My Late Autism Diagnosis: I Was Angry1 min read

Finding out that I was autistic at 27 was very hard for me.  My friends were ahead of me in just about every way.  I had just lost my chance to go back to college, lost my apartment, and lost gains from working out within the space of a year.  I was low and depressed.  Realizing that I was actually different wasn’t relieving, it was depressing and infuriating.

I know that I hear a lot of people saying that they were relieved to know.  For me, I was angry.  Angry I missed it, angry how my family treated me before and after I was diagnosed, and angry how things were so difficult academically, mentally, socially.

For some time now I have been at war with two sides of me: the failure my family sees me as, and the great person the rest of the world sees.  Most days it’s simply the one I feed that makes the most difference.

Maybe I just needed time to work through this.  Maybe I need to convey how I feel another way.  I honestly don’t know.  I just know that I’m not as angry as I used to be.

So here’s me, putting something down, trying to convey how I feel.  I’m working to understand how I function.  To write on here is like finding out I’m autistic: there are so many emotions and feelings I have that keep me stuck sometimes.  I just need to work through them.

To be honest, I was actually quite nervous to post anything on here.  For weeks I thought I don’t feel like I write particularly well, especially well enough to convey my thoughts for people to understand.  The guilt quietly gnaws at me, like a dog on a soup bone.

But I write anyway.  Write something, write anything.  And hopefully the right words will come.

 

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Emmanuel

Team Member at Ventures ATL
My name is Emmanuel. I am an Atlanta native and I found out that I was autistic at age 27. I work at Ventures ATL and am a self-advocate with ASAA. I am a graduate of Dunwoody High School, the Life Behavior Consulting PEERS program, the LEAP program of Eaton Academy, and GSU's My Voice, My Participation, My Board. If you like my work, you could buy me a coffee by clicking here.
Emmanuel
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10 Comments

  1. I hear what you are saying Emmanuel.  I am 41 and found out a couple of months ago.  I too am angry.  Angry for so many reasons, like you.  I think it helps to acknowledge you are angry, to sit in it and just be.  I don’t have an solution though, no magical pill.

    For me, finding out was like a bomb going off and the shrapnel has not settled yet.  I just know that I was right all along, since I was a kid, I knew but no one would believe or help me.  35 years later, through all the shit, here I am, still angry but for different reasons.  Surprised I didn’t kill myself to be honest.  I do not say that flippantly, I say it matter of fact.  More needs to be done, more people need to be held accountable.

    1. I was angry as well, diagnosed almost twice your age.  Angry about the odd world I lived In, but that shortly for me went to joy as I understood why things were so difficult up to that point.
      Look after yourself please.

  2. My anger arrived later, after about a year.  I was angry about my school and university missing the obvious, at GPs who ignored my mental health problems and at people who bullied me for years and employers/colleagues who discriminated against me for being different.  That anger has lessened. 

    Now I’m angry at the way the world treats us, the way our normal is pathologised, the difficulty I have in getting support and the stigmatisation of having to claim benefits to survive.

    I can’t do anything about the past, but I can do something about now and the future. 

    Best of luck, Emmanuel.

  3. I was 59 when I discovered my ASD.  I started to get angry…  thinking I wasted a whole lifetime fumbling around, not understanding what was influencing my life let alone how to address this cloud that cast a shadow over everything.  I think about all the “what ifs”..  My life could have been much different had I known.  But there is no changing the past.  I stopped myself from being bitter about the past and knew I had to go on from today.  I finally knew the answer to so many things.  I have an opportunity I’m not going to waste on “what ifs”.  This does not mean I grieve the past.  That is how I heal and become stronger by learning now what I could not learn then.  There are many who never find this answer and struggle till the grave not knowing why.  I finally know who I am..  its not that masked person trying to be something I’m not.  I’m going to give my past meaning by helping those who are lost find their way.  I’m going to help my community and help those who are not autistic understand us better by being a voice for our community where I can.  I can finally live life with my eyes open and learn to manage those things I could not understand that have affected my life.  I’m going to be the best autistic person I can be.

  4. I chose to divorce my family of origin.

  5. Thank you for sharing this and being so open and vulnerable.  I went through anger, too.  Still do, sometimes.

  6. Well.  I disagree.  I have NEVER been diagnosed as ‘Asperger’s’.  I was treated as if I was normal’, which I am — well within the normal range of human behaviour/personality.  OK I found it difficult to make friends.  But them one reason for this was that I really didn’t like the ‘terribly normal’ kids.
    MY successful Nephew was ‘never’ diagnosed either.  Neither of us got labelled as weird/ abnormal or even needing treatment.
    I minded my ‘awkward’ niece for about 6 months and spoke the the matron a the local hospital.  She told be “Do NOT get her diagnosed because then the diagnosis become ‘them’.”
    Another nephew (another sister’s youngest) was diagnosed early on.  The diagnosis became an excuse to be weird, and he was perpetually being ‘treated’.  He has ended up an unemployable druggy.
    I would like to see the ‘stigma’ of “Asperger’s” totally removed.
    Some of the World’s most famous and productive people have been Asperger’s.
    We are NOT stupid, we are not handicapped, we simply are awkward, un-sociable (by the standards of the ‘terribly normal’ (aka boring) people.
    I would like to post a diagram of the normal distribution graph here — look it up – but 99.5% of us count as ‘within the normal range’.
    Get with it accept yourself and stop apologising.  You do NOT have to tell anybody that after a ‘social’ do you go home and hide under the bed until you calm down 🙂
    And I your M-I-L hated you because you won’t mwa/mwa kiss her every time you meet, console yourself that you hate her too because she is so intolerant!

  7. I was finally diagnosed at age 52; missed numerous life chances due to not understanding myself, getting the wrong medical care, therapists who wanted eye contact so I made no progress, even the wrong self-help book “advice” about what would help with all sorts of issues.  One approach I’ve taken, which on one hand kept me going, on the other — ignored my own internal reality — was to say, I can start again if I think I can.  So I’m going to think I can.  So I did.  Is that strength of will, or stubbornness, or the seriously ableist “autistic deficit” of perseveration on whatever positives kept me going?  There’s lots of intersectionality in this stuff too; I hope you can find autistics whose own words validate your life; I find that helps even though very painful at times.

    Well we’re still alive!  Please stay that way, you have a lot to offer yourself and others.  Including just letting yourself say s**t has been hard.

  8. I found out at 32 and I’m still angry about it.  I often have a hard time accepting it.
    I completely understand.  I do wish the schools would have caught it at some point instead of just throwing me in detention or getting reprimanded by teachers.  I might have got the help I needed in college too.  My elementary school thought I had ADHD and I still think I might have that instead if it’s not co-morbid.  I often feel like any diagnosis would have been better than this, even bi-polar disorder and OCD like I originally thought I had.  When my parents took me to get evaluated by a councillor so many years ago when I was little, I put on the best act possible for them to think I was normal so my parents wouldn’t have to deal with a “special” child.  Apparently it worked, and unfortunately it ended up being a downfall.
    I’m going to start going to see a psychiatrist now so hopefully it’ll help.

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