My husband picked up my written diagnosis from my Psychiatrist last week.
For months, it has been confirmed to me that I have Asperger’s/Autism from the many professionals I have seen. As Asperger’s is not in the newest psychiatric manual, but instead falls under the umbrella term of Autism, they have used the term interchangeably, and so have I.
The official diagnosis that I have received was for Asperger’s, which is certainly more fitting.
There is something about having the diagnosis in written form that makes it more real to me. Yes, it had been confirmed. I haven’t seen anyone since I started this journey last December that said, “maybe.” It was always, “yes.”
Still, now I have the paper.
Asperger’s Disorder… along with other co-morbid disorders – those came as a result of being undiagnosed until I was 38 years old, along with childhood abuse, and a failed adoption, which resulted in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Asperger’s Disorder. Will people believe me now? It isn’t like I have talked to anyone who didn’t believe me; maybe I just needed that paper as a final piece of proof.
I am not upset to know that I have Asperger’s. It is good to know. It is good to know that all of those nights that I cried myself to sleep after spending the day being reminded by others of how different I was – how I didn’t belong – that I now know I was never supposed to be like them.
I don’t believe I would have liked to have grown up without having Asperger’s Disorder. I would have liked for others to know, but I really don’t think I would have wanted it to be removed. It is who I am – I just wish I had been told that it was okay to be the ‘different’ person that I was born to be.
Perhaps it would have been helpful to not be so sensitive to my environment… to not fall apart because someone was listening to their music too loud, or had the TV on all day, or smelled bad…
But then there are benefits to my sensory issues… how comfortable I felt wrapped in the hide a bed mattress with my brother and cousins sitting on top; how safe I felt hiding on the top shelf in the linen closet; how happy I felt breathing in the scent of my cabbage patch kids and Strawberry Shortcake dolls; how comforted I felt rocking side to side in a hammock, like a baby in a cradle.
Even now, though I feel I am often assaulted with negative sensory experiences, and it makes it difficult for others around me, the positive experiences almost make even that worth it – if only others could understand that when I ask them to stop, I am not trying to control them, but to calm me.
It is true that I rarely talked as a child and teen, and that throughout my life I have been much stronger in writing my thoughts than expressing those thoughts verbally, I don’t really wish I could have talked more. In fact, I much more often regret that I started talking much at all – I instead would have preferred that people would accept that I would rather write to them than talk.
I have always struggled socially – but I like to sit on the sidelines and observe. I like to watch a lot, and interact little, and only when I am ready; and contrary to what others have always felt was best for me, I don’t need to have a lot of friends. I am happy alone, most of the time – and there has always been someone… maybe not there with me all the time, but I have always had someone in my life who was happy just to let me tag along… if only other people wouldn’t have told me it was wrong.
So I have my diagnosis of Asperger’s Disorder, and as I start to peel away all of these characteristics and thoughts that do not belong to me, I want to say that as a person with Asperger’s, I don’t want to be healed. I don’t want to be fixed. I don’t want this to be removed from me.
I want to be accepted for the person I am. I want to be understood.
I have Asperger’s Disorder, and I am okay with that.