It’s pretty easy to get missed, when you’re autistic. Diagnosticians generally just don’t know enough. The ones who are current are few and far between. Here’s yet another story about getting missed.
“I was formally diagnosed as autistic at the age of 41. How was it possible for me to have lived over 40 years without knowing? It may seem surprising but I had no inkling whatsoever, despite having worked with autistic people and those with learning disabilities for many years. I thought I knew about autism. I was wrong.
I knew about some of my mental and physical health conditions – mostly things that by themselves never met the eligibility criteria for services. The exception was the suicidal thoughts I experienced when I was 14. These led to a prescription for Valium and regular psychiatrist appointments for the next 18 months. The psychiatrist would refuse to start the conversation so we mostly sat in silence during the appointments, which was very unhelpful. At this time I was also aware of difficulties with my hearing – an inability to filter out background noise. I also found it hard to make and keep friends.
As an adult, I finally started to take my partner’s ‘jokes’ more seriously and eventually took an online test. As it turned out, she hadn’t been joking at all, but I didn’t really notice. Eventually I took an online test. My score was so high that I could that I could no longer ignore the possibility that I may be autistic.