Women and Autism: The Diagnosis That Often Gets Missed
It’s been one that, for many reasons, I am having a very hard time dealing with.
You see, I have been doing a ton of work on myself. Lots of introspection, getting to the root of certain thoughts, feelings, fears, and behaviors….Unpacking trauma and getting past the pain in hopes of growing, healing, and being the absolute best version of myself that I can be.
Not only for my own sake, but so my kids don’t have childhoods they have to spend the rest of their lives recovering from.
Been there. Done that. 0/10 Stars. Do not recommend.
Anyway, I have been working hard on myself. I have seen a few different specialists, and have ended up with a few different diagnoses. Some are no shock at all: Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, C-PTSD, Body Dysmorphic Disorder are all things I was fully aware that I struggle with. Oh, you can add Seasonal Affective Disorder, too….The Holidays are super hard for me, so I can’t leave that out.
The diagnosis that shook me?
Well, after seeing a couple different specialists, I’ve basically been diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum. I am super high functioning, and since I am female, and females mask things quite well, it wasn’t diagnosed earlier.
In fact, according to my doctors, Autism is often missed altogether in adults, especially women. When we were kids back in the 80s and 90s, we didn’t GET diagnosed properly.
Our quirks? Well, they just made us the weirdos. No one ever got to the bottom of WHY certain behaviors exist.
At first, this diagnosis upset me. You see, there are things about myself that I hate….That now, I know I might never be able to “fix”.
My weird, sensory issues? Well, there may not be any way to turn them off. Some lights, sounds, textures, etc may always just be “too much” for me.
Well, I may never be “normal”. I may never be the life of the party. I may never be able to make and sustain eye contact with others. Certain jokes and references may always be over my head. People might always assume I am weird or cold or snobby because I sit quietly in the corner, just observing and trying to stay as calm as I possibly can. I may always have to leave well before the party is over, because I tend to get overstimulated and *have* to make my escape before I melt down internally.
Making close friends with people?
Ha! I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to let people in, and I have a hard time asserting proper boundaries. I am working on this, and it’s gotten better….But I also have a very hard time trusting people in general, and am used to always feeling like I don’t fit in.
So I mask. I put on a smile, go on what I call “autopilot” and I get through it.
But at least now I know WHY I am this way. I’m not a freak. I’m not a loser. I’m not hopelessly broken or damaged. I literally process the world, and everything in it, differently.
This is a new diagnosis for me.
I have known for several months, but I am having a hard time accepting it. I was honestly somewhat blindsided by this.
They always say that Autism is linked to no feelings or lack of empathy. For me, this is the opposite….I feel TOO much….I can’t handle seeing pain or suffering, and when others cry, I often get teary, almost like it’s a reflex. I never thought that my over-feeling self could possibly be on the Autism Spectrum….But I am. Every specialist I’ve spoken with and every test I have taken all have the same general result. I am still learning to live with it, and be gentle with myself, despite my differences.
Has anyone else gotten an adult diagnosis like this? Did you find out later in life that you’re neurodivergent? Any tips in general as I try and learn to accept and navigate my new normal?
Leave it in the comments, please and thank you!
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