Ask an Aspergirl

Essays and poems about Autistic experience, mental illness, & (post-) ABD life

Tag: therapy

Shelter in peace

The girl who sits before you contains multitudes — feeling far too old to be this young. I’m getting used to this back-and-forth dialogue. That lives in present, past — where trauma echoes and hope lives. I contain bunkers and bomb-shelters, yet another reminder to self, “You are good; this is just hard.”

The coffee on the table nearby is steadying in this fog. Chairs find their way — just close enough to read text and expression of this twice-a-week narrative.

There is shelter in this place, a room contained by time and affirmations of feeling. Of belief. There is a peace in just enough questions when answers would be too easy to explain away. Sometimes why’s don’t help. I am living in the how.

Blue would be too obvious — an explicit expectation for a calm that makes no fucking sense. So the room settled for shades of green and grey-near blue. The sunlit boxes are my favorite. This space contains a multitude of words. Feelings identified in the expressions her body makes — pain, tension, pain. I thank my body for giving voice to what I’m learning to name. Sometimes simpler words leave me as my anxiety rises — a friend’s name… I’m sitting in a — oh, chair.

I apologize to my body for what she understands far too well. Pause for breath before the words flood this box of stories. Sometimes the best I can do is describe the inexplicable. There are no why’s; the how’s and when’s and what’s ache with a body who knows more than I do.

Present tense — wrist aches, shoulders in and of pain. All I have are these words — sometimes I cannot say them aloud without brain and heart attempting an exit. Leaving my body and pounding through my chest.

I’m learning to feel things in real time. My feelings are returning slowly — anxiety felt, disorienting, but recognizable. Anger is a cloud of words, tone questioning this nonsense that she keeps happening. Sadness is a relief away — she comes so briefly. Only when I’m safe enough to mourn. I sit in a chair beside her; trying to explain what I don’t understand myself.

There’s validation in being told I am real, seen, that the lists holding me together are working and it is a feat of bravery to hide, to ignore phone calls, to grieve a storm that hasn’t passed entirely.

Vibrant metaphors find a home here — in this holding space — banking, castles, shelters, waves — then plain words — I hate that this keeps happening. This hurts. Why do I have to be so strong? There are no answers, only the safety found in an expression of kindness, of surprise.

I don’t know what normal is anymore. I suspect she doesn’t either. I find shelter in stories of becoming and sometimes being with is just enough.

Writing in present tense

September 19, 2016; at womyn’s writing circle.

It’s strange not to know what to write about not writing — about not being myself and no longer wanting to write about in-between, but that demands a hope that she cannot muster.

Present tense is rather mundane until it is not and then the writing comes in an account, so that she might believe herself afterward. When the apartment is quiet, but not safe enough, and she is sitting on the floor asking a stranger to help her brain and body meet again.

When writing is a laborious exercise, it’s easier to not. When the feelings come, they pass by before they may be described, as she plays a game of 20 questions with herself: anger looks like, sadness looks like, fear looks like. But sitting in her bathtub with the lights off seems too much to be believed.

Why write about what has no perceivable conclusion that is at all satisfying? Sometimes all she can do is write the words of others she hopes to believe herself. Not writing is a scarily easy exercise when the descriptions are repetitive and concentration no longer working.

When she isn’t writing, she wonders where she is — this undefined space of not yet and right now is rather exhausting. And she cannot write her way out. Sometimes the only writing that comes is a frantic record of “I can’t believe this is happening. Do you see it too? Am I overreacting?”

When I mostly write notes to myself to contain the present — when so much of this description has happened before, it’s an exercise in realizations she never wanted to need. More pieces in the never-ending work of things coming apart, of losing — of fearing this memory will be underwhelming.

This narrative has happened before and she only writes in hopes of being believed. She documents events that seem utterly surreal in the telling. Almost laughable in the sheer absurdity of not hearing her at all. Why respond when it doesn’t even matter? Giving up on explanations, she settles for a silence marked by shaking body and fingers pressing into a keyboard.

The only writing that comes is here right now and then in the me too’s of “I know that ache.” When I believe you is still a surprising response. When the present reality is documented in frantic texts and images captured on screen — knowing that the why’s will not bring peace. They are yet another story she tells herself until sitting across from this witness; who is astounded, then sad — who seems to have more feelings than she does.

There is no poetry in this present ugly, cannot change, only survive, endure. Doing the best she can, not her fault at all.

She listens for truths she is trying to believe — hoping to reread them into existence. When there are no whys that want to stick. Only shaky misunderstandings in search of a how.

