Shannon, I am also non-neurotypical. I am not autistic, but I am ADHD. I got diagnosed at the age of 45 after I pushed my therapist to send me to an ADHD specialist for a diagnosis. I did that after I read “Women with Attention Deficit Disorder,” by Sari Solden. I cried all the way through reading that book. Not because I was sad but because I was overjoyed to find out that I was not a bad wife or a bad mother or a bad teacher or a bad whatever.
I just had a brain that works differently from other people’s. And it’s particularly hard for women, first of all because it’s hard to get a diagnosis, since ADHD and other non-neurotypical conditions manifest differently in women than they do in men. And we have problems connecting with others because people have expectations of “sufficiently feminine” behaviors that women with ADHD often cannot produce. So, like autistics, we get judged negatively for those behaviors. The biggest one as I see it, is “what a ditz!!!”
I have written quite a bit on my Medium site regarding positive aspects of ADHD. And I can imagine there would be positive aspects of being autistic.
But one of the greatest difficulties we non-neurotypical types have is in relating to “normal” people. Our conversation styles & our ways of interacting with others are different, and they are constantly misread in negative ways.
There must be books and articles on autism specifically directed at autistic women. I can imagine there are many similarities in the way people react to autistic women and ADHD women.
I know there are autistic women who are active in the disability rights movements and particularly focused on non neurotypical people, especially women. Alice Wong is a major force in that movement and has organized the Disability Project. She has other disabilities as well. Nonetheless she is currently a law student at I believe a major Eastern US University, possibly Boston U. She is also a writer. You might want to check out people like Alice and find groups women who share situations like yours. You are not alone. Hang in there. Love yourself.