Greetings Earthlings! 🙂
To kick off the new year I’m going to expand a little bit on something I’ve touched on briefly in the past- coming to terms with your autism diagnosis.
As I’ve stated many times, getting my Asperger’s diagnosis was one of the best things that could have happened to me. Two little words clarified a lifetime of questioning, confusion and misunderstanding.
My entire life finally began to make sense.
Whilst this diagnosis was indeed a welcome one (in spite of the way my diagnosis was sprung on me 😛 ), I struggled to come to terms with it for some time afterwards. As an adult, the diagnosis shouldn’t have changed anything- Asperger’s syndrome explains me, but it does not define me.
However, just because the shoe fits does not mean that you will break it in overnight.
Logically, there was no issue in being diagnosed; the emotional aspect on the other hand was much tougher.
Getting my diagnosis was like seeing myself for the first time in a mirror. It felt like I had made a revolutionary discovery, and yet somehow, I was ill at ease. The more I read about Asperger’s, the more self conscious I became of my mannerisms and behaviours. I was hyper-aware of everything that I did.
I knew and accepted that Asperger’s didn’t define me, however, I felt compelled to define it. I talked about Asperger’s incessantly possessed by the niggling urge to explain every single thing I did for fear of being misunderstood. As a friend recently told me, she barely knew my name before I had filled her in about my diagnosis! 😂
There were times when I felt as though I were beginning to disappear behind the smokescreen of the diagnosis, constantly questioning what was me and what was just Asperger’s.
It took me over two years to learn to fully relax and embrace my diagnosis- somewhere along the way it just clicked. I no longer feel this need to go on about it. Indeed, there are times when I want to talk about it (for example in this blog), but I am also perfectly content to keep people guessing 😉
Asperger’s is a big part of my life, but it’s not the whole picture 🙂
Here’s just a couple of things that helped me on my journey towards acceptance:
- Talk about it– Real original- I know, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!
- Try CBT– Now I know that I’ve said CBT wasn’t particularly useful for me from a management perspective, buuuuuut cognitive behavioural therapy did help to increase my knowledge of autism and better understand who and why I am 🙂
- Write it out– I know I’ve said it before, but writing can be so cathartic. It really helps to verbalize what you can’t describe, especially if you have alexithymia. My laptop is full of mini essays from deflating my overly full skull at 3am! 😛
- Read – Whilst this may have partially fueled my hyper-analysis, it also allowed me to better understand and accept myself. The more I learned, the easier it was to accept and embrace my quirks. Just maybe steer away from some of the novelizations of autism- these don’t always paint the most realistic of pictures 😛
Learning to accept an autism diagnosis (as cheesy as it sounds) is a journey. There may be twists and turns and many a speed bump along the way, but you will one day reach your destination 🙂
When I was told I was “on the autism spectrum, most likely Aspergers”, I really didn’t want to accept it. After all the only model of autism I knew of was that of Rainman. I tried every online test available in an attempt to prove the professionals wrong, only to discover that they weren’t.
It took me more than two years to come around to being comfortable with acknowledging my neuro-diversity, and then went through a phase where discussing autism became a “special interest”.
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