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‘Diagnosis is rebirth’: women who found out they were autistic as adults

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

This article is from The Guardian written by Amelia Hill @byameliahill "Women from around the world describe the life-changing impact of finally receiving a diagnosis:"

"There were women whose lives had been scarred by victimization, from bullying to rape, because without a diagnosis they did not know they were highly vulnerable to manipulation and abuse."

"There were women who were diagnosed in their 70s, who had known there was something different about them for 60 years. There were those who described the decades-long struggle to fit in as a trauma that pushed them to mental collapse, sometimes to the point of attempted suicide."

"Others had wasted decades being misdiagnosed, prescribed unnecessary drugs and forced to remain in mental health wards while experts failed to diagnose their condition – or refused to listen to the women’s accurate self-diagnosis because, the experts insisted, the woman did not “look” or “act” autistic"

"Finally getting the diagnosis was life-changing for many. 'I am so utterly relieved to finally have an answer,'...diagnosis at 50 unleashed 'a wild mix of both positive and negative emotions'...'It was validation, confirmation, empowerment,''”

"Others spoke of the often crippling impact on their mental health of decades spent “masking” – pretending to be neurotypical. For others, a late diagnosis was devastating."

"Most women, however, spoke ecstatically about the result of their diagnosis. “My life has been completely transformed,” said one. “It’s like realising that not everyone lives in a cage, like you; some people really just do find life easier, and that doesn’t make you a failure."

The entire article is here

I diagnosed myself about 10 years ago and I think I feel somewhere in between the different reactions described in the article. I'm grateful to have an explanation of why I always felt different, why I struggled to be accepted until I gave up trying, and why it seemed everyone else always knew something I didn't. But on the other hand since I was in my late fifties at that point, I more than anything wanted a 'do over'. I'm tearing up now just thinking about it. I feel like I wasted my life not knowing or understanding what was going on. Trying so hard but always missing the mark. And then once I figured out I am autistic, what do I do, where do I even go with that information?

As mentioned in the article, there is a lack of support for adults. Although autism is a life long condition I'm not aware of any local support for autistic people who are not little children. Perhaps people are not confidant in the support provided to the little children so they think those who didn't receive it are on equal footing with those who did. That's the only explanation I can come up with.

As always, It would be great to hear what others think. If you're comfortable sharing please do so in the comments.

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