I guess I should start with introducing myself. I am 31 years old, living in Colorado. I was diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of 30 after my wife talked to me about looking into the possibility of being on the spectrum. I had no in-site to the autism world because it wasn’t anything I had ever looked into or thought was a possibility for me. I have lived my life not knowing why I was “different” and never really fit in with everyone else. I spent most of my life “masking” to fit in wherever I was. Sad part is now at 31, I don’t know how to just be me with no mask. I don’t know who the real me even is.
After being diagnosed and realizing that I’m not just an asshole but I have a disability, life changed in an instant. So many things from the past were coming into perspective. Growing up I liked to be alone, play by myself in a crib or box even. My mom always described me as her “different” child but couldn’t explain it. I am the middle child and compared to the other two brothers, I am very different all together. I’m content being by myself, socializing is difficult, sensory issues…. I grew up thinking I was “weird” not just “different”.
I wonder as a 31 year old is life would have been different or better if I had been diagnosed at a young age. I don’t hold anything against my parents for not looking into it, just if I would have had a different outcome as an adult. Having a wrench thrown into my life at 30 was difficult. How can I accept the fact that I have autism? Is my life going to be different in a good or bad way? So many questions and only my wife by my side to reach out to.
After being officially diagnosed, I didn’t tell anyone. I don’t know if it was shame or confusion. Is it an excuse for my life? I felt like I needed to understand and accept it for myself first before telling my family or friends. Accepting the diagnosis is probably the hardest thing for me. It’s been over a year and I still find it odd to tell someone. Especially when you get the “you don’t look autistic” as a reply. Then I feel like if I tell someone they will treat me differently. Eventually I told my dad about the diagnosis and at first he was very interested and asking questions. As time went on, he just looks at it as an excuse because “they diagnose everyone with something these days”. It was a little hard to swallow that he wasn’t interested in learning about it anymore and just pushed it aside. So I talked to my mom about it. She was genuinely interested and wanted to learn. It made her think and realize that it explained why she called me her “different” child. As a kid, she always lived her life around making things work for me or being nice about my difference. She had no clue but made my life sensory friendly anyway. Even after a year, she gets hit with “that explains it” out of nowhere and talks to me about it. She wears autism support bracelets, and she is good with other autistic children in her daily life at work. She never knew why she was good with them but it all made sense after realizing she had dealt with it from me. She continues to be a support system for me aside from my wife.
There is a lot more rattling around in my brain to write down but I will start with this post and see how I feel. I don’t know that anyone will read this or even find it but I am ready to start putting things into words since I can’t verbalize my thoughts or feelings all the time.