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My therapist/marriage counselor said something discouraging. It was after the autism spectrum specialist confirmed my ASD diagnosis. My therapist wasn’t trying to be rude. Her comment just showed how uneducated she was about autism. She said something along the lines of “I don’t think you have autism. And if you do it’s so mild. I wouldn’t even diagnosis you with Autism.” She meant no harm with her comment but at that time it really hurt. And I was confused because she didn’t discourage me from seeking an autism diagnosis. She seemed like she was encouraging me to find someone who was an expert in autism. So after two professionals diagnosed me with autism I was confused by her response. Much later she was on board with my diagnosis. But at the time I was crushed. And of course I didn’t say anything in the moment.
I wish I would have sought clarification at that moment. But my weakness is in communication, surprise (sarcastic font). I was hurt by her statement. And I felt shame for being Autistic. I went from being excited to finding an answer to my lifelong questions to despising that answer.
So I didn’t tell anyone else. Three professionals and my husband knew I was autistic. I wanted to tell my doctors I was autistic but I was afraid of their reaction. Even though it was my health crisis that pushed me into pursuing a diagnosis. I wanted to give my medical providers a reason for my sensory problems. I wanted to explain why I struggled to answer their questions in regards to my health. I wanted them to be patient while I tried to put to words what I was experiencing with my illnesses. So I choose to continue to struggle during my medical appointments because I was ashamed of being different. I was scared doctors would think less of me. And it didn’t help it took years for doctors to take my health seriously. What if by disclosing my autism all my progress in getting doctors to listen would be lost?
I didn’t take the time to do the emotional process of coming to terms with being Autistic. After the psychiatrist diagnosed me with ASD, I stopped going to my previous psychiatrist. My psychiatrist’s nurse said my psychiatrist wasn’t an expert in autism and I should just see the doctor who diagnosed me. And I switched providers not truly out of choice. It’s okay because the psychiatrist that diagnosed me turned out to be a better fit. I then started researching autism online and reading books about autism. After the autism spectrum specialist confirmed the diagnosis I continued to read and research about autism. The specialist said I could make an appointment with her if I wished and gave me a list of resources and books to read. I didn’t make an appointment with her because I couldn’t afford it at the time. I thought I would just research and once my health got better I would make an appointment. Having my ASD diagnosis confirmed I felt ready to process my diagnosis and wanted to disclose it with my family. But I got discouraged by what my counselor said. So I kept researching autism and struggled to process my diagnosis. My husband was very supportive but I still couldn’t fully process my diagnosis. I couldn’t deal with the anger I felt about not being diagnosed sooner. And the sadness over what could have been, was overwhelming. Would my life had been easier if my parents had a name for my difficulties?
I now know the name for my difficulties but I’m still struggling to fully accept being autistic. So now I’m here processing all the anger and sadness and joy. I’ve decided earlier this year to finally process it, day by day. And I know I want to fully accept myself and I’m not there yet. You get to be a witness to my journey. And I want to be a witness to yours. When were you diagnosed? How did you feel about it? How do you feel about it now? What do you wish you knew when you were first diagnosed? Please leave a comment.