Of the many things in life I have to be thankful for, one that will always stand out is my autism diagnosis.
Imagine that you've spent your entire life being a little different from the rest. You try to click with others at a young age, but something just doesn't gel. You spend your teen years watching everyone else suddenly change and become interested in different things from you, and you can't wrap your head around it. You spend your 20s learning about yourself, yet there is still a missing piece.
Then you stumble upon autism. Not for the first time, as you've heard of it, and you THINK you know what it means. Then you are reintroduced to the concept after several years, but this time it has a whole new meaning for you. It describes so many of the things you've experienced throughout your life. It sounds like YOU.
You then do a lot of research, only to find that the more you delve into the topic, the more of yourself you see in it all. After a few years, you schedule that fateful appointment. You're almost positive you're autistic, but there's still that tiny glimmer of a doubt: what if it isn't autism, after all? You've incorporated it as part of your identity by this point.
Next come the appointments. The questionnaires. The interview with the psychologist. Finally, the day arrives. The day that decides whether or not everything you've learned about yourself is on point. You brace yourself for the answer. Are you autistic, or not? Your psychologist reviews the information, and finally...alas! He tells you that you present as someone on the autism spectrum!
You feel a sense of validation. Your suspicions have been confirmed. Everything you've come to know as a part of who you are HAS indeed been a part of you all along. Congratulations! You're autistic and now you have an explanation for your differences and own unique operating system.
Two years ago, this moment that I will never forget happened. For that I will be forever thankful.