This Woman’s Life Changed After Being Diagnosed With Autism

Autism is one of the most common long-term diseases in the world, affecting almost 4% of people in the US. But while most cases are diagnosed during the second or third year of a person’s life, this girl named Jessica Stewart found out that she had autism at the age of 23. At first, Jessica couldn’t believe that she had spent her entire life without knowing the diagnosis, but as the doctor started to tell her about the disease’s symptoms, she realized he was right. But instead of being sad and giving up on her life, she decided to accept and be proud of who she was. Let’s read this amazing story, which is about courage and love for life!

#21. Mother And Daughter

Tracey Stewart had always dreamt of being a mother, and she was anxiously waiting for Jessica to be born ever since the first day she found out she was pregnant. Although Jessica’s birth came with a lot of complications, Tracey would never have guessed the obstacles that she and her daughter would have to go through.

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Jessica always knew that something wasn’t right with her daughter, but she couldn’t explain it with words. She has always been really supportive of young Jessica and has helped her endure her tough childhood. But from the day she began school, she noticed that Jessica behaved differently compared to her classmates, but each time she took her to the doctor, the doctors said she was all right. Was something troubling her?

#20. The Spectrum Of Autism

According to researchers of the Center For Disease Control, almost 1 in 59 children in America have the Spectrum Of Autism. Another curious fact is that the percentage of men that have autism is twice as much than women. The symptoms are quite different for every person and sometimes they are not even visible.

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The most common symptom is the difficulty that children may have in communicating and socializing with the outside world. But one of the main problems is that there is no medication to treat autism. The only options that exist are many treatments and therapies to treat the commonest symptoms of autism, such as depression, seizures, and insomnia.

#19. The Causes Of Autism

Although there have been enormous technological developments these past years, it is still difficult for doctors to find out the causes of autism. Some doctors claim that the main cause of the autism spectrum is related to the person’s genetics, but they are not sure which genes can cause the disorder. However, doctors can usually tell if someone has autism based on some indicators that appear at the age of two or three.

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With early intervention, doctors can improve the lives of those children with autism, and there are always really good treatments and therapies that children can undergo. Now, having said this, let’s read about the case of Tracey Stewart and her daughter Jessica, and how things went a little difficult for them.

#18. Jessica’s Birth

Things got complicated for Tracey even before her daughter was born. During her pregnancy, she suffered from preeclampsia, a special condition that makes pregnant women suffer from high blood pressure which can damage different organs like the liver, kidneys, and ovaries. All pregnant women need to undergo the corresponding treatment against preeclampsia, or otherwise, they may have serious complications.

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Tracey has declared on an ABC News’ interview that her daughter came into the world “in dramatic fashion”. She told the station that she had to be hospitalized because of preeclampsia and Jessica was born in an unplanned cesarean hours after the hospitalization. Since then, Tracey suspected that her daughter’s life was going to be hard.

#17. A Challenging Baby

Tracey declared that Jessica couldn’t sleep more than an hour when she was a baby. Also, Jessica suffered from colics which made her cry for almost eight hours in a row each day. Tracey read all the parenting books she found to find out what to do with Jessica’s pain and distress but none of them offered clear explanations regarding what her daughter was going through.

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Tracey described her daughter as a challenging baby and infant. As the months went by, she realized it was difficult to grab Jesicca’s attention, especially when she was paying attention to a specific object. Despite this, she said that her baby was full of energy and was always entertained. In fact, Tracey has also declared in a recent interview that she wouldn’t change anything in her daughter.

#16. Tracy Started Elementary School

Because of Jessica‘s personality, Tracey didn’t notice that her daughter had autism. During her first years, Jessica had been very sociable and was capable of interacting with anyone she met. Her mother declared she was empathetic and well educated, even when she started Elementary School. According to her mother, there were no indicators of the spectrum in Jessica.

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However, one thing that Tracey noticed when Jessica started school is that she didn’t get along with the majority of her classmates but she had a small group of two or three friends. On the other hand, Tracey knew that outside school her daughter was very sociable and usually seemed happy when talking to strangers. Something just didn’t seem to match.

