Self diagnosing Autism

TO BE OR NOT TO BE…

In one of my most recent posts I officially “came out” as autistic. I told you that I “got” my diagnosis at the age of thirty five, but what I didn’t tell you, is that I was self diagnosed first.

This may not seem like a big deal, but it is. And maybe not for the reasons that you think.

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Hannah explains autism

This is one of the best explanations of my personality I have ever seen. Again, if you are a neurolurker, especially a woman neurolurker, or if you want a primer for who I am- take Hannah Gadsby, add a dress and change the accent. She makes such a wonderful shortcut for people like us. The next time someone tries to ask me, “Who is Holly on the inside?” I am just gonna point to Hannah.


Watch this now…

No seriously, I can’t say this enough. Watch this now.

This TED talk from Hannah Gadsby last year would have transformed my life had I seen it sooner. If you are a woman, a neruolurker, or even a person who has experienced trauma- watch this. If you are a comic, a writer, or a person who has interest in either- watch this. If you are a human being- watch this.

Hannah Gadsby is a true lifesaver. She is a hero in every aspect of the word and I am so proud to be a fan of hers.

So without further ado… Hannah Gadsby.


Comments Part 2

More than a year ago, I wrote a post about how I had closed the comments on my blog. This is mostly due to 1) my Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria and 2) my problems with letting people be wrong.

I have decided though, to open up the comments.

Why? Because I am over it? NO! Oh my no! I am so not over it. But I am working with a counselor almost daily on my RSD. Honestly, we’re working more on the emotions that come up from my RSD, like, the fear of conflict, the hurt of rejection, the pain of judgement, et cetera, et cetera… So, if you suffer from a fear of the comments section, or maybe an obsession, pull up a chair. Welcome to my support group. I’ve got some tips to share with you…

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Where were you during the plague years?

At home, where we are all supposed to be.

Even though my doctors long ago decided that I did “not have Avoidant Personality Disorder” I still keep up with my AVPD peeps, because our sensibilities and fears are so similar. There is a great group on Tumblr, there are support groups, and most importantly for me, there is the ever effervescent Jenny Lawson, Author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy. She also wrote a fantastic adult coloring book called You Are Here: An owners manual for Dangerous Minds and, as always, her wonderful blog, The Bloggess.

With all the mandated social distancing going on with the, you know, coronavirus global pandemic, (you may have heard something about this) I thought I’d check on the people who were social distancing before it was cool, the AVPD. Specifically, my secret soul sister, Jenny Lawson.

Bad news: her sister is sick.

While my anxiety is not as high as it typically is, probably because social distancing is my natural state, I have been afraid of how this virus was going to touch me personally. And when I say that, I don’t mean if I’m going to get sick. Last time I checked, the estimate was that 40-70% of the population was going to catch this virus. That seems pretty likely on some level. I probably should be more worried for myself, I am somewhat immune compromised. I have some pulmonary damage from side effects to an antibiotic I took… There is also a pervading theory that people on the spectrum are more at risk for inflammation. Inflammation, by the way, is how a lot of people are dying of organ failure after becoming sick. (Don’t panic on my account or anything, that’s just a theory that I read. I am so far from a doctor that it’s not even funny. And my husband’s doctorate is in the law. So don’t update your will just yet.)

No, what I am more worried about is who am I going to lose?

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Poor Maureen


This post was originally written in May of 2018. Continue to read to the end for an update from today.

I have been talking a lot about my Avoidant Personality Disorder. Which has made me feel like an ambassador of some kind. But then I started thinking about my diagnosis, which was less than facebook official, and became suddenly wary.  (Which ticked my anxiety into high gear ironically—feelings of inadequacy, “I’m a fraud,” blah, blah, blah)  I don’t want to go into how I was diagnosed and subsequently medicated (boy, that sounds nefarious) but technically, well,  I’ve already mentioned it once before on this very blog so you probably already know… Cutting to the chase, I got my anxiety disorder diagnosed by my general doctor and not a psychiatrist.

Psychiatrist seems more legit, right? That’s what I thought too. So after a confusing series of emails to my doctor, the poor nurse may have thought I was some kind of nut (nothing’s wrong I just need legitimacy. No, I don’t want to hurt myself or others to get it. She wasn’t wrong about the nut part, but that’s not the point) I get an appointment with a counselor. They must deal with worse because she gave me a referral to the same counselor I saw when I first started my meds with very little hubbub. A counselor is like a psychiatrist, right?  I think to myself. Either way I don’t want to be too much trouble, so I take it.

