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. 

Bravery, cowardice and suicidal thoughts

Trigger warning: Please read with caution.Suicide, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, suicide plans. 

 

I haven’t blogged for a while.  I have a number of half written posts in my drafts folder but haven’t been able to finish them.

The reason is, I’m still depressed. The same depression I wrote about at Christmas has persisted and got worse. I suppose you could say it’s reached crisis point.

Continue reading

Gaslighting

This is a great post. I’ve experienced gaslighting by others, and by myself, to the extent that I ended up mistrusting myself completely. I’ve touched on it in my last couple of posts but didn’t have a name for it before I read this excellent blog by Rhi.

Autism and expectations

Being an undiagnosed autistic has many challenges.

When you compare your reactions to things with other people’s, you feel like you’re getting it wrong. When other people take things in their stride, and your brain feels like it’s expanding inside your skull to the point you can’t think, then you feel like you’re overreacting.

And then there’s the gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a useful term, named after an old film where Ingrid Bergman is psychologically abused. Her abuser tells her that her memories are false, he questions her experience of her environment, he denies that things she remembers happening, have happened.

The result is that she ends up questioning her own perception of reality. She doubts her own memory. She doubts her sanity. She cannot trust that what she thinks is her lived experience is true.

Being an undiagnosed autistic can feel like the whole world is gaslighting you. From being…

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