It has taken me a long time to be grateful for autism.
It is easy to wish your life was easy. It is easy to want what you don’t have and to think that if only you had something, or didn’t have something, that life would be perfect. At some point though, you may realize that you don’t really want a perfect life.
I consider my life to be perfectly imperfect, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love autism because it makes me different. I see things in ways other people don’t. I hear things and feel things and notice things differently than others. I live in the same world, but I experience it differently than most.
This has made life more difficult. Autism has made making friends more difficult. I have doubted myself and questioned the need for my existence. I have had unrealistic expectations of myself because I didn’t realize how real my autism is. I have thought I was broken or damaged or alien or not fit to be around “normal” people.
Up until recently, I didn’t think a diagnosis mattered. It was just a name for certain symptoms or characteristics or tendencies or whatever you want to call them. What a diagnosis does for me though is it helps me know I’m not broken or incapable or unworthy. Nothing about me indicates that I have autism, which makes it easy to wonder what is wrong with me when I struggle. But having a diagnosis helps me realize that some things ARE harder. I can’t expect as much out of myself because it’s just not realistic.
It has taken me a long time to forgive myself for being different. It has taken me a long time to forgive myself for not talking to people or not making friends or being unable to communicate my needs.
Today though, I am grateful for autism because it has made me more grateful for the friends I do have. It makes me grateful for the good days. It makes me grateful when I can communicate what I mean in a way that people understand and connect with. It makes me grateful for quiet moments, sweet scents, and soft textures. It makes me grateful when I can help someone or change a point of view in a positive way or influence another person for good. I still struggle with being okay with having autism, but I am grateful for it overall.