Updated: Sep 20
I don't dwell on professional diagnoses - or lack thereof - as a child because I couldn't have been diagnosed both Autistic and ADHD back then anyway (before 2013). If anything, I'm sure the ADHD would have been diagnosed first, which would likely have made my Autistic traits even more pronounced as many have attested to - and I experienced from unknowingly better managing my undiagnosed ADHD, which is a tangent for another day - and those traits still would have been unidentified because they're not reflective of the medical model.
So that's my long-winded way of saying that I don't think professional diagnosis would have helped me. Truthfully, I think the only thing that would have helped would have been the ability to self-diagnose through something like TikTok and that was NOT an option way back then so I don't know - I've grieved what could have been, but I don't dwell because it was never a realistic option.
Anyway, I started this list awhile ago as reflective catharsis... sort of like,"if I could have told you what to look out for, here it is" for my parents, obviously something they'll never be able to actually use. This has also helped as I've been pulling apart Autism and cPTSD while working on my trauma timeline, which are the two that are most intertwined for me.
I've got a video uploaded, edited, and ready to go on TikTok; I'll link it here once it's up and live.
Okay, without further ado, a list that will probably continue to grow over time:
The way I was completely unnerved by any and all change - my mom used to joke that she couldn't move my dresser an inch because it would send me into a meltdown
The way I preferred playing alone or in small groups and by playing, I mean pretending to be a realistic adult of some sort
The way I was so emotionally sensitive, but never expressed it until it was silent tears or a verbal explosion
The way I was always picked on by extended family and then told I’m being the stick-in-the-mud for not laughing with everyone at my expense
The way I picked on my sibling and no one else
The way I had to be taken out of the theatre and driven home sobbing on my mom's lap - WHILE SHE DROVE - when we saw ET because I was so distraught about ET in the hospital
The way I’ve had health anxiety and OCD loops from a young age that were turned into negative personality traits like being "dramatic" and "irrational"
The way I rarely seek physical affection from people, preferring the comfort of animals instead
If i seek physical comfort from you, you’re a safe person and I don't have many of those
The way I used to seek physical comfort for co-regulation until I learned people are inherently unsafe
The way I always needed to be in control and directing or entertaining others in a familiar environment, but the complete opposite when I felt unsafe or uncomfortable
The way I never wanted to be treated “like a kid” and was coined a "tiny adult" by most everyone who met me from about the age of 4
The way I was clearly exhausting to others when I was unsatisfied with answers that weren’t evidential or literal
'who decided what words are "bad"... how do you know your religion is the "right" one... why do you think following arbitrary rules that hurt others affords higher moral ranking than simply being a kind person because it’s in your heart?'
The way I have no balance or coordination to the point that I was taken to the pediatrician when I was about 3 because I kept tripping out of nowhere and my mom was concerned about “two left feet” or something, but the doc said it was nothing to worry about because I was “normal” otherwise
The way I’ve always had repetitive behaviors like nail biting, skin picking, etc.
The way I had an unhealthy obsession with my outward appearance in adolescence while simultaneously having almost zero self-esteem and detesting vapid people
The way I’ve always had major texture aversions to food and my pickiness had been villainized into a negative personality trait - that is always pointed out in groups even though I do everything to not be perceived
The way I’m known as a “stubborn Taurus” because I’ve always challenged “authority” and the status quo with an inability to “let things go” that I was super passionate about
The way I used to have a meltdown from worry if my mom was even 5 minutes late to pick me up
The way watching local news every night just added to this constant fear
To be continued, I'm sure...