I was diagnosed as being autistic this year and wasn't surprised. It has taken some getting used to, but it was such a real feeling of relief that I cried at my diagnosis—raw emotion just came pouring out of my face.
I felt like I could remove the mask, put down the tools I had been using for so many years to hide who I was, deal with life and start being truly myself.
After repeatedly being misdiagnosed with a range of different mental health difficulties, I was frustrated and annoyed that I did not have the answers to why I found some aspects of life so challenging. At times I felt like I was watching life from inside a goldfish bowl, I did not quite understand how others managed to achieve what they did without the problems and disasters I often seemed to encounter. Certain situations, heightened senses and social interactions were making me have frequent meltdowns, manifested in many different ways, and were causing me to become anxious.
For years I had devised a complicated and stressful ability to camouflage and conceal my difficulties. This ranged from observing and mimicking the behavior and language of my peers, to overworking and overloading myself to a breaking...