I’ve been learning a lot about myself over the past year. I have made an effort to be more self aware, so I’ve been noticing more about the things I find difficult, rather just pushing through without thinking about how I could get through better. I’ve been observing my reactions to things, and seeing patterns in my responses to stress, stimulus and overwhelm. It’s been amazing to gain self understanding that helps me live well, and helps me be in the community more instead of hiding at home feeling like I can’t do things.
It’s about a year since I got comfortable with saying I’m autistic. Shortly after I publicly “came out” I was asked why I would identify as disabled or allow a label like autism to be applied to me. I didn’t quite know what to say at the time, except to tell the person that labels aren’t negative and that I found it helpful in understanding myself. A year later, though, I have a more detailed answer.