My autism diagnosis: Suspecting I am autistic

my journey being assessed for autism as an adult

If you have been following my blog posts, you may have noticed that I have started writing more about my own experiences, as well as my sons. Earlier this year I opened up about my Secret Hopes and Fears after I decided to embrace my vulnerability, and since then I have been on a journey of my own as I was assessed and then diagnosed as autistic.

I am still working through what a diagnosis means for me, and those around me. While I know that I am the same person I was before the diagnosis, I do wonder what changes (if any) will happen as a result of a greater self-understanding. I am also curious to know how it will change the perceptions of those who know me, once they find out about my diagnosis.

Is it going to be a total shock for them, or is it going to be like finding out what people really thought of your ex after you finally break up and they finally share what they were really thinking? Where everyone had a view, but didn't want to say something for fear of offending?

As with my son's diagnosis two years, I have decided to blog about my experiences to document my own journey in the hope that it can help me connect with others on a similar path. 

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing my diaries that I kept as I was being assessed. Below is the first entry which I wrote shortly after deciding to get myself assessed. 

Last night I watched a video on autism in girls by Tony Attwood, and it has got me really thinking about whether I might be autistic. Actually, I have been wondering about this for some time as Eldest has always reminded me of myself, and the more I find out about autism the more I wonder.

Professor Tony Attwood - Autism in Females

All my life I have never felt like I quite belong. I was an outsider at school, I struggle in many social situations, and I never seem to easily fit in with the people around me at work.

I struggle with social anxiety, and in recent years I have also struggled with general anxiety. This is largely triggered by uncertainty and my struggles to get people onside at work. I know that I have a tendency to cause conflict without meaning to, but have always put that down to being a South Africa living in an English world.  Now I am starting to wonder if there is more to it than that.

I am tired of not feeling like I belong, and I am tired of clashing with so many people. I am even clashing with Eldest now, and am concerned that in the long run this will damage our relationship.

My bookshelves are filled with books on collaborative negotiation, effective teamwork, being a trusted advisor, how to win friends and influence people, and more recently having the courage to dare greatly. I have loved these books, and have tried many of the strategies recommended. As a project manager, I've had many chances to try out new strategies on new projects with new teams. Unfortunately, it is a bit like Groundhog day and things always play out in the same way.

I have lost track of the number of times that I have been told that I am abrasive, challenging, a perfectionist, "don't suffer fools gladly", and a recent favourite that I railroad people. No matter what I do, I just can't seem to change how things work out.

In the past, I have tried counselling for the anxiety, life-coaching to change my approach at work, and a communications coach to help me in my communication with others. As much as I try to change things, my anxiety and struggles just seem to be getting worse. Something has to change, but I don't know how.

So here I am. Struggling with myself, and frustrated with my inability to change things. Could I be one of the hidden pool of undiagnosed mums ?

In my next post, I will be sharing what happened when I decided to share my suspicions and arranged for an assessment

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