Written in March 2023
I had intended to make an acceptance based post for each day of AAW but it coincides with me having a few days away in Wales (yes, it's raining) so I haven't had the time to write and edit properly and post on that schedule. I guess that's part 2 in action, accepting my limitations. It's also partly accepting the theme I was going to write about for day 4, which is accepting that my neurodivergence isn't limited to autism alone.
I have accepted that I also have a lot of ADHD traits, particularly the tendency to overestimate what I can get done in the time available to me alongside the other things I had to do. This is compounded by the fact that I used to be able to get an incredible amount of stuff done in a day and would keep going until it was mostly all done (always with one thing that could never get done and now I understand why). That was sustainable for a while in my younger days but now, not so much. I discussed the ageing effect briefly in part 2.
This acceptance process started around a year ago, thanks to (a couple of years of) some gentle suggestions by my counsellor that ADHD might be a part of my neurology. We did the screening questionnaire together last year and the results were confirmatory. I am on the waiting list for a formal assessment, although I don't personally feel that I need the bit of paper; my own understanding here is enough because the only reason I wanted a formal diagnosis was to see if medication might help. In the intervening period I've used stinging nettle seeds (a mild stimulant) to regulate myself and they have worked (thus affirming the informal diagnosis).
I'm also accepting that there are many other shades to my neurodivergence. Dyspraxia is a big part of it for me, and it's given me an explanation for why although there's nothing wrong with my reflexes (hammer on the knee stuff) I am slow to react or to initiate movement, or to manage complex tasks like peeling potatoes (this involves frequent movement of both hands and all ten digits and the wielding of a peeler and means I drop them a lot and usually peel a nail or some skin).
My difficulties with telling left from right (no that trick doesn't work because they're both L shapes) and general poor co-ordination, like falling over my feet and walking into doors and furniture, have a neurological cause. It is not just me being clumsy. I also have some shades of dyscalculia but not enough to meet any kind of threshold, but I am hyperlexic (sort of the polar opposite of dyslexic).
Knowing there is all this stuff going on is a great relief. I know one of the arguments against labels is that they can be used as an excuse (in fact someone actually said to me that I would just use my autism as an excuse not to do things...) but I'm not in the business of making excuses. They are reasons, and things I have to accept. Accepting them means understanding myself, and being able to make more reasonable demands of myself, in theory.
So that's it for my Acceptance series for Autism Acceptance Week 2023. Let's hope that over the next 12 months autistic people experience more acceptance, from within and from the world around us.