Episode 180

How I discovered I'm autistic and have ADHD

Many more women are discovering they’re autistic later in life. 

Including many women who may not appear to fit the ‘stereotypical’ perceptions of autism. 


Like TV presenter Melanie Sykes, model and TV presenter Christine McGuinness (wife of Top Gear presenter Paddy) and Period Power author Maisie Hill. 


I’ve talked openly about my diagnosis of ADHD. Earlier this year I discovered that I’m also autistic. Something that has taken me longer to feel comfortable talking about - mainly I feel because of my fear of not being ‘believed’. Mainly due to peoples’ stereotypical and, quite frankly, outdated views on what autism looks like - particularly in women. 


In this episode of the Courageous Content Podcast (which you can also read as a blog) I share what led me to this discovery and how it’s impacting my life and business. 


Key Links

Janet Murray’s Courageous Content Planner

Janet Murray’s Courageous Content Live event

Janet Murray’s Courageous Planner Launch Content Kit

Janet Murray’s Courators Club

Janet Murray's Courageous Blog Content Kit

Save £30 on my Courageous Email Lead Magnet Content Kit using the code MAGNET67.

Save £30 on my Business Basics Content Kit using the code PODCAST67.

Save £30 on my Courageous Launch Content Kit using the code PODCAST67.

Janet Murray’s Courators Kit

Janet Murray’s FREE Ultimate Course Launch Checklist


How I discovered I had ADHD (and why it’s my superpower as an entrepreneur) (podcast)

Samantha Craft: Autistic Woman's Checklist

Yo Samdy Sam (YouTube Channel)

Square Peg Podcast with Amy Richards

Struggles of Being Black & Autistic (interview with Tiffany Hammond)

Janet Murray’s website

Janet Murray on Facebook

Janet Murray on Facebook

Janet Murray on LinkedIn

Janet Murray on Twitter

Janet Murray on TikTok

Transcript

IMPORTANT: THIS TRANSCRIPT IS AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED. WE GIVE IT A QUICK CHECK THROUGH BUT WE DON’T CORRECT EVERYTHING AS IT’S INTENDED TO HELP YOU FIND PARTS YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO AGAIN - NOT AS AN EXACT TRANSCRIPT. SO THERE MIGHT BE A FEW QUIRKY WORDS/PHRASES HERE!

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I wanted to record this episode for a while, but why does that usually find it difficult to find the words for anything? I was struggling with this topic for two main reasons. Number one, I don't like creating content about things I don't fully understand. And secondly, I didn't feel I should record this podcast until I felt comfortable saying it. So here we go.

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I've talked openly about having ADHD, but it turns out I'm also autistic in the past. I guess I'd have got an Asperger's diagnosis, but these days it all comes under the umbrella of autism. So I'd be regarded as autism level one. I'll share more about what led to this discovery in just a sec. But first of all, I wanted to share a few things I've learned along the way that might help.

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And particularly if you're new to this topic, as I was, and possibly have preconceptions about what autism is and what it isn't. So first off, it's really important to say that autism is still widely misunderstood and it's hugely underdiagnosed in girls and women. Secondly, it's just not true to say everyone is a little bit autistic. I think most of us have heard that at one point or another.

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It's just not true. You either are, or you aren't also autism doesn't have a particular look, which is why it's really not helpful to tell an autistic person that they don't look autistic. High functioning. Autism can be an unhelpful label because how someone appears to be acting on may not be an accurate reflection of how they're actually functioning. And finally autism shows up differently in different people.

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So just because somebody isn't like your autistic person or your friend's autistic son or daughter, that doesn't mean they're not autistic. There is a saying that I have picked up the more research that I've done. If you've met one autistic person, you've met one autistic person, and that's really something to bear in mind, particularly as you listen to what I share in this episode,

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I do have another podcast in which I talked about receiving my ADHD diagnosis. Once I've had a chance to process all of that, I may well need to go back and re record that or add a new intro based on the insights that I've had. And if you're new to ADHD, attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder, if you don't know much about it,

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it's a disorder, or I prefer to think of it as a brain difference that affects the functioning of the brain and include symptoms like inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. I do go into the ADHD side a lot more in that episode, but it's fair to say. I think I'm going to have to go back and reevaluate all of that because I think some of the things that I thought were ADHD features or symptoms,

