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I'm turning 65 next month, and just yesterday they added ASD (Autism) to my permanent medical record.

I've written before about how I was misdiagnosed as bipolar for a few decades, and the therapies and various prescription medicines never helped me. In fact, they nearly killed me.

In my last year on the meds, I got lithium toxicity, and was rushed to a trauma center a hundred miles from home, and spent a week in ICU. That was the autumn of 2021, and I am still recovering now in February 2023.

Yesterday I saw my third psychiatrist in a row who told me I had never been bipoloar, but I am Autistic. This time he put it all on paper, and entered it into my medical records. I guess that means it's official. Or maybe 'I' am official? Nah. I'm still just me.

I never had an inkling that I might be Autistic before sometime last summer, when I read a story in The Mighty by someone who found out accidentally that she was Autistic while she was having one of her children tested and assessed. When she described her life and her challenges, she sounded to me like she was describing my own life.

From that point onward, I started reading everything that I could get my hands on about the Autism Spectrum.

Then there were the internet tests, the books with tests, and finally talking to doctors and to Autistics.

Eventually, I was convinced beyond any reason of a doubt that I myself was, and am Autistic. Thereafter, I brought it up with my psychiatrist, and it took off from there.

That brings me back to yesterday, and the third psychiatrist to agree, and who added it into my medical record.

Now if I can get my General Practitioner to remove the bipolar label from my record there, I will feel like I can finally relax a little.

I don't have a problem with bipolar in itself. I just have a major problem with being misdiagnosed for decades and spending the bulk of my money on therapy and prescriptions that kept me physically exhausted and in a heavy mental fog for decades, and didn't help me in any way. I feel like the majority of my life was wasted.

So to have the label removed from my records is removing a constant painful reminder of all the life that I missed in my youth and middle age.

I am going to spend the rest of my years as a happy, grateful Autistic old dude. Peace be with you all.

#Autistic #actuallyautistic #audhd #ADHD #Autism #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #GeneralizedAnxietyDisorder #AutismAcceptance #Stimming #Dysgraphia #dyscalcula #pathologicaldemandavoidance #PDA #AutisticInertia #AutisticBurnout
#EFD #ExecutiveFunctionDisorder #executivedysfunction #RejectionSensitiveDysphoria #RSD
#ReactiveAttachmentDisorder #rad #MajorDepressiveDisorder #MDD #Dysthymia #Specialinterest
#Hyperfocus #hypervigilant #SensoryOverstimulation #SensoryIssues #SensoryPain


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Raising A: Parenting a Neurodivergent Child

I don’t think I know anyone who didn’t have some sort of major upheaval in their lives in the past 10 years. That’s living, right? No one gets out unscathed. In the past 10 years, I have moved 6 times, gotten divorced, been diagnosed with PMDD, had vertebrae in my neck fused, made some amazing new friends, grown closer to my best friends, lost loved ones, bought a house, sold a house, built a house, fallen in love, had the most amazing job of my life, and so much more. But one of the most defining moments of the past decade for me happened four years ago.

That’s when my daughter was diagnosed as having Autism, ADHD, and a generalized anxiety disorder. If Autism still had categories, she would be classified as having Asperger’s and Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndromes.

It was A LOT to swallow.

She is my only child and I had always known she was "difficult". She is very literal, often unable to understand social conventions, subject to outbursts and meltdowns that can be shocking, and she desperately needs to be in control of pretty much every situation.

But she is also incredibly bright, hyperverbal, extremely creative, bitingly funny, and quirky.

I don’t know exactly what it’s like to BE my daughter, but I can share some of the things that make life different for her. She has acute anxiety every day. It’s not always visible because she is learning to adapt, but it is always there. Anything that is “not the same”, overstimulation, everyday demands – all of these things can and do cause her to act impulsively and lash out in anger. She takes EVERYTHING personally and is often quite sure that no one on the planet likes her.

Feeling like she has no control over a situation – whether that be going to a new place, meeting new people, or feeling like she isn’t being heard or taken seriously – can cause some of her biggest panic attacks. These look like outbursts/tantrums/meltdowns complete with screaming and threats, but they are truly panic attacks and require a completely different approach to diffusing than an actual tantrum would (sorry to all the teachers that had her in class before we figured this out).

She puts up with parents and step-parents who are struggling to understand her and who continuously get it wrong.

But every day we are learning. We are learning what her triggers are. We are learning when to hold on tightest and when to loosen our grip. We are learning how to help her navigate a world that is always “yelling” at her. We are learning how to bring people into her world. Most importantly, we are learning how to not take any of it personally either. That’s the hardest one I think.

I’m writing this because she permitted me to do so – weeks ago in fact. She’s not ashamed or afraid of her diagnosis anymore. She wants to learn more about herself. She wants to help other kids and families who might be having a rough time. I can't think of a better time to start than now.

#Autism #Aspergers #pathologicaldemandavoidance #raisinga #neurodivergent