This year I discovered that I am Autistic. I am so relieved 😅.
I told a few people at the time, but everyone looked at me skeptically and I questioned whether I was right. Now I know I was right. Life has confirmed my suspicion!
I first started to suspect there was reason to feel different when I read Odd Girl Out. It’s a book by a girl who discovered she was Autistic in her forties. Same as me. You see the psychologists and psychiatrists of the eighties genuinely believed that autism only manifests in boys. They were wrong, it just looks different in girls.
Girls are expected to conform to the ideals of empathy, friendship, sociability to a far greater extent than boys. So guess what, Autistic girls, usually very intelligent people, pretend they are the same. Autistic girls mask who they are just to cope with everyday life. At great cost. To themselves…
Of course, we live in the same world as everyone else. Of course, we need to fit somehow. I’m not sure we should be compelled to constantly pretend though…
In my life, I have offended many people. Most of the time, I had little idea why and once the realisation dawned, would have to contemplate why for a long time. I have lost many friends without having a clue why. As a result, I often choose work over socialising as its just easier for me. Work feels like a hobby. Socialising requires a high degree of effort. I think differently, I feel differently, confirming takes exceptional levels of effort.
My validation came from these two blogs, they are not official lists but I believe most girls like me will relate to them. To be honest, going through 450 symptoms takes a long time and just doing it seems to me an indication of autistic qualities. Please do get in touch if this list resonates with you:
One thing that occurred to me recently is that love feels different to me too. I love my family and friends, I just don’t show it in the same way as a regular person. Daily chat and small gestures are not something I do naturally. My love is more observational in a way. I look at the people I live and seek to understand them. Quite often I don’t so this gesture requires high levels of effort on my part. I think this is the alternative indication of love. I also routinely choose to remain in contact with the people I live, despite the effort I need to put in. I may not remember birthdays or feel able to reach out to them, but I hold them close in my mind and my version of heart.
I am proud of my intellect. I feel sad I have lost friends. However, I am going to be me from now on… Despite the risk, I cannot maintain the pretence anymore. I wonder how many other girls feel like me.
To being myself. To fitting in a world that will hopefully understand the odd ones better in the future.
Love Ruth x