I have spent way too much time thinking about the mind fuck that is discovering you are Autistic late in life.
There are many ways that not knowing your brain works differently, or that peoples brains can work differently for most of your life can really mess you up.
With the world constantly pressuring you to be someone else, it can be difficult to shine brightly and authentically, especially if we feel there will be consequences in doing so, or if passing for NeuroTypical has been frequently rewarded throughout your life.
I know I, personally, lost touch with my most authentic self, in the years I thought I was NeuroTypical.
Learning the truth about my NeuroDivergence has brought me back to myself.
I am formally diagnosed but will always advocate for Autistic People to be able to self identify, because I understand how much privilege and luck was involved in discovering I was Autistic at the age of 29.
This information set me free, and helped me start living a more authentically NeuroDivergent Lifestyle. I’m playing to my strengths. I’m fullly accommodated, I am physically and mentally doing better with my health than I’ve ever done before.
In addition, poor and multiply marginalized Autistic People (a large percentage of Autistics) face more barriers to diagnosis.Just another reason that, despite having a formal diagnosis, I support self identified Autistic People.
I want that for all Autistics. Gatekeeping helps no one.
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With gratitude, Lyric
5 thoughts on “The Need to Self Identify as NeuroDivergent”
Discovering my Autism at age 60, while learning to live in the default world sober, caregiving my father with dementia while going through a divorce, selling the house and finding new homes for my father and me … yes … this journey sucks the joy from my soul.
I would have committed suicide by now if not for you my dear Lyric! Sharing your story saves lives. It saved mine!! Thank you.
im 50 , sober for 6.6 years , my head went v strange when i gave up , dealing with it well now though .
I’m 65, recently retired from a long and satisfying career, and gradually I’m becoming more and more open about my self-identification as Autistic. I’ve been cautious about it until recently, because I didn’t want to be seen as a “poser” for claiming something I didn’t really have official “proof” of. I grew up in a family with so many people who are autistic that in many ways, autistic traits were normalized as just another variation . . . our current count is 9 people, with five formally diagnosed and the rest (mostly older people) unofficial. But at some point I may eventually seek a diagnosis, because while I don’t feel I need it myself I think that the more self-identified people who are eventually diagnosed formally the better our chances are of confirming the validity of self-identification – as well as of ultimately de-pathologizing autism and having it truly seen as a difference rather than a disorder.
I’ve just been diagnosed ASD yesterday and I’m 46 it has made me relived that i don’t ahve to try so hard and its given me a little bit of an excuse to set boundaries that always made me feel guilty , I’ve just started learning about masking and compensation I’m sure I’m not even fully aware of what I’m doing to fit in but I’m happy to have a label and a new identity
23, have been trying to get a formal diagnosis since last year, been discovering myself after realizing I’m likely autistic about a year and a half ago. New discoveries every day, some good some not so pleasant. It’s been very hard lately.. all of my routines have upended themselves, I’ve been injured and can’t enjoy my work as much that I HAVE to go to because I don’t have enough documentation for them to believe how much pain I’m in and how exhausted school is making me with my injury. A lot of my traits are grossly misunderstood and measured by neurotypicals in neurotypical ways and I’m exhausted. I don’t know what else to do. I feel like no one sees me or hears me when I’m clearly drowning in front of everyone.