Late diagnosed autistic people often share that they suspected they were autistic years before they obtained a medical diagnosis. Many felt confused and alone in social situations as early as elementary school, when parallel play was less of a thing and girls their age were getting more sophisticated in their communication with one another. Some speak of painful bullying during their school years which often subsided by college. After spending the younger years trying to fit in and often copying the behavior of peers, adult social situations can still be nerve wracking and confusing.
While learning that your brain is simply wired differently may be life affirming, a diagnosis as an adult means you grew up missing years of support and services. You then discover that those services are often not offered to you as an adult. So, it is up to you to advocate for yourself and build a strong support team and community.
What are some ways to take care of yourself after diagnosis? For one, meeting with an Autism-Informed therapist. Working through your past pain and new diagnosis can be much easier with a mental health professional you trust. If you are unable to find a good match with someone with this background, at least find a trauma-informed counselor.
Making goals around self preservation because of work place and relationship demands can also be helpful. High pressure environments can take their toll, especially without the planning for rest and rejuvenation before and after big events, signifcant expectations or deadlines.
What else can help? Finding ways to get your needs met. And, noticing the beginning of overwhelm and burnout before it takes over your life.
To shed some light on how to build a better toolkit for yourself, Danielle Sullivan, of Neurodiverging, and I will be addressing these topics in our holiday Neurodivergent Women's Group. Check us out here: From Defeated to Inspired. It is just in time for the expectations tossed on many of us during the end of year "extra-ness". Extra gatherings, lights and endless playing of Christmas music, racing around, gift-giving expectations....so much extra!
Join fellow neurodiverse women of all stripes, as we do a deep dive into how to take back the end of 2022 and make it work on your terms. Sign up to join us now as space is limited. Register here.