Before you go

I don’t have a metaphor for this leaving, not yet. In the space between two ordinary chairs, there are stories.

Two more meetings, then a hand-off. But this is not a relay race, and I am not a baton. Lately this space has felt like a series of I don’t knows. Trying to describe a blankness, a lack of feelings. Lack of words. Lack of understanding. Lack of me.

What are you thinking? I don’t know — when my body is here and brain feels far away, not fully awake. Sometimes I wonder if the knowing matters. But I keep coming back. You need more scaffolding, she said. A few more months, and then you’ll go. And I’ll stay here. Never hearing the ending, but imagining for you.

This talking through is hard when I can’t explain. When I’m never fully present. Can you hope enough for both of us?

I didn’t want you to feel abandoned. But you need more — different — than I can give you. A more frequent dialogue. For this girl on a deadline.

I think you’ll like her. I’ve heard this several times, from the women who listen to my stories — my confusion — my pain.

Sometimes I wonder if we’re stuck, and I am moving on. But that’s not it either. Almost 4 years of witnessing this becoming. This fear of getting stuck. This anxiety, this depression. This fear that I am not enough to outlast the oncoming storm.

I am packing up my stories and moving to another room. Of unknowns and someone else’s process, hoping not to get swept away. Wondering if she will see this backstory.

How hard I’ve worked to stay floating in the rising waters.

She is helping me pack. Don’t forget your raincoat and galoshes. I am taking the metaphors with me. The stories and the rejoicing peasants.

I am going. She is staying here. As my life is expanding slowly.

Thank you doesn’t feel like enough. For pushing me just a little bit further. For watching, listening, being with. In this becoming. In the wondering how I will get through.

For the not knowing and the you can name yourself. This is not fixing or even changing. This is seeing into an adulthood she doesn’t recognize yet.

When I feel fragile and lost, it is memory-keeping. I am learning to hold onto this secret hope, believing in a process when the product seems uncertain.

Two more meetings to send me off. I’ve given you all that I can. Now it’s time to go somewhere new. New skills. New stories. I send you off knowing the believing yourself will come.

Even if it’s at the end of this story. This chapter is filled with footnotes. With she did it anyways. I want you to remind yourself when I can’t.

Because you are brave and resilient, even on the days when this feels like pointless suffering.

I wanted her to be proud of me. Maybe she is. This abstraction sitting across from me. I will carry her hope with me — the fertilizer and watering in the driest months.

Thank you for the ground — as I bring the sunlight — maybe that’s too big a task. Emotional nuance does not bend easily in the presence of metaphors.

Sometimes not giving up looks like continuing on, into the next story.

I look forward to its telling. In sprouts of words.


Down the rabbit hole

This is the first entry in perhaps a series of blog posts about my 10-day psychiatric hospitalization in May 2016.

This is me, sitting in Dr. W’s [my therapist, a clinical psychologist] office. Last week, she poked at me until I cried [metaphorically with repetitive questions and empathy]. I suppose there’s no good way to ask your patient if they’re suicidal. She asks me again this session, and I keep answering her queries with too specific details.

I trust her enough, so I tell her what I know: That I’m afraid I’ll stop being careful, have a lapse in thinking [in wanting to be done], and I’ll find myself in traffic. Halfway through session, we stop working and Dr. W starts calling inpatient units and day hospitalization programs.

I’m scared. Hospitalization (“a higher level of care”) was never an outcome I, who took medication as prescribed and went to therapy regularly, expected. But here I am: She calls, then explains to them (“autistic, very high-functioning, my patient…”), and then reassures me. We repeat this pattern, until Dr. W. finds someone who can admit me the same day.

She makes sure I have a ride and writes down the address for the psychiatric hospital: private, quiet, a rest; I hope. Maybe this is the worst it gets. I’m disappointed in myself and scared. I leave J. a message. She picks up, and I talk about real time, where my depression has gone — is taking me. And I am lost.

J. comes to Dr. W’s office; I see J ask Dr. W. professional questions; I’ve never seen J. the MFT [marriage and family therapist], just my friend, the woman who leads  my writing group. And I am scared. Dr. W. gives J. a plan to keep me safe, and we call another friend (M) to drive me to the hospital. Dr. W reminds me to stay close, to stay safe. In the car with J. She takes me home.

I finish my sandwich — lunch eaten hours later. J gives M. a list of what I should pack — no sharp objects, no drawstrings or laces, simple crafts and books to keep me busy [I wish I would have known only paperbacks were allowed], comfortable clothing. I am going to the psych hospital.

