Well yes, yes I am austistic. Feel better?
I have had secret struggles my whole life. I kept them to myself. When you are different in an invisible way, it brings shame and a mighty case of imposter syndrome. After spending the last decade breaking free of so much, I finally decided to face this and get a definitive answer on what I had grown to suspect: that I had autism. The word tastes bitter. It makes me think of kids yelling at the "slow" kid with the coke bottle glasses, of the fat kid that smelled bad, of..... malformation. Factory reject. Of.... and in my mind it gets connected to the lifetime of shame ever since my mother told me I was her secret bastard child that she tricked my father into believing was his. Yeah, I have a full set of baggage.
But here it is, and here I am, and I need to deal. I went for the intense testing using the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Fourth Edition; the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS; Module 4); the Millon Clinical Mutiaxial Inventory, Fourth Edition; and "family interviews" with my husband and older sister since my parents (both the real one and the cuckolded one) were since deceased. Yeah, mom, I am still pretty salty about that. That is a shitty thing to tell a 16-year old.
And out popped this: F84.0 Autism Spectrum Disorder, Level 1, without accompanying intellectual impairment, without accompanying language impairment.
Well that last part was re-assuring. I may be autistic but I am not stupid. There I go being a smartass. Well, it is indeed better to be a smartass than a dumbass. Laugh it up, furball.
Reading the report was a surreal experience. It was about me, but not about me. It was like reading a Psychology Today article about someone else. *National Geographic"... and now we turn to the middle-aged American autist. Here are some scattered observations that sprung at me:
- She got lost coming to her second and third appointment.
-The first one too, but it's not my fault that the address of the building has little to nothing to do with reality.
- She appeared younger than her chronological age due to having her hair dyed bright pink and wearing glitter nail polish.
-Was I? Well I never have gross nails.
- She was bothered by the white noise machine.
-Those things suck ass.
- She didn't like the red blocks, did we have any pink?
-Perfectly reasonable request.
- She did not provide consistent responses to the examiner's social overtures during the evaluation but appeared to be putting forth her best effort.
-Thanks for noticing.
- She rarely made well-modulated eye contact with the examiner and instead used brief and fleeting eye contact.
-Okay, now I am self-conscious.
- Her social overtures towards the examiner were somewhat awkward, and she would not reference back to the examiner when pointing out something to see if she had gained the examiner's attention.
-I take that back. NOW I am self-conscious.
- She did not respond appropriate to the examiner's nonverbal cues and instead required direct verbal prompts. (ex: when the examiner held up a bag for her to put away puzzle pieces, she smiled blankly at the examiner until provided direction and also required continuous prompts to turn the pages in a book).
-Listen lady, I did not like those hideous blocks to begin with, and how the heck did I know what you wanted.
And that book was freaky AF. I am still thinking of those goddam frogs.
- She had difficulty describing negative emotions or imaging what other people did to make themselves feel better if they were lonely.
-Emotions just ARE. They cannot be contained in words.
And this was classic me:
Mrs. Harlos shared that she has a different definition of friends than everyone else, and reported she does not have any friends whom she interacts with in person on a regular basis. She explained, "I feel like I should want to have them," and defined friendship as, ""if they are not an asshole." However Mrs. Harlos also noted that this loose definition has often led to problems, because "too many people are assholes."
Well it's true, isn't it?
Page 2: ... overwhelmingly interested in the Libertarian Party.
Page 4: ... frequently mentioned the Libertarian Party.
Page 6:... when asked when her interest in the Libertarian Party began, she stated, "September 17, 2014 at noon."
Page 7:... conversations with her tehnd to be one-sided and restricted to her area of interest, which is currently the Libertarian Party, which appeas to be all-encompassing for her.
Anyways, it goes on and on including a painful recounting of my sensory issues and my tendency to upset other women without having a clue why.
And ouch... she takes pride in her self-reliance and lack of sentimentality, but at times experiences intense insecurity. Her MCMI-IV profile also suggests she display an at-times abrasive self-assurance as a defense to counteract past humiliations, rejection, and her traumatic history.
But at this is good... her overall intelligence was found to be in the High Average range and at the 90th percentile, representating stronger cognitive abilited as compared to other adults her age and with a strength in the area of verbal comprehension and short-term memory.
Oh and my sister got to describe in excruciating details how I would fly into temper tantrums as a young child and ram my head repeatedly into the wall. You would have thought that would have given my parents a clue...
Anyways, getting the diagnosis has been a fantastic experience.
I understand myself, and the shame is going away.
Getting the diagnosis has been an infuriating experience.
My life could have been so much different. And I resent that.
Getting my diagnosis has been a horrible experience.
Well true to above, there are too many assholes, and who knew so many of them were in the Libertarian Party. Ableist bullshit is alive and well and ignored.
Bad news for the ableist assholes.
I also have OCD. And this bigotry has numbered days, and I guarantee, you will give up before I do. I put my OCD to good use.
And now, I am going to claim my autistic privilege and....
That felt good. Damned good.
So haters. Listen up.