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Autism in females presents very differently from autism in males. Being socialised from birth to fit in, many women have spent their entire lives 'masking', pretending to understand social rules and fit into social situations while covering up feelings of confusion and shame for not being able to function in the way allistics (people not on the autism spectrum) do. Autistic people have a highly sensitive nervous system and a need for more rest, processing time and sleep. Ignoring our needs and pushing ourselves to function as allistic people is costly to mind, body and soul.

A late diagnosis (self diagnosis is valid) is often a pinnacle moment (or series of realisations) that comes with a range of feelings. It is often experienced as a relief and an explanation for the struggles over a lifetime. There may be feelings of anger that a diagnosis and support did not happen sooner. It can also lead to the joy of unmasking, getting to know who you really are and creating a life that feels good from the inside, rather than worrying about your life looking the way society deems it should.  

You may have a sense that nobody knows the real you, or even that you don't really know yourself without the mask you have been wearing. You may have a sense of loneliness or feel like an outsider. Maybe communication differences with allistics mean you do not really feel heard even when you speak. Perhaps you feel a sense of shame around being different. 

So often we hear about autism as a 'disorder' and the emphasis is on the 'impairments' to functioning in society. Yet if we truly get to know and accept ourselves and respect our different needs, we can set ourselves up for a more easeful, joyful and harmonious life. There is so much to being autistic that is positive. I see and experience the many ways that this difference in neurological wiring can be a strength.

I can support you to listen to your needs, to advocate for yourself and to develop your own particular brand of self-care that helps your unique self thrive. I can help you explore the strengths and positive aspects of your neurodiversity as well as support you with the challenges. I can support you to release the shame of being differently-wired, flourish being who you really are and create a life that feels good from the inside out. 

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