A week ago, I was formally diagnosed with Autism for the second time in nine months.
See, I had been seeing this Human Lie Detector (who for the first time formally diagnosed me being autistic) but then I found out via my Bull$hit detector of a girlfriend that I couldn’t trust ANYTHING about him.
Not only was he involved in a kidnapping many moons ago, but HE BROUGHT HIS OWN CAMERA CREW TO SAID KIDNAPPING.
The man was full of shit, and thus (from my perspective) meant that anything he said could NOT be taken seriously in a court of law (despite the exaggerated marketing efforts from a con man).
I had been wanting to document what I have been seeing/ made aware of in terms of now owning the label “Autistic,” but because it came from a phony, I couldn’t take his word or myself seriously if I did.
There were a lot of red flags (more on those later).
Either way, I was frustrated that I felt in these series of completely surreal life experiences one of the only TWO THINGS THAT MAKE SENSE (having synesthesia and being autistic) still had a barrier to entry that I had no idea how to get through.
Who has “medical jurisdiction” in this case I wondered?
Refusing to let anyone or anything take my power (excuse me, superpowers) away, I then pounded the pavement knocking on Autism center doors …
… before I had received enough answers that “any psychiatrist” can diagnose.
I didn’t agree with that statement as sure “any” psychiatrist can diagnose it, but there’s still a VERY STRONG RATIO of psychiatrists that don’t believe “women can have autism.” So while they can diagnose it, I have to find one that doesn’t follow this extremely archaic belief system.
The current cost for Autism testing in Los Angeles County is between $5,000 and $10,000 (out of pocket as most insurances do not cover this type of testing).
I was pissed.
I was pissed for myself.
I was pissed for other women reading horror story after horror story surrounding diagnosis.
I was pissed for other autistic people in general who KNOW they are autistic and desperately want that validation to explain SO many things that now make SO MUCH SENSE.
When you’ve spent your life wondering if you are from another planet, finding “your people” via a diagnosis is EVERYTHING. I already knew I came in peace, I was also just ready to start understanding the pieces of myself.
“Trauma is like Pokemon Go for Autistic people,” my girlfriend Leticia so eloquently said upon our first meeting. Until you realize ‘HEY! I have a weakness in this area,’ you continue to not see it which only perpetuates the trauma/ recovery cycle more.”
Confused not in myself, but what my next step would be, I reached out to Leticia on FB to ask for help getting diagnosed.
I let out a big exhale on my kitchen floor after reading what she said.
She then sent over this video (which I watched … still on the kitchen floor).
Technically speaking my membership is still pending on the Autism group, but the Synesthesia one has been a total game changer. It’s very helpful to read other people’s words about their experiences, as it’s helping me day by day vocalize mine more.
I get asked a lot now about what life is like, and the best way I can articulate it is like describing a color. I’ve just always known it as a “thing,” like the color blue.
It just “is.”
I then decided, “hey, being diagnosed with Synesthesia is a BIG deal, and I haven’t checked in with my therapist in a while, so might as well do a quick ‘check in.'”
I didn’t care if she diagnosed me as being Autistic or not.
I know what I know, and hey, self-diagnosis is good enough for me if that’s what is on my life path.
She was surprised logging into zoom at my perky as a peach self.
My last two sessions started off with a heavy sigh and a conversation surrounding the actions of mentally ill narcissists.
Isn’t it great in this scenario, I see shapes around people, yet it’s not considered a mental illness! BRINGING A CAMERA CREW TO A KIDNAPPING IS.
She asked why I wanted a session and I explained it had been three months, and a 90 day check in felt appropriate after receiving life changing news.
“That’s smart,” she said as I updated her on life.
Half way through the session she asked, “do you still identify as being Autistic?”
“Yes,” I said with deep pride adding “and self-diagnosis is a ‘thing’ within the community.”
“Tell me more about it,” she said.
I led with how different my communication style is.
“I conducted exit interviews with my last two boyfriends. (Well, I waited six months into said time apart so I could get an accurate assessment.) I wanted to better myself and learn what I could work on.
They both said (separately) “I never knew what you were thinking and you don’t really communicate.”
I laughed after the first breakup thinking I’m a writer, that’s comical, and then I self reflected and recognized how active my brain is in processing ideas at any given moment. Not like processing the environment (I do that naturally) but taking abstract concepts and questioning if they could be related.
(At the time) I never said what I was thinking because I hadn’t fully thought it through. Imagine dating someone with a stoic face and asking them “what’s wrong” and the answer being ‘I’m thinking about the correlation between the increased rate of parachute pants I’m seeing and trying to understand if there’s a new Aladdin movie about to come out, or if MC Hammer really did decide that you CAN touch this again, and is making a comeback.'”
Note in 2019 there was a new Aladdin movie.
As I grew older I stopped saying what I was actually thinking because people thought it was weird.
“It’s masking,” I explained. “I didn’t know what it was but I do it a lot, it’s why people tire me out so much. Everyone thinks I’m a people person, but I’m not. My most natural state is an observer. I notice everything, and talk to people because there is no filter between thought and mouth – I blurt things out. Social cues never came naturally to me. I just got really good at processing them (I had to if I wanted to date and be social to people who read this blog), but it takes effort.
A lot of effort.
Even just from a sensory perspective, I’ve had seizures that after having an MRI were declared “unremarkable.” I had to have an EKG because I was having fainting spells. The Dr. came back noting I have a heart murmur but it’s almost super human because the hiccup actually allows my heart to work faster and stronger.
Medically speaking, I still to this day have NO IDEA why I faint and why I have had those seizures.
“Both are a tell tale sign of Autism,” she said.
For my own privacy, I can’t say what else was said, but she went from believing the fact that I believed I was Autistic to declaring it herself.
“You’re really good at masking,” she noted.
“Yes, but I don’t want to do that anymore. It got me here, which is great, but I’m even weirder than I let on. I also don’t believe I’m highly functioning, I just believe the qualities I have are rewarded in life.”
“What do you mean, she asked?”
“I’m the definition of a dog to a bone. I’m brutally tenacious, and won’t give up on any goal I am going after. How did I plan the meeting for my friend’s murder? I was in a catatonic state at the time, yet go into this LASER focus knowing I am going to execute.
(Poor choice of words in this moment, but you get the idea.)
“This is going to change your life,” she said before closing out the session.
“So I better get going and live it!!”
A very very huge thanks to Jeff, Lethal Linds, P&J, my family, unnamed therapist, Leticia … just everyone who has helped in the last six months. These diagnoses are COMPLETELY life changing, and I’m so fucking thankful to have the support in going through it.
If anyone has questions or wants to learn more about resources available should you think you have Autism too, ALWAYS feel free to reach out to jen at talknerdytome dot com.
Super happy to help!! 🙂
Love you, nerds.
I’m excited for what’s next.