Acceptance as a Well Being Practice

Note: This was originally published as a chapter in the book “GAP: Autism, happiness and wellbeing” (British Institute of Learning Disabilities). It’s something that I’ve been waiting to post here for months and I guess a fitting place to leave off, since it’s kind of a summary of the my journey from diagnosis to present.

This will be my last post for a while. I’ve decided to put the blog on hiatus until my language problems are less, well, problematic. Writing even once a week is taxing my limited communication resources and as much as I’ll miss this, self-care has to be a priority for me right now.  I hope to be back at some point, though I have no idea when. Until then . . .

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As a late-diagnosed autistic adult, people often ask me why I bothered seeking out a diagnosis. At age 42, I was happily married, the parent of a grown daughter, and a successful business owner. Because I was self-employed and about to complete my college degree, a diagnosis wouldn’t grant me access to additional services or accommodations.

While not necessary in any practical sense, my Asperger’s syndrome diagnosis was a turning point for me. It answered a question that I’d been asking myself since childhood: Why am I so different from other people?

That may seem like a trivial question, but when left unanswered for decades, it can become unsettling and haunting. Finally having an answer opened the door for me to do something I’d never been able to do: accept myself as I am.

Acceptance as Well Being Practice

When you grow up knowing that you’re different–and worse, suspecting that you’re defective–acceptance doesn’t come naturally. Too often, autistic individuals are acutely aware of the ways in which they don’t measure up to social norms. As a child, I knew that I wasn’t like most of the other kids and in the absence of an explanation, I assumed that I was simply doing something wrong.

Finally having an explanation for my differences forced me to challenge some long-held beliefs about myself. What if all these things that are wrong with me–I was still thinking more in terms of “wrong” than “different”–aren’t my fault?

Those first inklings of acceptance brought me immense joy. Decades of thinking I just wasn’t trying hard enough were cast in a new light. I wasn’t defective; my brain worked differently.

Getting from those nascent thoughts to a fully-realized sense of acceptance, however, was a hard and often nonlinear journey. My first instincts were to research all of the ways Asperger’s made me different. I thought if I could “fix” my aspie traits I’d finally feel like a “normal” person.

I set out to learn the intricacies of body language and making small talk. I was determined to master the correct way of using eye contact. I vowed not to make socially inappropriate comments, though I was still vague on what exactly that meant. This turned out to be an exhausting and ultimately futile undertaking.

The more I tried to fix myself, the worse I felt. The number of things I would need to learn to pass as neurotypical felt overwhelming; I was ill-suited to even the simplest of them. My husband played along as I quizzed him about social rules, eye contact, feelings, and body language. I read how-to books for aspies, etiquette guides, and even social skills books written for children on the spectrum.

Eventually I grew weary of feeling that I was failing at one thing after another. The self-consciousness and tension brought on by constantly monitoring my behavior for errors was demoralizing. With no end in sight, I gave up on my plan to fix myself.

Around the same time, I discovered a community of autistic adult bloggers. Reading about their experiences, I was surprised to discover how much I had in common with them. The books I’d read up until that point were mostly written from a male point of view and the few that were authored by women told extraordinary stories of success or lifelong struggle, neither of which I could relate to.

Autistic bloggers, on the other hand, seemed like regular people. Women like me, with average lives, writing about experiences that felt familiar. I left long, excited comments on the blog posts that spoke to me most strongly and was surprised to get friendly, thoughtful replies. There was a sense of community among the writers and their readers that was unfamiliar to me.

Too often in the past, when I related an experience in a group of people, even people who seemed remarkably similar to me, I was met with puzzled looks. It was a relief to talk about the “weird” parts of myself and have my tentative revelations met with virtual nods of agreement.

From other adults on the spectrum, I began to learn coping strategies and about the concept of neurodiversity. I learned about supports and accommodations, the social model of disability and why it’s important to presume competence. I learned that it was okay to struggle with things that come naturally to typical adults, that there was no shame in finding socializing difficult, that my autistic traits can be a source of strength.

I learned that acceptance could open the door to a strong sense of identity and pride, not only in what I’m capable of but in who I am.

What is Acceptance?

Acceptance, or more precisely self-acceptance, means unconditionally embracing yourself as you are. It wasn’t a concept I had given much thought to until I began learning about what it means to be disabled.

For most of my life, my view of myself was predicated on what I had achieved. I felt a strong need to succeed academically, professionally, athletically, and even socially, as a way of validating my self-worth. My fragile self-esteem was buttressed by a constant need to outdo myself.

My diagnosis came at a time when the demands of life were beginning to exceed my patchwork of coping strategies and workarounds. Not only was I finding it more difficult to excel at work, some days I was finding it hard simply to show up. It was clear to me that I needed new coping strategies and one of them would have to be admitting that I had needs and weaknesses.

One of the most difficult parts of understanding acceptance was the abstractness and the immediacy of it. Acceptance meant embracing myself as I am, in the present. It meant letting go of the idea that I would some day magically become a more competent, mature, socially adept version of myself. It meant acknowledging that I’m not perfect and, more importantly, I don’t need to be.

Building a Bridge to Acceptance

While there is a strong sense of before and after in my mind, self-acceptance didn’t happen quickly or accidentally. It was a nonlinear process, one that took nearly two years and a great deal of internal work.

When I was in the “before” place, unconditionally liking all the parts of myself, particularly the parts I found embarrassing or shameful or weird, felt impossible. If someone had said, “you need to accept yourself if you want to be happy,” I would have shrugged it off.

As a literal thinker, when I hear platitudes like “accept yourself,” I imagine acceptance happening all at once. I envision myself on one side of a chasm, mired in self-doubt and fear. On the other side of the chasm lies acceptance, waiting for me to leap across and embrace it.

Unfortunately, no amount of practice or effort will allow me to make that leap in a single bound. Thinking of it that way, it’s easy to give up before I even get started.

What I’ve discovered over the past two years, however, is that I didn’t need to leap. Instead, I needed to build a bridge across the chasm, one plank at a time, and walk over it.

That bridge turned out to be a series of specific steps that played important roles in helping me reach a place of acceptance. Looking back on my journey, I’ve attempted to identify the key “planks” in my bridge to acceptance.

Self-Knowledge

Self-knowledge is an essential part of self-acceptance. However, some autistic individuals are missing a key piece of self-knowledge: a diagnosis. As someone who made it well into adulthood undiagnosed, I had devised many alternative explanations for why I struggled with things that seemed to come naturally to my peers. None of my explanations were positive. Often they revolved around me needing to try harder or being fundamentally incompetent in areas like social skills and communication.

The self-knowledge that a formal diagnosis gave me was the first step toward self-acceptance. In the absence of the true explanation for my differences, I would have gone on creating my own explanations indefinitely. The peace of mind that I got from having a professional say, “you have Asperger’s syndrome” was invaluable. My diagnosis allowed me stop questioning and start educating myself about how and why my brain works differently.

Through my blog I’ve talked with hundreds of adults who are either late-diagnosed, pursuing a diagnosis or questioning if they might be on the spectrum. Nearly every one of them has expressed the need to know for sure if Asperger’s or autism is the answer to why they feel different. Those who have received a professional diagnosis often talk about their lives as I do, in terms of before and after, and the validation that a formal diagnosis brings.

Late-diagnosed adults also speak of wishing they knew sooner. So many of us grew up knowing we were different but not understanding why. Today, children are more likely to be diagnosed in early childhood, presenting an opportunity for them to grow up understanding their differences and how to cope with them.

Positive but Realistic Framing

When I first began reading books about Asperger’s for adults, the information I found was discouragingly negative. If marriage or parenting was mentioned at all, it was with the assumption that people on the spectrum were ill-equipped for both. Information on comorbid mental illnesses and high unemployment rates was plentiful but there were few stories of autistic people leading fulfilling adult lives.

I started to think that I was either an outlier or not on the spectrum at all. So many of the traits of Asperger’s fit me, but the overall profile of an adult aspie? That didn’t sound like me at all.

It was only when I discovered the blogs of autistic adults that I began to see my adult self reflected in the experiences of other people on the spectrum. Perhaps, again, it was my literal-minded approach that left me feeling grim after my initial research. The books I’d read made it sound like all autistic adults were lonely, unemployed, and depressed.

In reality, I discovered autistic adults who were happily married and unemployed, single parents with full-time jobs, college students with no interest in dating, business owners who were intentionally childless–every variation of adulthood imaginable, just like nonautistic adults.

Through reading the experiences of adults like me, I began to frame autism in a positive but realistic light. Doing so helped me find my place on the spectrum. Here were other autistic people, succeeding in some parts of their lives and struggling in others, and many of them seemed not just happy but content with being autistic. They talked openly about their difficulties. They weren’t in denial and didn’t gloss over the “ugly” parts of their lives. They seemed to genuinely embrace themselves, disability and all.

This was a revelation to me. Previously, when I thought of disabled people, the emphasis was on the “dis-” part of the word, on all of the things they couldn’t do. But here was a group of disabled people who were proud of what they could do and okay with the things they found hard or just plain couldn’t do.

Identifying Needs

Soon after realizing that I was likely on the spectrum, I read a blog post by Ariane Zurcher in which she used the phrase, “presume competence and respect my process.” That was my first exposure to the concept of presuming competence, which is a cornerstone of acceptance. However, it was the second part of that phrase that really drew me up short. I realized that I needed to respect my own process. In learning to do so, I’ve grown more confident in myself, which in turn allows me to trust myself on a deeper level.

A big part of acceptance has been honestly confronting the areas of my life where I need accommodations or supports and taking steps to actively meet those needs. By default, I’m the kind of person who is “fine.” No matter how good or bad something is going, I’ll tell you that I’m fine, I can handle it, I don’t need help.

There have been a surprising number of challenges in learning to identify my needs and ask for accommodations. At the most basic level, I had difficulty knowing when I was struggling with a task or situation–and still sometimes do. When I can identify a need, my instinct is to minimize or ignore it. The “I’m fine” instinct is deeply ingrained and persistent. Learning to admit that “I’m not fine” has been hard, but therapeutic.

Another challenge is that asking for accommodations identifies me to others as different. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to be not different–blending in rather than standing out. To overcome my discomfort, I’ve had to learn that it’s okay to have atypical needs and wants or to have different needs and wants than my peers.

Simply the act of including wants with my needs when talking about accommodations has required a shift in my thinking process. At first I thought of accommodations and supports as the bare minimum changes in my life that would allow me to what was required.

With the encouragement of the people in my life who want me to be happy and healthy, I was able to see that accommodations and supports can apply to things that I want as well. For example, if I want to have an enjoyable dinner at a restaurant, I might have to ask to be seated at a quieter table away from high traffic areas. If I want to be less overloaded at a family gathering, I might need to leave the party for 30 minutes of quiet time alone.

Much of what makes my life more enjoyable isn’t a need, per se. I could get by without certain accommodations, and I have for much of my life, but I know now that I don’t have to. Understanding how my brain works differently, has helped me identify many things, big and small, that I can do to minimize my discomfort and increase my enjoyment of life.

Acceptance has allowed me to think of myself as a person whose needs and wants have value and that has contributed significantly to my happiness.

Social Support and Community

Acceptance is something that happened within me and also to me. As I came to accept myself, I found the people around me becoming more accepting of my autistic traits. There was a give and take to the process, with me becoming gradually more myself and my family encouraging and embracing the changes in me. Because I’d spent so many years trying to minimize the signs of my Asperger’s, it was difficult at first to let go of my tendency to mask these traits.

Similarly, there were times when it was difficult for those around me to process the changes that were happening. Often it seems that our family’s first reaction to an autism diagnosis or disclosure is to reassure us that there is nothing “wrong” with us and nothing has changed. While it’s true that we’re the same person before and after an ASD diagnosis, it’s not quite that simple.

I was the same person post-diagnosis, but with a powerful new piece of self-knowledge. I felt as if I was seeing myself clearly for the first time. It was important to me that my family validate that feeling. If they’d dismissed my diagnosis and subsequent changes as insignificant, I don’t think I would have gotten to acceptance as quickly or perhaps at all.