This is scary. M. picks out my clothes, goes through my purse from that day — tosses out possible contraband. I keep talking, trying to steady myself in this new reality. We make me a list of phone numbers before we leave [my close friends, my clinicians, and the cafe proprietor]: “All these people care about you Big Time!”

We get in M’s car, and I promise to make her stop if I feel the urge to jump out (her child locks don’t seem to be working, so this is our contingency plan) — this is terrifying. I talk; M. drives. This doesn’t feel real. I don’t feel real. We reach the gates.

I get out of the car. I fill out intake forms and high-five M. for the boxes I don’t have to check. [What insight I still have — into myself and my mental state — feels valuable.] I wait. M. stays with me. The nurse arrives, and we fill out more forms. Neither M., nor I, are prepared for this, but we try. To be calm, even lighthearted. I am checking myself into a psychiatric hospital — dear god. M. leaves and promises to contact those who need to know.

I sit my iPod. The electronic Irishwoman reads the Bloggess’s Furiously Happy to me. I get a cardboard t-Rex out of my [coping skills] bag. The bag with the rainbow of hearts on it. I wait with a sack lunch from the hospital fridge, a well-needed dinner. I distract myself the best I can. I meet with the social worker who describes my patient rights and then another nurse. We walk to the unit. It is late.

I show an MHA [mental health associate or psychiatric tech] my body, dressed in only a sports bra and underwear. This is for my own safety: checking for injuries and hidden items. Because, as my paperwork states descriptively, I’m a danger to myself. This is the beginning of my vulnerability.

She tells me to run my finger along the crease of fabric under my breasts. I’m not hiding anything. She is professional. We perform our roles well. I sit at the desk with the unit’s night nurse who fills out more paperwork with me. She is kind and reassuring. [I learn later that this nurse works with children too.] I am scared and exhausted. The unit is quiet.

This is Wonderland.


After Wonderland

“I’m free,” I thought to myself. After 10 days of fewer choices and disempowerment, I am returning to the regular world of normal people with fewer visible mental health problems and mental illnesses.

But I don’t feel free. I feel lost and without power. I exchanged one set of problems for another. I want to tell the uncaring folks — the too busy and too tired to care more than they are legally bound to do so — to go fuck themselves!

Anger is so much easier than sadness. Because sadness is what sent me there. I hurt until I am numb. Find my tears again in the safety of another mother’s phone call. Not changing, just listening.

I met so many women like me — there are only so many reasons why our brains give up on living and take us down with them: anxiety, depression, trauma. But did anyone tell you how brave you are? For living, for signing your fate away to a locked ward. For losing your safety and yourself to try to stay alive.

To submit yourself to an uncaring system, to learn to live with pain, to find a community of women in pain, struggling through just like you. You are brave merely for trying. For giving up your freedom to find it again. You are finding your own answers, asking what do the labels mean. Do they matter? Do I matter?

What if we are talking ourselves into nothing? I can no longer listen to bullshit words that hide the truths we are too afraid to witness. What if we are broken and that’s okay? What if we are a days missed pills away from another breakdown? I saw another patient on the bus — more lucid, more herself — her pain, her struggle, was louder than mine.

My anxiety, my depression — the pills I take to prevent an attempted murder by brain. I am so much closer to the edge than I like to realize. I am learning to trust doctors again — to insist on my words mattering, that my quiet voice and unspoken fears be heard. That my trying (sometimes failing) is brave enough.

Perhaps bravery is persistence. Another crying phone call. Sitting with the numbness — emotional bubble wrap. Being brave is accepting that existence is exhausting enough. Bravery is saying aloud, I don’t trust you, as I sit across from my psychiatrist and her sitting there listening, believing me. Being with, acknowledging and understanding, not explaining away the hurt.

My therapist thanked me when I explained how little I trusted professionals like her. She kept room for hope, while understanding my sadness. I wept and cursed; she listened. Holding space. Instilling hope. These are clinical skills. But this is also being human.

I left today’s session with unexpected hope. I described a fire that burned away my trust. But seedlings keep finding their way to the surface. Perhaps we will nurture this fragile hope — with water and time — patience and soil — compassion and sunlight —  together.