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however you want to call it may actually be autism. And I think people are leaning more towards looking at these brain differences as new age diversity, because many autistic people all say have ADHD and vice versa along with other brain differences, which means it's quite difficult to look at the two in isolation. I think the me going forward, it's probably just going to be better to think about my brain differences in general,

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trying to pick apart, which is, which doesn't feel particularly helpful or productive as far as autism is concerned. It may be helpful, particularly if you're fairly new to the topic to know that it's thought to affect three key areas, social relationships, communication, and flexibility of thought, and many autistic people also experience sensory challenges. So they are very effected by taste textures of food,

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bright lights, crowded places, clothes that are too tight or too loose, or have itchy labels in them or whatever it might be. And I experienced that to a certain extent, but for me, I think it affects more of the relationship and communication side. So I'll mainly focus on that in this episode. So it's fair to say that I have always felt different to other people.

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I couldn't really put that into words and that's actually really quite relevant. So I'll come back to that later. But I guess the best way to describe it is a sense of feeling disconnected from other people as if I was seeing the world through a different lens, I'd often find myself wondering if everyone else was acting, pretending to enjoy activities. I didn't like chatting about boring stuff,

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AKA small talk, just to be polite and being super nice to people. They said they didn't like it all seemed really quite baffling to me. Friendships were problematic for me too. I find it really easy to make friends, but I sometimes struggle to keep them. I've been dropped from countless friendship groups over the years. It's something I initially put down to having ADHD and my tendency to forget other people even exist when I'm hyper focusing on work or a new interest.

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But there was also this thing called bill hook. That's certainly what I call it in my head. I have lost count of the times. I've seen a look passed between friends or colleagues, and I sense that I've said or done the wrong thing, but I've not been able to interpret what it was. I now realize I'm not always brilliant at weeding facial expressions and even tone of voice.

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And that's also important. And I'll come back to that later for as long as I can remember, I've been asking family members if they are annoyed or upset with me or even mocking me, my mom has this face. My mom is the loveliest person in the world, but she has this face or expression that she does. And I think she's mocking me.

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And I told her that recently, she was really shocked when I said it because she would never do that. She's such a nice loving person by seriously have spent years thinking that my mom was mocking me at certain because if there's expression on her face, I drive my family mad, particularly my husband asking for clarification on what they mean when they say things,

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say, my husband will say something to me or a local pass over his face at the dinner table. And I'll say, oh, did you mean that when you said that or are you annoyed or are you upset? And at times it's been a bit of a source of conflict for us because he's like, I've already told you that I'm okay. And I've already told you that I'm not upset or I'm not annoyed or that I am annoyed or whatever it might be.

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Why do you keep asking me? And I asked myself as well, why do I keep asking? I didn't know. And it made me feel like a bit of a pest. And at times maybe a bit paranoid because I ended up feeling like I was this kind of annoying person that just couldn't leave things. But of course, I wouldn't feel comfortable to say that to a friend or a calling.

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I wouldn't feel comfortable with, to say, what was that? Look that just passed your face? Like, are you annoyed? Are you upset? I just kind of try and guess, or try and work out what was going on. And sometimes I get it right. Sometimes I clearly got it wrong, but I'm sure you can imagine how easily this could lead to misunderstandings.

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And we'll say missed social cues, not knowing perhaps when to leave a conversation when to maybe pick something up later because somebody is getting annoyed or you've brought something up at the wrong time. And it can also lead to clunkiness because when you do find someone who gets you, you can turn into an overenthusiastic puppy and end up smothering them. And I know I certainly have done that in the past with romantic relationships and killed them in the process.

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So then there's communication. I've always thought I was a pretty good communicator. I was a very, very shy child, but I worked on it and I'd say I'm socially confident. I genuinely am interested in people. And I find it quite easy to start conversations. I used to be at journalists, which meant I often had to rock up somewhere, walking into a room and start talking to people.

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And I learned ways to do that. And that's important too. And we'll touch on that later, but I would genuinely rather that stand on stage and talk to thousands of people than do small talk with one person because it's exhausting trying to hold a conversation. When there is a running commentary going on in your head. Am I talking too much? People will cheat on me the way now have I asked too many questions?