In addition to family support, acceptance can be nurtured through community. For some of us, community comes in the form of in-person support groups or attending a school where many of the students are on the spectrum. Others, myself included, find support in autistic-friendly online spaces.

Being part of an autistic community opens up the possibility of having “me too” moments. When your experience of the world is markedly different from that of most people’s, you get used to odd looks and awkward silences in conversations that would otherwise be bonding opportunities. It’s hard to describe the relief I felt the first few times another autistic person said to me, “I do that too!”

Community can also be a place to find mentors. The language and practice of acceptance didn’t come naturally at first. Learning about the fundamental concepts of neurodiversity gave me access to a new way of thinking about myself. Gradually I moved away from comparing myself to a fictional norm and began thinking more about celebrating my differences. I will always be grateful to the community elders who took the time to answer my questions and gently nudge me in the right direction.

Opportunity for Growth and Change

Acceptance has helped me grow into myself. That feels like a paradox because the self that I’ve become over the past two years already existed inside me; I’d just become very good at concealing it. From childhood, I had a sense that there were aspects of me that were socially unacceptable. Little by little I learned to hide them, creating an increasingly false version of myself.

As I grew to accept that being different is a natural part of the human condition, I felt less compelled to hide the parts of me that openly identify me as different. I began to reclaim and take ownership of my autistic traits. For example, I stim more and have found that I’m more relaxed as a result. I no longer stop myself from skipping or bouncing down the sidewalk when I’m excited. My echolalia has become a source of joy, not just for me but for my family, who I often catch smiling at my wordplay.

I’ve also learned that when I listen to myself, to those wants and needs that I’ve been working so hard to recognize, I’m much happier. Rather than force myself to socialize in ways that I find uncomfortable, I’ve come to recognize that my social needs are different from the average adult’s and that’s okay. I can decline social invitations without feeling ashamed of my inability to be comfortable in larger groups or devote time to a special interest without feeling guilty about taking time for myself.

Equipping, Not Fixing

When I write about acceptance, it is not uncommon for a parent of an autistic child to counter that they aren’t just going to give up on their child, that accepting their autistic child as they are sounds like the equivalent of doing nothing.

This is where differentiating between fixing and equipping can be helpful. When I initially set out to fix all of my autistic traits, I had unconsciously created the idea that I was broken. Fortunately there was an alternative to the false dichotomy of fixing myself or doing nothing. As I began to identify areas where I wanted to change–to improve my quality of life and struggle less with day-to-day challenges–I was able to identify ways to better equip myself.

To remind myself how important this distinction was, I carried around a simple visual analogy: I was like a firefighter about to enter a burning building. To have the highest odds of success, I would need the right tools and protective gear. This analogy also turns out to be a surprisingly easy way to explain acceptance to those who see only the options of  fixing versus doing nothing. No one would expect the firefighter to magically grow fire-resistant clothing and an oxygen tank (fixing); similarly, no one would send the firefighter into the building without his gear (doing nothing) or tell him to simply quit being a firefighter (giving up).

Learning new skills and building on our strengths equips us to cope with life’s challenges. At the same time, it allows us to continue to be our autistic selves. Fixing often has the goal of making autistic people indistinguishable from their nonautistic peers, creating the feeling of brokenness that I struggled with. Equipping, on the other hand, promotes acceptance and builds confidence by reducing day-to-day struggles and improving our quality of life.

Effects of Acceptance

Acceptance has had a number of positive long-term effects on my life. While each person’s experience will be different, the journey toward self-acceptance can:

  • Reduce self doubt by silencing the question of “what’s wrong with me?” and providing the foundation for creating a personal sensemaking narrative
  • Increase self-confidence through recognition of personal strengths and acceptance of differences and areas of difficulty
  • Build resilience to stress by encouraging the use of natural, intrinsic coping methods (i.e. stimming or special interests)
  • Promote self-care through increased understanding and acceptance of strengths and needs, and decreased feelings of self-denial or guilt
  • Foster a sense of belonging as a result of positively framing autism as a part of one’s identity

Conclusion

Of all the things I’ve done since being diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, accepting my self as I am has been both the hardest and the most fulfilling. I’d like to say that I’m done, that acceptance is like crossing a finish line, but it’s not that finite. Acceptance has been and continues to be a nonlinear process. Like the other aspects of my life that keep me healthy and happy–eating well, exercising, being mindful of my stress levels–acceptance is a daily practice and an essential part of my well being as an autistic adult.

255 thoughts on “Acceptance as a Well Being Practice”

  1. Accepting oneself is perhaps (for me anyway) the greatest human conundrum, made only worse when society as a whole decides one specific neurology is connected to unmitigated misery. Thank you for helping change that mistaken perception. I am so grateful to know you.

  2. Oh my god! No blogs for now? I feel positively bereft already 😦
    But you have to put yourself first, totally, and I hope your communication issues improve in time. This blog is an amazing place and there are so many ‘me too’ moments that it’s like Christmas over and over (but without the worry that you won’t pull the right ‘oh gosh, that’s just what I wanted’ face, the feeling that you’ve eaten too much, and the mad panic beforehand – the best bits basically; the advent calendar chocolates, the turkey sarnies shared with the dog and cats (not through choice) and the feeling of peace when everyone’s gone).
    Had more me too moments just reading this blog entry…. Enjoy your time out 🙂

    1. I laughed out loud at your mention of the ‘right’ face. I can absolutely, one hundred per cent, unequivocally relate. It haunts me at birthday time too, or just any time anyone gives me a gift. And if it is something I absolutely adore? And I am genuinely gushing about how much I love it and how wonderfully thoughtful the gift-giver is? Then I worry that they think I’m being insincere. In fact, the more I like the gift (and I tend to be grateful for the very fact that someone would consider me worthy of a gift) the more awkward it is. Thanks for providing a ‘me too’ moment of your own.

      1. Bless you 🙂
        I like to take my time thinking about presents – pondering them and enjoying that initial feeling. If I know what it is in advance then (assuming it’s something I’ve asked for) I can get excited quicker. But if it’s a surprise, even a nice surprise, then my brain takes time to process it. People don’t seem to get that and if you’re not getting excited instantly they think you don’t like the present when actually that’s not the case. And like you say, if you’re really enthusiastic they think you’re faking it when you’re really genuinely excited about a book on sandwiches (yes seriously, I like the pictures) or a lego set. Or something that’s not exciting in itself but performs a useful function like a drawer tidy (and tidy drawers make me happy)
        It’s so much easier to buy people what they actually ask for and vice versa. I bought all the Harry Potter books for a friend over a period of Christmases and Birthdays because she’d wanted the first one and seemed excited, and I thought she wanted to keep collecting them as she watched the films and seemed happy to get each book. I only found out after giving her the last book that she’d not even finished the first one – I still have no idea if she intends to read them all or if they were a complete waste, but I feel hopeless and a failure. Proper communication and less faking it would have prevented that.

        1. Liz you’re a genius! I’ve been reading all the comments so I hope it’s ok to join in your conversation.
          I do that too when I get a present that’s a total surprise! It takes ages for my brain to catch up to what I have got, think through it’s possibilities, then finally get excited about it. I’ve never worked out why it was awkward though before! Thank you for that insight, it might help reduce the awkward need to try and look appropriate in the future and just let it proceed naturally.

          1. As you’ve called me a genius it’s definitely okay to join in 🙂
            That’s the great thing about this place – someone can make a totally random comment that sparks an insight in someone else (as has happened to me a lot!)

    2. I’m feeling a bit bereft today too. This was a hard decision to make and one that I’ve been avoiding for weeks/months. Thank you for the good wishes and all that you’ve contributed here.

      1. Tell yourself that it’s not a decision set in stone – you’re free to post whenever you next feel capable, once in a blue moon or more often. I always make decisions and forget that it’s just a choice I’ve made at that particular point, and that I can change or adapt it if I want. Mind you my decisions are usually trying to achieve unrealistic goals and then I beat myself up if I need to change them. I’m gradually accepting that it’s okay to change my mind.
        Not that I’m suggesting you should change your mind, just tell yourself that right at this point you’re not writing. Tomorrow is another day. And the same for the one after…. You’ve warned us so we won’t be worrying and bothering you, now sit back and enjoy the moment!

      2. No need to reply, just know that we all love you in our own special ways and we are cheering you on. You are setting a good example for self care. Whether it’s a few weeks, a year, or not at all that you choose to post again. It won’t change how very much we appreciate you. ❤

  3. This is beautiful and very moving.

    I think I’m currently at this stage:
    “Acceptance meant embracing myself as I am, in the present. It meant letting go of the idea that I would some day magically become a more competent, mature, socially adept version of myself.”
    It is exciting, satisfying, reassuring, terrifying, confusing, and unsettling all at once.

    I will miss your blog because this is where I first found:
    “It’s hard to describe the relief I felt the first few times another autistic person said to me, “I do that too!””
    I am grateful for everything I’ve discovered, learned, and been helped to think about in your posts and in people’s comments.

    I absolutely understand why you need to stop or take a break though, and I really hope things will get more comfortable for you.

  4. Thank you for this (again!)!!. As a late in life diagnosis person it almost breaks my heart to know it is only really the last 2.5 years that I am working to undo all the “brokeness” for not fitting in.

  5. My smile at how much this post touched me almost broke me face 😉

    KNOW that you have left us with a stunning, just, hope- and equipment-filled post for as long as you need…

    I loved, for example, how you articulated the scenario where you are struggling and need to even identify THAT. OTOH, love your advocacy for NOT having something “wrong” with us at all!!!!

    My son’s diagnosis was the middle step in my process which began when i was in my early twenties and read “Nobody Nowhere” and thought, “That’s me,” and resulted in my son’s neurologist confirming what i had suspected for years about myself.

    Anyway, wishing you all the bets and hope to hear from you again someday.

    With gratitide,
    FSM

    1. Aww, “broke my face” that says it well Full Spectrum Mamma. It felt a little like that when I read the post. This place will always be my first Aspie home and I won’t be straying far, even if all I do is read older posts and post on those. There are so many rich resources here and I refer to them all the time by name and or a link. The Resoruces, The Blogroll and so much more! It’s a great place and will always be so and I’m glad that Cynthia is taking care of herself. ❤

  6. Self acceptance and a sense of community and belonging in the autistic community, that’s what finding out has done for me. Before I knew what it was in me that was different, I was puzzled by it, and I struggled to mimic the others – without success, or course. this only led to troubles and long lasting problems. Accepting yourself the way you are brings piece of mind.

  7. I tried to highlight this post for family and basically ended up highlighting three quarters of it and hope they just click on the link to get the full ~beauty~
    I loved this…to date it is my most favourite Autism post…and that is saying a lot.
    As another reader said this blog IS like Christmas…and it’s hard to leave Christmas behind for awhile but it’s also beautiful when it comes around again in a different yet similar form…that is how I feel about you leaving…I wish you the best, will still browse and perhaps comment from time to time on older posts, and hope that one day you will be able to come back but if you can’t there will be grace and fondness for what was and is too. Thank you for giving us such a great gift! Your blog was the place I found the most acceptance…so it is with great joy and sadness that I wish you a fantastic outside the screen existence!

    1. Thank you, Kmarie. I’ve so enjoyed your comments here and your friendship and hopefully we’ll keep in touch in some way. I’ll be checking your blog, as always. Hopefully that sense of community will migrate outward from here to all of your blogs. 🙂

  8. Thank you for all the support your wonderful blog has provided to so many. This piece on Acceptance is particularly poignant.

    I, too, was diagnosed late in life… just before my 65th birthday and retirement. The two, coinciding, made my breakthrough especially grand as I would soon be free to be me each and every day and immerse myself in things I love that I’d not had time or energy to do while working full time.

    I wish you all the best that life can offer and hope to hear from you again in the future.

    1. “I, too, was diagnosed late in life… just before my 65th birthday and retirement.”

