I am autistic.
Bloody knew it, but now I have a report stating it… “meets the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) criteria for an autism spectrum disorder”. Although, I would argue I’m not disordered, just different to socially accepted ideals.
When the diagnosis came through (via email) it was actually anti-climatic. I already knew. But it’s official now.
So: interesting points from my report, and general musings…
- Apparently, I do not vary my facial expressions much, apart from extreme emotions. This I was not aware of. And, according to best friend K, and ex A, it’s hard to know what I’m feeling….I don’t express emotion. This is news to me! I feel so much inside: anxious; happy; cute (as a feeling – which L says I can only ‘be’, not ‘feel’); pissed off etc., but my brain doesn’t apparently tell my face!
- After a couple of weeks I made a private FB page to tell people who I like, and who I wanted to perhaps be better friends with, about my diagnosis. I also wrote about what it means for me – how MY autism presents itself. Responses were lovely. Some of my friends messaged privately to say how had I figured it out, because they wondered if they were autistic.
- For years I have provided free anti-stigma workshops to local schools/colleges/unis, and I tell them I am autistic….they need to know women are autistic too. Not only that, but we are also capable, and dare I say it, awesome.
- L and I are a team. An autistic team. He’s not alone anymore. He’s still hard work for me. His ADD and autism make him a pain in the butt sometimes! But we get each other, as much as any two people can hope to do.
- Still so much to learn about myself. That will never stop I think. But I can forgive myself more, not be quite so hard on myself for (e.g.) finding small-talk and making friends so damn hard!
- Someone lovely who I have spoken to about my diagnosis asked isn’t the label a negative thing for me? As she was umming and ahhhhing about getting her teenage daughter diagnosed. I said no. And explained it made so much sense for the difficulties I’ve always had: for why I see the world so very differently from others, which, at times, has made me incredibly lonely. But now I know it’s not because I’m just weird and messed up, but because I belong to a group of people who are also capable of seeing the world as I do.
- The female autistics group are brilliant! The women I meet weekly (when feeling sociable) have such similar views and experiences that I know I’m not alone. And, although it’s hilarious, female autistics in a circle trying to chat without talking over one another (which happens often), we even managed a drink at the local bar after. Just the one mind, as, although we were enjoying each others company, we all got ‘peopled’ out pretty quick! But, being autistic, we were all accepting of the fact! No pretending we could carry on into the evening, secretly wishing we were home, alone.
Over and out….for now.