Writing

But You’re Not Autistic

“But you’re not autistic.”

I spent a lot of time dealing with “imposter syndrome” in the first year or so post-diagnosis. This was part of the reason I wanted to get a diagnosis—I wanted to have someone back me up. I wanted an outside source, an unbiased third-party, but I also wanted to have a piece of paper I could point to when someone pushed back with the idea that I’m not autistic. There are those whom a piece of paper will not convince, but the important person to convince is yourself. There was a lot of doubt, especially with such a drastic shift in world view, but it was very reassuring to a have a degreed professional agree.

But I also needed to convince myself. I wanted it to be true, and because of that, I had doubts about whether it was true or not. Was it only true because I believed it? Even after the diagnosis, I had some doubt. Did I just con a professional psychologist while simultaneously conning myself?

Having an old friend push back on it was interesting. At first I found it frustrating, but as I stood up for myself, I felt a little more confident. Self doubt is one thing, but I had a list of reasons, proof, evidence, all the things that led me to seek a diagnosis in the first place. Strangely enough, arguing with a friend helped convince me of the truth of it.

As time as gone on, the sense of being an imposter has faded. It’s really similar to when I got my first tech job, and feeling like I had somehow conned my way into the kind of job that I had been dreaming about for years. I finally found a home with my identity, and it felt too good to be true, and certainly someone was going to come along and take it away, rightfully, because this couldn’t be true, could it?

But it is true, and two and half years later, I’m really starting to get a handle on myself. I’m accepting the fact that I need some supports, and I’ve gotten a lot better at reading my own mood. I have a much better idea of who I am. I am autistic, and it doesn’t matter what an old friend or a professional psychologist might say. It’s the truth.

One thought on “But You’re Not Autistic

  1. I was a little worried about pushback too. And the first few people I told were a bit surprised. But then I told my sister, who I have only occasionally been in touch with over the last twenty years. But she just said, “I’ve always wandered if you had Asperger Syndrome.” She had researched it when wondering about herself, and everything she read about it sounded like me. I figured that was reassurance enough.

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