Yes, that’s right! I have high-functioning autism.
Many people might read my title and ask, “How could being diagnosed with high-functioning autism make your life better?
And I understand that this may sound completely opposite of what someone would normally feel when they first hear that they have autism, but for me, it was a relief. I have also found that many adults that have been diagnosed with high-functioning autism found their diagnosis as a relief.
Most of this is because when you are going through life feeling different from others you tend to think that there is something wrong with you.
But being diagnosed with autism is sort of an answer for adults with high-functioning autism. It explains all of the thoughts, actions, and feelings that come with being an autistic adult.
(THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS HOWEVER, I WILL NEVER RECOMMEND ANYTHING THAT I DO NOT BELIEVE IN OR USE MYSELF. YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT MY DISCLOSURE POLICY HERE)
What is High-Functioning Autism?
“High-Functioning Autism” or as it used to be called “Asperger’s Syndrome” is a type of autism that does not affect the intellectual part of the brain but instead mostly affects that socializing part of the brain.
So this means that if you have high-functioning autism you are intellectually able to function but as far as being social and having relationships, you have major difficulties.
My Life Before Being Diagnosed with Autism
So my entire life has been filled with the feeling that I am not like other people. Even as a child, I felt so different from other kids and honestly thought that it was normal.
However, I couldn’t understand why people felt certain ways and I had a hard time reading emotions. I also had severe anxiety and was scared of bad things happening almost all of the time.
These feelings and emotions slowly contributed to my decline into depression and even worse anxiety. I became consumed by thoughts that I was unwanted and unloved because I couldn’t detect the emotions from those around me. And the intrusive thoughts made feeling happy almost impossible.
Another huge problem I had was that I would become completely obsessed with something to a point where it was all I could think about.
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Why I Was Not Diagnosed with Autism as a Child
So with all of these signs of depression and anxiety you may ask why I didn’t get help sooner. Well, honestly my parents did.
You see autism wasn’t anything new to my family. My little brother was diagnosed with autism as a small child and I remember learning a lot about it as a child. But unfortunately, even though looking back I know that I was showing several signs of having autism, no one was able to pick up on it. Not even the doctors I was seeing.
How Autism in Girls is Different than in Boys
One of the biggest problems with high-functioning autism is the fact that it is not commonly diagnosed in girls. And this is not because girls do not have high-functioning autism. They do. It just means that they just show signs of high functioning autism in different ways than boys do.
Many times boys with high-functioning autism are very quiet and have a hard time with social skills which is a big sign for parents and healthcare professionals. But for many girls with high-functioning autism, it is much easier to blend in and mimic others around them. Girls are also very good at hiding what is wrong with them.
We believe that since I had a brother with high functioning autism and my signs weren’t exactly the same as his that this is the reason that my symptoms were not caught quickly.
Some Signs of High-Functioning Autism in Girls
- Poor or non-existent eye contact
- sensory issues
- choosing to be alone
- trouble with social cues
- repetitive movements of actions
- the need for routines that cannot be altered
- fixating on particular objects
- difficulty starting and keeping a conversation going
- lack of ability expressing emotions and reading emotions
- food sensitivities or only eating certain familiar foods
What Causes Autism? Is High-Functioning Autism Passed Down in Families?
Yes. Or at least the experts believe so since there is a distinct pattern throughout families. In fact, my daughter Aubrey was diagnosed with high-functioning autism as well. And after getting several opinions and switching to a different pediatrician we finally got her diagnosis.
Actually, I didn’t even think about getting tested for high functioning autism until I was looking over some of the questions for my daughter’s autism evaluation and I realized that they all seemed to describe me. It was at that moment that a light bulb sort of went off in my head. I thought that there may finally be an explanation for why I feel the way I feel and why I have such a difficult time being around people.
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Getting an Autism Diagnosis
If you think that you or your child may have high-functioning autism than I urge you to speak with your doctor or pediatrician. They can refer you to an autism specialist who can properly assess the symptoms and signs that come along with autism.
And although getting a diagnosis may just seem like putting a name to the symptoms, for people that are unaware of why their brain works differently, this can be life-changing.
My Final Thoughts
Even though having a diagnosis in place does not take the unfortunate symptoms of high-functioning autism away, I can now look at my feelings as the result of how my brain operates instead of feeling broken and constantly distant from others. Just knowing that there is a valid reason that I feel, act, and think the way I do helps lessen my depression and anxiety.
I also am able to watch out for different symptoms of feeling overwhelmed with people better and can explain to others about high-functioning autism and how it affects us.
Heather, Thank you so much for this truly inspiring post! I am so happy you finally got your diagnosis! Knowing what is going on is the best way to learn ow to live with it!
Yes! That is exactly how I feel. Now that I know why my brain works the way it does, I am less critical of myself.