The featured image is of the Neurodivergence Pride Infinity symbol, in rainbow gradient, on top of a yellow background.
I’m terrified, but I needed to do it. If I didn’t tell her, then I’d have to tip-toe around communicating about certain responses, thought processes, and coping strategies, and that’s too much masking to do during a freaking therapy session that’s supposed to have all my energy dedicated to healing trauma. So, here’s what I wrote in the “need to know” box of the intake form:
I don’t take my self-identification as autistic lightly. I’ve done extensive reading and have also found a community that I feel wholly seen in. I was misdiagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in 2019 when I was half off my rocker coming off of Cymbalta incorrectly. It did, however, get me to the proper therapy for me at the time, which was DBT. DBT actually gave me tools and skills to build for effective communication and emotional regulation, especially for handling crises. Once the pandemic hit, I had the opportunity to actually slow down and realize why I had been in harsh burnout since early 2019–I have been autistic in crisis all my life. (I have been entirely dependent on my mother for money since then until just this past month, which in transition is a struggle on its own. This, along with physical disability, is also why I’ve never really been able to hold down a job consistently…I believe I am in the PDA profile of autism which hasn’t helped.) Now that I’ve embraced that knowledge, I have a much better time accommodating and advocating for my needs, building and sticking to boundaries, and living authentically while connecting to others, though I’m still learning. I embrace my stims, my “happy hands”, my narrative noises, my weirdness, and after processing a lot, I’ve learned to use masking more as a tool/superpower than let it define me. I have less meltdowns now that I understand why they happen, which has been life changing as well. I will, however, probably always struggle with gauging my volume and dealing with loud noises/severely overstimulating environments, among other things. I’ve been on this self-discovery path for two years now officially, and am so grateful to finally be learning to love myself the right way and to be making friends who will (hopefully) last.
Fingers crossed she takes me seriously and doesn’t condescend or discourage me from my own understanding of who I am.
If you’re in need of peer support for living a neurodivergent life, among other things, I’m your guy! You can schedule with me here (read package information and scroll to the bottom to fill out a Calendly appointment time slot). Looking forward to supporting you!
UPDATE: not only did she embrace my self-identification, but she communicated with me in such a way that made me feel safe and understood. She also took time to go over my coping strategies and what roles she could play during session should I dissociate or have a sensory reaction to something. I think I’ve finally found a good therapist! Which is ironic, because of course she also has my deadname 😅