Soon after I took the online Aspie Test, I began periodically journaling privately in order to help myself remember the things I was learning and discovering. I’m going to rely fairly heavily on my journaling from that time in my next set of posts so that I can most accurately convey my thought process and feelings at the time.
In some cases my thinking has changed significantly since then, so please feel free to ask for clarifications in the comments if I’m unclear and you’re curious about whether I still think/feel a certain way or not.
Some of my first written thoughts after taking the quiz and doing some research:
I’m starting this [journaling] project to help me work out my issues, track my progress, and to help me remember things that I learn about social situations and “reading” people. I like reading books much better.
Side notes: One of my first impressions about autism, was that it meant that someone didn’t know that smile = happy or frown = sad. This confused me as a child because everyone must know that! It was so obvious once you’d been told! I’ve been trying to remember where I got that bit of misinformation, but haven’t remembered so far.
Of course, I myself didn’t know there was much beyond the simple happy/smile and sad/frown, and I remember needing to be told what they meant in the first place, but that all had seemed normal to me.
For most of my life I thought that “reading people” was not real. Now that I know it is and that reality has percolated in my mind for several years, I still prefer reading books.
Two nights ago I had an epiphany. A good friend of mine, as well as my husband, have suggested to me in recent weeks that I might have a form of Autism called Aspergers Syndrome. The lists of symptoms didn’t really help me much, but two nights ago I found several descriptions of what it’s like to live with AS.
All of a sudden, my life made sense. Every awkward social situation I’ve ever been in. Every time that I left a conversation with a feeling of unease, but with no idea why or what I might have done wrong. The years of college when I just could not function socially.
My childhood makes sense now. The fact that I couldn’t make or keep friends my own age until I was well into my middle school years and even then, my friends were other people who couldn’t make or keep friends. The fact that I vastly preferred to spend time with adults or small children instead of with anyone near my age, and that I still prefer to spend time with people who are much older or younger than I am.
Everything makes sense.
Me being Autistic made my entire life make sense. My thoughts and feelings were somewhere along the line of the post Autism is the Key. My analogy was that, instead of being a puzzle piece, autism was the glue that held the scattered pieces of my life together and allowed them to finally make sense to me.
This was easily the biggest and most important realization I’ve ever had. Everything that my other oddities had only partially explained was fully explained now. So ridiculously perfectly explained, in fact, that I wondered whether it could really be true.
Having gone through my life with nothing fitting, not being “textbook” anything, and then to suddenly discover that autism fit perfectly was stunning. This is a great post about how the discovery that one is Autistic can bring up all kinds of emotions. I relate the most to the parts about wondering whether it could really be real, the subsequent suspicion that I must be making it all up because autism was just too all-encompassing and easy of an explanation, and having many mixed feelings (most of those took a while to decipher in my case) afterwards.
The freedom is there, the liberation is there, and so are the occasional twinges of sadness for the nearly three decades of not-knowing: those years that I lived without knowing the truth about myself.