The Relationship Between Autism and Self-doubt

How do you form a sense of self when you constantly interrogate who you are?

Chelsey Flood
5 min readOct 20, 2021


Recently I have begun learning about the autistic struggle for self, and it is making a lot of sense to me.

My life has been defined by self-doubt. Endless self-interrogation taking the joy from new relationships and jobs alike. Do o really like them? Is this job the best possible use of my skillset/limited time on earth?

Self-doubt has also made endings incredibly difficult — how do you know when something is really over? I have found myself feeling trapped in relationships, jobs and living situations that aren’t working many times in my life.

Considering topics I care about it’s rare that I arrive at a conclusion. Every opinion is pending more information. I am an eternal fence sitter. A constant bet-hedger.

With a questioning, doubting nature like this, it makes sense that forming a sense of self would be difficult.

What even is a self anyway?

Wikipedia defines it as:

“The self is an individual person as the object of its own reflective consciousness. Since the self is a reference by a subject to the same subject, this reference is necessarily subjective.”

It seems wild to me that anyone would have a strong sense of self, given what a self actually is.

Don’t we all have multiple versions of selves that we switch between?

Of course. And many will struggle with this who aren’t at all autistic.

But it’s oddly comforting to learn that this struggle for a sense of self is something that has long been connected with autism.

It makes me feel like less of a failure for being so uncertain of myself. For being unable to build upon previous identities. For the unconstructive habit of razing previous versions of myself to the ground and trying to hide the ashes.

On the plus side, my struggle for identity has made me a fairly interesting person. I’ve done a lot of cool stuff in the endless pursuit of finding myself. It helped make me a better writer, for sure.