Personal Stories, Autism, Diagnosis

My autism diagnosis: Suspecting I am autistic

Two years ago I was diagnosed as autistic, and kept a diary as I went through my assessment. Looking back now it is interesting to see how far I have come in that time. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing a series of posts based on the diary entries that I wrote during that time.  This is the first.

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 my Son, who was diagnosed as autistic a few years ago, has always reminded me of myself, and the more I find out about autism the more I wonder.

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

If you have something that you would like to write about and share through Me.Decoded, then please get in touch.

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About Helen Needham

Helen is the originator and founder of Me.Decoded. A passionate advocate for Neurodiversity, - diagnosed as autistic in her 40's after a lifetime of feeling like she was on the outside looking in.
  • England