‘I’ve always felt like an alien, now I know why.’ This was the headline of last week’s iPM show on Radio 4, a programme that focuses on listener’s life experiences and they are always captivating and eye-opening. This latest episode was certainly that, telling the story of a 50 year old man who had just discovered he had Asperger’s Syndrome.

After regaling his traumatic school life he talked about meeting his wife and forming friendships and all the challenges this involved; how exhausting and overwhelming he has found it over the years to read social situations and work out how to engage. On the plus side he talked about how his Asperger’s makes him a great husband and father, fun, creative and truthful.

So how has this diagnosis made him feel? A mixture of relief (now he knows why he has always found certain things difficult) and sadness (if he’d known earlier perhaps life would have been easier). But he felt as though he had been living as a fraud, that he hadn’t been living truthfully. He admitted that he would now stop putting so much pressure on himself to behave in a certain way and instead just be himself which has to be a good thing right? He can now celebrate his personality fully instead of feeling on the outside or lacking in some way, which of course he isn’t. But it made me think about the generations of people who were born pre our awareness of Asperger’s, Autism, ADHD to name but three and who have had to navigate their way through life without this knowledge and support. We at SuffolkCarersMatter would love to think that moving forward nobody has to go through life without understanding, support and complete acceptance and we will endeavour to do all we can to make this the case for the carers and families we work with.

If you are an adult and you have had a late diagnosis or if you have never been diagnosed but have a feeling that this may apply to you then we would love to hear your story. Please contact laura@suffolkcarersmatter.org.uk

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