I haven’t updated my blog for 3 months. There are many reasons for this, such as depression, executive function but the one I want to talk about is that I’ve been through a long period of doubting and questioning that I am autistic. Again.
I’m through it now, but it was a painful and damaging experience.
I don’t know if I have doubts as part of the distorted thinking of depression or as a natural consequence of late diagnosis. Maybe I doubt because some people I care about don’t accept my being autistic and others I can’t even tell for fear of a negative reaction. Maybe I still see autism in terms of stereotypes and have a lot of internalised ableism.
Whatever the reason, it’s not a helpful way of thinking.
My doubts stopped me attempting to connect with other autistic people and get support. I retreated into further into silence. I find it hard to have conversations and feel part of the community anyway because of anxiety but my doubting made it nigh on impossible.
I felt like a poor example that it’s over three years since I was diagnosed and yet I still doubt I’m autistic. Other people seem so sure, even those who only found out about being autistic more recently. I admire and envy their surety.
I dealt with it alone and isolated playing the doubts and confusion over and over in my mind until I wanted to yell at my brain to shut up.
I ended up back in the abominable position of believing myself to be a failed neurotypical with no possibility of an autistic solution to problems. It’s a lonely, painful place to be.
Then, as always happens, I was presented with incontrovertible evidence that I’m autistic. I had a series of meltdowns and shutdowns (some of which might have been prevented had I accepted my autism). I also went to a support group where I tried out various sensory supports which made me want to purr. Being around autistic people there also helped.
At last I have that sense of acceptance again. I am sure I’m autistic and the knowing grounds me and makes me happy. I feel less alone even without communicating with anyone.
I’m sure I’ll doubt I’m autistic again. It seems to be a cycle I go through. I need to find ways of challenging that thinking so I can get out of it sooner. Talking about it here is the first step but it would be good to find people I can talk to when I’m in it. It does pass but it would be good to have help.
There may be other silent doubters out there and I wanted to say you’re not alone. Whether you have a formal diagnosis or are self-diagnosed, even though through periods of doubt and questioning, if you know in your heart you’re autistic you will come through them.