      Oh, what a sweet story! I love your outlook and the absolute joy that jumps off the page from your words. Thank you ❤

  9. I am very glad you are taking care of yourself, though you elicited a sad sigh from me and a positive whine from Ian. If you feel daring, you could invite people to guest blog while you are away. I would have a few topics to pitch, and I am sure I am not the only one.
    And if you feel like posting something yourself, you can just slip it in, but there would be no pressure for you …
    just an idea.

    Thank you for everything.

    1. Someone else suggested guest blogging when I told them about this and after giving it some thought I realized it would still be fairly demanding in terms of administration (vetting the writing and comments, the endless notifications that I have to check compulsively 🙂 , etc.). I’m planning to have a much more offline life for a while, mostly just being online to do work stuff as needed. But thank you for the suggestion – it’s something I would do if I wasn’t as concerned about my physical health right now.

      1. I am sure someone else would be willing to coordinate and administrate for the time being – I’d be okay with vetting articles for criteria you previously set and then scheduling them, for example – but I also get where you are coming from.

        Take the time you need for your health, howevermuch that is.

  10. I will miss your blog, it has been hugely helpful to me, but I understand why you are stopping and hope it is back in some form or other before too long.

    I’ll miss the community and other commentators too – Liz your posts always make me smile – in a good way! I feel ‘at home’ here in a way that I’ve not found elsewhere.

    I’m in a funny place with acceptance right now – within myself I feel like I have much better self knowledge and some acceptance, but my tentative steps to share this with a ‘safe’ selection of friends and family have so far met with puzzlement, derision, anger and denial – not really acceptance as such! This has made me doubt what I thought I had worked out about myself, so some work to be done on this still I think!

    1. Ah, it’s so hard to read everyone mentioning how much they’ll miss the community here and I’m literally forcing myself not to feel like I’m letting everyone down.

      I hope that things improve for you in terms of gaining acceptance from the people in your life. It can be a really hard slow process and each person seems to need to come to it in their own time.

      1. Think of it as oxygen masks on a plane – if you don’t fit your own first you won’t be able to help others.
        And I’m sure plenty of us, like Earnest, will be going back to earlier posts and commenting, and keeping the flame burning (without setting fire to anyone’s oxygen supply!) until such future point as you may have worked out which bit of elastic tightens the mask and which is just to test your mental agility in a crisis situation! (Okay, I’m doing little pictures in my head again!)

      2. No worries please Cynthia, you are not letting anyone down. I think we are just expressing how much we care about you, this place you have created, how much we appreciate one another. It’s all good. It’s kind of like being a momma bird and then telling the babies they can fly. Jump and flap . . . we can do it, and we know where the nest is, even though momma is off doing her own thing, as is good now. ❤

        1. Nellie, thank you for writing this!
          Cynthia: As learned from the NT world: To shed some virtual tears together, just for a while, is an important part of friendship, isn’t it?

          1. Can we bear in mind that I really don’t do sad endings well?! And please – no animals being harmed or I’ll be in pieces. I’m personally going with a picture of Cynthia walking off into the sunset but as the closing credits roll we get the James Bond-esque line telling us that ‘Cynthia will return in Musings of an Aspie: Licence to Blog’ 🙂
            (I’d have made a great Bond if only they’d asked – only I’d have been utterly faithful to Moneypenny!)

            1. Liz, if I’d had coffee in my mouth when I read this it would have likely come out my nose! 😉

              ” ‘Cynthia will return in Musings of an Aspie: Licence to Blog’ 🙂
              (I’d have made a great Bond if only they’d asked – only I’d have been utterly faithful to Moneypenny!)”

              I was laughing out loud!!! Oh, and Moneypenny . . . that silly boy James was clueless to what was right there under his nose. ❤

              1. Bond . . . James Bond . . . and now for the rest of the day I will have the background adventure music that plays in the background every time he is on the prowl (old Bond movies – not the new ones) and there is Cynthia tooling down the motorway with a souped up car courtesy of Q. Of course the Scientist will be driving so our lady can lounge in the lap of luxury. (wish there was a car emoticon) . . .

                1. You can just imagine if Bond was an Aspie – turns up at the office, battered after the latest mission, and M says ‘we need to parachute you into ……, you’ve got 12 hours to find and deactivate a bomb, save the girl, kill the baddy and…’ and Bond butts in ‘But I’m knackered – I’ve been surrounded by people, my anxiety levels have been through the roof, I’ve not slept, it was noisy everywhere and I forgot my earplugs, and sorry but I’m off to hide under my duvet for at least a week!’

              2. Samantha Bond (even got the right name!) was the best in my books – gorgeous, witty and totally wasted in her role. Why Bond never took her out for dinner and settled down with her is beyond me (well the fact that Bond always has to sleep with every breathing female might be part of it – that always annoyed me)

                1. Well, given how lonely he is going to be at the end of the day, maybe he doesn’t want to drag someone actually decent into it, so he’ll rather just have some human contact with women who don’t expect to see him again, anyway?
                  I mean, who, after all the stuff he’s done, is there to reassure him he’s still a good guy and not a monster?
                  His handler? Who would of course have NO ulteriour motive WHATSOEVER to keep James Bond happily James Bond-ing?
                  Who else does he seem to have who is actually a constant in his life?
                  So do we really think James Bond has a healthy self-image?

                  (I should watch the James Bond-movies. I have a general idea of what happens in most of them – and once read all the wikipedia pages to go with it so I actually once had a pretty good grasp on all the plots – but I’ve never seen a single one. )

                2. If you like action films you should definitely watch the Bond movies. I’d recommend starting at the beginning. The new ones are good in their own way but different to the older ones. And everyone seems to have their favourite Bond – mine is Sean Connery, then Pierce Brosnan. Roger Moore always seems a bit slimy to me, a bit too smooth. I don’t like smooth people.

                3. Cool 🙂
                  Daniel Craig has grown on me – he’s made Bond different, more serious somehow. Not a bad thing and I’m not sure the others could have done it, though I quite liked the less serious attitude before. I struggled at the start of DC’s role but then I don’t like change 🙂

                4. Totally hear you on not liking change. I was disappointed when PB’s term came to an end and prepared to despise Daniel Craig but I liked him from literally the first scene in Casino Royale. And the bathing suit homage to Ursula Andress didn’t hurt at all. In that sense, I think there’s still some tongue-in-cheek to the role because it’s usually the woman who is the eye candy in Bond films but DC seemed to play that for all it was worth. 😉

                5. Oh yeah, there are still bits. And one-liners. I liked the one (I think in Casino Royale) where he asks for a martini and the bar person asks if he wants it shaken or stirred, and he replies (along the lines of) ‘do I look like I give a damn’ – it’s Bond continuity acknowledged but changed a bit. Judi Dench’s M had some good lines too – I wish they hadn’t killed her off. I hate proper characters dying.

    2. It sucks that somehow our acceptance of ourselves hinges on others accepting us. It shouldn’t be like that yet for some of us it is. I’ve been lucky so far (only told a handful) in that they’ve been supportive or interested. Okay so out of 5, two made one supportive comment and that’s been it (but that’s fine), and one was interested for a minute or two (but that’s typical of her as she likes to talk about herself non-stop!), but one was genuinely interested and knew someone with a child on the spectrum, and another (my one ex-boyfriend – I’m gay) turns out to have an Aspie son which I didn’t know. And from a couple of emails I think (and he suspects) that he’s also possibly on the spectrum and hence probably why we got on so well. So that’s been great. But I haven’t told my parents as I doubt it’ll go so well, despite the fact that I reckon that both may have autistic tendencies.
      So try not to doubt yourself. Just because some people take their time to get their heads round it doesn’t mean that you’re wrong. It just means that they’re not in the same place as you yet.

      1. “It sucks that somehow our acceptance of ourselves hinges on others accepting us. ”

        I’m my own worst critic and hardest on myself. Even with my diagnosis and knowing clearly that I am an Aspie I still hear myself – or more likely old tapes telling me to get over it – that there is something fundamentally wrong with me, my essence. Now I know that’s a crock, and having said that, it is there. I’ve got to undo all of those years 53 plus of programming. I’m up for the task, and it’s going to take a bit. Just this morning I was lying in bed, did not sleep well the night before (don’t often do) and when the clock was ticking past the time I thought it should be for getting out of bed I could just feel myself judging and the words that go with it. Lazy, how can you still be tired, and me comparing myself to others that are out of bed at the crack of sunlight peeking over the horizon. I love a sunrise, and I am more of a late night person.

        So on the one hand my acceptance of myself hings on me and my own judgements – yet if I go deeper – to the core – had I not heard and listened to what is supposed to be the ‘norm’ from early childhood on, I might not give a flying &#!% what others think.

        Working on it – awareness is a big part. Knowing those thoughts and where they come from, and that I am an Aspie – I’m continuing to reframe. I watched an amazing (to me anyway) presentation on You Tube yesterday and made it a post on my blog.

        Alison Debenham gives a personal account of her experience of being a woman with Asperger Syndrome. She’s from the UK and the program was done in November of this past year. I can so identify with her and it was so powerful to hear her speak. I just wanted to keep listening. I hope she goes on to do more. Her sister is also an ASD advocate.

        1. We get it drummed into us when we’re young – all these messages, from our parents, friends, teachers, society – and we listen because we think they’re right. After all, if they’re older than us and in positions of responsibility then they’ve got to be right, haven’t they? And it’s only when we get older that we realise that we were wrong. Sometimes we were told wrong deliberately, sometimes becuse we misunderstood or they didn’t explain clearly, and sometimes because they didn’t know better either. Yet we’re stuck trying to sort out the mess that resulted. I’m only now starting to be easier on myself and understand that some of my perfectionism is aspie-related, and that actually it’s okay to do something less than perfectly or to change my plans because my goals weren’t realistic. I’m struggling with the anxiety levels though – even though I know that’s tied in with Asperger’s and that it’s okay to be anxious, the levels seem to be climbing. But I have books on it, I intend to try mindfulness and meditation, and maybe in time I’ll find a solution. Until then I’ll just battle on while telling myself I can cope, and lose myself in my imagination whenever possible!

  11. After re-blogging to my blog I went back read the whole thing with the posts so far. I so understand about taking care of yourself and I am glad you are.

    As others have shared, I love this place and a part of me feels sad, there are so many people here that I feel a connection too, even though it is virtual, it is non the the less a place where my peeps gather.

    Cynthia, Liz, kmarie, Earnest, Svenja, Random Pattern, Alexforshaw, FullSpectrumMamma, Arianezurcher, Signlady and so many more.

    I am so grateful to all of you for being a part of my own mentoring space with your posts and deep sharing. It has helped my own process so much, and continues to do so as I read older posts and as always, nod my head and say me too silently in my head, or laugh out loud as I connect with something someone said and my husband looks at me and just shakes his head.

    This post was amazing and I’ve highlight so many things.

    I’m newly diagnosed, and this whole acceptance thing is moving at its own pace. I’m a wave rider. Giddy some days, and others feeling so much like I am trying to find my way, after a lifetime of denial.

    I so appreciate your explanation and description of Equipping and not Fixing. I so needed to hear that. I feel so defensive sometimes, both for myself and when reading the ASD blogs for parents and I hear a mom or day sharing how they want to fix things for their child – and I hear that they think he or she is broken and my heart hurts. They are not broken. I know I need to step back and see that they want the best for their child and their own hearts are hurting and they are doing the best they know how to do. Helping them to understand that they can Equip verses Fix for their child is huge, and huge for me to realize I can do this for myself.

    I’m going to carry a version of the fireman (person) analogy with me always. It’s wonderful!

    Thank you, thank you Cynthia. I wish you the very best and perhaps you will be back. Perhaps not and something else will speak to your heart.

    I’ll still be here, reading older posts, commenting, and connecting.

    Svenja mentioned guest bloggers. I’d happily read those, and post as well, however as someone with an Aspie blog of my own, I know how much work it takes just to manage the back side of things each day and that may also be more than you want to do right now and that’s all good too!

    It did give me an idea though, I may start inviting guest bloggers to my blog. We each have so much rich wisdom to share.

