Why my diagnosis has made me feel stupid

Photo by Mental Health America (MHA) on Pexels.com

It’s been a while since I posted, there are many reasons for that, from heat to depression and a few things in between. I’ll not go in-depth today, but I will return to frequent output going forward. Today, I want to take a look at the feelings that have been going through my mind since my diagnosis and how that has affected me.

The title of this post may seem aggressive, but it is something that I have become more aware of recently, and the tone is indicative of the strength of emotions. The reality of the situation is that autism hasn’t changed my mental faculties since my diagnosis. I have not become less intelligent. However, I have become more aware of my autism, to the point that I am starting to get overwhelmed as I try to understand how it impacts my day-to-day life.

The process of understanding my ASD has contributed to my feelings of stupidity. With such little support, I have struggled to “transition” into the diagnosis and find that I am understanding less and less about myself. To be clear, I have lived with ASD for my entire life, I just never knew I had it and got by as best I could. I was always attributing (what I now know to be my autistic traits) down to me being quirky. The process of trying to understand them has led to me focusing on them, to an almost detrimental degree. I find myself getting angry because I don’t understand a lot of it. Feelings of stupidity are a constant bombardment. Not stupid because I am autistic. Stupid because I struggle to understand it and the more the feeling develops, the more confused I get.

There are times when I wish I hadn’t got the diagnosis. I regularly feel that ignorance was bliss. I am not ashamed of being autistic, I am fed up with the feelings I experience as I struggle to understand it. As I unearth more autistic traits, I end up feeling more and more lost and confused. How do I cope with people? Why don’t I seem to understand the feelings that people have when something major happens in their life? When will I understand what is going on? Are there other conditions that overlap with ASD, and should I speak to a doctor about them? At least before the diagnosis I could ignore the emotions and just be strange (how I used to refer to myself and my quirks), I was comfortable with strange, it was a niche I was happy to fill. Now I just feel stupid and stressed. 

So how do I resolve these feelings? The answer is, I don’t. At least not in the way I am currently trying to. I need to accept that there will be times when I don’t understand things going on around me. We live in a neurotypical world after all and navigating it will always be a challenge. There will be times when I struggle to communicate with others or am confused and dazed by day-to-day activities. I will feel unintelligent when I misunderstand something or take it literally. Instead of focusing on the things I am doing “wrong”, I need to develop coping mechanisms that will help me through the feelings I am experiencing. 

With the support of friends and (finally) mental health support workers, I can start to create strategies that will help my emotional distress. I already take steps to reduce the physical issues that might cause me problems (noise-cancelling headphones, routines, and back-up plans for meeting others). Now it is time for me to start looking after my mental health.

Published by Kle

A busy bee deep into video games and other gaming related things

2 thoughts on “Why my diagnosis has made me feel stupid

  1. So much of this resonates so, so much with me, but I think it’s the understanding bit that resonates the most right now. I have spent the last buncha months struggling to understand, only to recently begin seeing … maybe I’ll never understand a quarter as much as
    I’d like to. Maybe the point is to learn to be okay with the not-understanding. I don’t like it, but I think I can learn to accept it all the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even friends who have had a diagnosis since they were children still struggle. There is so much about ASD we (as a community) still don’t fully understand. While we may never understand everything personally, there is more and more research being done into understanding ASD, which will hopefully make it easier in future.

      Liked by 1 person

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