#15. A Misunderstood Little Girl

Jessica was very good with her oral skills, and she had no trouble striking up a conversation with her family or even with strangers, as she was both curious and intelligent. But everything related to writing was her worst nightmare. Tracey noticed that her daughter couldn’t follow the rhythm of her classmates and that she was very frustrated because of that. That’s why Tracey asked the school if they could provide extra help.

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But Jessica didn’t receive the help she needed. And for the first time, Tracey realized her daughter was not having a good time at school. Nowadays, she is able to recognize that her daughter began suffering from depression at a really young age. Jessica was so sad back then that her ability to socialize disappeared in the blink of an eye. Her mother recognized that her daughter’s effervescence and confidence vanished from one day to another.

#14. The Adolescence

After her third year in Elementary School, Tracey realized that her daughter was just not capable of integrating to the rest of the group. She changed her to another school, and she always figured that the reason why she continued to feel sad was that she missed her former classmates. But she never really considered the possibility of her daughter having autism. And it was only more than a decade later until they would find out.

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When Jessica became a teenager, everything seemed to go back to normal again. Jessica was the sociable and happy girl that Tracy had known years before. Jessica became an active member of the Scouts for almost 10 years, and she always signed up for different activities and made new friends.

#13. Giving University A Try

While Jessica continued with her activities in the Scouts, she discovered a hidden passion: design. She realized she had a really good taste for clothes and decoration. And she got very excited when she won a scholarship to continue studying her passion at University! But plans didn’t work out as Jessica thought they would… 

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As soon as she started attending University, Jessica’s nightmares came back to life. Just like in elementary school, she seemed incapable of keeping up with the rest of the class. Just a few months after the first day of school, Jessica dropped off from University. Tracey described this moment as one of the worst in Jessica’s life. 

#12. Moving Back To Her Parents’

Jessica was quite sad after dropping out, and she felt that living on her own was just too much at the moment. Thus, when her mother asked if she wanted to move back in with her, she reluctantly agreed. Tracey was really worried about her daughter’s health because she didn’t know what she could do to make her feel better.

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Tracey described this period as unpredictable, as the emotions of Jessica went up and down all the time. Her daughter was angry but a few minutes later she was depressed and then melancholic, all on the same day. For a mother, it must be really hard and frustrating not being able to help out their child. She was also quite worried and sometimes was afraid of going to work and leaving Jessica all alone in the house. Keep on reading to see how things slowly began to change for this family!

#11. A Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Jessica knew that she was in good health, but something in her head didn’t allow her to do the things she wanted to, that’s why she looked for mental healthcare. Of course, Tracey supported her all the time. In fact, Jessica declared that without the help of her mother, she wouldn’t have moved forward, since Tracey gave her the strength she needed.

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Unfortunately, like in many cases around the world, at first different doctors gave Jessica incorrect diagnoses, but that didn’t stop this mother and daughter to finding the truth. They knew it was just a matter of hope and perseverance.

#10. A Mental Disorder

In the beginning, doctors told Jessica she had borderline, which is a type of personality disorder. This disorder can cause mood changes in a person, provoking shifts from anger to anxiety and depression in a matter of hours. This state can last for hours or days, depending on the person. Of course, without a treatment, borderline can lead to more severe symptoms and consequences, such as self-damage.

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However, it turns out that this diagnosis was wrong just like the ones before. In fact, two weeks after doctors told her she had borderline, another group of doctors told her she had another personality disorder: Bipolar II disorder. People who have this disorder can undergo unusual shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. Could that be it?

#9. The Correct Diagnosis

After years looking for the correct doctor and the correct diagnosis, Jessica came across a group of psychologists and psychiatrists that finally helped her. Tracey and Jessica took an appointment with this group. The first session was really strange for them, as Jessica had to spend nearly three hours answering different type of questions, while the experts ticked boxes and scribbled things on their sheets.

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After a few hours, the specialists finally told her that according to her symptoms, she probably had the spectrum of autism. At first, Jessica couldn’t believe it and felt surprised. At first, she thought it wasn’t possible for her to have it since she didn’t have any problem socializing and articulating her thoughts. But as the doctors told her more about the regular symptoms of autism, she started to realize that everything made sense and that it was probably it. 

