If you know me, you’ve probably seen or heard me refer to myself as a robot. An alien. A cryptid. An android. And, when I am feeling human, a bad person. I learned recently that this is common among people who discovered their autism later in life.
Full disclosure, I haven’t been diagnosed with ASD by a professional. It’s difficult to diagnose in people who aren’t boys, and I only started looking into getting diagnosed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. But I’ve spent the last six months taking autism screening tests, reading first-hand accounts, talking to diagnosed autistic people, and watching YouTube videos of people like me (here is a particularly helpful channel). And who I am has finally started to make sense.
I’m writing this because those firsthand accounts helped me see myself and how I operate in the world more clearly than I ever have, because hearing firsthand lived experiences helps me far more than clinical, pathological terminology tailored to a particular subset of the autism population.