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Am I being too intense? I'm probably being too intense on I oversharing. Have I shared too much? Do they think I'm weird? Am I looking at them too much or too little straighten up smile, look interested. And then it takes that much effort to be around people. You have to develop coping strategies. So in my case, avoiding loud,

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crowded places, socializing in small groups, and you're going to places you can escape from. If you need to restricting social activities to about two hours, ish, we have a joke in my family that might off switch goes on. After two hours, I can go to somebody's house for dinner, have a lovely time. Everyone else is just settling in coffees,

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whiskeys, and I might write, I'm ready to go now, come on, everyone. I've just had enough. I've done too much people. And even when I've had a lovely time and looking back now, I can see I've developed so many strategies to deal with this, but I didn't even know I was doing it at the time when I had my autism assessment.

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One of the things that I shared was that when I run big live events, when I used to run them in London, I used to have to hide under the table at lunchtime because I literally couldn't cope with the overwhelm of actually running the event, doing all the public speaking, and then talking to people, doing lunchtime. It was just too much.

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And of course people would have bought a ticket. They wanted to talk to me, introduced themselves to me. And I quite literally used to hide under the table at times I've also been considered rude for things I didn't think were the slightest bit raid because for me, I've realized communication is contextual. So I think people would generally find me quite different in a social context to a work context,

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because I change my communication according to who I'm with. And sometimes people who've known me socially and then meet me if you like in a more professional context are quite surprised at the difference, because for me what wouldn't be okay, socially is fair game professionally. Say for example, in my world, it's not okay to go around telling people their hair looks terrible or they've caught bad breath.

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If someone asked me whether their dress look nice, I would think about the context and the scenario. And I would think, okay, well, I don't think it looks nice, perhaps, but can they do anything about it? If they could, if they could go upstairs and change, I might say, well, I've seen you in things that suit you better or something like that.

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But if they were at the event, I would think to myself, well, what's the point in telling them it would just upset them. So there's a whole thought process that goes on. I'll talk about my mum library of advice later. But while I wouldn't think that kind of stuff is okay, I would absolutely think it was okay to tell an employee or a contractor that they've made a mistake and be quite direct about it,

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or even tell them that I was unhappy with their work because I'm paying them for a service. Why would that not be okay in my world? I would also think it was absolutely fine to point out to a colleague that they're breaking the rules or not following protocol because in my world, it's not a personal criticism of them. It's the fact they're breaking the rules and not following the protocol.

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And me pointing out to them might save us from or getting in trouble. I also wouldn't see a problem with continuing a discussion after someone had said no to me, particularly if I felt that perhaps they hadn't understood what I was saying or hadn't taken on board. The point that I was making, I wouldn't feel there was anything wrong about saying, well,

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hang on a minute. What about this? Or what about that? And when I was a journalist, I was an editor. People used to get quite upset with me because I would go back to them and say, thanks for that piece of work. I need you to change X, Y, and Z. And I didn't do the shit sandwich or some people call it and people would get really quite upset with me about that,

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which was just beyond my comprehension, because I was a freelance writer, as well as an editor. And in my world, MI writer, you editor, I write you give me feedback. I change things. That was how I saw that dynamic, but it became a bit of a joke in the team. I worked in that every time I was editing,

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we used to lose columnists or people got upset because it turns out not everyone sees it like that. Some people do take it very personally when you criticize their writing and they see it as about Ben. And another thing that used to happen was people would say to me, well, I've spent four hours on this and I'd say my world. It felt really okay to say this.

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I understand that, but I can't publish it just to be nice or because you've spent four hours in it, we've got to get this right. And all of those things that I've shared and whole host of other things I don't have time to mention on this podcast have landed me in trouble at some point. And in some cases they've caused me to be ostracized,

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to be bullied and even abused. Can you imagine someone shouting at you or cutting you off completely as a friend or colleague for saying, or doing something that just feels completely inoffensive to you or not knowing why they've cut you off or being told that you're cold and unfeeling. When you know, that is the gentlest kind of soul inside you. And when you know,

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you're full of love and empathy, even if your face or words, don't always show it. Now, some people do see that part of you along with your tendency to take what people say at face value, which is why many autistic people are vulnerable to being manipulated and controlled by people who don't have their best interests at heart. And that has happened to me on a number of occasions.

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And the most recently was one of the triggers that led me to seek a diagnosis. I just couldn't understand why I hadn't seen it, why I hadn't seen how this person was manipulating and controlling me before it was too late. So then we've got emotions. Well, a lifetime of being misunderstood can really take its toll on your emotional well-being. And for someone who already has trouble recognizing and describing their emotions and the psychological term for it is alexithymia managing those emotions can be a real challenge.