Metaphors for self-compassion: The imaginary figures eating my cereal

I reach for elaborate metaphors to describe emotional experiences I’m trying to understand. Shame becomes a monster, crouched by my shoulders. Anxiety is the neighbor who somehow wandered into my house and insists on eating my cereal, while sitting comfortably on my couch, refusing to leave. Self-criticism becomes an enormous iron machine fueled by the thoughtless words of others and my own self doubt. Metaphors help me to fill the gap between the hurt of these experiences and my lack of words to describe just how badly I feel then.

I’m practicing not judging myself when I’m being self-critical and thus ashamed of myself — into infinite loops. My therapist calls this practice, self-compassion — to look at myself like I would a friend that’s struggling or a fictional character whose frustrations mirror my own. It’s easier to be less judgmental towards people who aren’t me. Self-compassion is noticing the strength of my own history — the resilience I’ve shown as I’ve managed the anxiety and learned to care for myself emotionally.

This is hard, and it hurts. Yes, it does. I suppose that’s how the growth process works. But it will come to hurt less as you practice accepting this current experience — even when it hurts, especially when it hurts. Because fighting against it and assuming you’ve done something wrong to encounter these frustrations hurts worse.

This is where I become increasingly self-critical. Because even mindfulness is a difficult practice. To see and acknowledge without judging myself. To be there in the hurt without blaming myself for causing it. I realize it’s easier sometimes for me to blame myself because at least then, I have some (perceived) measure of control. But that’s not true. I am not to blame for the worrisome nature of the period between written exams and oral exams — certainly not for the ambiguities of dissertation proposals and post-grad queries.

Often I feel like I should be doing more, assuming that would quell my anxieties. But I’m learning to recognize what I’ve done, the growth I’ve already experienced. This is so hard, but I keep practicing. Working through meta-shame (shaming oneself about feeling ashamed) is a lengthy process.

I’ve been having a hard time lately — with sleep and with seeing past the stresses of graduate school hurdles. This underlying fear that I am not enough, that I’ve failed to anticipate some trait in myself that will be my undoing is so difficult to shake. Sometimes I borrow the hopes of others: the reminders from my PhD mentor saying that I’m a good writer who can finish this program.

Perhaps hope is replaying that imaginary tape — the one stating, I will eventually be okay, until I come to believe it. To imagine a thriving space that hasn’t arrived, where a future version of myself is both making and finding her fit. It’s imagining how I’ll be enough and valuing the unique vantage point I have as an Autistic woman researching autistic experiences.

For now, self-criticism and shame are my neighbors. They sit on my metaphorical couch, while they make pointless comments about the television programing and complain my cereal is stale. I get off the couch to pour my own breakfast, learning to coexist with this unwelcome company. We glance at one another as my day continues.

Being patient with myself is a process.

An internalized sense of wrong

Before our session ended, I left my therapist a copy of “She did it anyway” because I wanted her to understand how it felt to fall apart in front of a friend. Maybe I wanted her to see how hard grad school had been for me lately — the weariness and isolation that comes from pushing yourself to do tasks you remain unsure you’re capable of accomplishing. I’d forgotten how often I referred to shame in that poem, until she brought up the topic during my next session.

Let’s talk about shame, she said. Because although you were actively shamed by a professor who didn’t understand how your disability impacts your schoolwork, this is not the first time you’ve felt this way. You and shame have a history together. For some people, an internalized sense of wrong becomes part of their identity. Maybe that’s where your autistic traits and the experience of shame overlap.

I feel like I’m constantly developing workarounds to mitigate the tasks I cannot do the typical way. To avoid the notice and unnecessary questions of others, I’ve learned to hide this process. It seems that visible disability and quirkiness are merely different perceptions of the same experience. I am struggling, but how others interpret this behavior seems to depend on my value to the person. Do they notice my strengths amongst disability? Do they ask how they can help, rather than imply I’m not trying hard enough?

Back to shame I suppose. It’s a topic I avoid thinking about much, even as I live with the experience of it. I remember when Brene Brown’s TED talks were often mentioned in the department. Okay, I acknowledge that I experience shame; now what?

For me, internalized ableism — the sense that I should be able to do things I struggle with, and if I can’t, then I don’t belong — is a source of shame. It’s hard for me to ask for help because doing so requires me to acknowledge my confusion and seeming inability to meet the requirements of my role.

If I can’t develop a timeline for finishing tasks, maybe I shouldn’t be in grad school. Why can’t I consistently meet deadlines? What is wrong with me? That’s what I’m really asking, regardless of how I phrase it.

