why I’m self-diagnosed

LM

Hello, I’m Laura-Marie.  I want to explain why I’m self-diagnosed as autistic, how that feels, and how it affects my life.

what autism is

I didn’t know until recently what autism even is.  I’d heard of it as a super-male brain with social cluelessness and awkwardness, lack of empathy, and being out of touch with other people.  The few people I’d known as autistic were men who seemed mean, and they didn’t understand how they were hurting other people.

I thought I was the opposite of autistic because I have a lot of empathy.  In fact, I have so much empathy that I can’t turn it off, which is a reason I don’t watch movies or tv.  Also I’d heard that people who are autistic don’t make eye contact.  I love eye contact, but only with people I love and trust, who are kind to me.  So I thought that was the opposite of me also.

I thought people with autism were socially out to lunch.  Socially I’m so tuned in that I’m hyper-vigilant and overwhelmed with nervousness.  I pay so much attention that it hurts, and I can only be around other people for about an hour or two per day.

what it is

When I learned more about what autism is, I realized I have a ton in common, actually, with the sensory differences and social differences.  Then a friend told me about the gender issues, what masking is, and I read an article online about women and non-binary people with autism that blew me away.  I heard the autistics quoted in the article say things that I’d only heard myself say.

I felt a strong identification with what I read and added up many other pieces.  Wow, I was amazed that I could have this other huge issue in addition to the psychiatric diagnoses.  It felt very important, and I told a good friend who I trusted with my truth.

The friend was dismissive and told me it’s dangerous to self-diagnose.  I felt invalidated, hurt, and indignant that people who have access to decent medical care and are respected in doctor’s offices would judge me for self-diagnosing.  I don’t have the resources to seek diagnosis from a medical professional.  Also I have long term medical trauma, from what has happened to me in doctor’s offices since I was a child, and this friend knew that.

The disrespectful interaction was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I haven’t spoken with this friend since.  He’s a cis-het white man who worked full time and enjoyed a life of comforts that I will never comprehend.  That wasn’t the first time he invalidated my truth.  I have no interest in being treated that way.

how it feels

It feels a little scary to identify as autistic when I haven’t been diagnosed by a doctor.  It feels scary because I don’t want to be accused of being wrong, or get invalidated more, like what happened with my friend.  I feel vulnerable, asking to be respected as an autistic person.

But I know more about autism in women and non-binary people at this point than doctors do, from my own study.  And there’s nothing for me to gain from diagnosis, as I don’t know any resources I could get besides what I already have for my psychiatric diagnoses.

A couple non-men friends of mine have struggled to get diagnosed with autism for their own validation.  I admire their efforts but can’t relate, as I can validate myself in that way.  I have no special respect for doctors, and the more I can avoid them, the better from my health and well-being.

cautious

Being self-diagnosed with autism has caused me to feel cautious, speaking out.  This website is an effort to give myself a voice and help myself feel more valid, speaking my truth.  Also I hope it helps other people who are like me, or not like me, to understand.  Thank you for showing up.

3 comments

  1. Hi Laura-Marie, I just spoke with Glynda today and I am so glad they told me about your new blog and that you are self diagnosed autistic. I am as well although I Do have a ADHD diagnosis. Thank you for your zines you sent me I’m sorry I didn’t thank you earlier!
    And I’m glad you said Enough to this cis het man former friend of yours! Because it’s true the Autism “disorder” criteria are based off of little white boys from Germany and England .

    I am so happy to find this blog ❤️ And to be part of the Autistic community with you

    1. oh hey, thank you for stopping by! 🙂 you are welcome for the zines. happy to be in community with you also. would you like to write a guest post for this blog? or share a favorite autistic resource?

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