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When we first got married, I used to say to my husband, I feel wretched. I feel better today. And I don't know why I didn't even know what I meant by the word which he had. It was just this kind of uneasy, unsettled feeling that I couldn't connect it to any particular incident. I just felt wrong. And when you don't recognize that you're starting to feel frustrated,

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angry, or sad. And by the way, Alexa, phobia is common in people with autism. You can be in for fight or flight mode before you've even registered a change in your emotional state, which means you've already hit, send on that email. Tell that person exactly what you think of their behavior or ended the relationship before. You've had a chance to think it through properly.

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Now I've worked hard to control my nations, particularly with crying. And it was something that I really struggled with as a child. I just would say sensitive, the slightest thing would make me cry. And of course you quickly learned that you're not going to last long in school. If you cry all the time. And I've learned to live with the fact that across or unkind word from someone can feel actually physically painful about a lifetime of pushing your emotions down means that when the lid comes off,

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it can be really messy. Now I used to think that everyone cried uncontrollably for hours on end to the point where they were physically shaking and vomiting in response to events that were upsetting like a bad day at work or getting balled out for something or somebody being offended by something you didn't think was offensive, but not devastating like a bereavement. I used to think that everybody was like that behind closed doors.

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And I also use the thing that everybody used to take five, seven days to recover from an upsetting experience. I now know that that's what autistic burnout can look like. And I've been going through that cycle again and again and again, since I was in my teens taking too much on getting too invested emotionally in relationships, throwing myself into friendship groups or activities only to get cast out at some point and not really understand why I've been cast out,

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getting really, really upset, having a massive emotional meltdown, recovering, and then doing the whole thing over and over again. Another common characteristic of autism is rigid thinking patterns. It's often said that autistic people don't have empathy. And that just isn't true. What I think is more true. And certainly this will be true for my experience is it can be more challenging to see things from other people's perspectives to put yourself in someone else's shoes,

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particularly if you haven't had the same experience. So for example, and this was quite a vulnerable thing to share during my assessment, but I've always struggled with the concept of loving your friends. I love my family with all my heart, my husband, my daughter, and I have friends I'm really, really fond of, but I've watched friends go through things with other friends where they've been absolutely devastated about something that's happening to somebody else and found myself thinking.

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I don't really understand that because if that was happening to my friends, yeah, I think that was bad, but I wouldn't be in that state. And something like admitting that you don't understand how people can love their friends. It's not a very socially acceptable thing to say out loud or that perhaps you think people might be pretending to love their friends. It's a very different way of thinking and not one that most people would feel comfortable to share in polite company and I've come to learn.

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And this is really just my understanding that this is not about being cold and heartless or lacking empathy. It's about having quite rigid inflexible thinking patterns. I feel things more deeply than anyone would ever know, and I feel other people's pain. And again, another thing that I shared at my assessment is I am often that unexpected person who comes out of nowhere to support somebody when they're going through a difficult time,

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because I really do feel for other people at the same time, something I constantly find myself having to overcome is this flexible thinking around what you should be upset about and what you shouldn't be upset about and how you should behave in different situations and how you shouldn't behave in different situations. So in my world, there is a right and wrong way to behave in certain contexts.

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It's almost like I have a rule book. So for example, you should not make a bitchy comments or send me emails or messages to people unprovoked. You just shouldn't be mean to people. And I've watched people do it over the years and I've watched women do it to each other and just being quite astounded. I've had it done to me and just being quite astounded.

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I can't believe that person did that. I can't believe they didn't care that other people saw them do that or say that it just absolutely baffled me. I can absolutely fight my corner if somebody attacks me, but I'm never the person that throws the first stone. It just doesn't make sense in my head. You just don't do it. It's not a mobile book.

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Number two, in my rule book, if you need to criticize someone's behavior, you do it privately and you criticize the behavior, not the person rule number three of many behavioral rules in my book. If you have a problem with a friend or family member, ask them to meet and talk things through. So you can try and understand each other better.

