A friend of mine recently said “the last thing I need is a new diagnosis” about the thought that they could be neurodivergent, and it got me thinking…
Everyone reacts to it differently, but when I got my autism diagnosis just 3 years ago I felt such a huge sense of relief.
Finally there was something for me to hold on to, a lens through which to view the story of my own life that didn’t paint me as lazy, irresponsible, or weak.
My autism diagnosis explained so much of what I had gone through in life. The terrible bi-weekly mood swings I was experiencing for months before my diagnosis? Autistic burnout. The burnout that happens to autistics when we push through neurotypical burnout and keep running on empty. The complete lack of direction in life? The nights I cried myself to sleep weighed down by an overwhelming sense of guilt? Depression I had carried for a full decade because I couldn’t forgive myself for being.
All of a sudden I was holding the magical broom with which to clean up the mess of my young life. In retrospect it still seems too good to be true. And sometimes I wonder just how invisible the change must be from the outside.
But I know the truth, because I can count the hours of depression I’ve felt in the last three years since my diagnosis on a single hand.