    Much love and gentle hugs to you Cynthia and to everyone here. ❤

      1. I’ll keep you posted. I am giving it some serious thought. There is a lot of wisdom in our Aspie – ASD communities and in numbers there is power to educate, inform, and make changes in policy. 🙂

        1. Yes, strength in numbers!
          I actually find myself migrating here for input instead of putting something on our blog more and more for that exact reason – the community here. I like how Cynthias story up there reflects that, and that she turned into one of those bloggers.

    1. About the guest bloggers – I agree.

      Especially lately, I feel doubtful about wanting to keep up the blog, but I do definitely want to keep sharing the occasional article, but maybe not the way I have been for now.

      I kind of like the idea of a lot of articles from a pile of people, like a bit of an online magazine, a collection of sorts, but organizing that would take so much work … I think I would still like doing it, if people were interested (and I could find people willing to come aboard).

      I would be thinking everyone could submit articles to the editorial team, who talk about whether it fits and who make sure it fits certain criteria, dividing all the workload.

      Anyone interested in that?

      1. “I kind of like the idea of a lot of articles from a pile of people, like a bit of an online magazine, a collection of sort . . .”

        I was thinking the same thing!!! I know we each (and several others here) have our own blogs – yet we might want to create a blog independent of our blogs – a magazine as you shared.

        Clearly explained details for the kinds of posts (articles?) that will be helpful. I have a set of writers submission guidelines from an earlier blog that I’ve had that we could use. This conversation reminds me of ZOOM Magazine. I am interested and I’ll do a little more investigating and post again later. 🙂

        1. Talked to Ian, we would volunteer our domain – asperoomies, as a virtual home for all people aspie, autistic and otherwise!
          I have about a million ideas, and you probably have some, too. Want to take this to e-mail?
          And everyone else interested just shoots me an e-mail, too, and we make a mailinglist of it?

          You can find my e-mail address by clicking my name here, which will lead you to the about-page of the current thing occupying asperoomies, and you scroll all the way down and click the address with my name on it =)

            1. Yes, I have a few million as well. Yes, lets take it to email. Using asperoomies sounds perfect! I’ve just been reading some of the posts there and love it. It’s a perfect name for something that can house all sorts of aspie, autistic, and otherwise!

              1. Waiting for your e-mail, then.

                Everyone else – no matter if you have a blog or otherwise, if you want to write or simply have an idea or two – shoot me an e-mail if you are interested!

            1. =)

              Wanna be kept in the loop on our progress? I can send you regular updates, if you’d like. (I would offer to CC you on everything, and if you want, I still will, but you said you were communicationally exhausted, so I thought shorter updates instead of all our back-and-forth might be easier for you)

  12. Thank you for every single word you have written. Last year when I was online searching for answers I was at an all time low and you, and all of the lovely people who visit this blog, renewed my faith in human kindness which is something that I think no neurotypical person could have done for me at that time. Your words helped me understand myself when I was struggling to find an explanation and you provided a place where I could be my real self for the first time. That meant so much to me.

    Thank you, so very much.

  13. I will start by re-iterating what others have said: I will miss your blog, your wise words, but it’s imperative that you take care of you. It’s also great that you’ve got to the point where you’re making yourself a priority. I’m not quite there yet… Some day 🙂

    I haven’t commented here for a while, but I check in and read every new post, and I fit those words into my day, and my life, somehow. That is to say, I take them in, mine them for every wonderful drop of meaning, and utilise what I’ve learned.

    Your blog has been like a security blanket. I came to it as an absolute mess, and here I found not just the information I needed, but also the acceptance I couldn’t yet give myself, and the sense of community I have always craved. I clung to the words you wrote, and the words other people wrote about your words, until I was ready to try accepting myself. In all my messy, sometimes utterly incomprehensible, glory. Even as I stepped away, and found myself busy with daily life, I knew this blog, and its community, was here. It was here for me, whenever I needed it. And that was enough. Just to know, with absolute certainty, that there existed one entirely safe space. And that made me feel safe in other spaces. And the blog going on hiatus will not change that. Because I am now changed because of the blog.

    I don’t worry so much now about why I am the way I am. I AM the way I am – that is reason enough. I have stopped justifying every ‘quirk’, every stray thought. I have stopped trying to change that which cannot be changed, and the amount of energy I have left over to actually live my life, and enjoy it, is astronomical.

    It’s okay to be me. Just me.

    Thanks for that Cynthia. I’ll never forget it.

    1. I think I’m making myself a priority because it’s reaching a point where I don’t have a choice. Trust me, I’ve been fighting it every step of the way and now my body is finally forcing me to slow down and go at a pace that my brain can manage. Frustrating but, as Tony Soprano would say, “What’re you gonna do?” (yes, I’m mainlining The Sorpanos these days)

      It’s so good to hear that this place gave you a sense of community and something to hang on to when things were rough. And especially to hear that you’re feeling stronger now and comfortable with yourself. ❤

  14. Thank you very much, Cynthia. Your generosity, honesty, kindness, humour and wonderful insights (and, of course, all your hard work) have been hugely appreciated 🙂
    Take care, and very best wishes.

  15. Happy trails, Cynthia! Real life should always come before internet life. I’ll be looking forward to when you come back. Until then, relax, enjoy some lemonade (or beverage of choice), and have fun. =)

    You helped give me acceptance. I’m a stubborn little goat and I’ve spent most of my life believing something was wrong with everybody else because they always seemed so far behind on so many things (like managing money), but there’s only so many times you can be called a freak and a weirdo by so many different people before it starts to weigh on you. But, hey, turns out I’m very, very likely autistic! So I figure that if I can put up with them in their normalcy by never getting to work on time and not knowing what a sick day is for or even do their job when they actually are at work, then they can not touch me and stop asking for privy details of my sex life.

      1. Heehee, thankie! If an autistic person is to have an interest, making people laugh isn’t a bad way to go. =D

        Now would probably be good for me and other newbies to check out your backlog of posts. To reiterate so many other comments, this isn’t letting us down at all. For some of us, it’s a good kick in the rump to go explore all the other posts we’ve missed!

  16. “I will always be grateful to the community elders who took the time to answer my questions and gently nudge me in the right direction.”

    Where are these elders? I’ve been trying to reach out to people online, but I am not able to connect. In one case, a person I reached out to in the community lashed out and profoundly hurt me, because they themselves were not OK trusting people yet. Community groups I have emailed for help, including ones I have heard about here, have not emailed back. I feel alone and unable to connect. The autistic community is difficult to get in touch with. How can I do it?

    1. I am so sorry about your bad experiences, Amelia, but you’ve come just to the right spot.

      A lot of people in various stages of their journey read and comment here on this blog.

      Many of us have their own blogs which are linked in their comments. (I share one with my fiancé, even though we haven’t been posting in a while. You can reach it by clicking my name here.) While I am still relatively new (diagnosed last year, got into the idea of possibly being autistic the year before) I would be very much willing to talk things through with you if you need to, my e-mail address is on my blog.

      I am sure other people here are just as willing to talk.

      1. I agree – this is a great place for us to connect and help each other, and I’m sure that if Amelia shares her concerns / problems / thoughts there’ll be someone who’ll post something useful.

      2. Thanks! But it sounds like this isn’t going to be the popular hangout spot for a while. 😉 I’ve been on other blogs and … well it’s not been easy to connect to people. I’m just one voice among many, and it’s hard to pay attention to everyone.

    2. I’m sorry you’ve had so much difficulty connecting. When I first started exploring the autistic community online, I joined Facebook groups (of which there are dozens), Wrong Planet, the community on Tumblr, followed other people’s blogs. Gradually I got to know people and found that some groups were for me and others weren’t. It took a long time and a fair amount of disappointment and missteps, but eventually I found a place that fit my interaction style and things grew from there.

      1. Yes, this is what I thought. I’m a little burned out by the effort it takes and the constant radio silence when I try to connect to folks directly. I was hoping Cynthia (or someone here) could point me to these “elders.” It sounds like being a part of the autistic community takes as many social skills as being part of the NT community. I can be persistent about only so many things at a time, and honestly, taking care of my own personal needs takes most of my focus. So, back into my own world I go. (Sorry for the down mood — I know you all are focused on being positive and I’m being a little bit Marvin the robot right now.)

        1. I don’t think the autistic community takes the same amount of social skills as the NT community – it’s just that it takes time finding it in the first place, and then energy to post and patience waiting for others to reply (and given that many of us have energy issues we don’t necessarily reply to everything as quickly – I know I have blog post comments sitting in my inbox that I’ll keep reading and cogitating over until I’m ready to say something, like this one!). So don’t give up hope. Just seek out a few of the blogs, leave the odd comment and gradually you’ll feel like you’re part of it. It does take time, and sometimes you’ll feel it’s a struggle, but it’s worth it in the end. Honest 🙂

      1. Thank you! ( I don’t mean to push anyone, but I can see that you mean it as a compliment). Your writings have been and are a great source of inspiration – always for thoughts, and sometimes comments or blog posts of my own. The good thing about written words is that they tend to stick around even when their author doesn’t, they don’t need regular resupplies to stay alive … Once they’re set free, they’ll keep living and making new connections.

        1. “Once they’re set free, they’ll keep living and making new connections”
          I like that idea 🙂 It’s like nature, a beautiful thing

  17. You have just written the story of my own journey of self-acceptance, much better than I ever could myself. For so many years I struggled with feeling inadequate around people, not understanding so many things, and not understanding why I was not understanding them. When I first heard about Asperger’s, it was my ‘Aha!’ moment. Everything I had ever done or felt suddenly fell into place, and so many things now make sense. Ironically, the point in my life I got a diagnosis was when I had already started to accept myself for who I am, as someone a little different to everyone else. If I hadn’t already got to that point, I don’t know if I would have accepted the diagnosis. But it has been such a relief to have a reason, to be able to read up how and why my brain works differently to other people’s, and now I can laugh about those differences with friends and family, who have been nothing but accepting and accommodating. A few years ago, it would have been far too raw to mention those differences, I was too busy ‘blending in’.

    Thank you for your wonderful blog, look after yourself and enjoy life to its fullest on your own terms 🙂

    1. “If I hadn’t already got to that point, I don’t know if I would have accepted the diagnosis.”

      This is a great point and something I experienced as well. Thank you for bringing it up and for the good wishes. 🙂

  18. Could not write a comment last evening, my command of English would have failed me and maybe still will. A whirlwind of emotions not felt in years. What an important place this has become …

    Dear Cynthia, first and foremost, thank you once more!!! Careful virtual hugs, sadness, affection, emptiness, gratitude … how to express best wishes properly? Understanding that you life what you taught us.

    A while ago in a comment* I pictured how, as solitary wanderers, from time to time we meet at a clearing in the woods around the campfire, listening to advice from our wise teacher, discussing it among each before setting off separately next morning. Now our mentor told us she needs to take another trail (for now).

    * https://musingsofanaspie.com/2014/12/23/taking-the-raads-14/#comment-38447

    I am so bad at names but without hesitation: nelliepmoore, Liz, Ashe Skyler, Mrs T., alexforshaw, Kmarie, Svenja, Anna, Random Pattern, …… I enjoy your company, I want to continue seeing you at the clearing, from time to time, to exchange stories about the hard quest for a balanced life without fear and guilt.

    Sorry for the melodramatic tone, I *am* still filled with strong emotions.
    Here is what I will do at the practical level: I will go through previous posts of at least last year. Where I did not write a comment yet, I will do so when I can contribute something that might make sense and then, before hitting the ‘submit’ button, systematically tick the box ‘Notify me of new comments by email’.

    I will hear from you. Cynthia will hear from you! I am convinced that her curiosity (cit ‘I love new information of all kinds’) will keep her reading, watching what her students do on said clearing. Do they manage to light some fire? Seeing the smoke from too much green wood she will smile inwardly.

    1. I do hope people will continue to comment and share on older posts and also to take this sense of community to the blogs of those who comment here. It’s nice to think of that continuing on and radiating outward.

