It’s Autism Acceptance Month! To learn more about what that is, exactly, please see my intro post from this year and this post from last year.
Today we have a very special post from my friend, Vanessa Matelski! Vanessa draws chronic illness comics as PotsieSpoons. She uses the comics to show various aspects of her life. Vanessa is also autistic, and I wanted her to provide her perspective on autism and how it impacted her before diagnosis. I hope you enjoy reading this post as much as I did! Please check out both her website and Instagram!
All of the images in this article were created by Vanessa! Make sure you follow her on Instagram (@potsiespoons) to see all of her fantastic illustrations and comics!
Read Her STory, Here:
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” A common phrase almost all of us have heard at least once in our life. (At least I know it’s common here in the western USA, let me know in the comments if it’s common in your neck of the woods!) Even though it’s common, it’s a phrase I do not like. At all.
The phrase is supposed to mean “make the most out of a less-than-ideal situation.” Yes, it’s a good idea to take whatever circumstances life has handed you and try to make the best of it. However, I’ve found it gets used a lot to minimize or dismiss uncomfortable feelings. Using this phrase, or other phrases, to dismiss the negative feelings that come up when life gives us negative situations does far more harm than good.
When life hands you lemons, it never hands you the sugar needed to make the lemonade. It’s alright to be frustrated, or even angry, that now you have to go track down some sugar and take the time to make the lemonade. If life had handed you the oranges you had ordered, you would already be enjoying your citrus-y snack!
My menstrual cycle came on September 12th. I just sighed, and put in my menstrual cup. No underwear was ruined, even though it started while I was sleeping. Why? When the spotting started, I started wearing pads. I always spot for at least a few days before my period starts. “Now that’s not optimistic” may be what you’re thinking. And, you’re right.
Yes, I’ve heard of “implantation bleeding.” I’ve also read that many of us spot before our periods start, so that the only way to tell the difference is if you end up with no menstrual cycle and a positive pregnancy test after the bleeding. Trust me, I Googled the heck out of it when I first started trying to conceive.
The cycle that started on the 12th of September will be our 17th cycle since we started trying to conceive. Seventeen negatives. Seventeen negatives without any explanations. And I’m starting to go numb to the entire process. I need to.
Please watch this video by Jessica, she’s amazing and this video really hit home. Warning: you may cry during the video!
Originally, I was going to do a different post, but this video just struck me.
Being sad at Christmas can really feel like you’re breaking some sort of unspoken rule. But, honestly, I’m pretty sure it’s relatively normal. Christmas (and this season in general) has such a focus on happiness and blessings and family, that if any of those areas aren’t “perfect” it stands out like a neon sign.
At the end of April, I underwent 10 hours (over a three day period) of neuropsychological testing and interviewing. Obviously, to go through the data of 10 hours of testing takes a while, so I had to wait until June 5th to get my results. Only a very small part of the results were actually a surprise, and none of it was bad news.
I was officially diagnosed on the autism spectrum! Yes, this is good news for me, and validates the “I think my brain works differently than the average population” feeling I’ve had my entire life. My official diagnosis is “autism spectrum disorder, level 1, without significant language or intellectual impairment” (because they like to make diagnosis names as long as possible). I’ll get more into the details of this diagnosis below.
I was also given a secondary diagnosis of “other specified depressive disorder,” which seems to essentially just be a moderate and persistent depression that doesn’t fit the diagnostic criteria for other depressive disorders; this wasn’t a surprise at all because I have had depression since I was in late elementary school (maybe about 10 years old), and have been treated off and on for years. Continue reading