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Don't just block or friend or ghost them. Now I'm not saying that my behavior rules aren't correct for a moment, but if you can imagine that's my default setting. And when your default setting is that everyone else should have the same behavior rules. You don't naturally go to that place where you think, oh, well this is what I think. But perhaps that person thinks this well,

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you're bound to get crushed again. And again and again. Now there are upsides, of course, in flexible thinking, makes it easy to stick to the rules as long as they make sense to you. I don't stick to rules. That don't make sense to me, but it also makes you that complete pain in the ass who will tell other people when they're not following the rules and think you're doing them a favor because everyone likes to stick to the rules that turns out later queue relationship and friendship problems for me.

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So this has all been going on internally, along with a whole host of other things. I don't have time to share in this podcast, but maybe I'll do a follow-up at some point, but last year I really hit crisis point. There were a number of triggers, one I've already mentioned, but the biggest one was getting involved in a conflict that caused me a great deal of emotional distress,

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like close to nervous breakdown, levels of distress. Not because I wanted to be right. I didn't want to prove myself right to anybody, but because I knew I was doing the right thing and the others involved in the situation were not doing the right thing. But instead of thinking to myself, well, these are just a bunch of people who I don't even know what to think about it,

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but this isn't good for me to be fighting this battle. I put doing the right thing over my own emotional wellbeing. And when I looked around me, I couldn't see anyone else doing the same. And that's ultimately what led me to look for an explanation as to why I just couldn't leave it. Why I couldn't let doing the right thing, be someone else's responsibility for change,

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or just chill out and let other people do the worrying. Even if it means that they fall flat on their face. And it led me to look for reasons for some of my other behaviors and attitudes, which seemed different to many other peoples. And by the way, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with sticking up for what you believe in. I don't think it's any accident that there were many social reformers and campaigners in the autistic community.

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And I'm proud of the fact that I have stuck up for myself and other people on countless occasions. And when the chips are down on the kind of person that you want to be around, because being dog-eared being inflexible and not taking no for an answer can serve you very well at times. And it certainly has been true for me, but doing what's right,

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isn't always the same as doing what's right for you. And I fail to recognize just how much of an impact the situation was having on me, how draining it was emotionally, how negatively it was impacting on my confidence, my self esteem. I was just a mess. And it was messing with me. That was a bit of a turning point. When I drove to a hotel ahead of my annual live event,

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comedians content live to do some work. I just needed a couple of days to focus on creating the event. Content. I just couldn't seem to get any space. And normally that's just what I need. I need to go somewhere where I don't have to do the washing up. I don't have to run kids around anywhere or do the washing or anything really.

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I need to be in that situation where I can just focus on the work in front of me, but I got incredibly anxious and I'm not generally an anxious person. Certainly I didn't think. And so anxious that I rang my husband and said, I'm so anxious. I can't calm herself down. Can't get my breath. I don't know what to do.

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And my husband said, look, do you want me to come and get you? And I was hundreds of miles away from home. Now I may have shared this in the podcast already, but I'm also a very nervous driver. And my driving anxiety had just gone through the roof last year. And I didn't know what was worse. Like what was worse,

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staying in this hotel room where I felt like I couldn't catch my breath. I couldn't, I couldn't keep the worries at bay or getting in the car and trying to try. It was just impossible. And I did have a friend I could have called upon who lived closely, but I couldn't bear anyone to see me like that because I'm just not used to being like that in front of friends.

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I've never shown any of my friends, me in that kind of stay. I described earlier, only my family, her husband have seen that side of me and I've got some really great friends. Who've been a great support to me, but it's just not, it's not in my rule book. You don't share that side of yourself to your friends. I got halfway home that day.

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I ended up leaving my car on the 25 service station. My husband came to get me and it was a real turning point for me. I had some big things in front of me that I just had to get through and I got through them, but I realized I needed to look into what was going on for me. I knew deep down, I wasn't depressed.

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I knew that it wasn't a mental health issue for me. I've never been diagnosed with a mental health issue. I knew it was something about me and my brain and my thinking patterns and just not being able to stop turning things over and over and gains is that there's repetitive thought cycles. So I decided to look for answers and that led me to having an assessment for autism.

