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Blog: Why Diagnosis and label(s) were a lifesaver for me

By Adult Diagnosis Stories

I am on Instagram frequently. I found a community there. Our common denominator is we are either diagnosed with ADHD, ASD or AUDHD (both ADHD and ASD). I have found numerous articles, memes, and comradery through Instagram accounts with people who either themselves have ADHD, ASD, or AUDHD, have a child with ADHD and/or ASD, or are professionals who assist adults or children with AUDHD. One medical professional, an occupational therapist, has a huge social media following. However, she will not label a person. Her way is to simply treat the symptoms. For me, that didn’t work.

Treating my symptoms didn’t work, until I was diagnosed. Being diagnosed freed me. With research, therapy, and medication, I became more patient, gave myself and others grace, and stood up for my children and myself. This can be as small as asking someone to be more deliberate with their request and directions or going to an IEP meeting and requesting better accommodations for one’s child.

I take things very literally. Otherwise, I will blame myself if someone misunderstands me. Does this mean I have stopped blaming myself? No, but it means I am getting better at asking for clarity. Does this mean people always comply? No, not always. My hope is one day neurotypicals are open to the idea of wanting to learn about our world.

Before my diagnosis I simply thought I was not good enough and that everyone else had the manual to life and I did not. After years of belittling myself, my confidence was at zero. With a label, I craved more knowledge. I wanted to find other individuals like me. This wasn’t because I wanted others to have this sorrow in them. I wanted to know I wasn’t alone. I wanted to hear their stories of both sadness and success. I wanted to know about tips and tactics they used to manage their day and their life. I told myself I was tough and that I didn’t need anyone; but the truth was I desperately wanted a place to belong, and I have found one through social media.

I understand why social media gets a bad rep. I understand why labels may sometimes get a bad rep. Without a label, I would still have been floundering with self-doubt. I think I would have even taken longer to understand my children’s situations. I wish I knew sooner. I spent so much time in what I could only compare to a black hole. I work constantly at being more understanding and sympathetic. I realized after much reading and research that how I was raised wasn’t the best way to deal with children. Change hasn’t come overnight. Things are not perfect. However, I am more open to discussing things my children want to talk about. And to be at joy when I am around them. I want my children to know they belong. I want them to know they matter. I want them to know their mental health matters. I want them to know different isn’t a dirty word.

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