On the Underwhelming Reality of Confirming the Obvious
[This one is a bit of a sleeper but here it is for the sake of completeness.]
The day finally came! After months of having started my official diagnosis process, many more months waiting for even the initial orientation appointment, years sorting out whether it was even worth it to pursue said diagnosis and decades of wondering what was “wrong” with me! (see my post I Did Not See this One Coming explaining the “beginning” of my journey, realizing that I might have Asperger Syndrome.) Finding and getting an appointment with can expert in adult (late) diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders was not exactly easy. The process was also complicated and lengthy. And the progress itself had been enlightening and instrumental to understanding my early childhood. (see My Brother, My Keeper describing part of the diagnostic assessment)
At times, during the days before the actually appointment, some anxiety kicked in. I had a hard time being patient enough to wait for the confirmation of this diagnosis. As much as it made perfect sense to pursue it, and even more so, it have become even more evident how much sense it made for me and how it explained my challenges so well, it still was technically possible that I would somehow receive a result such as “does not meet the criteria for ASD!” The fact that some people had found out about it and kept asking for the “proof” didn’t help one bit. Well meaning or not, it was annoying! I wanted this thing over with!
I was finally there and I was given my diagnosis and recommendations. It was explained to me that I indeed met the criteria for Asperger Syndrome, or as per the DSM-5, of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD Current Level 1). This process had been intense so far, but it had taken so long, that I had made peace with this label, after facing and grieveing for all the challenges I had experienced through my life as an undiagnosed “Aspie” (see Burned Bridges, Lost Opportunities.) I had even found a supportive online community, I had already found my “neurotribe.” I received valuable feedback and recommendations for the next steps on my journey, but I also felt that I was “well on my way” at least in some areas, most of all, self acceptance of my neurodiverse self! It was clear to me that this moment was not really an end but a new beginning. In the following days and weeks I would gain even more insights thanks to having pursued an official diagnosis, but on that specific day I felt next to nothing. I could really summit it up with my answer to the psychologist after receiving the news; “I am not surprised!”