Many autistic women just don’t “look” autistic

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Five days, three hours and two minutes to go. Next week I might be autistic.

In five days, three hours, and two minutes my autism assessment will be done. The wait and the confusion and the worry will all be over. Or maybe they will be worse: I’m not really sure.

I’m Lauren, I’m twenty-seven, and I live in London. I’ve got a good degree, a good career, and good friends.

In March 2020 I started therapy, mainly due to a lifelong struggle with anxiety. The main thing I’ve learnt is this: I do not have a clue what is going on in my own brain or body.

It turns out that my anxiety gets…


Trying to meet the “real” me after my autism diagnosis

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I am an autistic woman. Like many autistic women, I have spent my life masking to fit into a neurotypical world. Pretty darn well, if I do say so myself.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve become curious about what the “real” me is like. What would look and sound different if I didn’t mask at work? What would my friends think? What would I think!?

For me, masking means that I…

  • manually interpret others’ facial expressions and body language, by referring back to books and TV shows on those subjects
  • manually “work” my face or body language to show what I…


Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

“You didn’t have obsessions, you just really liked maths…”

This is something my parents said to me when I first talked to them about possibly being autistic. I found it kinda funny.

They were bribing me with simultaneous equations and long division sums by the age of six. I always wanted more maths puzzles, and maths books, and to finish all my set maths work at school so that I could… yep, you guessed it: do more maths.

On the one hand, they are not wrong. I did really like maths. …


Five things that have helped me, and why this is hard in the first place

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Picture the scene: a bustling bar at the end of the week, excitement in the air, friends calling out to each other. The smell of cigarettes wafting in from the garden, the thrum of people having a good time. Glasses clinking, sticky tables, smiles all around.

There are some things you will not see in this scene. For example, the woman opposite you is fighting off a complete meltdown.

While you are talking to her, and to your friends on either side, she is listening and smiling and saying things that are — every now and then — quite funny.


An experimental approach to discovering autism coping strategies

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Since my recent autism diagnosis, I have been reviewing how I do pretty much everything. I have spent a lot of time finding out what works for me. Addressing needs to which I had previously been oblivious.

I am a data person by day, with a background in science. It is perhaps no surprise I am treating this as one giant experiment. Lucky for me, it has been working well. So I wanted to share my approach.

Below is what I have been doing, broken into four steps. My conclusions won’t be the same as yours. …


Here is a whiteboard that makes my life better.

Earlier this year, I was diagnosed as autistic. I have since discovered a lot of very predictable causes for my previously mysterious anxiety. Anxiety that had left me overwhelmed and burnt out for “no reason” most weeks.

Now I understand the causes, I can give them some attention. That way I get a choice. I can do something about the cause, take a break… I can still carry on anyway. But at least I understand the trade-offs.

I wanted visual prompts for some of these causes, to help make those choices.

Enter, my “autism whiteboard”!

I picked four things from…


Six things that have helped me, and why I can finally give myself a break

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As I write this, I am sitting alone on a train to Amsterdam. The first “big” journey I’ve done since my autism diagnosis. It feels different in a good way.

Taking public transport was the first time I really felt a difference post-diagnosis. The travel itself was not different. I still rehearsed and planned and quadruple-checked. I still struggled with loud announcements. And talking. And tube doors beeping. I still did not like it when people got close. Or indeed had the nerve to exist in the first place…

Despite all that, something had shifted.

I think it is this…


Nobody knew you were autistic. Here are some things I wish I could go back and tell you.

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Dear Little Lauren,

Big Lauren here. Recently, I found out that your brain works a little bit differently from other people’s. And that’s ok.

It is what makes you great at all the things you are great at. Like solving problems, and organising things, and being very understanding to your friends and family.

It does mean some things are a bit harder. That’s ok too. I’m writing this to help you understand why some things are hard. So that you can explain them to other people, and not have to fight them by yourself. …


The adventures of a newly diagnosed and slightly confused autistic woman

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Once upon a time, there was a woman. A few months ago, that woman was diagnosed as autistic.

As part of her diagnosis, the woman discovered that she has magical powers.

Lots of her senses are ✵supercharged✵ She can hear and smell and see and feel every tiny detail of the world around her. She can notice things that most people do not, without even trying!

Unfortunately, while she is so aware of the world around her, something else happens too. Her brain forgets to notice what is happening inside her body.

This can make things very, very strange.

The…


What I have learnt so far about being autistic at work

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Spoiler alert: they are all me.

I have been an adult woman for approximately ten years. A manager of some description for approximately five. And an autistic person for… I suppose my whole life. I just didn’t know it.

Eight months ago, my therapist suggested that I might be autistic.

I already knew quite a lot about autism, from studying brains and working in educational psychology. It wasn’t even the first time I’d thought about it in relation to me. The problem was, although a lot of parts fit, it didn’t 100% add up. I have lots of friends, a…

Lauren

D&D enthusiast and DM. Autistic woman. Humanist. Data person. Likes: woodlice, Agatha Christie, rain. Dislikes: human interaction, lack of human interaction.

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