I was reminded recently of how so many Autistic individuals, specifically those diagnosed in adulthood, end up experiencing Imposter Syndrome.
As we start setting boundaries, requirements, and overall just setting up ways to prevent sensory overload – we start questioning why we must do it now; we survived without it before.
Before diagnosis, when I got overloaded, I acted out. I had a temper, and still do occasionally. I relied on alcohol and codeine to dim the sensory overloads to cope with everyday life. Now, I try to avoid overloads to prevent harm from happening to me. Given that this doesn’t always work, I broke two fingers last week during an overload. But, in the past, it probably would’ve been worse.
If you’re experiencing Imposter Syndrome as an Autistic person, think about it this way:
How did you actually cope before you were diagnosed?
Did you actually cope, or were you just in a constant overwhelmed state?
Many of us have anger issues, or what is seen as anger issues, when it’s just a sensory overload response. While life seems more difficult with a diagnosis, having to follow hundreds of steps to stay calm, you were likely unable to see how hard everything was before the diagnosis.
Partially because you were overwhelmed and partially because neurotypicals kept reminding you how easy everything was.
If you’re also part of a household with one or more undiagnosed individuals, you’re more likely to feel this way – like an imposter – because “everyone” has these issues.
Remember that these symptoms don’t just pop up after an Autism diagnosis – they just become visible to you. Most individuals don’t realise they have Autism until someone points it out or diagnose them with it – so why would the symptoms be any different?
We’re not typically the most observant people when it comes to ourselves.
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