Two nights after my last blogged journal entry from 4+ years ago, I wrote this:
So, the night before last I had a bit of a breakdown. I just cried and cried and talked… I can’t remember half of what I talked about. I should’ve written it down sooner. I have a really hard time remembering conversations or verbal instructions.
Verbal and auditory processing have always been struggles for me. I just thought it was another area where I was a failure for not being able to cope the way other people could. I never considered the possibility that it could actually be more difficult for me to process information in those ways because I was wired differently than most other people.
I think I’ve decided that I’d like to seek a diagnosis if and when I can find a center or psychologist who specializes or is very familiar with autism in girls and women. Because it apparently presents so differently in women than in men, I don’t think that I would trust someone without experience with Autistic females if they said that I wasn’t.
I changed my mind several times after this about pursuing a diagnosis. It didn’t matter at that point anyhow because we had no insurance or money with which to pay for an evaluation and wouldn’t have those things for over four more years.
I had very brief spurts of self-confidence regarding a potential diagnoses: “No, I wouldn’t believe anyone who tried to tell me that this doesn’t fit!”
Yet, I was just as likely an hour after that to be doubtful again.
Judging by how utterly wrecked I was while waiting on my diagnosis results last month, this type of attitude was largely bravado, but it served a purpose too. These spurts of confidence got me through my repeated imaginings about how I might feel if I ended up being invalidated after going through an evaluation. In fact, I now believe that these thoughts were self-protective in nature.
By the time I was preparing for my evaluation a few months ago, I’d also come to the now-obvious conclusion that learning the truth was far more important than getting an autism diagnosis, no matter how much it seemed to be the truth to me.
That mental journey is something I will probably write more about later. Unfortunately, that conclusion didn’t discernibly lessen the anxiety I experienced during the evaluation process and while waiting on the potential results, but I still believe it was a vital conclusion at which to arrive.
Getting a diagnosis wouldn’t be for my own benefit so much as for the benefit of those around me – to help them understand what’s going on with me.
Ha! Oh man, this part here…. Apparently my foresight isn’t always the strongest, even when it comes to myself. I haven’t told many people about my official diagnosis now that I have it. In fact, I’ve told nobody yet who didn’t already know of my strong suspicions before. It *certainly hasn’t changed those other people’s understanding because they already knew and believed me beforehand.
Now that my evaluation is over, I can say with confidence that the best reason to have an evaluation was for myself, not for anyone else. My desire to seek a diagnosis was enough reason to get an evaluation. My peace of mind and personal validation were more than good enough reasons to get the evaluation.
But, at the time I wrote the above excerpt, I don’t think I believed that I was worth it. I think I needed to make me getting a diagnosis about the other people in my life so that I’d believe a diagnosis was something worth doing. I don’t usually do things just for myself.
I’m still working towards being better about doing things for myself and seeing myself as worthy.
*I have, since first writing/scheduling this post, talked to my husband about how my diagnosis affected him. According to him, it did help to have my autism be all official. Not that he couldn’t see or believe it before, but this validation has been a relief to him just as it has been for me.