This is my assessment “cover” letter. I was asked to write a page on why I believe I am Autistic. I wasn’t going to share it, but with the assessment a few days away and how raw I’m feeling I thought why not share it on here, maybe someone can relate and know they’re not alone. For some reason writing this overwhelmed me to the point of tears. I’ve never really had an issue with being honest, openness is a whole new ballgame for me (and I suck at ball games!) xx
Why I believe I am Autistic.This is harder than writing my autobiography. I don’t believe I am Autistic, but I don’t believe I’m not either. It’s something you are or you aren’t, that’s why I need official validation one way or the other. I’ve read your book I Am Aspienwoman, Samantha Craft’s Everyday Aspergers, Rudy Simone’s Aspergirls, Temple Grandin’s Thinking in Pictures, Liane Holliday Weilly’s Safety Skills for Asperger Women, and followed blogs of, and conversed online with, many Autistic women. I’ve long had a drive to “figure myself out”. Although I often appear to function well externally in situations, internally I can describe it analogically as a bunch of puzzle pieces floating around, some connect, others are random puzzle pieces thrown in to the box, and I never seem to create the whole picture. (I realise the irony of using an analogy of puzzles pieces with a possible Autism diagnosis, but it works as an explanation). For the first time in my life, through researching Autism/Aspergers in females, more of those puzzle pieces are fitting together. The random pieces don’t seem so random anymore. It’s hard to explain, especially verbally, everything is hard to explain verbally. I’ve always felt that I was different from others my age; I’ve explained a lot of my life away over the years with explanations that seemingly made sense, looking back over it with an Autistic perspective has been insightful at times, not always positively. It’s been quite an emotional roller coaster the past couple of months. I’ve wondered if I was supposed to be born a male or maybe I was born in the wrong era – and maybe this explained why I have always been drawn to males and adults. I thought I was socially awkward because I have low self-esteem due to body image issues. I’ve never understood why I don’t find comfort in touch unless I initiate it. I’ve never understood why I only like spending limited time with people and this can exhaust me but I can’t ask someone to leave. I’ve never understood why I get so far with things and then quit. I’ve never understood why I get fixated on words spoken in conversation and constantly try to make sense of them or need to ask for an explanation, why I can only listen for a short period of time before I drift off, why verbal instructions generally go in one ear and out the other. I’ve never understood why I don’t feel the way others do; they can express their emotions so clearly, I can’t work mine out. I don’t know why I feel the way I feel, let alone what I feel. I’ve never understood why I bottle everything until the point I explode – and feel exhausted and numb and apologetic afterwards. I’ve never understood why I can’t deal with issues but would rather close out the world and “get over it” in solitude. I’ve never understood why I am so sensitive to criticism, even perceived criticism – I shut down. I’ve never understood why every year as an adult seems to bring more problems; I’ve been an “adult” for 11 years, why isn’t life getting easier? Why can’t I be a successful adult? I’m intelligent, I think I’m a nice person, I’d do anything for anyone, but internally I seem to be in a constant turmoil that I can’t make sense of. I can read books and articles but I can’t read people. I struggle to let go of the past and things and people that have hurt me. I over-think and over-analyse so much, but it’s not as simple as “stopping”, I can’t, I lose sleep, I stress and get overwhelmed because I can’t find answers only more questions. I feel like I am constantly stuck in “fight or flight” mode; and flight is my go to option. All of my “interests” are solitary; reading, researching, and photography. No one seems to care or relate so I mostly keep to myself. I’ve pushed people away with my inconsistency – I’ve said horrible things to the people I love, it’s no wonder some of them have walked away. Being a Mum can be quite tough, socialising for me is awkward, I can’t do “imaginary” play, I hate being jumped on or having questions fired at me rapidly, high pitched squealing and screaming makes me snap, it’s really hard for me to stop myself from correcting my son whilst he is learning. It’s really hard for me not to be critical and correct everyone! Basically I feel like a failure as an adult and failure as a mother a lot of the time with no explanation. If I am not Autistic I hope you are able to shed some light on why I have so many difficulties. This is as open as I’ve ever been with anyone, I really need an answer/explanation so I can work on myself or at least accept myself and work on building a support network for when I’m not coping instead of letting things get to the point of boiling over.