How was it to discover that I am autistic at the age of 37

After some things that happened in my private life at the age of 37, I went back to treat with my psychiatrist. I consulted with her for a year and had stopped 5 years ago. I restarted the treatment for my cyclothymia and this time (the previous time I didn’t do it), I looked for psychological treatment to complement the medication.

I started to see a young psychologist and I learned to loosen up more and talk about my problems. I have always been a reserved person who does not impose himself on a conversation, so I never opened up to anyone. After a period of treatment a friend commented:

Why don’t you do an autism test? You seem to have some characteristics

With that in mind I switched to a psychologist specialized in autism and with more experience in the field. I worked with her for a few months to get to know me and in that time I also got to know myself better. I took a personality test while waited for the autism one. When she had enough data about me, I took the autism test. The wait for the result was distressing, and I was already accepting the answer. So it came. Yes, I am autistic. A light level that affects social interaction and dealing with emotions.

Receiving this news had a greater impact than I imagined. It made me go through my whole life, from childhood to my adult life. All the social moments that I felt out of place, forcing myself to be “cool”, interacting with people while I preferred to be at home reading. That trip in the memory lane felt like it took a weight off my back. There was a reason why I had this hard time, because I tried so hard to be like everybody else, and that, takes the blame away, opens my eyes to future actions, and made me reevaluate my relations with others. Today I am more aware when I need to interact with people, I police myself more to not let this side of me make the situation uncomfortable.

Following this journey of self-knowledge I also took the IQ test. After 5 sessions taking the test, I had to wait a little longer to receive the result. To my surprise it was a high value, much higher than I expected, and that was one more thing that changed how I see my life. Again it made me look at my past and identify what it meant to me without even knowing it. I realized for example that I was being unfair to other people when using me as a minimum parameter of intelligence, always expecting more from others than I could manage myself. Another side of this discovery was that I started to charge myself a little more. I was already in a sequel of training and courses, but I decided to increase the difficulty of the topics (like astrophysics) and started to expect more of the results. This is not a bad thing, I managed to achieve goals that before I could not have imagined it was possible for me. As for expecting from others, I learned that everyone has their speed of reasoning, everyone has their time to assimilate knowledge. I learned to have more patience with others, especially professionally.

Summing up. Having a diagnosis can be liberating, reassess life, take a weight off your back and create new expectations and new challenges. My relationship with friends, colleagues, and strangers has changed, my expectations for the world have become different. If possible, get to know yourself, evaluate yourself, be the best you can be regardless of your limitations.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store