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And the conclusion was that I have both autism and ADHD, which is why things can be so confusing and unpredictable at times because you've got that kind of hyperactive brain and overload side that you're trying to balance with a very rigid, repetitive routine. It's almost like having two sides of your personality that don't go together and trying to manage them together. And the person who did my assessment,

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Sage, that women often recognize the autism when they get medicated for ADHD, because for the first time ever, their brain is calf. And what life is like when their brain is calm and not chaotic and all over the place. Well, it's quite frightening because it's a whole different, challenging way of being in the world. So many of the things that I described that I have experienced all of my life,

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but I don't think it's any accident that they suddenly got turned up to full volume when I was medicated for ADHD and suddenly my brain was clear and that busy-ness in my brain started to calm down. Now I'm conscious that everything I've shared so far sounds really negative and doom and gloom, and that's not actually the case at all. I'm actually really delighted about discovering I'm autistic.

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It explains so much about the struggles I've had today and also why my ADHD diagnosis explained a lot, but it didn't explain it all. And even when I was prescribed medication, which helped a lot with certain things, I not only still found myself struggling with some things, but actually in some ways got worse. And I think when you understand yourself better,

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you can be kinder to yourself and get help with the things you find challenging. I also think though that my very unusual way of seeing the world has helped me to hone my creative skills and talents. No doubt about it. To me, it's what has helped me to become a good communicator and writer and being dog-eared inflexible and not taking no for an answer.

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It has served me so well at times in business in life. If you've got a problem and you need it sorted, you need someone like me to be on your side, but I do feel very weird about the whole thing. And I think a lot of that weirdness comes from other people's perceptions of what autism looks like. And my fear of not being believed as someone who doesn't fit the often wildly incorrect stereotype of autism.

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Because even now, when I scroll through social media accounts of autistic women, as a straight woman who wears makeup dresses relatively fashionably for my age, doesn't have a flat or monotone voice can look people in the eye, even if she finds it uncomfortable at times. Well, I don't see too many people who look and sound like me, but maybe I just haven't found them.

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And of course that makes me start to question the diagnosis, but it's not my story to share, but it does run in the family and quite close to home. And ultimately I know that my challenges and my very complicated in a, an emotional world is very, very real to me. And it does feel like a relief just to have an understanding of what's going on,

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just small changes I've been able to make. So for example, when I'm working with clients, people generally like me being straight. They pay me to give them feedback on their content and to guide them, but sometimes people can find my feedback and my approach quite brutal. So before I start working with the client, I'll now often say to them, some people find my feedback quite blunt,

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and just want to warn you of that upfront. So you're not surprised by it because I think sometimes I can come across as nice and friendly and gentle, and then bam, there I am with my really blunt direct feedback. Just that being able to almost warn people upfront just makes such a difference. Being able to be more honest about social situations. I had a situation recently where I was invited to a hen party and the whole thing just sent me into complete overwhelm anxiety because we were asked to commit to a weekend without knowing where we were going.

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And my mind was just like, I don't know where we're going. I don't know how long we're going to be away. And the big thing for me was I can't share a room with someone. Like I literally cannot share it with someone. And I don't know if I like house. Like what if I can't escape if I don't like it. And it was just making me incredibly anxious.

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So I ended up going to the person who was organizing it privately and saying, look, this is really making me struggle. And just being honest about it in the past, I think I would have, because the person who's him policy, it was important to me. I would have just tried to go along with it would have found the whole thing really uncomfortable and stressy.

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And I was just honest about how I was feeling about it. And we were able to kind of work around that. So I did the parts of it that I felt okay. Whereas I didn't do the parts that I was going to struggle with. Similarly, when the wedding came on, I was able to be really honest with Brian and say, Hey,

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these parts of it are stressing me out a bit. Like, will I be able to do this? Will there be a quiet space for me to go and take time out? How about this? And I was able to manage those anxieties in the past that, and I felt like I was being a bit of a princess. And when I mentioned that earlier on,

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I think I've certainly had times where I think people have felt that I was being a bit princessy or the, I was being a bit fussy or a bit too needy or sensitive because I had questions about things or didn't want to take part in certain types of activities, go to certain places. And it feels like a relief just to be able to be honest about that and stop pretending to myself as well.

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Like stop trying to pretend that I'm okay with it because other times I'm not, I love people and like socializing, but I also need to be able to get away and escape if it gets too much. Now I'm aware as I'm recording this in July, 2022, that many more women are discovering, they autistic in their thirties, forties, and fifties. And it's not because of Tik TOK in there.

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Some people claim it is. I think partly it's because we learned early on that certain behaviors are not acceptable and women learn to mask in order to fit in. They learn to quash down their desires. They learn to just try and go along with things, even if they're really uncomfortable and really stressful. And then spend four days recovering afterwards because events have been so stressful for them.

