It’s now nearly three months since I was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, after a year and a half of waiting to be evaluated.
Like several others I’ve talked to who are at the same stage, I’ve found this a strange time that has been marked by alternating periods of relief, closure, elation, grief, confusion, doubt, and uncertainty.
Reaching the end of the journey to diagnosis threw me into the beginning of another; the journey onwards. Whilst there was a map for the previous route (a long, slow and fairly straight road from the GP surgery, through a featureless landscape to the autism clinic), there was and is no map for this journey.
That fact in itself takes some getting used to.
I also started to notice that I was beginning to forget the reasoning that led me to seek diagnosis in the first place. That doesn’t mean that those reasons went away (how could they?) but just that, as I once again readjusted to my own experience of “normal” (especially now that I’ve made some adjustments meaning that my autism doesn’t get “pressed” so often), I started forgetting my differences.
So, I started to become concerned that, if I allowed this process to continue, my journey to diagnosis would become like a distant memory of a dream, that I would drift back into my previous behaviours (full on masking) and end up burned out again – or worse.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of Impostor Syndrome – starting to doubt your diagnosis, and feeling that this new found resonance and acceptance doesn’t really belong to you.
At work I know the benefits of many types of document called “[something]-on-a-page”; they force a story to be told via the salient facts, and covering the whole landscape of a particular topic.
So I had the idea of putting all of my “Lessons Learned” about my own autism together, a “myAutism-on-a-page”; My Autistic Charter.
Here it is.