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  • thehumanisticautistic

Acceptance

I’m autistic. I’m adhd. I didn’t find this revelatory and life saving information out about myself until I was in my fourth decade on this earth…


Our current medical model and diagnostic assessment processes of identifying autism and adhd are deficit based. We don’t see an individual as having a different way of communicating, we see a deficit. We don’t see a difference in the experience and conveyance of empathy, we see a lack of it, determined by a different and majority experience. We don’t see honesty and a strong sense of justice, we see deficits in social behaviours. We don’t see intense curiosity, we see ‘weird’, and ‘full on.’


From as early as play group, through to primary and junior school I wasn’t really noticed. I was a quiet, studious, details oriented girl moving more quickly than my peers in areas such as reading and writing but I kept myself to myself - living for the most part in my imagination. I didn’t fit the stereotypes of autism and adhd. I sailed quietly under the radar, until I began to sink.


So many things that came naturally to my peers, just didn’t for me. I mimicked, I studied others, and I did my best to hide all my non-conformative quirks. It didn’t really work though and I experienced years of bullying, emotional and physical abuse, and was perpetually misunderstood as a walking contradiction. I stood out, as much as I tried not to, to those around me and other children. By the time I reached adulthood I had squashed so much of my authentic self in order to ‘fit in’ that I didn’t really know who I was at all beneath the layers of pretend.


When I sought help as an adult after years of anxiety and depression I was finally diagnosed autistic but all I saw was a list of shame inducing deficits on my autism report. I was soon after diagnosed adhd and though my experience with the assessing practitioner was much more positive overall, it was still a relatively hard read.


It’s #neurodiversitycelebrationweek and at this stage in my life, having unravelled years of masking my true self (unravelling that is still ongoing), I’m now quite proud of many aspects of my neurodivergence.


I’m proud to be able to work with and study neuro-affirmative therapeutic support as we see many people being late diagnosed - just like I was.


I’m now actively tackling the decades of shame I’ve held onto, and last weekend I got a new tattoo. A heart rhythm in a spectrum of colour, with a semi colon at the centre; my story is still evolving. I will no longer hide my difference at the expense of my health and my authenticity.


I’m different, yes, not ‘wrong’.


And I’m celebrating, not just accepting, neurological difference.



Alt text: picture is of my wrist with a heart rhythm tattoo across it in a spectrum of colours. A semi colon at the centre.



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