From the U.S.: I’m – 18 y/o, diagnosed at 3 y/o with Tourettes Syndrome and later with OCD and Anxiety.

I have struggled my whole life with my disorders and “disabilities”.. not knowing how to differentiate between my own emotions and feelings vs. the feelings that arise in me due to aforementioned issues.

Recently (the past 3-4 years), I have been more noticeably struggling with my ability to cope with a great many things.
So much so that my relationships with family, friends and others have been at risk..

My inability to stay focused has worsened. My thoughts and thought processes are excessively fast.. to the point where I get overwhelmed – Feeling emotionally and physically distress. Excessive rumination as well.

My ability to retain information that’s not academic is very low. Constantly having accidents, and losing things. Forgetting appointments etc

I have noticed that my “inner monologue” has seemingly spilled into my reality. With the help of friends I’ve been able to be more mindful of my tendency to.. speak mainly using words such as “I”, or “Me”. Speaking from my POV only or speaking from third person. Inability to distinguish others emotions. Inability to be mindful of and distinguish my tone when talking to others

Within the past few months my sensory meltdowns have increased. Symptoms usually starting when I get into arguments, have disagreements with others, or are put into situations that make me uncomfortable. Sounds, sensations, lights, and emotions intensify and culminate until there is no escape.

Currently I feel as though I am just /not/ a productive human being. One step forward, two steps back. As I have grown older, I have been expected to participate and thrive in situations that are just not comfortable for me.

I have not been professionally diagnosed with AntiSocial Personality Disorder or Sensory Processing Disorder though I very strongly feel that my life is being affected by something much bigger than stress.

Does this sound like something I could possibly have grown up with and only recently come to terms with? If so.. how should I go about improving my ability to cope with these issues to become a productive, calm, and able adult?
Only looking for answers.
Thanks!

A: At 18 years old, you say that “recently (3 or 4 years)” you’ve been struggling. Do the math. Three or four years is 16 – 25% of your life! That’s a cause for concern. Since you haven’t been professionally diagnosed since you were three years old, I urge you to stop trying to do so on our own.

It’s long past time for an evaluation. Look for someone who has some expertise in late diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter, of course. But what you say suggests ASD should be considered. It’s not at all unusual for people who are on the high functioning end of the spectrum to be misdiagnosed or to go without a diagnosis for years.

Regardless of whether you are on the autism spectrum, there is something amiss. A licensed clinician will determine a diagnosis, help you understand yourself and present you with a treatment plan. You can then discuss how you want to go forward in your own healing.

At 18, you have a long life ahead of you. Getting treatment now for whatever is distressing you will make it likely that you can have the productive, calm adult life you desire.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie