Good morning everyone! The holidays are passing by and I hope you all are enjoying them to the best of your ability.
My writing journey is going so much better than I ever anticipated. Two months ago, I have made the decision to rejoin a writing community called Hope*Writers (Instagram: @hopewriters) and I am so glad I did. It’s definitely helping me take my writing more seriously and inspired me to begin journaling again.
Speaking of writing, I had a thing happen on December 16 of this year: It was 4 PM EST. I had just gotten home from work and was in the process of taking a short break before cooking dinner. I decided to check my Instagram page for updates, likes, etc. I suddenly noticed that there was a message from a woman I will refer to as Sarah for confidentiality. Within her message, she told me that she’s been suspecting that she is on the Autism Spectrum for awhile, but was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. She preceded to discuss her symptoms during her childhood and adulthood. As I was reading over chats from her, I began comparing her experiences to mine. What I discovered was incredible. Our symptoms are so much alike. It was like looking at my own reflection in the mirror. Our communication style matched completely. I immediately suspected ASD as she and I were chatting. I did not inform her of my suspicions at that moment because I did not want to get ahead of myself. I shared my thoughts with her the following day.
As far as the symptoms we share, Sarah and I…
- Suffer from depression and anxiety. Both mental health conditions are commonalities among autistic individuals.
- Experience repetitive behavior. This is the main sign of ASD. Repetitive behavior includes repeated movements with objects and limbs, as well as repeated questions and phrases.
- Both had IEP’s (Individual Education Plan) during our school years. This is a blueprint detailing Special Education support for special needs children and/or those needing extra help.
- Were both speech delayed. We both attended speech during our school years.
- Experience hypersensitivity. There are people with ASD who are overly sensitive to sound, touch, smell, sight and taste. Others experience hyposensitivity (having a harder time with stimulating senses than usual). Being easily startled or feeling the need to cover the ears when someone applauds you are examples of hypersensitivity. Turning up the TV higher than normal and an attraction to bright lights and colors are examples of hyposensitivity.
I personally feel relieved to have spoken to Sarah. I thank the good Lord for our conversation. Speaking to her encouraged me to keep speaking out about ASD.
Meanwhile, there are thousands of children and adults like Sarah around the world. There are those that have a hunch that they are autistic but do not have a clear diagnosis. Others simply feel out of place from their peers but have no clue why.
I cannot imagine being in their shoes. This is when I realized that I discovered who my audience is. My message is not only for the diagnosed, but the undiagnosed as well. My hope is to encourage the diagnosed to be their authentic selves without masking their quirks. Also, I hope sharing my message will provide clues for the undiagnosed to the point where they decide ”okay, it’s time to go get an evaluation.”
I know that sharing my message will not make ASD any easier to live with. I completely understand. I just feel called by our Heavenly Father to find a way to help those living with the disorder. The best way I know how is by writing it down continuously 🙂