As usual this post comes with a trigger warning for talk of suicidal ideation and self-harm.
I finally got my autism assessment letter. It’s scheduled for next month. My parents have booked it into their diary so they can come too and can talk about how I was a totally normal child who walked before she crawled. Ate her food in a strict order. Chewed the furniture, her hair, school pencils, cardigan sleeves. Walked on tiptoes. Got upset if someone sat in her seat. Watched TV upside down. Drove them up the walls with her relentless playing of a-ha records. A bookish, lonely child who collected stamps. Who had a meltdown every day after school.
I’m so much more obviously autistic than my autistic daughter. I’ve spent 47 years feeling so lonely and outcast and knowing that I don’t belong anywhere. I would be lying if I said that the thought of ending it all and making everyone else’s lives better by ensuring my permanent absence wasn’t always lurking there in the back of my mind. Those who deny the suffering of adult women with autism but without intellectual disability because we fly under the radar are deluded. The suicide rate of all autistic people is increased above the general population. But the worst rates of all are in women like me. We have the worst suicide rates of all. Of course we do.
And yet there are gatekeepers. The increase in people being diagnosed leads some people to suggest that some of us are faking it. Being autistic is now cool. So we want in.
I’ve spent a lifetime being bullied and ostracised and rejected – to the point that I’ve suffered regular panic attacks for 25 years and now have agoraphobia as a consequence. And now (some) diagnosed autistics don’t want me to have access to online advice or support from other autistics (note that I’m not trying to access the same medical services, besides I can get them by turning up at my GP’s with a new self-harm injury) because I don’t have the piece of paper that says I have autism. Let’s be clear here, there is bullying online from autistics towards others seeking a diagnosis. Bullied people sometimes turn into bullies themselves. Hence why a proportion of school shooters in the US turn out to be autistic. To be honest, it’s about time neurotypicals took a long hard look at themselves in the mirror and really thought about all this supposed “empathy” that comes so naturally to them and wondered why autistic people are sometimes driven to such violent acts.
This is all leads to Schrodinger’s autism. It doesn’t matter what my life looks like. I don’t have autism. I can’t have autism until it is conferred upon by a professional. A bit like a face-to-face university degree, with about as much suffering. So I am in limbo. Like Schrodinger’s cat, I am neither dead nor alive. I am neither autistic nor unautistic.