I’m learning to ask for help. A few weeks ago I found myself crying in a friend’s cubicle, realizing I didn’t have to explain the extent to which I was struggling because my body was showing her. I tried writing down why I was so upset, and she waited out the tears until I could explain what I needed.  She listened and helped me make a task list. I emailed the task list to my PhD advisor to keep me accountable. She continues to remind me of my competencies as a grad student in the midst of my struggles.

And so we learn to speak truth to shame. This is what I know — and even when I don’t, this is where shame cannot speak to my experience. Because shame is wrong about me. So I keep writing and doing, even when the act of trying feels like pretending.

Serpentine hallways and waiting rooms

As I took the elevator to the private mental health clinic, I felt vaguely terrified. The hallway of the third floor office space was serpentine, but each entryway was clearly marked. Law firms, clinics, and assorted businesses lined the walls. I arrived early, hoping to avoid getting lost on my way to the clinic.

And so there I was, approaching the closed windowed help desk — ring bell, wait, and receive yet another stack of fun forms: what I sarcastically call intake paperwork. These past few years, I’ve filled out plenty of documents about my life. Intake feels like an exercise in describing everything that is wrong with me.

Who are you and why are you here?

I wonder that too sometimes, but I suspect you’re asking for my mental health history. “Describe in two sentences what brought you here today.” I don’t know if I can do that.

I’ve managed to fit my backstory onto a two-page document. It feels more succinct than the experience itself. I’ve grown familiar with waiting rooms. I know the rhythm of my usual therapist’s office, but the clinic was new (and therefore inherently scary). Preparing for new is still difficult for me. I spent the earlier portion of the afternoon at the neighborhood cafe. Routine is steadying on these sorts of days — when I can’t predict or plan for the events that follow.

In the half-hour before my session, I noticed myself fading away. I sat firmly in my seat. My brain wandered across town, filled with anticipatory anxiety about seeing the new therapist.

You know about autism. Perhaps you can help me in my sensemaking and workarounds. But maybe you’ll tell me I’m entirely wrong — invalidating my process, invalidating me.

That was the fear. The idea that my brain found utterly terrifying — hence its running and fading. Before leaving the cafe, I informed the kindly proprietor that I was feeling horribly distant from myself. I knew I could manage; I was already returning back to myself, but the feeling was still disconcerting.

The appointment itself followed the all-too-familiar script of first sessions: “Tell me about you and why you’re seeing me.” I talked. She asked questions. I attempted to respond, but often found myself lost in the dialogue. I stimmed through much of our conversation, as I wrapped green putty around my nail beds. By the end of session, new therapist informed me that although she has a special education background, she knew as much about autism as my primary therapist does. However another clinician in the building, Dr. M., has extensive experience working with autistic clients. In the meantime, new therapist agreed to help me apply to Disability Services at school.

My research background leaves me pretty skeptical of autism professionals, but I still asked to be placed on Dr. M’s waiting list for December. Perhaps she’ll have a cancellation, but until then, I’m in another waiting room. I left the clinic feeling proud of myself for going to the appointment and wrote post-session notes to myself. If I forget to summarize such experiences, my mind tends to negatively distort the details of session.

I wish there was a definitive ending to all of this. I didn’t get to leave the office triumphantly with an autism label in my hand. I still haven’t seen a professional with an extensive autism background. I know she exists, but mostly appears to see children and adolescents. I still feel like a unicorn. These in-between spaces are hard; I know I’m autistic — my social, communicative, and behavioral traits are consistent with an autism spectrum diagnosis — but I have yet to meet a professional willing to confirm my thought process.

For now, I remain “in this created space — creative space.”

We are ourselves, with little explanation. Needing no one else to fill in our gaps. We are our own. Here anyway. Coda. Yet this space, although not enough, is a starting point. Free from labels or to label as we wish. Existing together in a shared collage of narratives.

We are here in this place. We fit. We belong. And we are enough. Together.

Show me the place where I fit.

I long for a land that’s free from explanations — a space that’s mine. The interwebs were a start, a collection of words transmitted across these bounded spaces — to women who understand because they’ve lived it too. To feel utterly isolated, but not know why is terrifying. We grow tired of all of the words necessary to feel heard — the explaining, reexplaining, the doing the best we can; not sure if it’s enough.

Knowing just how hard managing can be, still is. We become incredible self-advocates — keepers of our own stories — because we have to — to be ourselves; to find a measure of self-understanding. As we learn to believe ourselves. Of course this is a thing, she replied. It just is and you are thriving. Perhaps you’ll notice that too in these found, transformed safe spaces.

