I'm 56 and can finally let go of some anxiety

I was diagnosed early this week. I've been different all my life, and have amassed a number of individual "issues" and diagnoses over the years, but I've always known that something wasn't right. I knew that all these symptoms couldn't be individual, and that something must be causing the "big picture." I often referred to needing my own "Dr. House" to examine my issues and look at the big picture, because as logical as I was, I was missing something.

A few years ago, when I started learning (I am an auto-didact) about autism and Asperger's (not a lot, but enough), I started noticing that the developmental and behavioral issues I had experienced with my son 30 years ago, were similar to those being shown as children on the Spectrum.

I was having neuropsych testing done for ADHD <-- yup, got it. I asked the Dr. about my son, and she said by my description, he would have fit the spectrum. He had been diagnosed, finally, at 14 with ADD, but I doubted that was the actual issue.

My youngest had ADHD and all the kids had hypersensitivty to touch, sounds, noises, lights, etc. (of course, there was more)

I had requested a test for Asperger's at the time of the neuropsych testing (3 years ago), I was refused, because I "presented too well." The doctor told me, "If you are, you are very high functioning." He continued with, "So what if you are?" ... and ended with, "If it makes you feel better to self-diagnose, go ahead....." I took that as condescension and let the issue drop.

So, I moved to a new state, and a city with outstanding medical and mental health services. I sought out a counselor because I had become immobilized with anxiety and the running tapes in my head wouldn't stop. I explained that I blog regularly about feeling like I'm "on stage," because I seem to rehearse my life before it happens, and then ruminate on what I did, trying to figure out if it was correct. We went through all my issues, all my little idiosyncrasies which have been considered "quirky and eccentric," and all my anxiety issues.

The doctor further went on the ask questions no one ever had, like why I won't wear long sleeves or turtlenecks, how one slight word change in a question can completely change the context for me, how when I want to make a point, I slow down my speech and say things very deliberately, while very carefully choosing exactly the right words so I won't be misunderstood.

I remember having an adult library card at age 8 because I was reading above my grade level, and being told by my father while I was failing high school (worst 4 years of my life) that "my IQ was too high to be performing this poorly in school."

I've been able to trace symptoms back as far as my mother, who we all recognized as being "off," but not being entirely sure why.

I left my doctor's office feeling a brief relief of anxiety (about 50% cut immediately) and have been researching people's stories and diagnostic evaluations for the past week, and THIS IS MY LIFE ...... and my favorite saying, I WAS RIGHT!!!!

Thank you!!!

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  • That's very interesting. My husband was considered to have mental health problems and was given 10 ECT treatments for his compulsive behaviour. He had been so bad that he wouldn't eat as he had the compulsion to pray all the time or read the Bible. He wouldn't co-operate with his parents and stayed in his room all the time and thought everyone was preventing him doing the right things. The ECT and medication had a lasting effect on his health and eventually he was diagnosed after he was 60 with Asperger Syndrome. He responded very well in his 40ies to a change of diet as we discovered that he was hypersensitive to certain foods, and smells such as petroleum. The foods he reacted to were certain cheeses, bananas, strawberries, skimmed milk powder, peppers etc. After these his personality would change rapidly and he'd become hyperactive and aggressive. Food for thought!

  • Thank you for that. We went through that with my oldest son (the 30 year old). After research, I was able to identify a number of issues with him, including Red Dye. We saw some improvement when I monitored his food, but there was still something *up* that wasn't right. I started realizing that his medication, as well as his laundry Soap, were pink. The doctor told me I was "crazy," but the problem(s) didn't start to correct themselves until after we took *all* red dye out of his environment. Personally, I have food issues and some minor environmental issues, so I'm always making changes and adjusting based on suggestions and proof. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Yes, it happens with a lot of people on the spectrum. My foster son was sensitive to eggs, the foster daughter and other foster son could not take milk and cheese and she can't take medication as she gets severe stomach pains and chocolate made them both hyper, likewise food dyes. I used to run BASH - Berkshire Allergy Self Help Group with others for years. Now live in Wales.

  • It's amazing how much you have to learn on your own; this diagnosis (for me) is such a validating experience. I am going to become a vocal advocate, I believe. My son spent 12 years in Special Education, then graduated college with a degree in Law Enforcement. On his journey to Eagle Scout, the Boy Scout camp created an Internship for him, and he oversaw the autisic kids in camp. This has been an under-riding theme in my entire life with him, and it's never been suggested that I be tested.

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