Dissertation work and life progress

Derby Peaks view in June 2020

The last three months have been so fraught trying to work and study and parent during lock-down I have hardly had time to think, let alone write about what has been going on. The good news is that I have completed my literature review which has had some amazing feedback (including an offer for support to publish it!) and I am now well on the way to completing my final piece of work for my MSc. It has been such an exciting journey, but one which has been really tough sometimes. When I think about what has happened concurrently in my life over the same period I can hardly believe how much change has happened and how much I have grown, along with my family as well.

People often ask me if my diagnosis has changed my life.

This often mirrors the question that gets asked by clinicians to lots of adult autistic women seeking diagnosis; “you’ve managed this far, what difference will it make?”

My answer is that my diagnosis was a starting point that I needed to truly understand who I am. Currently where I am in my life feels a little like having gone through the looking glass. I went through the diagnosis metaphorically. I used up everything it had to offer me to understand myself and acted as a launch pad to spring me in the right direction. I am still on that journey and not knowing where the destination is which is frightening and exhilarating in equal measures. The truly strange thing is that I don’t really know myself anymore.

I’ve gone beyond labels.

I know myself, the presence and consciousness that I recognise as me but I can’t really describe that in positive terms anymore. I can tell you what I’m not, but what I am is a different question.

I know that this might not make much sense and it doesn’t, but the great thing is that this doesn’t matter anymore. It’s not important to me because I’m moving beyond the need to define myself by other people’s standards.