Discovery post diagnosis

I’ve been reading a positive list of traits … it’s much easier to see my challenges are also strengths …

So attention to detail, passion for justice, loyalty…. these are all important to me.

But not knowing what I’m missing. Not understanding how I’m coming across . Feeling insecure because I don’t know what people think or mean … These disturb me. I’m struggling to see these in a better light.

I feel sad that my straightforward way of seeing things isn’t appreciated by others .

I try to problem solve and am accused of criticism .

I try to develop and am accused of undermining others .

I don’t understand why my good intentions are misinterpreted.

 

Feeling sad.

 

 

 

What’s me? What’s others?

The last few weeks I’ve been getti g feedback on how I come across  from people I trust.

One friend from church has said I’m difficult, aggressive and that people will pull away from fear of criticism . This is obviously hard to hear, but I’m trying to investigate this and work on it.

But people seem unwilling to engage … reluctant to tell me how it is. And this is really painful and disappointing.

Im told that most people will find this too intense and difficult . But I find it hard to understand .

So, all I can do, having asked for help is accept people’s responses and move on. I can recognise that people may not want to help – even if they do care. I can allow them their limitations as much as I want them to accept mine.

I feel judged and misunderstood. I feel angry that my friend didn’t tell me sooner. We’ve had conversations for several years about me not feeling like I fitted in.

I can however,  work on my relationships in future: Being patient when changes to routine or inconsistencies irritate me. I can remember that others don’t always desire the deep connection I do. I can accept my own weaknesses and not beat myself up.

And because all this is exhausting and leaves me feeling quite down, I can concentrate on gratitude which improves my mood.

Grateful for diagnosis which brings understanding . Grateful for a brain that makes interesting connections. Grateful for the people in my life who are supportive .

Reflections after a year.

So nearly a year on from diagnosis I’m mostly glad and grateful. Things make more sense. I understand myself better. I have hope for change.

And yet there’s still a loss. A sense of not being able to turn the clock back. Of feeling like I can no longer pretend I’m “normal”. Of course I knew that I wasn’t, but somehow acknowledging it via diagnosis puts that fiction well and truly to bed.

Conversely, I still doubt the diagnosis by an expert … because the NHS refused to accept it. So as well as feeling aware of limitations I also feel a fraud.

But, the relief of relating to others through Facebook groups and seeing stories which could be my own reflected back at me is immense. Finally I feel like things really do make sense.

Maybe?!

The making of a soup

Yesterday I received my formal diagnosis: autism spectrum disorder … Or Asperger’s syndrome.

As as a family we’ve joked about the possibility of me being an “asparagus” and yet I feared I was making a fuss about nothing and just needed to get on with life.

But the challenges of frequently feeling “out of step” have driven me to investigate properly and today I am very glad that I did.

When I imagined how I would feel I expected a sense of relief and indeed that is mostly what I feel.

Today life feels simpler somehow.  As if suddenly things make so much more sense: The confusion I often experience is real. The mistakes I make are not my fault. The disconnect between intellectual and emotional intelligence has an explanation. It’s just how I’m wired.

I’m grateful for a book I’ve been given which,  in a straightforward way, explains some common difficulties .

I wince slightly as I recognise traits I know are not socially acceptable . I’m amazed as I read about things I’d never noticed in myself before … yet which I can now clearly identify.

One interpretation of Psalm 139 v 13 is well known- “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”.

But today I return to the New Living Translation which reads ,

” Thank you for making me wonderfully complex”.

Never have those words felt more true. Today I feel I can celebrate all that makes me “me”.