      I’m sharing your strong feelings and probably haven’t allowed myself to process quite what this means yet. It’s been such a fantastic journey with all of you.

    2. Aww Earnest, what a sweet post. I remember that clearing in the woods and the gentle fire burning which we were all gathered round. I treasure that memory (and that post) and feel I will always have this virtual family of fire-keepers in the woods. I’ve actually been blessed to attend many physical fire ceremonies in the woods with those of like caring of the world and it is quite something special and not unlike what I feel here.

      It was hard to read the post at first, and the outpouring of support for Cynthia, and our sharing with her and one another how special this place is to each one of us just fills my heart with appreciation and gratitude for Cynthia, this place she has created, how each of us has contributed to it, and how I know it will be here for us to come back and visit. Read old posts, comment, and reconnect. We can also support one another and connect through the blogs of others here and I know quite a few of us have blogs.

      I love the image of “green wood burning and smoking” and it brings a smile to my face and my heart. Thank you for painting that picture.

      Smiles to all 🙂 ❤

      1. nelliepmoore: ‘Read old posts, comment and reconnect and support’ – Exclamation mark particularly to the last. Amelia’s comments above about other places that were less supportive and welcoming has induced a halve-baked idea. Have to sleep one night over it.

        Amelia: Glad to see you here (smiles shyly) !

        1. There is a half-baked idea about something community-y already in progress, if you feel like adding to it, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll show you what we have so far

        2. “Amelia’s comments above about other places that were less supportive and welcoming has induced a halve-baked idea.”

          Half-baked idea??? Do tell please??? What are you bringing to the circle in the woods? Inquiring minds want to know? And I’m sure it’s not half baked either 😉

          Also there are a few of us (and anyone who wants to) that are coming together to do something with a magazine sort of blog for Autism – Aspergers – ASD, in addition to each of the blogs that we also might have on our own. Maybe you have some ideas or a post for that??? 🙂

          Amelia, I’m so glad that you are here. It does take time (or it has for me) to find a place where I have found my people. It’s been a life long journey for me and I am just now finding that after my diagnosis. It made all of the difference. If you have questions please toss them out there and those of us who can will do our best to share our own personal experiences. Speaking for myself, if I don’t get back to someone right away, it’s not because I am ignoring. Sometimes I just need to close my little hobbit door for a bit and reset. Looking forward to getting to know you. 🙂

                1. 🙂 That would be lovely, thank you. I like to know what’s going on, even if I’m not sure if I’d be able / up to helping.

          1. And as he was talking about the lack of community, not the lack of information, maybe it should be that part of our project that we should promote to him 😛
            Nah, the more we recruit, the merrier.

            1. How did you get your smiley to have it’s tongue sticking out??? Love that!

              Good point on community too. Hmmm . . . I know that here on Musings, and many other blogs there is a blog roll for blogs related to ASD so that’s one thing we can put on in a sidebar. How else can we support community in the context of being our wonderful, unique Aspie selves?

              Going to noodle on that, already have some ideas coming . . .

              Yes, the more the merrier indeed! :>

          2. I can imagine you with a little hobbit door Nellie 🙂
            If Amelia goes back to some of the earlier blog posts (where they’re relevant to her) and posts, then hopefully some of us will respond in time. I don’t always reply to posts straight away either – I’m working my way through about a dozen replies that were automatically delivered to my inbox and that I thought ‘oooo’ to, and saved for ‘later’. Sometimes I don’t have time, sometimes I don’t have energy and sometimes I don’t have the words.
            And now with theconcept of half-baked ideas and circle in the woods I’m imagining Ernest turning up at the campfire and serving up under-cooked sausages! (Hint – Ernest – part-cook them at home under the grill then bring them along for a final go on the fire to give them that charcoal taste!)

            1. Yes Liz, I have a hobbit door, and it has a screen door too! 😉

              “I’m imagining Ernest turning up at the campfire and serving up under-cooked sausages!”

              This hobbit- Fairy is a vegetarian so I’ll bring along something yummy and green. A lovely potato salad, maybe some Tabbouleh or couscous.

              1. ‘yummy and green’ – oh god, now I’m thinking green mouldy sausages 🙂
                Sometimes my imagination gets carried away!
                But I do like potato salad. And couscous sometimes. But I’ve never had Tabbouleh…
                I can imagine a little Aspie community in the woods in our hobbit holes. Not too close together so we get peace and quiet. And visitors by arrangement only. But there for each other in a comforting way. It’s a nice thought.

                1. “‘yummy and green’ – oh god, now I’m thinking green mouldy sausages :))

                  Ack Liz! No, not green sausages. I can see pictures . . . 😉

                  I love the image you’ve painted for a hobbit community. Sounds perfect! Sign me up!

                2. Liz: It’s really funny: Not too close indeed! Years before diagnsis with one of my two friends we had a daydream to each build a hut in the woods within walking distance. Then to meet occasionally for half a day and happily return back home for blissful solitude.

            2. Oh my … I am far away from the cliche of ‘manly-man-at-the-grill’. :p More the gardener, growing tomatoes and peppers for salad or caring for the tress to have some fruit in summer.

              1. That’s a good thing Ernest – you’ll keep us eating healthily while someone who’s better at cooking meat thoroughly can do a proper job. None of this gender assumption rubbish – have people doing what they’re best at and get more done properly (if only the world worked like this!)

                1. Liz, Nellie: For dessert I can offer jam of apricot and blackberry, as drinks juice of apple, apricot (tricky to make), and grapes as ‘best’ products. Maybe this somehow connects to the strong preference to follow female Aspie bloggers? As a male I did not initially take it for granted that I would be received so cordially. ❤

                2. I’ll swap you for a jar of home-made (but alas not home-grown) raspberry! My first attempt was fairly successful albeit a bit runny. Your apricot juice sounds fantastic. You see, who needs a man dominating the BBQ – and besides, I get excited about it then eat little more than a single sausage and chicken drumstick. We’ll need home-made bread too – my breadmaker only produces small loaves but I must try using it to produce the dough and then shaping the dough by hand into little rolls! I get excited at the thought of food 🙂

                3. Okay, Lets see . . .

                  “Years before diagnosis with one of my two friends we had a daydream to each build a hut in the woods within walking distance.”

                  Oh, I love that! It’s like a tree-house. There is a show on here in the states called “TreeHouse Masters” http://bit.ly/1DV3fhP and he builds some of the most amazing tree-houses. I’d love to have one, if we had the mature trees to support one.

                  “None of this gender assumption rubbish – have people doing what they’re best at and get more done properly (if only the world worked like this!)”

                  YES!!! Gender assumption is rubbish indeed! Nothing irks me more!

                  “Liz, Nellie: For dessert I can offer jam of apricot and blackberry, as drinks juice of apple, apricot (tricky to make), and grapes as ‘best’ products.”

                  “I’ll swap you for a jar of home-made (but alas not home-grown) raspberry! ”

                  “I love to bake all kinds of bread.”

                  Oh my goodness guys, my mouth is watering!

                  I love jam. My favorites are strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, but I like the others too. I love apricot compote with cheese and crackers.

                  I have a nice bread maker and according to the directions, it will also make jam. I’ve not tried it out yet, but it’s on my list. I love making breads in it. I can make regular breads and sweet breads. It will make up to a two pound loaf. Bread, fresh and hot is one of my favorite desserts. 🙂

                  “Maybe this somehow connects to the strong preference to follow female Aspie bloggers? As a male I did not initially take it for granted that I would be received so cordially.”

                  I think we all connect because of what we have in common. I get that it could be male or female. It just seems to happen (for whatever reason) that our particular traits are to be vocal, express, share, want to know more, seek community, understand, learn, advocate. I don’t know that it is specifically male or female to have these kinds of traits. The majority that post here (at least that are public and posting) are females, and I love reading posts from the male perspective too.

                  In general the blogs that I find by adult Aspies – ASD seem to be written by women. Again, I don’t know why the men are not more public, it could just be a style of communicating. Some of us blog, others communicate or advocate in other ways.

                  Either way, I’m glad your here and I love reading your posts and ideas.

          3. Awwww – it *is* half baked: I thought to abuse the post where we are almost chatting right now. Plus I herewith ask Cynthia for her approval. Here goes:

            There are at least nine months worth of posts I did not read systematically so far, with foreseeable temptation to comment. If there is something potentially worthwhile for the community to read (*really* unsure of self) I could link the comment here as done above, JANUARY 15, 2015 AT 7:38 AM

            Since most of us apparently clicked ‘notify me …’ to this latest one we would become aware of new stuff = it would serve as our clearing in the forest. And vice versa! We would notice newcomers at older posts. They could be invited, via a link to here.

            Problems: (i) Is there a technical limit for increasing this post out of proportion? (ii) Will the comment-to-comment function work well enough to follow a conversation? (iii) many more

            Uncertain if the way I described it is comprehensible at all. For sure there are better ways, some already suggested, Half-baked idea? More quarter-baked.

            1. I’m trying to see this in my head, and while I do think in pictures – this sounds like a math equation and I am having a hard time with it (math is not my strong suit). I’m sure it is much simpler that it sounds (?).

              I know that we’ve been having a conversation off boards and one of the things we’ve talked about is keeping things easy for us in what we are doing there. Is what you are talking about above a lot of work for you or Cynthia? Does not sound like fun for either – but that’s my own mind trying to wrangle and understand this. I’m sure you’ve done a marvelous job explaining it and I am just not getting it. 😉

              1. I should not write such things close to midnight :-p It is easier than it sounded. I started writing (will take some more time collecting stuff) a comment to one of the surveys. It will become clearer automatically in the sense of the word.
                Importantly, it will not involve any work from Cynthia’s side!

                1. ” I should not write such things close to midnight”

                  I’m sure it was much clearer than my brain thought it was. It’s just me. In school I always had a hard time with word puzzles in math. Made my head hurt 😉

  19. I’ve not posted for a while either, I’m another late-in-life-diagnosed – just wanted to say when I found this site about a year ago it was like I’d found the key to a secret garden – abundant and rich with diverse colours and shapes and plants and flowers, and wonderful comfortable strange-ness, that had always been there somewhere (in my mind), but had always been inaccessible. Thanks for the key! Take care, will miss you.

    1. Oh, it has been a while since I’ve seen you here! Thank you for the good wishes and the poetic description of this place. For people who supposedly don’t do metaphor, we seem to be coming up with some fantastic ones in the comments here. 😉

      1. ‘We’ never said we cannot draw pictures with words, And never said we lack empathy – just look around in the comments! Apparently it *is* merely an assumption of the NT world. Love to disprove them.

          1. Actually, I have a habit of taking metaphors insanely far – with the right conversation partner, that is.
            A few days ago, I had a conversation with a tutor of mine about abstract concepts in chemistry and five minutes of it looked like we were only talking about how to best organize lego.

            1. I actually recently organised my Lego into bags – one per colour of brick, one for windows & doors etc. It was a tough decision whether to go with colours (which makes sense because I’d struggle to mix colours randomly in a building) or with brick size, particularly with the older double-width bricks. And having re-made my old Lego models from the instructions it did wind me up a few times that they didn’t use the most stable structures – surely it’s common sense to overlap bricks for strength?! Equally frustrating is that I feel I can’t deviate from the plans – I’m either building the original or going completely off-spec, not a mix and match.
              And I know that had nothing to do with the flow of posts but I had to get it off my chest 🙂

              1. Oh, then I will shamelessly jump the bandwagon of talking about our nerdy hobbies.

                I never had many lego models (there was a santa, but that doesn’t really count, does it?), but I think I see your frustration.

                I got myself a 500-piece-puzzle. I did two big 1000-piece-puzzles as a child, and I liked the puzzling. My mother ruined it a bit for me when she glued one of them when two pieces were missing (which I soon found, but which no longer could go in because of the glue) I have no idea what ever happened to the other one.

                But lately, I had the urge to puzzle, so I took a slightly smaller one to get started.

