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Feeling more comfortable with my diagnosis 08-16-2010 03:50 pm ksuther09's Blog
It's been 6 weeks since my official diagnosis of PPD-NOS (atypical autism) and a little more than 2 months since I began the diagnostic process.
Sometimes I find it weird that I'm 'adjusting' to a condition that's been woven into my genome and that has expressed itself all my life. I think the adjustment comes with knowing that autism is a part of me and pervades but yet doesn't completely encompass who I am. For example, I know that some of my traits & limitations can affect the way I work, but the fact that I am on the autism spectrum can't necessarily determine my career path.
Before I knew that I was on the autism spectrum, I would try and hide or reduce my autistic traits as much as possible because I was trying to be 'normal.' However, now that I know that I'm on the spectrum, I'll allow some of those traits to come out if they're not disruptive to what's going on. For example, during a meeting at work, things got a bit emotionally tense, and I let myself stim a bit. I do it with my hands and it just looks like I'm holding them funny. After work, I gave myself some time to go to a park and swing since rocking sensations calm me. Earlier, I would've told myself that swinging at the park wasn't developmentally appropriate for my age, but now I realize that it's adaptive for me.
Also, I'm letting myself pray & connect to my Creator in my own way sometimes just by crying or not being completely verbal when I pray by myself and I'm feeling something too intense to verbalize it. I know that I'm being open with Him and He knows what's happening in my brain and emotions even if I don't or can't express it. Beforehand, my solitary prayer life during intense moments was hard because I thought I had to completely verbalize everything for it to 'count.'
One thing that's really helped me get comfortable in my own skin is being on this forum and seeing how others have managed their lives with Aspergers Syndrome or other Autism spectrum disorders. Another example I've looked to (because I am a nerd and also from CSU) is Temple Grandin. Reading her work made a lot of my symptoms suddenly make sense.
I think the hardest part of adjusting to my diagnosis is feeling shame around it. For much of my life, I was verbally shamed and degraded for not being normal. With the knowledge that I will never be normal, I will be tempted to feel shame because I will never meet that bar. However, knowing that my Creator made me for His purposes, has good that will come out of this, and He has saved me so that I have hope beyond this life keeps me from descending too deeply into shame and is the thing that brings me back up.