As I said in my previous post, my journey towards my neurological self-discovery began several years ago.
After realizing that I was quite different, neurologically-speaking, from my husband and several other friends whom I also asked to take the Aspie Quiz as control subjects, I immersed myself in reading books, taking online tests, and seeking out the blogs of other adult females who either had been officially or self-diagnosed with Aspergers/autism.
For the first time in my life, I had found people with whom I related on a very deep level. It was amazing! I longed to add my voice to the chorus of voices that had helped me discover an integral part of myself which I hadn’t previously known existed.
Why then has it taken me this long to get on with seeking out a diagnosis and writing about my journey? What happened between then and now to get me to this point?
Well, without insurance or money I couldn’t explore what I saw as the next logical step for me – having someone objectively corroborate what I strongly suspected to be true. The self-doubt was strong with me and I was also becoming mentally paralyzed with the sheer enormity of what I formerly hadn’t known about how much of human communication is apparently done without words.
So, I took a break for a couple of years – it was extremely overwhelming and I needed that break.
In that time, I decided for certain that I would pursue a diagnosis if I ever had the opportunity. I had been on the fence about it for a while and I don’t believe that a diagnosis is necessary or beneficial (nor even accessible) for everyone, but there were enough practical reasons for me to feel confident in going that route for myself if it ever became accessible to me.
However, the most beneficial aspect of getting a diagnosis for me, thus far, has been less practical and more personal.
Upon receiving my diagnosis recently, I realized that gaining validation and losing a good deal of my self-doubt has been the biggest plus to getting diagnosed. Self-doubt has been a pervasive issue for me and it’s been that way to some degree for as long as I can remember.
Throughout my early life, my perception of events had been constantly questioned and belittled. After enough people had told me that I was wrong, bad, a liar, horrible, lazy, etc, it became all too easy to believe them. I believed them despite also knowing I was telling the truth, trying my hardest, and attempting to do the right thing.
Largely as a result of the self-doubt and mainly starting after I left college, which mentally and emotionally broke me for a long time, I strove to keep my head down, stay quiet when possible, surround myself with people who shared my interests, and avoid any thinking about my invalidating past or childhood at all if I could help it. I also adopted the simple approach of assuming that upsets weren’t about me unless I was directly told that I was at fault.
Still, the self-doubt crept in more over the years. It’s still here and it can’t be chased away by one validation, no matter how large, but the validation of the autism diagnosis – that I’m not lazy, horrible, misguided, or “simply not trying hard enough” – is there now and it’s enormous.
All the “just doesn’t work up to her potential” I heard throughout my life has a nemesis now. I did and do work up to my potential. I did and do try hard. I’m not lazy now and I wasn’t lazy then. I didn’t and don’t deliberately try to upset people or be rude/mean. I do the best I can with the information I can utilize and the energy I can muster.
It’s a huge validation and one that is much more important to me than I had anticipated it would be beforehand.