                My idea behind it was to have a few slightly understated nerdy things as puzzles and then hang them as pictures – there is a spot that prints them and also sells frames that fit so well with their puzzles that you dont have to glue them together.

                And I must have done about half of it yesterday, approximately, but now we are getting to the point where you have a lot of pieces of very similar colors and patterns and it is getting hard, but somehow I keep going back and feel crazy satisfied when I can fill a hole somewhere, or by now even find one piece that fits somewhere.

                1. Oh I love jigsaws. I prefer 500-piece ones because I can get them done quicker and don’t end up feeling bogged down. I got a 300-piece one of dinosaurs (I love dinosaurs) for Christmas and I’ve done that twice because I can do it in an afternoon. It is more satisfying though when you’ve got a difficult one that takes days – I end up getting no work done because I’ll think ‘I’ll just have 10 minutes on it’ and that becomes a couple of hours!

                2. Should do something else which is an ever stronger temptation to check the screen with one eye. Because: Puzzles! Flash recall: At age~ 12 I got two 500 piece ones which over the following weeks I did at least thirty times, in the end by heart of course. Talk to me about repetitive action and obsessing 🙂

                3. Know that feeling. I do that with books as well. There’s something comforting about it for me. Though with jigsaws there’s also the element of order, everything being in the right place and me being in control.

                4. Oh, puzzles! We have boxes of them around here. As a child we had an older women in our neighborhood – sort of grandmotherly to me (or so she seemed to me at the time) whose house I would visit. She had this huge wood dining room table that was covered with puzzles. I would go and visit her and do puzzles with her, and she would feed me watermelon.

              2. Did Lego-sorting by color, otherwise it hurt my eyes. Formerly there were many more simple bricks, not so many special stones. Had a booklet showing medium-complicated Lego buildings, ships, planes. Used to build the models from page one to the last, Starting over again. As a single child my parents considered that normal due to lack of comparison. What good luck 😀

            2. I’ve used metaphors and allegories for as long as I can remember and it was one of the best ways (telling a story I could relate to), that I learned, and still do. I teach and coach others in the same way.

            3. I think that is where the brilliance of being an aspie steps in – because as you’ve described with the lego – we can make the most complex ideas accessible by ‘playing’ with them in our minds, and once the idea has moved into a different sphere of thinking it allows us to look at things from an original point of view and come up with new ideas to take back and refresh ways of seeing things!

  20. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for writing this blog. It came into my life just as I was getting my own late diagnosis at the age of 48. I feel that you have been beside me on my own path to self-acceptance (not always there yet!) and understanding. So many times I have come here and read something that has helped to clarify a problem, or educated me to something I didn’t know before.

    I have loved the Take a Test Tuesdays, your videos (hello you!) your breadth of understanding, your ability to write what I hadn’t realised I was experiencing/feeling.

    So thank you so much for the time and effort and thought you have put into sharing yourself here on the blog. I wish there was something concrete that I could give back to you by way of thanks and support, but I am afraid that you are just going to have to settle for my words. Thank you. Be well. Much love, Susan

    1. Thank you, Susan! It’s so good to see you here. 🙂 I totally get that feeling of walking alongside each other and that’s been such a joyful experience. I’ve been privileged to share this journey with so many amazing people.

  21. Thank you. I am sorry you are going but glad you are taking care of yourself.

    I wish you had posted this one sooner.

    I was hoping to get insight on this topic. I am really struggling with the notion of acceptance. The bridge building analogy helps. But not enough.

    I want an intimate relationship. I have never had one. Not even a kiss.

    Does acceptance mean letting this goal go? That I will never have someone who I like like me sooo much that he wants to touch me?

    I like the notion of equipping. And I am trying so hard to equip myself. But there is no information about what it takes to find an intimate partner if you are a 40 year old Aspergian female who no one has ever held her hand. And the blogs are full of folks who are married with children. I don’t begrudge them their happiness. But that doesn’t make me go “me too”. It makes me go “what about me?” and “what am I doing wrong?”

    1. Not even neurotypical people can control love. It is a fickle and perverse thing, simultaneously cruel and open-hearted. All you can do sometimes is look to the stars and hope and know that you will see love for what it is when it finds you, and then hold on to it tightly. I wish I could offer more. I don’t think that acceptance means losing hope.

    2. I wish I had some sort of wise advice but I found my husband entirely by accident and probably couldn’t get a date if I needed to. One thing that I’ve found helpful in building relationships in general is pursuing things I like in group settings, which helps me to come in contact with people who have shared interests. It’s not a direct line to romance, but it can be a source of connection and perhaps friendships, which can be a start.

  22. This is such an amazing post. Thank you so much for running this blog – not only have I lost count of the number of “me too!” moments I’ve had here, but I often find myself using it to show others with “this link explains the thing!!”. I’ll really miss it, but on the other hand it’s super important to take care of yourself, and I hope things improve for you soon 🙂

  23. … Thank you very much for this site. I dont know a lot about blogs & how they work – I was afraid this was going to disappear bc there are still a lot of things here I havent read yet!
    As Ive mentioned, Ive been weird & different all my life – told that & felt it.
    So like so many, I sort of resigned myself to it – and despite my parents (& other authority figures) trting their best to make me ‘do right’ in every area, I still am ‘weird & different’ …
    That was huge clue one. Then over the last few years, a couple of interesting movies which made me very amazed & very uncomfortable. Then I met a certain boy & his mom mentioned he (also) had Asperger’s Syndrome …
    then FINALLY I googled it – I read a lot of very academic explanations & took some tests that made me wonder – THEN I found & started reading things on your blog – bc … what this blog did is what the academic sites can not do – it made me feel really real & normal. It has allowed me to hear other people describe me in themselves in everyday life – thats when I realized my diagnosis was accurate. Tho I comment often & in great detail on a lot of things, there are many other things I have’nt even really touched on that I so totally identify with.
    I appreciate everyone’s patience here, and the willingness to share, tho quite personal things, are so easily relate-able and understood by those of us who totally ‘get it’ …
    Part of me takes this personal – as most people seem to ‘move away’ from me right when the conversation is getting even more deep & more interesting. I hope my in-depth sharing and questions have not contributed to pushing you over the edge.
    But I do sincerely appreciate your work here and hope you enjoy a well-deserved vacation. Since this blog is very ‘spread out’ & has so many different areas and things to read, I realize it must be an extraordinary amount of work to manage, & that’s not even considering the massive amount of reading to be done here …
    All the best to you, and thank you again so much for this ‘planet’ – it is the only place I have ever felt I can just be my real self.

    1. Thank you for the good wishes and for being such a detailed and active commenter here. No one here could possibly contribute to the decision I made in a negative way, so no need to worry. I had a significant physical health “wake up call” last week and that made me realize that if I don’t lower my communication load, my body will take things into its own hands and that isn’t pretty or easy to recover from. It was both terrifying and eye opening and not something brought on by anything directly related to the blog. The blog just happens to be one of the casualties, which is 😦

      1. ” I had a significant physical health “wake up call” last week”

        Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that, and I am very glad you are listening and taking care of yourself. I think we all know it’s for the best of reasons that you step back, and for that matter you don’t need any reason. Just because is more than enough.

        I hope that you start to notice yourself feeling better, more settled, or at ease, or whatever it is that will best support you. Thinking good thoughts your way. ❤

  24. Reblogged this on The Puzzled Life and commented:
    Being one of the lucky ones to grow up with autism acceptance, I want autistics to realize they’re good just the way they are. Originally published in a book and on another’s post, I wanted to bring autistics the lov and acceptance which is so necessary for survival in this discriminatory world.

  25. Beautiful post. This is the only blog where I regularly read the comments as well.

    While I’m in full agreement with most of this post (it is putting in a very clear way with great terminology and examples what is often not yet fully formed in my mind), I’m surprised by that sentence: ‘However, some autistic individuals are missing a key piece of self-knowledge: a diagnosis.’

    The diagnosis has led me to self-acceptance, which has made realised that I should have not needed a medical diagnosis in the first place. We should have more confidence in self-diagnosis for what is a neurological difference and gain self-acceptance through this increased confidence without having the need to resort to a medical pathway.

    Best wishes for whichever endeavours you will now pursue.

    Rgds.

    -d

    1. I think it’s different for everyone but I will reiterate here that I’m a huge supporter of self-diagnosis and of people who are content with not needing a paper/official/formal diagnosis. I also think it’s important to recognize that accessing a formal diagnosis can be very hard as an adult and we need to continuously work to make people aware of that and more importantly to improve the situation. (This article was written for a scholarly/professional magazine, so obviously it was them I was targeting that statement to)

  26. Best wishes for you going forward. Keep active, in fact, some research has indicated that (improvisional or community) theatrical acting is the best exercise for all of us beginning to grow long in the tooth. Scary!
    Love is flowing to you from all of us lurkers and commentors, Cynthia!

  27. We will miss you ❤ Thank you for saying all the things that I sometimes cannot articulate, and other times cannot admit until I see it written by another. You are awesome, and I wish you many happy days full of self-care, and that you come back to us when you are ready!!

  28. Well, I’m just going to echo what everyone else has said (it’s a habit I have… 😊), but:
    Thank you for everything you have written, look after yourself and go well.
    Like a lot of other people, it seems, this was the first place online (or anywhere, actually) where I finally had that ‘aha!’ moment – look, this woman is as weird as me! 😊

    This is much, much more than a blog; it’s also a community, and a veritable library of information. I’m sure hundreds of people will continue to find it useful and supportive, even if you’re not posting. You have given a huge gift and blessing to the autism community. Thank you so much.

    1. Aw, thanks. I take that (the weird thing) as a huge compliment. 🙂

      And you’re right the posts will remain here for people to discover and hopefully continue to be a source of information/solace/whatever people need them to be when they stumble upon the blog.

  29. Thank you, Cynthia, for the help you have been to me and the Expert over the past two years. Your blog will continue to be a point of refence for us and we do very much hope that you will leave it online.
    We both sincerely wish you all the best!

  30. I’ve just created a new post on Wisdom Tara with an embeded You Tube on Women on the Spectrum, though it might speak to the guys here too.

    It was a powerful one to watch and another head bobber (nodding) constantly.

    It’s a presentation given my Alison Debenham about her experince with Asperger Syndrome. It’s part of the Distinguished Speakers on Autism Series hosted by the Sheffield Autism Research Lab at The University of Sheffield.

    http://bit.ly/1znc1n2

  31. I’m sorry to see you go, as I’ve enjoyed your blog. Definitely, though, if it’s no longer helpful and is taxing to you, you shouldn’t keep up with something that’s not giving you the benefit it once did.

    I wish you the best of luck for the future. This is a great post to go on hiatus on.

  32. Cynthia,

    I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but I admire you for stopping blogging. It takes courage to give up something you’ve worked hard on and loved even when it no longer fits you. I’ve had to do it before so I know how hard it is, but it’s worth it when life becomes easier to manage.

  33. Best wishes to you & your family Cynthia for the new phase of your life. I wanted to thank you & let you know that your blog has been incredibly helpful to me. It is quite a feeling to know that women all around the world are experiencing similar things to me. It has helped me be more accepting of myself which has allowed me to be a stronger more confident parent to more gorgeous AS son.

  34. Does anyone know if there is a site for Asperger’s that contains a message board? It woud be so awesome to be able to create/answer on topics in that particular format …

    1. You may want to check out ‘wrongplanet.net’. The site is huge, lot’s of information and they have more than one forum. That said … I like it better here. But still, have look.

  35. Thank you for sharing all that you have. I have found your blog to be very helpful, and so has my husband – you’ve helped to improve our marriage. thank you and take care of yourself.

    p.s. Maybe you’ve exhausted writing about Autism and there’s nothing more to write.

    1. That’s so great to hear. Thank you for letting me know the blog has been helpful to you and your husband. I definitely have a lot more to say, just not the capacity to say it at the moment. Hopefully that will change at some point.

  36. delurking to say thank you. i dont know where lie on the spectrum, but you and your commenters have given me so much clarity and food for thought. thank you, thank you. i wish you the best.

