Autism Independence Day
It has been 3 years since I got my autism diagnosis. 3 years of freedom.
You may think it weird that I call it 3 years of freedom, but my diagnosis was freedom. It is my Independence Day. 1 February 2018 was my July 4th. Again, you may not get it so let me explain it.
Pre 2018 I knew that I was different. I did not know why I was different and sometimes the differences got me into a hell of a lot of trouble. I did not understand, and I kept a lot of myself to myself as when I let it out, I often got negative feedback from others, so I would lock it away. Ask my family, my activities outside of work would be to sit in my room and only come out when I needed a smoke, the bathroom or something else. Other than that, I would just sit in my room. I can honestly say people didn’t really get to know me until I got my diagnosis because I did not feel comfortable. Even my ex did not really know me that well because he would get annoyed with my “crazy” behavior.
I am now able to embrace myself. Before I was diagnosed, I was unable to gauge the world of work. I struggled with social situations and had my own façade of what a good employee was. This was so far from who I was as a person that I would literally burn out at work and then move on. The longest I stayed in one role was 2 years. The key thing was that I never asked for help. If I were struggling, I would keep it internal. The diagnosis for me made me realise that it is actually ok for me to say, “you know what I feel like crap today, so if you could leave me alone”. This was the biggest thing for me as I have been able to surpass my own history in work. I am still working in the same job for 4 years. I am now in my 5th year.
Autism Independence should be something that someone who is diagnosed as an adult, is proud of. People think that Autism is just a disability but, when you have had no support your entire life for this, finally getting the diagnosis would help you learn about yourself. You can use it to learn what works well for you and what doesn’t. Not only that but you can gain your independence which you may not have originally thought possible before diagnosis.
I mark my autism Independence Day on 1 Feb 2018. It is the day that I started letting myself shine. It is the day that I decided not to hide who I was and live by the rule of “you don’t like it, then don’t look”.
When was your autism Independence Day?