A Comedy Special Made Me Realise I was Autistic
By Autiauntie| Published on September 8, 2021 | 7 Minute Read
I was 24 years old, randomly watching YouTube when I came across comedienne Hannah Gatsby's show. Amongst many things she talked about how the education system had failed her because she could never understand boxes, norms and social conventions that came naturally to most. She then explains how she has struggled all her life and as an adult got diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I remember how my life changed seismically because of this revelation. Up until this point I was in agreement with each and everything she had said. But the word Autism took me by surprise. I had like most of us a stereotypical understanding of what Autism looks like. And I didn't match the mental image media had created.
It took me another 2 years of research to come to terms with it and find the courage to be open about it. It took me time and patience with myself to realise that I was a self-diagnosed Autistic Adult. When the pandemic struck a year ago most of my peers, university students like myself had to vacate campuses and go home. While most of them seemed to be doing fine because they were home. I was struggling at home - the place where one is supposed to be their most comfortable. I had the most challenging time of my life. And that acted as a catalyst to seek a professional diagnosis.
"It took me another 2 years of research to come to terms with it and find the courage to be open about it. It took me time and patience with myself to realize that I was a self-diagnosed Autistic Adult"
After months of consultations and two neuro specialists I have finally reached where I am. And retrospectively my entirely life seems to make sense. I could have never imagined that all my eccentricities and oddities that I hid from the world and was made to feel ashamed about could be explained. And within the Autism and NeuroDivergent community all these differences are celebrated. I am alone in this journey. My family isn't very supportive of divergence so I have kept it to myself. But I have finally found peace in my mind. Today as I write this I have just come back from running errands wearing ear plugs for the first time in public and I am ecstatic. Going out has always been a chore. I have gone days without eating because grocery shopping was very difficult for me and I couldn't explain why. Now I know how light and sound affect me and can find ways to work around my sensitivities. Today I went out with my earplugs on and the world seemed a little calmer, better and so did I.
I am sharing my story here with the hope that others out there can find some solace as I did when I came across other's experiences. Had Hannah Gatsby never opened up about her struggles I perhaps would have never realised who I was and why I was the way I am. And that its okay. I am okay. And I will be okay.
About the Author
I am a 26 year old PhD research scholar from India working on issues related to climate change and environmental adaptation in transboundary river systems. I was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Adhd and OCD at 26. I am a passionate photographer, gardener and self acclaimed Chai Conoisseur