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'You Really Don't Have To Hold It In:' Pittsburgh Psychologist Uses Autism Diagnosis As Inspiration

CASTLE SHANNON (KDKA) - Imagine navigating your way through a so far very successful life only to discover you've been carrying around baggage you did not know you had.

"I have Autism but didn't know it," says Dr. Rueben Brock. A practicing clinical psychologist, a professor at California University, husband, and father of three Dr. Brock says the stress of pandemic life brought the realization and the eventual diagnosis.

"It started with some of my closest relationships just feeling strained and I just, I noticed a pattern that it was the same kind of strain and all of the relationships," he explained. "You push me to the edge. I will start to respond in a way that is not normal for an adult, you know, almost like a tantrum."

Trained to help others facing these kinds of dilemmas Rueben started asking questions of himself.

"I noticed it happening, a few times and I thought this is weird it couldn't possibly be that everybody else is wrong and I'm right," Dr. Brock recalled. "And you know what I mean so I thought there's got to be something wrong. Wait a minute if this was a client. I would call this Autism."

While certainly trained well enough to be able to self-diagnose, he sought out an Autism expert who did testing and confirmed the diagnosis.

"I have to admit reading that report I just cried it because it was so jarring to find out that you know the last 45 years of my life have been slightly different than I thought they were," he said. "It means I've always had Autism and didn't know it."

So Dr. Brock decided to chronicle his journey to and through his revelation in a YouTube movie called "Discovering Autism."

WATCH: Dr. Brock Hopes To Inspire & Help

He wants to help lift the veil of stigma from the Autism Spectrum.

"I would want people to know, to think twice about Autism, think of it differently," he said. "And most importantly, have some love and compassion for the people who have Autism. Getting a diagnosis actually gave me a sense of relief because then it was like, oh, now this makes sense, you know, why are all these patterns in my life happening. This, this diagnosis makes it all makes sense."

Dr. Rueben Brock is what you consider high functioning and on the Autism Spectrum is considered to be a "moderate" case. The knowledge of what he is dealing with has allowed him to recognize when his reactions are starting to build inside him and how to cope.

He's hoping the movie, which is 18-minutes long, will reach others who may be experiencing similar issues.

"If you start to notice that your reactions to things are very, very different than what everybody else would expect that that's when you start to wonder, okay what's going on?" Dr. Brock asked.

Dr. Brock says if you broke your arm you would go to a doctor and dealing with Autism needs the same response.

"So understanding that is something going on mentally emotionally neurologically, that is causing you distress, go get some help," he said. "We have a lot of help a lot of answers for some of these things that people feel like they have to hold inside of them you really don't have to hold it in."

And he says the benefits of knowing have had impacts in all corners of his life, especially improving relationships.

Discovering Autism can be found on YouTube at this link.

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