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And many like myself, they have people as one of their special interests. So they read obsessive about psychology and they Hoover up books and articles about relationships and communications, which means they can create a rule book on how to behave. Things like criticize the behavior, not the person that came from a book or an article that I read or what a piece of advice,

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not to say, that's a bad thing. But when a lot of your relationships and communications are based on a kind of rule book you've created for yourself, there aren't rules for every situation, which is why it's probably not surprising that you slip up from time to time. Some people like myself will also have been lucky enough to have a great support network.

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My family have always been a great source of emotional support advice and acceptance. My mom in particular gave me a lot of good advice on relationships and communications when I was growing up. And whenever I'm feeling stuck, I dip into my mental library of mom advice, or I call her and ask her, what do you think, ideally, before I have gone from notes at 50 emotionally and sent the email or tell the person exactly what I think is their behavior,

::

not them as a person, but when you've spent years feeling like you're just kind of wrong. Somehow it is only a matter of time before the wheels fall off. And I think that's why so many women are misdiagnosed with mental health problems multiple times before autism is even considered now, while I've never been diagnosed with a mental health problem. That's not to

say,

::

I don't think that I have one or have had one in the past. Maybe I have, I've found ways of managing, but I don't remember a time where I didn't feel an underlying and unexpectable sense of sadness and shame and embarrassment not good enough. And I think my appetite for work and overwork has a lot of the time been about numbing. It's been about keeping myself busy because if I sit with my feelings for too long,

::

it's just too painful. And I wonder how many other women like me. It might be out there. People who maybe slipped under the radar at school because they were maybe a little bit different than other people, but not so different that they stood out. They weren't having massive tantrums at three or four years old. They weren't behaving badly. They weren't doing badly at school and they weren't masking a way,

::

perhaps self-medicating with alcohol as I was joining their teens and twenties in order to get by socially. So why did I decide to share it? Well, it's not because I feel the need to explain myself or I feel people need to make allowances for me. I really don't want to be the kind of person that people make allowances for, but it comes,

::

I think from a feeling that perhaps we all just need to be a bit kinder and just have more curiosity about each other. It's so easy to label someone as difficult when they are in fact just different and guilty as charged by the way, I have totally done this too, but I know that since I discovered my ADHD and started to read more about newly diversions and different mental health challenges,

::

I have begun to change the way that I see rudeness or shortness or people just behaving in ways that feel a bit unfamiliar to me. And I started to ask, Hey, is everything okay? Now sometimes you can ask, Hey, is everything okay? And you still get your head bitten off. But most of the time people will come back and say,

::

oh, actually, do you know what? I'm having a bad day or I'm struggling with this at the time, or I'm struggling with whatever. It might be. The very stressful situation that I talked about earlier, which I can't go into the details. But what was something that really stopped me from that is that not one person reached out and even just asked me if I was okay,

::

Hey, you're behaving in a way that we haven't seen before. We haven't seen this Janet before. And we don't understand why this person that we thought was really polite and affable and friendly and chilled is suddenly miss fairness and justice. Like I know why Janet can become Ms vanners and justice and fighting every battle going. I know that because I know me,

::

but not one person thought to just ask me, Hey, you seem a bit different than usual. Instead they went on the attack and it's something I've experienced many times in my life. So I wanted to leave you with a challenge and I would also put some links in the show notes. If you want to read up more on this topic, the next time you find yourself feeling frustrated with someone who seemed difficult,

::

inflexible, unreasonable Rudel, maybe is just behaving in a way that you wouldn't behave. Please take a moment to consider that they might just in fact, be seeing the world through a different lens and just try changing your response because you may be surprised even delighted by what you hear.

About the Podcast

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Courageous Content with Janet Murray
Content marketing advice for small businesses

About your host

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Janet Murray

I’m Janet Murray and I’ve helped thousands of coaches, creative and entrepreneurs learn how to create engaging content – so they can build their online audience and make more sales in their business.

I’m also a podcaster and keynote speaker who has spoken all over the world about content marketing and building online audiences.

Work with me and I’ll teach you the strategies I’ve used to grow a multi six figure online business, selling digital products (including Ebooks, online courses and two membership sites). And launch a physical product – the Social Media Diary & Planner, which has sold thousands of copies, all over the world.