  37. I’m a little behind in keeping up here, so I’m just reading this now. I’m glad Cynthia is prioritizing self care and I wish her all the best. This blog and its community have been truly beneficial to me.

    This month (insurance provider willing) I will be embarking on testing toward a possible ASD diagnosis. I think confirmation would be useful for me. And if I’m not diagnosed, I can move on with the understanding that there may not be an exact label for me, but I am whatever I am.

    I’ve shared before about the nature of my job and how it seems to bring out and highlight autistic tendencies in me.
    If I get a diagnosis, I feel like I could utilize that as a force toward good in terms of autism in the workplace, possibly in the form of a blog. It would bring a certain amOunt of authority/gravitas to the endeavor. I am not counting on a particular result, but just feel like diagnosis is something I need to explore at this point.

    I don’t know if cynthia is still reading or has signed off altogether at this point, but I think by now she realizes the incredible impact she’s had on us and will have on new explorers who stumble upon Musings in the future.

    1. “This month (insurance provider willing) I will be embarking on testing toward a possible ASD diagnosis.”

      I wish you the very best in this process and I hope that your insurance provider is fully supportive of you and that you find the best possible match for your testing. It’s so important to have someone who cares and listens. Let us know how it goes. Many of us here click the boxes to be notified of new comments so for those that do, we’ll see that you’ve shared. Several of us here also have our own blogs so please feel free to share on one or more of those. If you scroll through the posts you’ll see others mention their posts and or links to them. You can also hover over the Gravatar and or click on them and see links or ways to reach out and contact. 🙂

      My blog is http://www.wisdomtara.com

          1. Well, I had my testing today. Now that it’s done, of course, I’m googling up a storm trying to see what they were testing. To me it seemed like ordinary psychological testing, rather than specifically focused on autism. I had the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence test, which left me feeling not terribly intelligent. The Rorschach Test, which based on wikipedia, for what it’s worth, makes me feel like I’m fairly normal. And the Thematic Apperception Test, whose images I found creepy (I’m pretty sensitive to visuals anyway) and one of them I said I didn’t want to look at anymore (so they probably think I’m psycho). I didn’t like that test at all and wasn’t very forthcoming. And the Personality Assessment Inventory. Nothing that reminded me of the Testing Tuesday tests. I was a little disappointed, and I’m a little afraid to hear what the results are.

            Well, if nothing else, it was nice to take a day off from work, lol.

            I don’t quite know what is normally done for testing…

              1. Thank you! Wow, what a fast reply. I will take a fresh look at those posts. I knew they were somewhere but didn’t know where, and now I do!

                They didn’t give me a date. They will contact me for a follow-up appointment.

                1. So, I’m now remembering that my insurance allowed for cognitive testing and not neuropsychological, so that would explain why I didn’t have a lot of the same tests you did, Cynthia. Your post reminded me that I also had a questionnaire that seemed to be the Beck Depression Inventory. Oh, and I also had to complete some sentences by writing.

                  One interesting thing was that the office had lost its Wi-Fi, so they emailed me a link to the Personality Assessment Inventory, and I took it in the comfort of my own home. I took my time with it and then reviewed all my responses before submitting. I probably would not have taken so much time and care in their office. I ended up changing some of my responses regarding anger. At this point in my life, I feel anger, but I don’t meltdown as much as I used to.

            1. Good luck for your results in due course.
              I guess the testing depends a lot on where you are. I’m in the UK and they had me fill in a couple of the tests like Take a Test Tuesday, plus a meeting. I’d sent in 18 pages of notes I’d made on why I thought I was Aspie so the psychologist read them first (they took him a while!) and that answered a lot of his queries before we even started chatting!

            2. For my autism diagnosis I did five written tests.

              One was to determine „what kind of human being I had been in the last five years“ to quote what was said in the description.

              Three were targeted at autistic people: The „EQ-Test“ for empathy, the „SQ-Test“ for how much I systematize my life, and an actual Asperger’s test.

              One was the classic „look at this photo of human eyes and tell me what the person is feeling“-test.

              In addition there was a lot of talking with the psychiatrist.

              1. Oh, and I forgot to add – this was in Germany, but I found out that it varies a lot. One clinic sent me like 20 questionaires to do beforehand, others only do talks, no written tests …

                1. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I got my diagnosis this afternoon! I’m still processing this news and will be for some time to come, I’m sure. Honestly, all I want to do right now is watch the Downton Abbey Christmas special and decompress. (Not joking.)

                  Thanks Liz and Svenja for the information on your diagnoses. I’m sorry I didn’t reply sooner.

                  Love you all!

                2. Congratulations! Yes, I didn’t feel like doing much afterwards (except going ‘I have Asperger’s’ multiple times!)

  38. Thanks for everything! Take care of yourself, and again thanks for this blog. I am sure I will re-read several posts, as your detailed examining of things helped me understand a lot about me.

    A specific thank you for your series on Executive Functioning. It helped me give a name to some of the things I struggle with.

  39. I sincerely hope your energy level like in video-gaming is back from dark red to … mmmh … medium orange?

    I remember you described language problems and declining communication resources already in previous posts. One could attribute this to overstretching capacity of course?

    Observation on self that makes me wonder if you ever encountered a related reaction to mine: My hands are failing me. Not in general, not more tremor or dropping objects (bad as ever). But correctly hitting keys when typing and handwriting get worse everyday. Even problems with my signature. I have to ‘practice’ three or four times before signing any document. Ref to yours: For various reasons I never wrote as much as last year, different things of all sorts, I *want* to write. Wonder, however, if my brain-body axis wants to tell me something.

    Awww. forget that. In reality I just wanted to say I stay around. The ‘abuse’ idea some comments above on extensively commenting into older posts is still here just … writing, as described … and time … spoons

    1. I’ve been having a similar problem recently in that although I’m hitting the right letters (well most of the time!) they’ve sometimes been coming out in the wrong order. I spot them, and go back and change them, but if I wasn’t proof-reading it would be a tad messy to read. And then of course there’s the usual problem of thinking too fast for my fingers to keep up so I miss letters / words out.
      I wonder with me if it’s being overloaded as I’ve been struggling to fit everything in recently and the anxiety levels have been soaring at times. Today hasn’t been too bad but then after a slow start I’ve been productive and achieved what I wanted. So much so that I’m going to go and join my dog on the sofa 🙂

      1. Yes, I think to fast a lot of the time and for me typing is the best way for me to address that. At least I can type close to how fast the words and idea come. My handwriting is atrocious so my hands cramp up with the intensity of trying to write legibly, and trying to get the ideas out before they are gone – which happens some times. If you could see from my side how much I type and then have to backspace to repair a word, or replace it to put the right one in, and proofread so it makes the sense I want it too 😉 It has been busy recently and finding organizational solutions to address it has been awesome!

        On hands and such doing what you want – I’m noticing things like this – and not sure if it’s just that I am noticing it more because I now have a diagnosis and am not writing it off as a quirk, or because some days, it is more noticeable. Had this conversation earlier this morning with someone along these lines. Don’t know if it’s diet on a particular day, sleep or lack thereof, or the phase of the moon 😉 Awwwwwooooooo

    2. My energy level has been good and it’s been good not to feel the pressure of having to write, but my language has taken serious downturn over the past 2 weeks. I think it’s not so much related to overstretching as to trying to outrun a slow moving train. 🙂

      Your hand problems sound frustrating and I can totally relate to body parts having a mind of their own.

  40. I just found your blog today and I’m sorry you’re having issues and can’t write right now! I just wanted to let you know that as a mother of a 17-year-old Aspie girl, this blog gave me hope for her future that I’ve tried hard not to think about. I am going to have her read this one on self-acceptance as I think it is so relevant to her right now. She is so smart and has an amazing writing style but has a lot of doubt and identity issues. I’m sure it hasn’t helped that most of the information out there (and the computer is her thing so she’s read a lot) is about how hopeless it is to be a successful (i.e. happy) adult on the spectrum. All that doom and gloom has not helped her depression! Though she has always done well academically, she has really bloomed this year as for the first time we are doing an online school and she is really shining! It plays to all her strengths that were previously weaknesses: she can type questions and answers during classes instead of being the focus in the midst of the sea of desks. She can do projects that interest her by creating power points and animations on the computer. Oops. I’m sorry, I’m going on and on a bit! As a former journalist and a current licensed professional counselor (psychotherapist though I’m not currently working as I’m focusing on providing home support while she finishes high school) I applaud what you’ve been doing. Thanks for giving us a window into your world and letting us see the brightness of it!

    1. Places likes this (*especially* this one 🙂 ) are doing wonders not only for self-acceptance but for also learning about enabling strategies that have worked for others.

      One point that came up so often was how to use our academic abilities in a way that it is recognized and appreciated in a neurotypical world. It *can* be done as proven by numerous biographies found throughout Cynthia’s blog

      All the best wishes for your daughter !

    2. Let your daughter loose on reading this whole blog, & you too. There’s so much info here and a lot of support. And it’s a fantastic place for having ‘me too’ moments which your daughter may find invaluable. It’s great that she’s got a supportive mum and that she’s got a way of learning that’s appropriate for her talents and abilities (I so remember how difficult being in class was – I barely opened my mouth!). She’s very lucky that she’s identified her Aspieness early because now she can adapt her life to maximimising her strengths and minimising her weaknesses, instead of (as many of us later life diagnosed Aspies have probably done) struggling along beating ourselves up for not managing to cope as well as ‘everyone else’. Having that knowledge is empowering. If I’d have known 10 years ago when I started my own business (I’m 42 and an accountant) I’d have felt more confident in setting different boundaries from the start. Now, 3 months post-official diagnosis, I’m looking at it differently.
      All the very best to the both of you and I’m sure that with you giving her such good support and encouragement she’ll find her perfect niche in life and make a huge success of it. It is a very bright shiny world and a good place to be 🙂

  41. “Acceptance as a well-being practice…”
    I have come here tonight after a day of attention focused on me, after coming into close contact with people I like and have known for years and people I only met today for the first time. Even though I had some hours of alone time, a good book to read, a good meal, I still felt too agitated to sleep. Now that I’ve read through the comments of the community you have created, Cynthia, I feel relaxed and am sure to be able to sleep.
    And I am quite convinced there is no witchcraft involved at all, acceptance is the magic word.
    Thank you, Cynthia, and all of you out there!

  42. I mentioned to my oldest daughter that I recently added to a list of books I’d like to get –
    she texted me back; “Send me the list I’ll see if I can find them on Amazon’
    I said, well . . . the one I really want right now is ‘Nerdy, Shy, & Socially Innapropriate’ . . . but if you can’t find it don’t worry about it.

    Within a few hours she texted “Book is on the way!”
    (I would insert a ‘real’ smiley here but here’s mine
    {‘:-D

    When the book arrived, I finally added together alluding comments I’ve read here with the facts on the back cover –
    musingsofanaspie = Cynthia . . .oh! DUH!

    lol – it’s interesting how someone as smart as me can be SO incredibley slow sometimes . . . but there it is . . . and frequently the cause of frustration among family/people who know me and wonder WHY I ‘play dumb’ sometimes . . .

    I started reading the book and had to stop to get a pencil (& a ruler – OCD-need for straight lines) and underline similarities – might as well have underlined every word . . . there ARE a few differences, but so spot-on mostly.
    I also added footnotes describing some of my own specifics.
    I love it that there is space for this.
    But I have only completed chapter 6.
    I am somewhat overwhelmed, in the same way I was overwhelmed by writing my own memiors – many things in these chapters brought back particular memories about specific things which made me write a lot of things in my bio, which contains a folder called ‘medical history’, which among other things, contains a folder entitled ‘Asperger’s syndrome’ which contains documents with my comments about my first findings, and my test scores, and about finding this site.
    I suppose it is a ‘private blog’. It’s where I write & write, which in itself seems to be very therapeutic.
    Also, over the last few years I have tried to write when I am in a depression. Interestingly enough, in reviewing some of these documents AFTER learning so much about Asperger’s, I can see where I was writing about problems I was having with people and other issues, and NOW I can read those paragraphs with some definitions and understanding I did’nt have before.

