thus far, I have not gotten much in the way of resources or support services. There are not many in the USA for adults anyway, and so far, I have not found a lot of help in this area. It may be ‘out there’ but that requires asking the correct questions and handling the world outside the house, talking to people and going places. Doing those things are tremendously difficult and taxing for me these days.
I was in individual therapy and have quit that as I do not see it going anywhere. I may change my mind on that, when I can get to a place of pseudo ‘calm’ to think things through. The overwhelm of day to day is like a WAR and I feel that I need a big life preserver tossed at me but instead am treading water, exhausted, and it is like it does not matter if I do drown.
My HEART to each single person on the spectrum, particularly understand the insanity of being an adult with late diagnosis.
I received my official diagnosis Sept 27, 2018. Asperger’s/ASD, PTSD, and Panic Disorder. The initial feeling was RELIEF, I cried spontaneous gulping tears for a while, just feeling validated for the 1st time ever… feeling some sense of self-acceptance for the 1st time ever. Then all that quickly crashed as reality began to set in.
I am glad to know it, as now I know that all those years of being depressed, socially anxious and incapable, of feeling like I never belong and am in everyone’s way from another planet, the many issues I have had going back to prepubescent years, all gives me some sense of ‘aha, see I am not crazy!’. I was essentially written off as such by my parents and several other ‘significant’ people over the years. I have sought answers from therapists going back to when I was 15. No one knew though. I was 22 in 1994 when Asperger’s came to the DSM. To read it now, it is like someone has been following me around most my life. Not inclusive of all I know to be true of my aspieness, but to name a few: I had the food and weight focus (one thing I could control), the lack of friends, being bullied going back to grade school… extreme tolerance for physical pain, I didn’t even flinch when I had my ears pierced at 3 years old as reported by my mother, for example. I have been trying to save the planet, the animals, the people since I was very young. I have had extreme issues in relationships, and fail every single time, so I am celibate and alone not really by choice… In all the viable years for dating, I have had less than a total of 8 with a partner in my life. I was abused by my parents, and by my ex-husband, and no one believed me when I did report. I understand now this is common. That autistics are more commonly abused and not likely to be believed IF they report. The gullible, malleable one always and still to this day. Have felt like a doormat to the world, I am so ‘easy’ when someone needs something help with homework, a paper typed, anything really… it is instinctual, I want to help… but I am not ‘seen’ unless help is needed, so my history has taught me.
BUT - the reality of knowing has done nothing to help day to day for us here. I have a son on the spectrum and a daughter who has severe emotional trauma from her dad sexually abusing her at 7. We are totally unsupported, and I have navigated us on a journey of survival without support or viable help, while being ignored by two states and the people who are supposed to be there to serve and protect and help… So, in answer to ‘how do I feel?’... I feel tremendously and overwhelmingly sad and lost in this world that terrifies has always terrified me. I feel invisible, I feel like I am supposed to be the cat that fetches the paper and barks.
Difficulties not having a diagnosis tile later in life:
I think I gave a lot of this information above, my apologies. YES - not having the diagnosis earlier. Let me say it this way - had I known earlier and been able to get insight, help, support and learned things like they are teaching my autistic son (he’s 11 and been getting occupational, speech and other services for 3 years now) then maybe I would have had a fighting chance in navigating the world at large, given even the same crap circumstances and myriad of typhoons many of which are still storming daily.