In text, in verse, in exchanges of retweets and favorited messages; we are found. We are loved. First here, then in real life. Can we really distinguish between these spaces? Safety. Communication. Assured mutual support. Perhaps that’s enough.

We’re not just practicing; we’re living, becoming ourselves — across timezones. In a series of 140 characters. In images shared. In complexities of thought somehow expressed in 2 to 3 lines. It’s another way of being, reminded we are “different, not less” — conventional pragmatics as a second language.

How are we doing this? Don’t know… but we are; she stopped explaining — leaving space to merely be. Watch me be — learn for yourself. Perhaps you’ll watch as intently as I do, trying to be heard; longing to understand, to be understood — across settings feels impossible. Too vulnerable. So I try in this series of spaces, hoping these verbalizations will stick.

Get off me, shame! You’re not mine. Sticks like magnets. I shake you off again. Hoping for an internalized sense of safety, I listen intently to your words, longing to believe them, knowing I will.

I am slowly becoming myself across these mediums — learning to find my fit. It’s not due to my lack of trying when you miss the point. These words are coherent, but not easily understood. Explaining. Rephrasing. Saying them again. Maybe I’ll be heard. And yet I’m not to blame for these misunderstandings. That’s not my shame. It’s yours. I shake it off slowly.

I am learning to be myself — slowly. There is nothing wrong with you. That felt sense of wrong isn’t yours. Never belonged to you. It was left for you by a series of short-sided, distant, emotionally distracted people. They tried, but it wasn’t enough. Never was. But you are, enough I mean. Finding you belong. Your own narrative in this collage of stories.

Getting unstuck is exhausting, but worthwhile work — out of the muck and mire, you emerge slowly. But in this process, you are enough. Continuing on. Learning to be, without pushing or pressuring. Speaking. Verbalizing. Waiting for understanding to stick.

It will, she said reassuringly. And it — and you — will be enough.

On labeling myself and wondering why I feel silly

Of course they are

“So that happened. I felt scattered all over the floor by the end of session:  ‘I just want someone to acknowledge that these things I’m experiencing are actually things!’ And of course they are.” <– text to a friend sent post-therapy

“In the space between weird and clinical label is a lot of self-acceptance and working through these hard moments (very real things).” <– note to self

Silly is dismissive. Silly says conciliatory things like “I’m sorry you feel that way.” And yet sometimes I feel silly when I label myself. I need to hear someone outside my own head say, “I think you’re right. The characteristics you’re describing are consistent with the experiences of an autistic person. You’re autistic.”

Last week, I finally talked with my therapist about realizing I’m an autistic woman and wondering what to do with that information.

“I hear your experiences. I know they’re real, even though I’m not here to label you. But I’m here, and we’ll talk. I want to honor your narrative and self-definitions”

“What if someone in this room could tell you who you are — because you can. I see how hard you’re working to understand yourself.”

As I described the ASD traits I’d seen in myself and how I felt like I had to prove I was autistic, my therapist noticed I was growing increasingly anxious. I looked down at my shaking hands, reminded that my body tends to know I’m anxious long before my brain does. I’ve been seeing the same therapist for long enough to know that she won’t invalidate my experiences and yet finding the words to have this conversation felt terrifying.

My sister was one of the few witnesses to my growing up since my parents were distracted by their own issues. She lovingly reminds me that I was a quirky kid who wore a lot of sweater vests and used unusually large words for my age. I wonder if my autistic girlhood went largely unnoticed.

Maybe I’m waiting for someone else to confirm these experiences — to hear my narrative and help me make sense of it. Part of me still worries that I’ve created an unnecessarily elaborate explanation for why I have trouble fitting in with others. But last session, I asked my therapist to piece together a list of clinicians who evaluate adults for ASD. I think I’m ready to see where this process goes, even though it’s scary.

I’m learning to trust my own thoughts and feelings as I find the words to describe myself. They are real and certainly not silly.

Coaching Along the Spectrum

Because nobody is an island.

The Little Explorers Activity Club CIC

Autism Friendly Holidays & Pony Rides

sleep wake hope and then

life as an autistic (former) grad student

Craig Nash


piper grace lynn

writer. feminist. human advocate.


life, love, kiddos, recovery

Seeing Double, Understanding Autism

raising awareness and understanding the perspectives of children and adults on the autism spectrum

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Let's Queer Things Up!

Talking mental health with Sam Dylan Finch.

hayle williams

If you are afraid to write it, that's a good sign. I suppose you know you're writing the truth when you're terrified. [Yrsa Daley-Ward]


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