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I am not a worm

AVOIDANT PERSONALITY DISORDER OR REJECTION SENSITIVITY DYSPHORIA? OR BOTH?

At the start of this blog, I thought I was suffering from Avoidant Personality Disorder. I had found the diagnostic criteria, brought it to my doctor, not a psychiatrist, and thought I had my answer. Once I finally went to a psychiatrist, he called that a misdiagnosis. I thought, What a big mistake I’d made. Surely, yes, you should bring your ideas and research to your doctor, but bring it to the right kind of doctor. Your gynecologist should not be setting your cast, and your GP should not be diagnosing your mental health issues, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Years later, after much tumult and strife, not only did I find out that I was autistic, I was also diagnosed with Inattentive ADHD. And part of that ADHD was a lovely thing called Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria.

So now, that my meds are working, and my diagnoses are hopefully settled, I’ve been looking through old posts with my supposedly 20/20 hindsight. And I couldn’t help but notice just how similar the symptoms for Avoidant Personality Disorder and Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria can feel. So this sent me searching for a connection between the two. One of the more interesting ideas I have found is that Avoidant Personality Disorder is the result of untreated childhood ADHD, much like my own. How interesting would that be? If I had been on the right path after all?

So with that idea, I’ve brought up an old post I called “I am not a Worm” where I looked up the definition of Avoidant Personality Disorder and responded to each symptom. Now the fact that I tried to refute any of it may tell you that I was misdiagnosed BUT you also have to understand the power of masking when you are autistic. I fought against these traits because I was “supposed” to… because I was supposed to be offended, not relieved. Anyway, let’s take a look…

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About Me Update

It’s a few years since I stopped and started this blog. And many things have happened to me in the meantime. So it’s time for an update.

When I started this blog, I had Avoidant Personality Disorder and an Anxiety Disorder. I have since found that both of those were misdiagnoses. One misdiagnosis is hard to handle. It makes you question everything. Since then, I have gone through several more misdiagnoses, or at least- incomplete diagnoses. Those include Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Agoraphobia, and Sensory Processing Disorder. Those of you that are like me, may already see where this is going…

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IT’S ALIVE!

So, can we skip the awkward part? Because that is why I tend to ghost my problems. The awkward part where you quietly think about how flakey I am for not writing for almost a year, and that you’ll never trust me again.  Yes, that whole thing.

Or really, I’ll explain as quickly as possibly.  I haven’t written… because I thought I killed you.

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Here comes trouble part 2

So, a few weeks ago I went to see Incredibles 2 with my husband. And before the show Holly Hunter, Coach, and Sam Jackson himself appear and say, “We know it’s been a long time since The Incredibles, but these movies take a long time!”

I lean over to my husband and say, “So, are people complaining that animated movies take a long time to make?” John gives me an emphatic, “Yes.” I humph. Which roughly translates to, “People suck.”

Another example, one of my favorite book series, Newsflesh, about bloggers in a post apocalyptic zombie age, says that “waiting doesn’t actually create suspense, it just loses viewers.” I am paraphrasing, but all this comes down to…

I know it’s been a long time since the first part of this post. But something happened…

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Fifty feathered headbands

I just finished several months work with a wonderful production. Much Ado about Nothin’, my jukebox musical inspired adaptation of the Shakespeare play had a great run. The kids were adorable. The show, fantastic. The goodbyes, tearful but happy.

So, why am I still crazy? Why am I still anxious? Why am I depressed?

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Pride in Nanette

It’s June 30th. Literally, the last day of Pride month. And I’ve skirted around my own celebration. I haven’t posted anything, here or on any other social media platform. I haven’t raised any flags, and I don’t own a thing in rainbow.  And while I’ve always been loud in my support of the LGBT community,  I have never really been loud about myself and my place in that community. Mostly because, I have so easily been able to pass these last 20 years or so.

But I am a B. I always knew I was a B. There was a really frightening time in high school where I was scared that I was really only an L, pretending to be a B out of fear. (I’m a B, though. A big B, if I’m honest.)

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