Everyone’s Got An Opinion About Autism

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2 Responses

  1. Mark says:

    Interesting article. The bit about your mother reframing your past and present behaviour to fit your diagnosis was particularly illuminating. I spend too much time reading first hand experiences of autism as I definitely have it despite being undiagnosed. I would love to get a diagnosis and to tell people although this article is making me have second thoughts. The main reason for keeping it secret however is my job which is secure, well paid but safety critical. Although I suspect some colleagues to also be on the spectrum, it would more than likely result in unemployment if the secret got out; it’s an old fashioned, macho industry. I’m sharing this out of desperation as I’m in a downward spiral of loneliness and low self esteem. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain a facade so that my traits aren’t too obvious. Do you try to pass as neurotypical or are you just you?

  2. Hi Mark,

    I currently pass as neurotypical, but I suspect that there are many people who know that there’s something different about me, but can’t quite put their finger on it. I’ve been pretending to be something I’m not for decades, but I just thought that I was hiding my personality (rather than my autism). It’s not really a conscious decision to ‘pass’, it’s more that I’ve never known anything else. I learnt from an early age that being myself resulted in negative reactions, so I adjusted my behaviour when in the presence of people I didn’t trust (ie nearly all of them).

    I understand your desire to get a diagnosis. I strongly believed that I was autistic, but there was always this tiny element of doubt in my mind that I couldn’t live with. I don’t know the situation where you live, but is it possible to get a diagnosis and only share it with close friends/family and keep it a secret from your workplace?

    There are many people involved in the online autistic community who don’t have a formal diagnosis, but who identify as self-diagnosed and the vast majority of people are fine with this. After all, there are many reasons why someone might not have a formal diagnosis. Perhaps you will find the acceptance and friendship there that is currently eluding you. I truly hope so and good luck with whatever decision you decide to make 🙂

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