Surprise! Turns out, I’m autistic.

So, 3 years after diagnosis, I’ve figured out how to nearly squash the fibromyalgia pain that’s plagued me for close to a decade – Wim Hof and the endocannabinoid system are fabulous, as is eating/drinking intensely healthy, and exercising through the pain takes years and can truly drive a person over the edge but does indeed help wonderfully, hooray!!

But the fatigue is still there. (Esp annoying because w/pain you can just pretend like it’s not happening until you burst, but fatigue…you just can’t. effing. GO.)

Long story short, the fatigue seems to be getting a lot of help from another diagnosis; one that I’ve just received. It also explains jillions of things throughout my issues-filled life, which is a common description for independent adults with this dx. It explains why I’m capable of doing things like interviewing scientists; but will get flustered if you list stuff and expect me to remember it, struggle with regulating my emotion, and have trouble with executive function tasks. (People like me often get asked mean questions like, “how are you smart, but also so stupid?”)

It sheds light on random things like why people often misread my intentions and emotions, why I have no verbal filter, prefer to talk frankly/bluntly about things, am very interested in “boring” details, why I zone out at sparkling things/rock when I sit/spin around my apartment/otherwise ‘stim,’ why my JTT crush was so next level, why learning to drive was like explosions in my brain, why I totally lose my shit when plans change at the last minute, and even why I strongly prefer to wear the same style of shoe, daily, for years. 

Today, after hours of assessments, I was officially diagnosed by a mental health professional as being on the autism spectrum. 

I am autistic. Weird.

An online test given to me by an autism organization confirmed it 6 weeks ago, and talking to people with brains like mine has been eerie, like having my completely weird, largely hidden, experiences described by people I’ve never met. It kind of makes me feel less original, I thought I was so unique, haha, nope, many of my seeming eccentricities are completely normal for an autistic person – but it’s very very comforting.

Though it’s definitely been a lot to process and an intensely emotional time; knowing the whys and having tools and community is helping already, I am definitely grateful for this news. 

Autism in females is estimated to be much much higher; until recently, psychologists were trained in traits that traditionally present in males, but not for typical female experiences (patriarchy, psssch), which involve a lot more masking of autist traits (vids below, any gender can have these ‘secondary’ traits/verbiage is in flux). I’ve been referring to this masking behavior as “people-pleasing” or, here “giving fucks,” as I worked on stopping it over the last decade…thereby accidentally unmasking my autism. 

Happy accidents, eh?

More info:

DSM-V Autism

Vid from autistic autism researcher, ‘Everything you Know about Autism is Wrong’

Video on ‘autism in females’/secondary autism traits

 The spectrum isn’t linear (comic) 

For the very interested (great lecture)

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