I wanted to start off by introducing myself. I’m going full steam ahead at being middle aged and I was only diagnosed as autistic 4 years ago. The answer was absolutely life changing but maybe not in the ways most would expect. I was also diagnosed just last week with ADHD on top of it which has given me even more paths to navigate. I opened up this blog mainly to get all these thoughts out of my brain and on turning it into something creative and maybe (hopefully) beneficial… Things that I’m processing now and in my history and things that were impacted in my life due to being undiagnosed for SO LONG. How “severe” could I be if I went undiagnosed for so long? Let’s start diving.
I guess painting a picture of my family would be a good start. I’m the middle offspring of 3. My older sibling has unexplained (to me) intellectual disabilities and my younger sibling was born cleft lip and pallet. My mom cared for the 3 of us and our needs and my dad was the provider. My siblings and I and my father are all autistic (but none of us knew what it was called. I was the first in my family to be diagnosed). I used to think we were as perfect of a family as was depicted in our family pictures… Even now… But we are horribly dysfunctional. Despite my father physically being there, there is 0 emotional connection between my father and I and it’s always been that way. My mother singlehandedly took care of our needs as best as she could but with my other 2 siblings needing very visible needs, I was partially neglected.
School was absolute hell for me from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade. I struggled in school in general but I was also heavily bullied in elementary… So much so that I had the wind knocked out of me multiple times and remember passing out once and waking up with a teacher and students surrounding me on the ground. By 3rd grade I just stood by the wall and lunch ladies and did drawing. I drew a lot. I felt like I could express myself and my brain and thoughts more when I would draw. I could pay attention more when I’d draw too.. sadly, drawing on your school work makes it messy and your grade gets knocked down for it. I was never academically inclined and the strict rules in class rooms and in school systems in general made it even harder for me to succeed. My mom tried tutors to help me get organized and with homework but it still didn’t work. I was FINALLY held back in 6th grade after years of barely passing but it was only due to mono and missing so much school. We moved the following year and did much better in a rural area with smaller classrooms. I can only think of a handful of teachers who saw potential and just had a different way of doing it and helped me and I thrived in their classes. They didn’t complain about me like the other teachers who said I “daydreamed” and “wasn’t interested in school”. These special teachers saw I wanted to learn, saw how defeated I’d been, and showed me I did have potential and that I wasnt stupid and that I could do the work just had a different style in learning and putting what I learned on paper. The world needs more teachers like this. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be.
I have been on a self recovery journey for the last 10 years, figuring out who I am and healing from life long traumas in various forms. I’ve discovered so much about myself and (more importantly) gained a much better understanding of others. I’ve been married for 8 years this year and have been with my husband since we were in our mid teens.
I don’t wanna make this too long so I’ll wrap up with current stuff for now and write another blog in depth on some things more at another time. I’m now 31 and what lead me to my diagnosis was a mental breakdown. A burnout. I had worked and forced myself to act and pass as normal as possible cuz I had no answer or reason not to. I felt like an alien left on Earth and meant to survive amongst people and failing. All I could say at the counter of the mental health facility I went to was “I’m broken please help me”. I first got diagnosed as autistic with PTSD. I’d spent so many years and so much energy and effort trying to pass and be normal that it literally broke me. So I’ve spent the last 4 years relearning EVERYTHING (even speech) and working with my brain instead of against it.. and it’s been wonderfully eye opening.
I dunno if hashtags work for this but I’m going to try anyways and apologize in advance if I’m doing this wrong… which I probably am. #actuallyautistic #autism #adhd #autistic #neurodivergent