Getting an autism diagnosis - for the first time in my life, I felt like someone was listening.
13 Aug 2020
by The Autism Service

For the first time in my life, I felt like someone was listening. I felt heard, understood, and like I actually mattered. This was huge!

For years I had asked myself over and over “what on earth is wrong with me!?”. I didn’t feel ‘normal’ but I was expected to act like I was. I had continual breakdowns and mass overwhelm and couldn’t handle things that I could see other people handling easily.

Every time I felt brave enough to speak to a GP I was told I was fine

Or I just offered anti-depressants with no explanation (which I never accepted). The more I felt I wasn’t listened to and understood, the more I questioned every aspect of me as a person. I didn’t know how to get people to listen and help me work out what was wrong with me.

Every moment in my life that I struggled with wasn’t just in that moment, it was every other time I had struggled in a similar way that came racing back to remind me how useless I was. Everything became too heavy to keep carrying and I was falling apart more often, and it was getting harder to pick myself up again.

Then my mum showed me an article on female autism, thinking that it might help me to know that it wasn’t just me that had certain struggles.

I know she was nervous to share it with me, as by this point I was struggling so much to handle anything, that everyone was walking on eggshells around me due to how temperamental I was. I read it, I read it and cried. The relief I felt was overwhelming, to see in front of me in black and white what was potentially the answer I was looking for, was incredible.

Mum arranged for me to see Lisa and it was the most life-changing experience. I didn’t feel inferior, I didn’t feel like I wasn’t important, I didn’t feel misunderstood, I didn’t feel like my voice wasn’t being heard, it wasn’t anything like all the other times I had tried to look for answers. I felt like I was actually at the end of my journey looking for answers and I felt so comfortable and able to speak openly and honestly with Lisa and her team. For the first time I didn’t feel broken, useless, and I knew there was nothing wrong with me. I felt safe and I felt like it was ok to be me.

Getting my diagnosis was the day my life changed.

My life seems to be before and after my diagnosis. I suddenly have answers to all my questions, I’m not haunted by all these ghosts because it’s given me the ability to work through them with the answer I have, and I’ve made massive progress in understanding who I am. And for the first time I genuinely love who I am too. It was never a negative diagnosis and even though I never saw it as being one, Lisa always made it clear just by being her that there was nothing negative about it.

My whole experience with The Autism Service has been the most positive, life changing thing and I cannot think of anyone I would have rather involved in this journey of mine than Lisa.