    And now, there’s an additional document there on recent awareness about myself because of this book.

    I do not know when I can continue with chapter 7 of Cynthia’s book.
    But, probably after I’m done remembering, and crying, and processing, going in & out of short depressions, and trying to explain myself to my daughter’s in writings they may never read.
    Some of these chapters really made me think about how my parents dealt with me, particularly my mom . . .very difficult memories – entirely WAY too many details to express here (tho’ that has’nt stopped me before, lol)

    I purposefully did not look at the tabel of contents or flip thru to see chapter headings. I do not want to be biased, or ‘think ahead’ as I can typically do.

    Do not interpret this personal summary as disgust wih the book, or dislike of it.
    It is not ‘Lord of the Rings’ or a documentary about an enjoyable subject like some animal or artist, etc, I might like. It is not going to be ‘fun’ or exciting in the way those kinds of books are.

    It is a retrospective read, even falling into the catagory of a self-help, at least speaking for myself. It has been, and is going to be real, honest, brutal at times, and exciting in the way of relating to the author in so many ways, and another tool in helping me work this puzzle called ‘me’, which is exciting these recent days in the same way a suspense movie is extremely interesting due to ‘extreme tension’. lol

    On an even brighter side – since I started this quest-filled journey of self-discoveries regarding ASD, I have not had a bad, long depression.
    I think a lot of my depressions came-on by not totally understanding how I think and ‘tick’.
    (Just knowing ‘you’re really different’ is not the same as knowing WHY you’re really different)
    Lack of understanding combined with cognitive failures, intense mental pictures & words, social faux pas, failure to connect with family/other people in almost any verbal communication, persistently hearing ‘What’s wrong with you-I don’t get it-why can’t you…-you’re so…’-etc etc etc, and being overwhelmed with daily ‘life’ things-to-do-non-stop – I can look back and easily understand some of my more severe depressions.
    Apparently, I am now more capable of processing thru anything if I have some definitive answers.

    So, in case I am not clear about it, I DO thank you for writing this book.

  43. Thank you so much for writing all that you have, here on the blog and in your book. You have helped me so much on my own journey towards acceptance, and although I’m definitely going to miss your posts, I’m glad you’re able to make the decision to put your well-being first and foremost. And we have the legacy of all your posts to go back over! When I first read your book it was like ‘yes yes YES thank god someone else understands that’s EXACTLY what it’s like!!”. So thank you again, and I hope things continue to grow and blossom in your life ❤

  44. … I finally finished your book Cynthia. It was very good. lol, I am.not a slow reader – it was just so overwhelming at one point I had to wait several days to pick it up again.

    I have never had these experiences with books until now.

    I found a great site called ‘Thrift Books’ and got a book by Dawn Prince Hughes, Songs of the Gorilla Nation. I had heard her interview on NPR well over a year ago. She mentioned autism – but I was keying on her life story which was similar to mine – I kept thinking, ‘Well, I’m not autistic but she & I think/act so similar. She doesnt SOUND autistic. Maybe I AM autistic…’

    The inteview was another small puzzle piece for me which intitiated all my questions about myself, which, of course, led me to Asperger’s, etc etc etc … then here …

    So, I’m reading her book and . . . I was trying to find her email address …
    I only got to page 55 – bc I can not stop crying & freaking out …. because her life story is SO very similar to mine – I do not know when I can continue reading it because it is so personal.
    There are differences of course – such as we had extremely different parents, different ‘unforgettable life crisis’ (hers was a move at age 10, mine was an issue surrounding my adoption)
    But … the similarities are so striking that I thought if I ever wanted to write a book, I’m liable to be accused of plagiary or closely copying her story.

    Meanwhile, now that I’ve stopped crying & repaired all my typos in relating my small crisis . . . I do not know exactly when I can continue reading the book . . .

  45. Thanks for taking the time to write this blog. I agree with everyone else … Blogs are very demanding and there comes a time in life when you need to do other things.

    I’m an NT in a relationship with a woman who is an Aspie – or at least I am pretty sure this is the description. But she will not ACCEPT that she has a problem, or that she is different. I wish that she would take the first step towards asking … “Why am I different?”. But that seems to be very threatening to her, and so she avoids it. Instead, she simply focuses on the ’emotional triggers’ that start the Aspie process … as the actual cause of the response. She blames the outside world as the cause of the confusion, and she doesn’t grasp the significance of the confusion, except as an “emotional maze” that she will escape when it happens.

    I have learned not to take seriously her comments when she is inside the “Aspie Emotional Space”. During those episodes, she is in an alternate emotional reality. She will say things that are confused, and sometimes she will say things that are very hurtful. But I have gained confidence that when she emerges from The Aspie Maze, she didn’t mean any of the things that she said. So I simply try to ignore them. I’m still looking for a better way to handle the Aspie Maze when it occurs … I’m just not there yet.

    But the relationship with an Aspie was been wonderfully beneficial for me as an NT. I no longer have the point of view that NT’s are somehow “superior”. In some ways, I actually think that the Aspie point of view is the better one at times. My Aspie has taught me things about life, and about love and passion, that I might not have ever seen in a standard NT-NT relationship. I am really grateful for that! So there really is no such thing as ‘normal’ and ‘different’. There are just human beings relating to each other in life.

    Pete, California

    1. As long as you care for each other and enjoy each others’ company, one could be purple and it wouldn’t matter. =)

      I feel for your lady. That kind of disorientation surely must be very unpleasant. Certainly not that pleasant for those walking next to her at the time either. I hope one day she’s okay with the notion enough she can start reading up on Asperger’s and the coping methods for when your brain goes haywire like that. There are a lot of annoying and irritating things to wade through (like being told you’ll never have a sweetie), but learning about other things you could potentially do (or already do and don’t notice) can be a lot of fun. Like pattern finding! It used to be an absent-minded habit but now that I know I do it, it’s a lot of fun and a bit of a game to keep it up.

  46. Cynthia, I wanted to come back and thank you and to let you know that I received my autism diagnosis this week at the age of 36. Your blog was integral to my realization that I was autistic, and I also really love and value your book Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate. When I got my diagnosis, I cried tears of relief and release. This post in particular is something that I keep coming back to reread because I am still building that bridge, and, as you have written before, “learning how to be autistic.” Thank you so much for your work, you have changed lives for the better. ❤

    1. Congratulations!

      I received a diagnosis a year ago and the change has been incredible. I hope you find peace and understanding, and the ability to be yourself. 💕

  47. I’m late to the game here but I just wanted to say thank you for providing me this resource. I’m almost 30 and I’m navigating the very recent shock, relief, sorrow and confusion of realizing that I am an aspie. I want to get a diagnosis to be clinically sure (I don’t trust myself), but as you know well, it’s difficult to find anyone who takes it seriously, since by all accounts I seem “normal” to people who don’t know me well. They just say depression or ptsd and send me home with pills that I refuse to take (I am childish when it comes to pills. I won’t take them). I expect no family support other than my husband. I just know my mom will roll her eyes and say “you don’t have aspergers” in that ever-condescending way, like I’m an 8 year-old hypochondriac again. For the first time I’ve discovered people, specifically WOMEN (the people who frighten me the most) who think like me and get me. I’m not alone! I’m not just “mentally ill”, whatever that means. I’m not paranoid! I belong and I don’t have to hide how off I am anymore. It’s ok that I have an illogical aversion to talking on the phone without knowing exactly why. It’s ok that I approach friendship in a formulaic if/then way. I’m still worried that I’m wrong in my self-assessment, that I’ll go back to square one feeling like an outsider trying to figure out what is wrong with me. But then I read your words and I see myself in them! No one has ever been able to describe how I experience the world, including me. So thank you. You have changed my life. I just wanted you to know that.

    1. Sarah, I was in your shoes a couple years ago and only recently went about getting a formal diagnosis, which I received a few months ago. You’re right about Cynthia and this web site being a wonderful resource. I will turn 50 this year, and I think it’s wonderful that you’re coming into this understanding 20 years ahead of my schedule. I’m glad your husband is supportive. Good luck!

    2. Ah yes mothers! I was diagnosed in October last year (aged 42) and haven’t told my mother yet because I’m sure she’ll have exactly that reaction 🙂
      I was worried that the diagnosing psychologist wouldn’t think I had Asperger’s because I’m so used to trying to fit in (and the doctor who referred me was really crap and put it all down to social anxiety which is actually a tiny part of me and massively eclipsed by Asperger’s and OCD) but it appears that someone who actually knows what they’re talking about can see through the facade as he said I was a really clear case (the fact that I started waffling on at length about how I organised my wardrobe and how my t-shirts were colour coded etc. might have emphasised that slightly!!). I totally get why you want a clinical diagnosis (I was the same) so just be the real you and give it some thought beforehand and make notes on why you think you’re Aspie. I gave them 18 pages of A4 typed notes going through the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria and writing why I thought I met each criteria – apparently that was very useful (I’d have had no chance of putting it all into words verbally in an assessment) if a little wordy 🙂
      If Asperger’s feels right to you though then it’s right. It doesn’t matter what anyone says. You know you better than anyone else (even your mother, despite what she might say!). Good luck.
      (And this is a fab resource – miss you Cynthia!)

    3. I don’t like women in general either, they are really weird. But so far I’m bumping along pretty good with Aspie women, they’re much easier for me to get along with. I think one of the reasons is that they’re most likely to understand my sensory issues with looking “pretty”.

      My mom has a degree in psychology and always thought I had a touch of autism. To limit any bias when I wanted to tell her after I first went digging, I found a list of female Aspie traits that seemed to describe me almost perfectly, and read them off to her (while omitting words like “Aspie” and “autism”). I don’t know if that will work with your mom, but if you think it will go for it. =)

  48. I just found this blog this week. It has been so inspiring and helpful to me, at age 50, to finally figure out why some things have been so challenging all my life. Cynthia, I hope that you are well. Thank you for creating this space for all of us.

  49. How wonderful. This article is just brilliant and I’m sad that (due to perimenopause exacerbating symptoms, and recent diagnosis of my nephew, who reminds everyone of me..) I have only just come across your writing. I hope that your time off allows you to continue accepting and equipping yourself in every way that you need to. Thanks so much for this article and I will now go read everything else you and all your commentators have written, it’s blowing my mind!

  50. Hi there,

    It’s been almost 5 years since I was diagnosed with Aspergers and ADD. I’m 57 now. Reading the many posts and comments helped me to accept this state of being to a point that I now can finaly say it out loud……I am autistic. First, after the diagnose, I was happy to know why I was “different”…followed buy a long depression….and being very angry at God….the creation als a whole…you name it….just plane angry. It must be someones fault? Now thanks to this Blog by Cynthia I think I can accept it all much better then ever before. You are almost Sainthia to me 😉 Thanks for all your “to the point words” and all the best from Fryslân.

  51. Hi Cynthia, I understand that you have put your blog on hiatus and am not looking for any response from you. I hope you are well and keeping up self-acceptance. I am, in fact very impressed that you managed to have a blog in the first place. I am 55 years old and figured out in the past 2 months that Aspergers explains everything in my life – EVERYTHING. Your blog (followed quickly by purchase of your book) was the first information I came across by a late-diagnosed autistic woman. I am currently absorbing all the information I can. After years of wondering what was ‘wrong’ with me and of misdiagnoses and very unhelpful and dismissive mental health professionals, I was so relieved to find out who I am and that I am not alone. So I simply wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you. I can only imagine how much work it was to keep up a blog and write 2 books and I wanted you to know how much it means to one woman just finding pieces of a sense of belonging. I am learning to let me be more me. My adult daughter, by the way, thinks I am ‘cute’, good grief!

  52. Yes, your posts still help me to navigate this world. I continue to come back and check and look for references.
    Today my question is about female hairstyles in the US. I’ve been there recently, couldn’t understand some strange feeling and finally trusted my gut feeling: my hair is too short. Remembered you cutting your hair short but can’t find the entry right now.
    Hope you’re well!

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