It’s funny, in a dry, dark manner, that I missed writing last week for “Take The Mask Off”. Why? Because it was about burnout. And I feel like with everything on my plate right now, I’m flirting on the edge of burnout. Not only did I not write, I didn’t do a podcast either. Not sure if my unintended sabbatical actually helped me or not…
This weeks topic is about diagnosis and self-awareness.
First, I want to address self-diagnosis. Personally, I self-diagnosed as autistic probably about 18 months before I was actually diagnosed. For me, it didn’t do anything though. I still approached life in the same manner as always. That being said, some people have suffered a great deal more than I ever have, but have gotten nowhere with physical and mental health professionals. This is where self-diagnosis often comes in to play. There is no option, so they choose to identify as autistic anyway. Why? Because it makes sense.
I’ve not only dealt with trolls online who call this attention-seeking behavior. I have older extended family who have been in the medical field that have spoken of my poorly behind my back thinking I’ve self-diagnosed (which is no longer true since I’ve got a diagnosis). If the medical field will learn how to deal with us properly, we’d no longer have a need to self-diagnose at any level.
That being said, there is one big reason I will advocate for everyone having the opportunity to be dealt with properly and receive a formal diagnosis.
Validation is a human need. Introvert or extrovert, autistic or not, human beings have a need to be accept. That’s why I support formal diagnosis for all who can.
When I received my diagnosis, I’m became very self-aware. This is because I suddenly had answers for everything in my life unanswered. I had to spend some time understanding where everything plugged in though. This is a journey that will be different for every single person.
How did my diagnosis effect my masking? I stopped. I refused to do it anymore. Sure, I take a lot of flak for being myself. That’s a fraction of the trouble I would cause for myself by masking, especially when I would mask, fail at it, then have to try an answer for the failure and have nothing concrete to say.
I still have a lot of PTSD. To this day, I still get told about how I’m a grown man and I need to handle stuff when I miss getting something done. I’d be foolish to say that didn’t effect me. Where my biggest difference comes in to play now is self-care. I know how to handle that when I’m alone. That’s easy. Making time for self-care when others are around is tough.
Respond to your self-awareness! Take care of yourself.
Also published on Medium.