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  • Writer's pictureIndy Goodwin

World Mental Health Day: A Late Autism Diagnosis as a Blessing and a Curse

Updated: Apr 29

TW: Mental Health struggles, SH mention

the autism acceptance logo in pastel rainbow colours

This World Mental Health Day I wanted to take the time to talk to you all about something I've been dealing with recently. I was recently diagnosed with Autism at the age of 34. It took a while but they got there in the end right?

I wish I could say this was an easy thing to accept, after all I have half been convinced I was autistic for a long time. However it is a completely different thing to have it confirmed. To say I'm learning a lot is an understatement.

Diagnosis for me seems to be very much a double edged sword. On one side, almost euphoria. To know why the years of therapy and medication just weren't quite working as expected is a precious gift indeed. On the other side though, my self identity was already shaky and this is another spanner in the works.

I feel like I'm getting to know myself all over again, with a different focus. I'm learning that I actually get overwhelmed socially more than I realised, even texting can be too much and I need to wander off for a bit to recharge. I'm learning that not everyone has a rolodex in their head with information in it, or flow charts for how social interactions can go. I'm learning that it's okay to express joy in a way that feels natural to me with stimming and noises, and not to worry about how it appears to others. That last one in particular is going to take some work.

Basically, it feels like I'm learning to be me all over again. It's a daunting process to be sure, but one that is necessary. This is going to be an uncomfortable process as I learn and grow from this new information, but I have never shied away from a challenge.

My readiness to fight aside, I cannot deny there is some anger at this newfound challenge. If I had been diagnosed earilier how much pain could I have avoided? How many awkward social engagements I could have strategised to make sure I didn't end up a quivering wreck afterwards? Could I have avoided my more serious self harm incidents if I had known how to release that anxious energy?

There are so many questions that just can't be answered. I feel like the answers wouldn't bring me any peace either. All that's left is acceptance, and using the knowledge I have now to make my life better. I am better armed now, and that's what I need to focus on. Even though my heart breaks for Teen!Indy. Don't worry honey. It does all make sense one day. Keep holding on.

Having difficulty? You're not alone. There are so many lovely people you can contact. Here are a few I've personally used.

NHS 24

Call them on 111

They are super nice and will help you access the help you need. Available 24/7,

The Samaritans

Call them on 116 123 or email

Also lovely people and the email service is great if you're not good at phones like me but remember it could be a few days before they can reply. The phone line is available 24/7.

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1 Comment

Andrew Illsley
Andrew Illsley
Nov 08, 2023

Information and knowledge although great for explaining life in my experience not always fantastic at dealing with pesky 'what if’s' or 'if only’s'. Certainly, explanations did not help me to give my younger self the love and care I needed to help heal from trauma induced by being disability. In fact, it at time this knowledge made acceptance and self-care harder. I kept asking: well, if I know now why things were the way they were then why can’t I move on from the hurt and the pain? I had fallen for the biggest trap: knowing is not the same as accepting or grieving. I’m not sure what I have typed here is useful but your article made me think…

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