So I felt pretty good on Friday about my diagnosis but now I’m hitting this weird temporary wall of denial. I keep taking the AQ test over and over and keep getting the same “autistic” result. I had a gruelling session with two highly regarded professionals leading the way for accurate diagnosis of women. It’s obvious this is what I’ve been my whole life but having a label to it now is making me feel … sort of all over the place. More so than usual. It’s raising a million and one questions and concerns like:
- Who do I tell?
- Do I announce it with a mega phone or keep it quiet?
- If I keep quiet, I won’t help educate more people about how diverse autism is.
- If I am vocal, I’m not really ready for the potential negativity (and you know there will be because there’s always THAT ONE GUY or GAL).
I’m not so sure I’m ready yet for the:
- “You don’t look or seem autistic,”
- “But you’re really smart,”
- “You only want attention,”
- “You’re going to be a problem now,”
- “I don’t know how to act around you.”
I have told a handful of people so far. Those people have been supportive. They’ve said I am still me with or without a label.
That’s great but I don’t really know what that means.
And having the label is what is making me feel weird right now.
I’ve had 34 years of painful experiences that have deeply impacted me because I was autistic and no one knew.
Had I known I was autistic sooner, I or my parents could’ve negated some of those experiences.
I also think my father was autistic but he has passed away so we will never know for certain.
But, alas, no one was diagnosing high-functioning autism when I was in school let alone in girls or women.
So the label is useful for practical reasons.
And I am not sorry for who I am.
Nor will I keep it a secret.
But wearing that label is like breaking in a new pair of shoes.
It’ll fit perfectly in time. Not everyone will notice or like my awesome new shoes but others will love my new shoes just like they loved my old shoes and none of it will even matter because it (as in life) is all beautiful.