In October 2019, two months after my 40th birthday, I received a formal diagnosis that I was autistic. I joined all those other thousands of late-diagnosed women in the UK, previously undiagnosed and overlooked. I had spent my years being mislabelled, misunderstood, or misinterpreted. I dealt with feelings I did not understand and sensory experiences I could not bear to process. I felt a need to cope with the ‘normal’ aspects of everyday life. I never knew why I experienced these troubles and troubling feelings for all those years. The discourse surrounding autism is referred to as the cost of camouflaging. In this article, I critically discuss predominant discourses on autism and gender as I reflect on my auto/biographical troubles from my newly confirmed, acquired identity and perspective as an autistic, now 40-something-year-old woman.
Bibliographical noteRebecca (Bex) Twinley, PhD, is a Lecturer in Occupational Therapy in the School of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Brighton. Bex’s research focuses on the dark side of occupation and emphasises the need to critically examine the assumed link between occupation, health, and wellbeing. Bex is interested in the ways in which people may cope during and after traumatic events and is also furthering her doctoral research into woman-to-woman rape and sexual assault.
- Formal diagnosis