By Nikki Butler, The Autistic Joyologist.
An autism and ADHD diagnosis at 45 and major spinal surgery 12 months ago that resulted in permanent nerve damage, has led me to rethink and realign my life and launch The Autistic Joyologist.
I had a complete career change at 40, after what I now know was an autistic and ADHD burnout at 36, causing me to leave my legal management career behind. I entered the world of entrepreneurship at 37 and have been running a multi-award winning business for the last 7.5 years. An autism and ADHD diagnosis at 45 and major spinal surgery 12 months ago that resulted in permanent nerve damage, has led me to rethink and realign my life and launch The Autistic Joyologist.
The beauty of doing this in my 40’s, and with my autism and ADHD diagnosis, is having the confidence and clarity to be able to create a life that is fulfilling and successful on MY terms.
When life simultaneously makes sense and falls apart -
Being diagnosed as autistic ADHD in my mid 40’s was life changing. On the one hand, my entire life started to make sense. On the other hand, it was like someone had thrown a grenade into the middle of my life, leaving me bewildered and shaken. Realising that my life was not exactly supporting my neurodivergent self - I was like a rabbit in the headlights.
As I processed my diagnosis I rode a rollercoaster of emotions. I felt angry, sad, confused and resentful that nobody had noticed sooner. But, I also felt immense self compassion, pride and hope. The latter won, I am pleased to say!
My spinal surgery, whilst removing the risk of paralysis I’d been faced with, left me with permanent nerve damage. Living in chronic pain and running a skin and scar clinic were not a match made in heaven, and I was only able to return to work part time.
The gift of space and grace -
I’ve always felt the Universe gives me a little nudge (or big shove!) when I need to make changes in my life. I decided to see this time as an opportunity to reflect on my life, and make new choices to support my neurodivergent self. I reflected, I researched and tried to find ways to make changes to my working life that would better support me, but I hit panic mode. I’d created an outwardly successful life, but inwardly I lived in a state of panic and overwhelm. I didn’t know how to change my life, and all the resources available didn’t seem to have the answers.
Reconnecting with myself -
When I left corporate life, I’d spent a lot of time connecting to my core values and dreams. I revisited those audiobooks, and I started again.
As I listened, I realised in horror that I had not been living my life by my core values at all. I had spent my life being a prolific people pleaser and assessing my worth on how much use I’d been to others. From that moment, I decided that my life would be centred around my values. I would live them each day, and build a life that allowed me to thrive and be successful on my own terms.
As I aligned my life and made the changes, I felt immense inner peace. I was recalibrating. I didn’t want to lose this feeling, or be drawn back into living up to societal expectations of success. And my RADIATE model was born! I created a model that I can use to stay connected to my values, play to my strengths, advocate for myself and create clear boundaries - all to set me up for a thriving and successful life, on MY terms! I’ve used it to transform my whole life, step by step, and I use it to stay connected and in alignment.
Sharing is caring -
Feeling the calmest and happiest I’ve ever felt, I knew I wanted to share this with other women like me. Other women who wish their life could be different, but feel like it’s too late to make changes, too late to lead a life that they actually enjoy. And so I stepped out as ‘The Autistic Joyologist’, supporting others to thrive and shine, as their true authentic selves. It feels so special to be sharing my RADIATE programme, because I know how much it’s enabled me to transform my life. It’s exciting to be able to share that with other women, too.
Being bold, brave, and seen! -
The truth is, The Autistic Joyologist is on a mission! As late diagnosed women, we are transforming our own lives, so we can lead fulfilling and happy lives, but we are blazing a trail of glory for our younger generations of autistic ADHD girls. Smashing apart outdated stereotypes and creating a brighter and happier future for those that follow in our footsteps. It’s never too late to create a life that lights you up, and enables you to be your beautiful, brilliant and authentic self!
To find out more about me please visit, The Autistic Joyologist - https://www.autisticjoyologist.co.uk/ or connect with me via Nikki Butler - The Autistic Joyologist (@autisticjoyologist) and Facebook