The Late Diagnosis Ripple Effect

Photo by Pixabay on

It’s been a few years since I got my diagnosis. If anything, I have found it has brought up more questions than answers. I want to look at things I have recognised and ways I want to improve. I need to start this by pointing out that my main source of information has been friends. While, I am nowhere near to understanding my autism, without their guidance and patience, I would not be anywhere near as far along as I am.

I have mentioned in the past that a late stage diagnosis often comes with much more baggage than a diagnosis as a child. There are many reasons for that, partly because as a child you grow up alongside your understanding of autism, and there is considerably more support for young people and their parents. As an adult, support is limited and there is a huge aspect of reassessing your entire life and processing the emotions surrounding the diagnosis. There is a lot of soul-searching, and it can be more akin to the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). Trying to understand autism and how it applies to you can be extremely draining, both emotionally and physically.

My time in the autistic wilderness has not been without its merits. I have started to recognise some of my autistic behaviours. I don’t want to change them as such, more find ways to make them less of a challenge for myself and the people who support me. Hyperfocus has been one of the biggest issues I have encountered. I had been focusing on my autism and the impact the diagnosis had, to a point where I neglected many other aspects of my life. I spent large periods of time, making myself upset and withdrawn while I tried to figure out all the things at once. In reality, it was counterproductive. I realise not that while trying to understand the effects of my diagnosis, I need to look at my life in its entirety, not focus on a single aspect. Taking a step back, is very important when it comes to improving my coping mechanisms and learning my boundaries.

The other thing I need to work on, is unlearning negative behaviours. Many of the behaviours I have were developed as I grew up and are very ingrained. It isn’t that they are bad as such, more that they are not as useful for me as a neurodivergent than they would be if I was neurotypical. The late diagnosis has left me with some behaviours and attitudes that are not helpful when trying to figure things out. The main one that I have been working on recently has been that of reaching out for support. When it comes to medical treatment, I have always been of the mind that I should wait a few days before I seek any medical support (and then putting it off for another few days…). It has led to some difficult situations, like that time I passed out on the bathroom floor and ended up in the hospital with kidney stones. It’s not just medical issues that I need to be more willing to reach out for support. I need to shed my preconceived notions that I’m bothering people if I talk to them about my mental health needs. Hoping that people will pick up on the subtle cues that I might post on social media is not a reliable method of getting help. 

There are a few other things that I have picked up, but it has taken me quite some time to get this far with this post. There have been three different drafts on three different subjects, so I’ll quit while I’m ahead. Thanks for reading, and feel free to share any advice or ideas you might have.

Published by Kle

A busy bee deep into video games and other gaming related things

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: