I imagine this headline sung to the same tune as that age old Maybelline advert.
Although I’m writing a lot about autism on this blog, I haven’t had my assessment yet and I still sometimes find myself analysing my symptoms and the equation coming back with borderline personality disorder or bipolar.
Sometimes I’m so, so sure it’s autism. I Google the list of things that make me unusual and find autism and ADHD peppered through the descriptions. From eating hot sauce with every meal (preferably lukewarm, squishy and undercooked), to lying on the floor instead of using chairs (what’s the big deal with chairs anyway?) or never getting my haircut because I don’t like people touching me (why would anyone *like* going to the hairdresser?). There’s so many strange pieces of this puzzle that slot together and start to take shape when I read about autism. From wearing my headphones as though they’re an extension of my body to automatically becoming the target of bullies when I start a new job.
And as my assessment edges closer, I wonder if I’m barking up the wrong tree, progressing down the wrong path. Going down the road for autism when it’ll turn out I have something else – whatever that may be.
I’m scared of them sending me back to the drawing board. Or saying that whatever it is, it’s not significant enough to cross the line into any of these conditions.
My friends have written their own more impartial lists that I can present to the doctor – and these suggest autism and ADHD. As do the strange quirks I have that don’t really cause me any issues – wearing headphones near constantly, being hyper focused. The list goes on.
I guess really, I’m not just worried that they’ll say I have borderline, or bipolar or something else, I’m worried that they’ll say I’m borderline on one of these conditions.
That I don’t cross the boundary – don’t have enough symptoms (whatever that means) for the health system to think my experience matters.
That I’m not autistic ‘enough’ or ‘bipolar’ enough to get a diagnosis of any sort.
This is my fear.
In fact, if I don’t quite make the cut, then I’ll be even more isolated – in the Venn diagram of neurotypical and neurodivergent I would be trapped in the tiny orange segment between.
Belonging to neither group and yet, undeniably, a part of both.