Last week, at the ripe age of 44, I was diagnosed autism spectrum condition.
Up until a year ago I would never have imagined the possibility that I may be autistic. I have always found life difficult and never fully understood myself. My job has always been my focus and I struggle with most things outside of work, but that was my normal. What led me to seek a diagnosis was meeting someone who had an awareness of autism and had been exposed to it through their work. The timing was right for me; I was struggling more than usual after going through a divorce and life was getting on top of me. I saved up (the process is not cheap) and contacted a specialist clinic in Cambridge. The whole process took about a month and for me, was worth every penny. I now know who I am and understand myself but most importantly of all, can be kind to myself and more forgiving.
Autism to me is not recognising emotions, missing social cues, not coping well with stress or change to routine, finding group interactions and noise borderline painful. Up until now, I have had no support or guidance for this and have just had to manage myself, often with limited success. Now I understand myself, I can gain the tools and coping mechanisms I didn’t learn as a child and my future looks a lot more manageable. Yesterday morning was the first time I can ever remember where I woke up smiling with a clear head. I can see no negativity in my diagnosis, in fact I feel I have gained a superpower! Being autistic has given me drive and focus for my job and makes me an excellent sports therapist. It has boosted my sense of touch when massaging and given me an analytical brain that allows me to come to a clear conclusion when helping my clients with the function and movement of their bodies.
I am choosing to share my experience as there are many people like me living with undiagnosed autism who are perhaps finding life more difficult than is needed. A diagnosis has given me something I have always sought but never achieved, inner peace.