Getting Diagnosed as an Autistic Adult

Even though this is primarily a Football Manager blog, I decided to write about what it is like being an Autistic adult simply because it is part of who I am. I just want to use this first post as a way of telling my story.

As a kid growing up, I always felt like the odd one out. I never fitted in anywhere, struggled to maintain friendships. Changes to my routine would cause me great stress and I would feel overwhelmed. I wouldn’t be able to complete even the simplest of tasks. At school I was shy and rarely contributed in any classes, I always worked hard though and I remember having this huge fear of failure and I could never work out why. My parents were never pushy or had any unrealistic expectations of me, they were always very supportive.

As an adult it has been much of the same, I struggle socially and get very overwhelmed by excess noise and crowds. I have had crippling depression and anxiety which has let me to self harm. I have tried CBT, counselling, anti-depressants, the lot. After years of wondering, in 2018 I went to visit my GP and asked for a referral to the Autism Clinic for an assessment, when I explained my reasons she gladly wrote the referral.

After 18 months of waiting I finally had my assessment in December 2019/January 2020. At 25 years old I was diagnosed with Autism, officially High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. I had a real mix of emotions, I was angry, wondering why no one had picked up on it before, doctors, therapists, teachers… anyone. Then I was sad, my whole life had changed, this is a label I will have forever and I had to get my head around that.

Finally I was relieved, because suddenly everything made sense. I understood why I had behaved in certain ways previously. I was just starting to move forward and then lockdown happened. The instant change of routine and lack of focus completely overwhelmed me and because everything just stopped there was very little support.

Luckily I had a very good GP, I made the call and reached out. She sorted me out with some over the phone CBT to help me with coping strategies and prescribed me a low dose of antidepressants (which I am still on). With restrictions lifting and going back to some sort of normality (work, uni, etc) I feel much better.

Being Autistic is part of who I am, but it does not define me.

To anyone reading this who thinks they may be Autistic but do not have a diagnosis I would encourage you to ask your GP for the referral. It was a long wait and quite a traumatic process bringing up lots of suppressed feelings and emotions in the assessment, but having that confirmation, a firm yes or no, has helped me immensely. I now have a better understanding of myself and while I may be the odd one out it doesn’t bother me anymore. I am happy with who I am and it’s the first time I can honestly say that.

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