Why I Stopped Telling People I Was Autistic (Updated)
Updated: Nov 22, 2021
It wasn't that I was ashamed of being autistic.
I was actually proud to get diagnosed.
It made me feel like filling my house with bouquets of flowers!
Finally, I understood why I struggled.
And it opened the doors to the autistic community.
"I would never hire someone with autism. They're so disorganised and they're supposed to have really poor hygiene as well."
I made sense to myself for the first time.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of ideas floating around about autistic people...
Ideas like, autistic people are weird. Autistic people are rude. Autistic people are awkward. Autistic people are childlike. Autistic people are obviously autistic.
The worst part about these ideas was that I lost confidence in myself.
“He’s weird but he’s not like autistic-weird or anything.”
We need other people to be ourselves.
Other people hold us in their understanding.
When they don't or can't do this we often feel as though we are "wrong" or have to hide who we are to fit in.
I had two choices: to hide my diagnosis, or to talk about it openly and risk being doubted and misunderstood.
"My new neighbour is really rude. She's probably autistic."
The thing I wish I had known most when I was young was that autism could look like someone like me. All of the subheadings in this post are things that people had said to me after I was diagnosed, but before I had told anyone. Not everyone can be “out” and open. Without the help of this podcast, I don’t think I would have had the confidence to do it either. The first episode marks a “before” and “after” moment in my life.
Myths will always need to be busted.
I used to be scared of them but not anymore.
They make a fun popping sound as they explode.
Listen to this pivotal conversation with me and Laura James (author of the amazing Odd Girl Out) by clicking the player below:
The episode was recorded with a live audience of autistic women. Here is some of the feedback sent to me after:
"I am going to share this with my family. Thank you!"
"It was so amazing to be with so many autistic women. Never done that before. Thank you."
"Will you be doing this again? Can I send you my email? Please keep in touch."
"I always keep thinking if I am really autistic but listening to you I feel like I really am and it is really really a relief"