#8. Everything Finally Made Sense

Tracey started to recall all the attitudes that Jessica had when she was a girl and she realized that the undiagnosed autism may have been the cause for many of her problems. But what symptoms of autism had she shown, exactly?

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Most people with autism have trouble expressing what they think of putting their feelings into words. However, Jessica’s case was different because she didn’t have problems socializing with people, but she did show other less common symptoms. For instance, her mother claimed that Jessica frequently blurted out her deepest thoughts at inappropriate times, but she had never known that this was a normal symptom of the spectrum.

#7. Social Masking

According to psychologist Ritu Campbell, the spectrum of autism is not frequently diagnosed in girls because of “social masking”. The expert says that young girls learn this ability since they are very little. But what exactly is this special ability and why is related to autism? Let’s see what this is about!

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According to experts, young girls learn certain conversational and social skills at a really young age in order to prepare themselves for different kinds of social interactions. To be more specific, social masking is when people “mask” their natural personality as a way of conforming to social pressures. But which pressures are women subject to?

#6. A Problem For Girls

Dr. Campbell says that social masking is a common habit in girls because they are taught since they are born to be quiet and affable in social gatherings. That’s why girls with autism are more capable of hiding the common symptoms of the spectrum. However, these behaviors are not instilled in boys, and that is the reason we have more cases of boys with autism.

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When Jessica heard Dr. Campbell, she realized that all her symptoms were the ones that she was describing. Also, she realized that each time she attended a social meeting she felt very exhausted and tired but never knew why. The doctor said that was a very common symptom of social maskers since they always put a lot of effort into being someone they’re not in social reunions.

#5. A Challenging Life

This diagnosis gave Jessica the answers she needed but at the same time, it raised a lot of questions. Tracy noticed that Jessica always felt exhausted after socializing ever since she was a young girl, but she had never considered it to be something relevant.

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Jessica confessed to ABC News that she felt depressed immediately after the diagnosis because she realized that she would have the same symptoms for the rest of her life. But keep on reading to see how Jessica decided to deal with her disease.

#4. A Positive Twist

Tracey was also really frustrated after Jessica’s diagnosis. She realized that every bad and difficult moment that her daughter had been through could have been different, had she had the correct diagnosis from the very beginning. She couldn’t stop thinking about the life Jessica would have led if she had received the necessary support and treatment from the start.

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Fortunately, nowadays doctors have more information and technology to find out if girls have autism. Unlike in the past, today there are different treatments that can tell if a girl has autism. The healthcare industry is continually improving their diagnosis techniques. This will change the lives of millions of girls, just like it did for Jessica.

#3. A Turning Point

There are still many women undiagnosed but healthcare industries are performing plenty of research so that cases of autism can be detected before the patients are adults. After all, the sooner the better.

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Dr. Campbell specialized in autism in women and she is an expert at diagnosing it. She has declared to ABC News that after the correct diagnosis the life of the women she treated changed 100% percent. The doctor said the process for them was “life-changing”. Jessica couldn’t agree more with her. 

#2. Self-Appraisal

What Jessica felt after the diagnosis was completely contradictory: on the one hand she felt devastated, but at the same time she felt relieved. She finally knew what was happening to her, and above all, what had happened during all her childhood. But above all, she realized who she was and who she was going to be. And from now on, people would begin to understand the things she goes through.

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According to Dr. Campbell, after people learn about their diagnosis, they start to love themselves and to welcome their own neurological differences. People with the spectrum start to grow self-compassion, but the same applies to the patient’s loved ones. Family and friends begin to understand the things that their loved one is going through, and a new relationship begins between them. The story of Tracey and Jessica definitely proves this!

#1. A New Life

Tracey believes this will be the beginning of a new life for Jessica but for her as well. Tracey finally knows that her daughter is going to have the correct treatment and support that she needs. After the diagnosis, Jessica will be able to receive disability insurance and what is more important, she has a group of experts on which she can count on.

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There is a saying that goes “in order for you to love others, you must first love yourself”. After learning she had autism, Jessica began a new life full of energy and hope. Nowadays, she’s starting to receive the correct treatment as well as the company of her family and friends. She has declared that she fully accepts her neurological condition and she loves the fact that she is different than other people. She finally knows who she is, and she has learned that diversity is one of the world’s greatest values. 

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