It wasn’t a decision I made lightly. After all of the bullying and unkind social situations I have found myself in over the years I was rather fearful of telling anyone about my ASD diagnosis. I didn’t want to be the odd one out again. I didn’t want to give people yet another reason to treat me differently or to look down on me. I also didn’t want people to think it was just another excuse for me to not look for work and get a job like every other human being has to. I wish I was like every other human being, but I’m not.
I found out I was autistic in February 2020. At first, I was speechless. There was no way in hell I thought I would be diagnosed with ASD. I knew something was different about me in my head, I just wasn’t convinced it was autism, so when I read the result of my autism assessment on my letter, I was surprised to say the least.
Then after I’d had a few days to digest the information I was equal parts sad and angry. Why hadn’t this been picked up on before? I had seen multiple healthcare professionals over the years for my mental health issues and not one of them had ever suggested autism as a possible reason for my behaviour. How had it gone unnoticed for over a decade?
After that came my journey to accepting my diagnosis. Only in the past couple of weeks have I truly come to terms with my autism and what it means for my future. I have put into place professional support for myself with the charities MAIN, MIND and ManHealth who I can’t praise enough with the help they have provided me with so far. I strongly encourage anyone who needs help with any autism related issues to get in touch with MAIN and they will surely point you in the right direction. The same goes for MIND and ManHealth with anything mental health related. They are both great free services.
Now we are in July 2020 and I finally put it out on social media that I have autism which ultimately led to me starting this blog. I was amazed and overwhelmed by the supportive and positive responses from everyone who got in touch. It’s the first time I’ve not felt alone outside of my family circle for a very long time and I will be forever grateful to all of you who did comment or message me that day. It confirmed to me that I had made the correct decision to tell people and that my initial fearfulness was thankfully unfounded.
To anyone reading this who is yet to open up to other people about their mental health I strongly encourage you to confide in someone. It can be someone you know or a complete stranger from charities such as MIND or ManHealth, but I can assure you that if you do you will not regret doing so and the more you talk about it the easier it becomes.
Just look at me. At one time I wouldn’t say a word regarding my mental health, now I won’t shut up about it.