This is what autism looks like:
Right. It doesn’t look like anything. And much of the time, I’m okay on the inside too.
But there are times when I’m not okay. Like last night. Lucky for me, I now know that I’m autistic (I found out when I was 32 years old, officially diagnosed at 34…just last year) and I usually know what I need and how to help myself when I’m not okay. You may still occasionally see me struggle. I’ll probably still weep or otherwise express wild emotions in public now and then and I know this isn’t comfortable for you nor is it for me, but for the most part, I’m able to get out of this in one piece.
This wasn’t always the case—such as when I didn’t know I was autistic and didn’t know what I needed.
I’m not saying being autistic is an excuse to act a certain way, but knowledge is power. Instead of judging myself harshly (or having others judge me harshly) when I’m struggling, I now know that I’m struggling for a reason and how to fix it.
Without knowing, you can’t fix.
Enter more severe mental health problems. Enter more misdiagnosis’ and incorrect medications (luckily never experienced either of those—but this is way too common among autistics).
It’s infuriating to me that these revisions to the DSM-5-TR is going to make it even harder for people to get an autism diagnosis, and it’s even more infuriating that they think autism is over diagnosed when it is very much the opposite.
Especially in women.
This revision will only make it worse.
So, all I want is for autism assessments to be more accessible to women (and men!) so that a) we can stop masking, causing more mental health issues, and b) maybe have the knowledge, help, and support we need/deserve. 🤞🏼