The Relief of My Autism Diagnosis at Age 37

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Earlier this year, at age 37, I was finally diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. It provided me with a lot of relief (and even excitement), and that might also be the case for people who are diagnosed later in life, too. No more feeling like I’m on the wrong planet. No more wondering why I process so slowly. No more wondering why I cannot pull myself away from my main special interest (psychological disorders), and no more wondering why everything becomes a blur and mix of noises when I enter crowds or drive. The list goes on, but I’m sure you get the gist.

Artwork featuring a woman's face, conveying a sense of feeling in another world
It was like I was in another world.

The picture posted above was one I worked on a few years ago. It’s me. It tries to convey my feelings about being “out of this world.” I hope I never happen to lose this photo. It reminds me of how I’ve managed to live my life without a firm identity, feeling like something was different, but not knowing exactly what. I got through a lot of tough times, but it was much more painful then than it is now that I know there are others who feel the same.

I have a brilliant therapist and doctor as a team. We’ve worked together for years, and I can’t imagine where I’d be without them. I can now say I no longer feel like an alien — I’m autistic!

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