I got my autism diagnosis around 2.5 years ago. At that point I was 22. I had finished high school, moved to Denmark and lived independently in my own apartment. I thought I was on a good way to find out, who I am. But then I got my autism diagnosis, and everything changed. It felt like I had to get to know myself all over again. In this blog post I want to tell, how it is to get an autism diagnosis so late and what advantages and disadvantages there are.
When you grow up, you learn what your strengths and weaknesses are. You adjust your life depending on that. As an adult you think you know yourself and your needs. I thought that as well. But after I got my autism diagnosis, I suddenly noticed so many things, I had a hard time dealing with. Of course, the challenges had already been there before, but I hid them without noticing. So, I didn’t actually know that I had those challenges. I was quite shocked, when I suddenly found out about the challenges that I have because of my autism.
One of the reasons to, why I think it’s hard to get diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder as an adult, is that you’re on your own, when you’re a grown up. If my parents and I had known about my autism and all challenges earlier, my parents could have taught me how to deal with them. I would have learned to deal with everything while growing up. Of course, I still have support from my parents, but I don’t live with them anymore. So, I’m kind of on my own. Now I need support from social workers to learn all the things I could have already learned, if I had gotten my diagnosis earlier.
Mental health issues
I probably have mentioned it before on my blog, but here it is again. I really think that I could have avoided a lot of mental health issues, if I had been diagnosed as a child. I had way too many mental health issues in my life. I had problems with self-harm, an eating disorder and a depression. And currently I’m in treatment for anxiety.
Support from others
Another problem that comes along with a late diagnosis is, that most people don’t get a lot of support before they get their diagnosis. You should get all the support you need regardless of whether you have a diagnosis or not. But a lot of times that’s not how it works. For example, I was really struggling in high school, because we got mixed up with different classmates all the time. But no one ever thought of helping me with that struggle. I’m sure, I could have gotten much more support, if I had already had my autism diagnosis at that point.
The positive side
Now that I’ve mentioned all the negative aspects of getting diagnosed late, here’s the positive side of it. I am pretty sure that I have experienced much more in my life than I would have experienced if I had gotten my diagnosis as a child. One example could be that I moved to Denmark a couple of years ago. I would never move to a foreign country again now that I know, that I am autistic. I struggle way too much with changes. So, it was also not easy for me to move to Denmark, but all the things I’ve learned and experienced are unique. If I had gotten my diagnosis before moving, I would have never experienced so much. In a way I guess you could say, that I’m grateful for having gotten my diagnosis as an adult.