Doubting and questioning again 

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. 

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5 thoughts on “Doubting and questioning again 

  1. I am glad I am not the only one … I too have times I doubt – especially when I read stuff about how all aspies get sensory overload/can’t take a lot of socialising, and I too think my problems with communication and organising myself are because I an just useless and/or have some other problem … but then I remember that there is such a thing as an Aspie extrovert … so even though I am loud and talkative and bouncy and social … I do have a lot of the other problems that come from being autistic … and it explains so much about problems I had at school/in my past, as well as about how I am now, and why I am like I am 🙂
    Also, any time I have my doubts – I can remember what my mum said a couple weeks ago – ever since she found out what Aspergers was (several years before I was diagnosed), she has never doubted that I have it …
    And yes – now I know what I am – I too am a proud Aspie
    Proud that I have done what I have done/can do what I can do because I was/am stubborn enough to work my butt off to do whatever I set my mind to (… now I just have to work out how to “set my mind to” a few things I didn’t achieve … yet …)

    • It’s good to be a proud Aspie! My mum doesn’t doubt it either. I don’t think any of us have all of the traits but I tend to have doubts because of that too. When I was young and drinking I’d have parties and did a lot of socialising but I would have struggled without the drink even though I wouldn’t have categorised myself as an alcoholic back them. I am an expert in denial. As I’ve got older I find that I can’t socialise without consequences. Went to a meetup on Saturday and still recovering now.

      Hope you find a way to acheive those things you want to 🙂

  2. I self-diagnosed at 16 but convinced myself that I wasn’t autistic for thirty-three years. Being autistic in a non-supportive society is hard. It is no wonder that we go through phases of wanting to be something else. I attended my first Late-Diagnosis Group today, I hope to find some new friends, it was certainly an eye-opener about how varied the spectrum is. I’m in a cafe at the moment so it is hard to form coherent thoughts but I hope you find what you need.

    • Thank you. I agree that societal misunderstandings and stereotypes of autism don’t help. I think I’ve also internalised a lot of ableism and am having to unlearn that. I’ve been lax about updating my blog recently but I do have an excellent post in my head about it! I hope your Late Diagnosis Group continues to be helpful 🙂

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