What if I am not autistic?

What if I am not autistic?

I don’t know if this thought sometimes tortures other late-diagnosed autistic people, or if it is just me. I certainly have a large capacity for self-doubt and self-evisceration.  But just when I think I have finally completely accepted my autism, that little thought will play in the corner of my mind.

What if I am not autistic?

It may arise out of some way that I don’t appear autistic particularly in ways that neurotypicals understand.  Maybe the fact that I’ve learnt to dissemble and people-please rather than be blunt (well most of the time anyway. Until I forget or am too stressed).

Or just when I’m feeling depressed and down and hard on myself and all the doubts swirl around in a black ball of misery.

What if I’m not autistic?

What if I’m just using autism to make excuses for my failure at adult life?

What if I’m a normal person who wants to be a special snowflake?

What if I’m lazy and unmotivated?

What if I’m just a horrible person no-one likes?

What if it’s just the personality disorder I was once diagnosed with manifesting itself?

Even though I have a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome, this doesn’t help when I get into one of these negative thought vortexes. After all, if the psychiatrist who diagnosed a personality disorder was wrong, why can’t the (different) psychiatrist who diagnosed Asperger’s also be wrong?

Doubting myself like is painful and makes me unhappy. Until I challenge them.   Last week was a horrible week and on top of that I was having all the above doubts. Eventually after a lot of sensory overload and interpersonal problems and I had a shutdown. Faced with unavoidable autism symptoms, that I had to ask the opposite question.

What if I am autistic?

What if my autism diagnosis is a liberation, an explanation for the difficulties, a life raft rescuing me when I swim out of my depth in neurotypical society?

And it’s when I accept it I find a rebuttal for my doubts.

What if I’m just using autism to make excuses for my failure at adult life?

Or what if I’ve lived all my adult life as an autistic woman but not knowing it? It’s no wonder I got so lost. I’ve done well really, considering.

What if I’m a normal person who wants to be a special snowflake?

I spent all my life trying to be normal, the last thing I want to be is special. I hate being noticed and standing out and I hate the word “special”.  But I am not the majority neurotype and so I will be different from many people in the world.

What if I’m lazy and unmotivated?

What if I have executive functioning problems that make it difficult to plan something and execute that plan? Coupled with frequent social exhaustion.

What if I’m just a horrible person no-one likes? 

What if I have a social communication difference that makes it hard to connect with people? What if I try and try and work really hard to be kind and communicate in a way they’d like. I am generally a nice person who doesn’t want to upset anyone, but I still end up causing friction because I can’t always keep it up and communicate on their terms.

What if it’s just the personality disorder I was once diagnosed with manifesting itself?

What if I was diagnosed with  a personality disorder because no-one understood how autism affects women in back in the year 2000 and it wasn’t considered? Plus I was in a lot of psychological distress, drinking and self-harming which may have hidden it.  It’s been a long time since any professional thought I had a personality disorder, but what if my history makes me question my motives? Worry I am being manipulative because I was told that was what I was and I didn’t know myself any better back then. Maybe the fact I doubt myself so much comes from that time.

If the psychiatrist who diagnosed a personality disorder was wrong, why can’t the (different) psychiatrist who diagnosed Asperger’s also be wrong?  

Because it’s not about him. I am very grateful to him for seeing my autism and diagnosing me, but without him, I would still be me. I would still have this collection of traits that can be diagnosed as autism. It’s about knowing deep down, and although, I still have these doubts, I am becoming more and more sure that I am autistic.

 

What if I am not autistic? Then I would not be me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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