What if I were diagnosed as a child
Sometimes I wonder what life could’ve been like if I were diagnosed as a child, being allowed to develop on the conditions of my neurodivergent brain instead of pushed into a template that made me sick for so many years. Like in that nineties movie “Sliding Doors” with Gwyneth Paltrow, where her life takes completely different turns depending on whether she makes it inside the doors of a train or not.
Life is hard at times. For everyone. And far from everyone has the privilege of living under good circumstances. I am grateful for so many things in my life. But I guess being grateful and still grieve the fact I didn’t get to develop according to my neurodivergent brain and the consequences thereof can coexist?
Lost who I was and what I needed
Somewhere along the road when I grew up I lost the ability to identify what I needed. And above all, to ask for it. It’s a bit ironic how I ended up that “blurry”, since as a child I was more clear, both to myself and others. I guess just as children can be before social norms and expectations on how to behave in society shape them into adults.
Living life like a mayfly in high speed got me depressed and burnt out
My strategy adapting to a chaotic world and the fact that I early on understood being me wasn’t an option, was to hide my core and to run. Never staying long at one place. Living life like a mayfly. I burned so fast and quick. All my energy spent on masking and pretending. Until it was just ashes left and I became depressed and burnt out. Withdrawing from everything and everyone. Was it worth it? Would my life have been better if I knew early on I was autistic?
Grateful of experiences but still wondering what if
Living my life in high speed like I did before I crashed over and over again until I simply couldn’t stand up and keep going anymore, got me to experience very much in a short amount of time. I tried so many things. Different educations, occupations, places. Met so many different people. Jumping from bunch to bunch gave me tons of experience. I am very grateful for many things in my life and it’s not a long term option for me to walk around constantly thinking “what if” or “if only not”. Then I would break. But for the sake of my own healing, it has been valuable for me to recognize that life may have been unnecessarily hard because I wasn’t diagnosed with autism until late in life.
Better and more nuanced knowledge to prevent
I can’t relive my life. Even if I could, I wouldn’t want to. I am who I am because of all I’ve been through. For better and for worse. That’s not to say it hasn’t been hard. I wouldn’t wish for anyone to be that depressed, burnt out and bedridden for so many years as I have been due to living my life in terms of what society expected me to, not knowing my brain needed something else. Better and more nuanced knowledge of autism is needed to prevent others to push themselves into a template they don’t fit into and the consequences of that. If my experience can contribute to that, well I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was worth my suffering, because I think that would just sound cheesy, but it does give it a new meaning. For me, that meaningfulness has to coexist with sadness and anger over what could have been. But perhaps mostly over what could have been avoided.
Do you want to hear other autistic peoples experiences and thoughts about being late diagnosed, click here where I first posted this text –> https://www.instagram.com/p/CjpbNz3s6R2/
Thank you for reading.