I was just thinking about labels and diagnosis. A huge part of my community does not particularly enjoy the idea of labels or diagnosis. This is because they can often keep us trapped in a box. They can limit our potential growth past the confines of this box. I too have oft thrown out labels and do not attempt to use them to contain all that I am; which is complex and undefinable.
That being said, I have recently been diagnosed and welcomed the “label” of Autistic. This is important to me not because I have embraced another persons definition of me. No one put me in this box. No one is attempting to keep me in it. I do not see this as a box or a label. This is because I AM Autistic. I do not HAVE Autism. I AM American. I don’t HAVE American. It is an intrinsic part of who I am. It is the way my brain was made from birth. I firmly believe this. I believe I am autistic for a very good reason. And I do not see this label as a disabling box because I neither see myself as broken, disabled, or labeled. I see it as who I am.
I spent my whole life searching for this answer steadily, compassionately, fervently, and focused with all that I am because I dedicated my life to understanding my mother and why she was the way she was. But also I asked myself, why is it that I too am like her? Is this my worst nightmare come true? Am I to suffer ridicule, shame, bullying, rejection, homelessness, and hate as she did? Is my life to be a tragedy as her seemed to have been?
I studied psychology in college. I searched. I found similarities to both of us but nothing fit. I had to drop out of college five times because of my Autism and sensory issues and I kept searching until I got chronic debilitating Lyme disease. And my sensory issues got worse. I said, “oh but I’ve always had light and sound sensitivity” to the doctor.
Then a friend made a video about Autism. I saw myself in her. I researched, read, and took tests. I took these to the doctor. I had my search that was decades long and caused many crippling breakdowns, lost relationships, homes, and jobs confirmed. I had an answer to a lifetime of investigation. I found peace through this diagnosis. My mother’s memory found peace, as she was also Autistic like me. I am convinced of that beyond a shadow of a doubt.
I don’t feel ashamed when I say I am Autistic. I don’t want apologies or sympathy because I am proud of who I am. I am proud of where I have been and what I have survived. I AM a survivor, a warrior, a champion, and I AM AUTISTIC. I dare the world to try and keep me in a box now. I’ll just set it on fire like the last one.
I stand in noble victory down a path that I set myself upon to discover the truth of my mother, of myself, and I feel like I’ve won.
#acceptautism #autism #asd #aspergers #femaleautism