Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

ActuallyAutistic, asd, autism, Take the mask off

Things have been hard.

By “things” I mean generally being overtaxed by the strain of trying to live up to all work, friends, family, life-in-general demands that are not in sync with my needs.

It’s been just under two years since I received my autism diagnosis.

I was not offered follow-up therapy.

Instead, I was provided a reading list of books and access to a local support group.

I have read the books.

An in-person support group is too much for me so I’ve accessed numerous online resources instead.

I’ve learned a lot.

I’ve felt supported to an extent.

I’ve tried to put myself out there to avoid autistic isolation.

It has been scary and rewarding.

But it’s not working.

I’ve finally booked an appointment to see a therapist who specializes in autism.

I need to speak to someone who actually gets it.

I have been let down by most in my daily life.

I don’t know why I thought my diagnosis would be the revelation to everyone else that it was to me.

I don’t know why I expected so much out of most people.

I suppose it was pretty naive to think that people would change when I’m the one who is used to doing the changing.

Comfortable being uncomfortable.

I have written about this before with a little more gusto than I currently have as I’m typing this.

There’s that saying that if one keeps repeating the same action (like banging your head against the wall) but expects a different result then it’s insanity?

That’s currently where I’m at.

I thought I could do this on my own but I don’t think I can.

I guess I underestimated just how unaware the general public is about autism.

To be totally honest (and I know this may come off bad but I don’t mean it with any malicious intent–just an impulse feeling right now), I’m finding it a little bit of an injustice that I’m the one who has to seek therapy because most people around me won’t respect my diagnosis.

But those are feelings I can talk through with the therapist.

Admission is step one.

Seeking help is step two.

On a side note: when I booked my appointment, she sent me the most detailed directions to a location ever. It was like 3 paragraphs of super-specific instructions on where to go, what to expect, how to pay and so on. That, alone, brought me the most relief I have felt since I became openly autistic. Silver linings.

Sorry, I Can’t “People” Right Now

asd, autism, Musings

Sometimes I want to write but don’t know what to write about.

A thousand and one things rattling around inside my head that are eager to be expressed

but life takes up so much time,

and I take up so much time mentally decompressing after a flurry of activity.

I went home for the holiday and that was nice to be home.

It was also intense and peopley.

But really nice.

It has taken me a week to decompress.

More holidaying to come will mean more time to decompress.

I am lucky/grateful in having time off over this festive period to do just that.

Mental decompression.

It’s an underrated healing tactic.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” – L.M. Montgomery

Musings

I love Fall.

It’s probably my most favorite season next to spring.

And y’all know how much I love nature. 😀

I find the bite in the crispy, cool air on a bright day refreshing.

I love Halloween, spooky nights, cozy and comforting baked breads, and the crunching sound of burnt orange, crimson and turmeric-colored leaves on my walks to work.

I love oversized sweaters and being bundled up in a patterned scarf.

I love that kind of autumnal sleepy lull the season brings before the harshness and darkness of winter.

But, most of all, I love how reflective the seasonal change makes me.

It probably makes me more reflective than my usual heavily reflective state. 😀

I am going home during the autumn season for the first time in a long time.

And that’s pretty neat.

This has caused me to reflect on what a great life adventure I have been having–all of the lightness and darkness it has shown me–and what it has taught me.

I have had a very colorful life, and it is my mission to grow into a wise woman like Maya Angelou and hopefully, one day, bestow my knowledge and bring some positive influence to someone’s life.

So, the following are my fundamentals on how I try to live my life and to help me grow to become the most bad-ass person I can be:

1. Be kind to unkind people. Everyone has a battle inside of themselves they are trying to fight. This can make people harsh, cold and mean on the outside. You may want to be unkind to someone who is unkind to you, but it is important to remember that that negativity is coming from pain. We all need a little support in this life. I try to be kind. It is not always easy and I am not always successful but I do try.

2. Be open minded. Love who you want to love, dress how you want to dress, be who you want to be, be different, be status quo, be nothing, be something. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone or anything, just be you. I appreciate you for being true to your spirit.

3. Do not let the cruelty of the world kill your essence. I come from an activist family and I have done my fair share of activist work. I have experienced things. You have experienced things. This exposure has made me a realist. I refuse to let the darkness of humanity kill my light. It is important to rise above and not let negative experiences destroy. The world needs more light, more healing and more compassion. I refuse to let that be taken from me.

4. Appreciate the unique experience of living on Earth. I have spoken about this before I think in some of my posts. It’s a magical experience being able to know what life is like on a planet instead of viewing one from afar. It’s truly the most amazing thing. I think about this daily and pay attention to the profound-yet-minute details of nature that go on around us–sun reflecting off water, sparkling dew drops in the early morning hours, huge Harvest moons, fluffy bumblebees buzzing around flowers, and so on.

5. Society is a game. Work, the stock market, social success, money, status, power are all “not sure ifs” for me. I’ve never been one to adhere to any type of construct. I play by acceptable society rules because I need to do it in order to have a decent life but I do see through the facade. Remembering it’s make believe helps get me through sometimes. You may not agree with this, and I’m not asking you to, it’s just the way I, personally, see things.

6. Tell people you love them. There is an urgency to life that I carry with me always due to the passing of my father, who I was greatly connected to. Do away with what doesn’t serve you in life and tell people you love that you love them. Don’t wait. Life is too short for bullshit.

7. No matter what happens, get back up. This feeds back into number 3, but no matter what happens, keep that fighting spirit and get back up. The world needs you.

I’m sure there are more but these are some of the core beliefs I hold for myself and try to live by. To me, life is about learning and growing as much as possible, and to have a positive impact while I’m here.

I think I am doing that, which is pretty cool. I mean, we are all trying to do our best in life, right?

Time to head back out into that autumnal sunshine. 🙂

Process of Acceptance

Acceptance, Assessment

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.

Finite Assessment. Infinite Revelation.

Assessment

My assessment is on Friday.

Pretty scared to be honest.

If it’s not this then I hope it’s something.

Because something is better than nothing in this situation.

If it’s nothing then I guess I’m just crazy.

And everyone is crazy.

So maybe crazy isn’t such a bad thing.

But if it’s crazy then I’d like to be able to communicate with crazy a little better than I do now.

So, I guess, it’s all a win in a way.

Still scared though.

Life = journey. Life=journey. Life=journey.