I was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum at the age of 59. I was recovering from my first major depressive episode and my personal physician and my therapist both thought that I may be autistic, on the spectrum as what was once called Aspergers.
I was sent for testing. That consisted of a number of interviews by a psychologist. My younger sister was also interviewed about my early childhood, behaviors and experiences. They would have interviewed my parents had either been alive at that point.
I took a multiple choice test consisting of 350 or so questions. Some made no sense, others went to the heart of social or employment issues.
In the end, the multi-page report concluded that I was on the spectrum.
What did that mean for me? Since then, the last three years, I have been working to identify those behaviors that are hardwired, autistic. I have had another major depressive episode, far more severe. Most of the adaptations that I used to keep my emotions under control have vanished. I have begun stimming, and had several meltdowns.
It sounds bad. It is not. It is all part of the process of learning who I am, what my strengths and weaknesses are, and how I react to the world around me. The diagnosis was like getting a new beginning, a rebirth. I’m, in essence, three years old in many ways.
I am looking forward to the next twenty years. Let’s see what the new and improved me can do.