People have often written me off as too quiet, shy, awkward or strange. I have heard these things for so long I had totally taken them as truth. I have very seldom fit in but never really understood why. I just assumed there was something wrong with me. I had some very hard times wishing I could completely change myself and be ‘less me’.
Throughout the last year, I made a conscious decision to connect with the adult Autistic community. I thought it would help me be a better parent to my daughter. I did not realise this would be one of the most important things I would ever do. It has transformed everything. I fully delved into the world of Autism and learnt as much as I could from them.
However, I began to identify with their stories way more than I ever anticipated. I felt like there were so many similarities between us. This coupled with my own realisations about how similar me and my daughter are started me thinking. I took a few online tests to see if I could be Autistic. My results were really high. I was diagnosed by a clinical psychologist a few months ago as Autistic.
This has led me to the best understanding of myself I have ever had and the best understanding of my daughter I could get. My whole life just makes so much more sense. I realised how much I have been exhausting myself trying to fit into a world that is not set up for Autistic people. I realised how hard it has been to try and pretend I was ‘normal’ in an attempt to try and have friends.
I have lived without knowing this for 35 years. I have tried so hard throughout my life to suppress myself but now I have to stop trying so hard. I have to be true to myself. It is daunting but liberating. I can approach life in a different way. I can recognise my struggles for what they are without thinking I am faulty. I can appreciate my strengths. I deserve to be accepted for who I truly am. I wish I knew earlier but the rest of my life will be shaped by this knowledge in a big way.
I am proudly Autistic.