When I received my diagnosis I went through a series of psychological changes. My first response was denial. Not me! I was too smart. Too successful (haha). This didn’t last very long. I knew there was stuff about me that was different from other folks. So, I began to read about autism, specifically “Aspergers “ . Many of the traits described fit me. At that point my behaviour began to be a lot more “autistic “. I began to have meltdowns. I started stimming. I still don’t understand why this happened but it has been documented before (see Phillip Wylie, Very Late Diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome). My partner had been told that I was like I was because I didn’t know that I didn’t know. They were correct. So, I continued to struggle. The situation became difficult between myself and my partner. Then, after having a huge meltdown I was required to leave the house. This led to a new phase. I needed to learn how to accept my autism so I could move on.
I moved into a cabin. I had to relearn a lot of skills such as cooking everything for myself. I felt lost, frightened and very angry at my partner. I still couldn’t see my true role in the whole problem. After a few months where my partner and I weren’t allowed to have any conduct, we met secretly one evening. This began a process of trying to figure out what we needed to do. It was, and still is a long process and there were and still are issues to work on.
Looking back, the last 3.5 years have been a slow, but steady growth period in terms of understanding and acceptance of my autism. The primary issue for myself and my partner revolves around building trust. The level of mistrust between us was very deep and will require a lot more work. Actually, it’s the level of trauma, which was very high and requires me to offer unconditional support without regards to my feelings, which can be inaccurate. I have had to learn that there is much about social behaviour that I don’t know that I don’t know. I have come from a position where I was convinced I knew everything. It’s like having a puzzle with one half of the pieces missing. Now I understand that empathy does exist and by developing a sensitivity to other folks feelings and by watching carefully their facial expressions, I am better able to accurately tell what is happening and what is needed for supporting my partner and other people. This ability is central to a healthy intimate relationship. Looking back, I can see how I came off as cold and uncaring. I understand what I need to do but I still have to be conscious of my behaviour so as to focus on being a loving, caring person. For me, awareness is the key to success.