Four years ago this evening, I was sitting in the stairwell outside, not far from the front door of our apartment. Clutching my smartphone in hand, and a white-hot-burning compulsion to know. Information tidbits like jigsaw puzzle pieces boomeranging around in my head. An empty search box with a blinking cursor at the top of my screen taunted me, daring me to google my query. Checking the boxes next to the questions of the first questionnaire that popped up in the results.
Staring at the quiz score, eyes widening as I scrolled down for the scoring key.
My life was never the same again. Ever.
I’m not sure how long it took for the thought “wow. I am on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum. I am autistic” not to be the first thing to cross my mind every morning, but I’m sure it could be measured in months.
A year later, my partner made me a small cake to celebrate the anniversary of my discovery, his term for it being “Aspie birthday” in a way that can only be described as extremely supportive. The year after that, he took me out for sushi to celebrate the same. And a year after that, he was out of town, but my “Neuro-Brother” had come to visit us for a few days, getting in that evening. 😉
Today is quieter, with no specific celebration plans, but that’s OK. I’m still celebrating in my head, and people around me are unspokenly supportive.
Indeed, the emotions are mixed. Of course I’m relieved that I found out I’m on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum, especially when I did, because let’s face it: my situation was getting pretty dire, and nobody else had any answers, not even the counselor I’d been seeing at the time. Textbook a presentation as I had, especially for a female, nobody nailed anything down. It’s not that I flew under the radar; it’s more like the professionals’ radar was calibrated to too coarse a setting, too narrow an impression.
The emotional mixture comes from…I’m not sure what. Maybe it’s simply fatigue from school, the Masters degree program, from which I’m now on break between quarters, gearing up to start my last quarter before graduation, knowing that it’s probably going to be my most strenuous quarter yet.
Or maybe I’ve simply settled into a content, matter-of-fact baseline, having processed the lion’s share of the emotions, memories, adjustment, acclimation, exploration, and eureka! moments that came with the life-changing, game-changing new discovery, and I no longer feel the compulsive drive to run the endless internet searches on This or That.
And that’s OK. If indeed the latter possibility is the case, then maybe that means that, after about 4 years (maybe a little earlier), I Have Arrived.
Arrived where? At what? Contentment, maybe. Or possibly indifference; “yep, I’m on the spectrum. I’m still me, and life is still life.”
I spent the first year reaching outward to find my tribe, the second year returning inward and reclaiming my own core, my third year in school, and my fourth year outside playing after school (and work).
School is a lot of reading and writing. The latter requirement has probably sapped my limited supply of creative juice for the time being. Writing about facts and figures, according to rules set forth by someone else, in response to a postulate or assignment given by someone else, does not exactly fire up the muses who usually bicker amongst themselves in my ear. The unemotional, grounded left brain often counteracts the creative, inspired right brain.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Within a matter of months, life will revert back to a pre-school routine. Other factors have changed in the meantime, so I’m not sure yet exactly what that means for this blog, but I do know a few things right now…
1 – I am *not* deleting this blog. Even *if* I ever stop writing, I will leave it in place, as is.
2 – And in fact, I will likely continue to add new content (even if very sparsely) as I’m inspired to write about something Aspergian/autistic.
I’d like to share with you some of the earliest posts, written within the first couple months after I discovered that I’m on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum…
- No One Knew Me – a walk-through of my discovery process
- “Serenity”: A Pleasant Surprise Guest Post – a word-for-word essay by my partner (which is highly unusual for him), in response to my finding out about my neurotype
- Positive Aspects of Asperger’s/Autism – a collection of findings from my very first or second AS-related google search
- My Experience of a Late Asperger’s Discovery, As Seen Through a Creative Writing Filter – I actually wrote about my perspective as “lyrics” to Disturbed’s cover of the Simon & Garfunkel song “Sounds of Silence”
- And other posts in the My Asperger’s/Autism Discovery category
Anyway, yes, I’m still here. I’m good. My brain is panting a little from all the non-blog stuff I’ve been doing over the past couple years, but it’s here, too. My brain is limited, but it’s here. 🙂
Last but definitely not least, I want to thank all of you who have commented or otherwise contacted me to check in on me, send me your well wishes and encouraging words, and so on. I honestly–honestly–cannot tell you how much I appreciate that. I do receive these messages and read these comments. I do appreciate all of your wonderful thoughts, words, feelings, and cheering on. I really, really, really do.
I’ve got this list of Things To Do once I graduate. One is to get back into the gym (lol). Another is to respond to all of the so-far-unanswered comments that people have written. And another is to write more comments on other peoples’ blogs.
I hope everyone else is well, too! I’ve been following all of you as best I can from the WordPress Reader, and I do try to keep caught up on that, at least once a day, spanning back over the past 24 hours, give or take.
Big (AS-friendly) hugs to all of you!