That thing where you notice a bunch of neurodiverse/divergent/atypical characters on TV shows and movies and they sort of trigger all these things from your life like ticks and habits you trained yourself out of and things you find comfort in and things that bother you but not other people and then also things doctors said but they didn’t diagnose stuff like that at the time and just tried to prescribe meds that you refused, so then you take a bunch of ASD/neurodivergency/Aspie tests online and then you’re like “Ohhhhhh,” and you tell your mom and she’s like, “Duh,” and that’s why people accuse you of being a robot sometimes or call you Spock and it’s actually a thing and you’re not just a weirdo without explanation but then also like no way are you going to a doctor or something to confirm the diagnosis just so you can point to one specific bucket of weird and maybe they would try to give you meds or just say “Good job on training yourself out of a bunch of your weird stuff and good luck with the stuff you’re stuck with,” but it maybe would have been nice to know this 40 years ago.
That was a Facebook post I’d written on July 21, exactly one week after my 47th birthday. It was a lot.
I’d noticed some references and characters lately on television that spoke to me in an interesting way. I mean, I’d always known that I was a weird kid, that my brain fired a little different, finding certain numbers comforting, having lots of food issues and nervous habits, running away to hide under a table if anyone sang the birthday song at me, not understanding romance at all–and so much more that will come out slowly as I dig into all of this–but my family and friends and I largely shrugged it off because I was pretty functional. And a few years ago I said out loud, “I’m sure I’m somehow on the spectrum,” without really knowing anything about it to a friend when she was working on getting her kid in for an assessment. But once I saw full characters portraying some of the traits I had or still have, it made me think a little harder on it.
So, I went into research mode, but casual style, because whatever. I took the Aspie Quiz and saw my score and closed the page without reading anything else, because it freaked me out. I listened to a few podcasts, watched some YouTube videos, and read a few blogs, heightening said freakout. Then came the Facebook post that took close to an hour to write, to get that rambly, “Hey guys, freaking out here but I’m still just gonna be casual and funny about it” feel. My friends were supportive and helpful in a way I didn’t want to admit I needed, pointing out how diagnosis in girls/women is different and difficult due to how we tend to mask from a very young age and the fact that researchers focused on boys to build the autism model, or how a formal diagnosis could prove helpful.
Since then, I’ve done some more research, cracked open a fresh notebook to detail as much personal background as possible, and I’m now on the waiting list to schedule an appointment for an assessment at the AARTS Center at Rush here in Chicago. (Yes, that’s two steps removed from the appointment–I’m told it’s a 6- to 9-month wait, since they were completely closed for a while due to COVID-19 and are now quite backed up.) While I wait, I’ve started this here blog and will continue to research and operate under the assumption that I have some kind of austism spectrum thingy going on.
My posts will likely be a mix of dissected memories, trait/quirk inspection, and interesting info I stumble upon. Maybe some “this happened to me today and it’s relevant in such and such a way,” if you’re lucky. (Luck nothing, that will 100% happen.)