In my previous blog post, And Then Suddenly I Was Autistic, I spoke about what it was like for me growing up undiagnosed. I have received some wonderful feedback but my intention in writing that was not to amass a pile of wowyouresoamazings. Mine is not an unusual story. There are so many other people out there with similar experiences even though the details aren't the same.
The CDC comes out with their figures ("1 in 68 children!" *gasp*) and folks start throwing around words like 'epidemic' or 'crisis' when the reality is that we've been here all along.
So many stories like mine.
It's not vaccines or older mothers or genetically modified foods. We've always been here. Granted, if I had lived 100 years ago I probably would have remained locked away and unable to go on to pop out miniature versions of myself, so there are likely a few more of us but it's not because our mothers had Gestational Diabetes or whatever the hell they think the cause is this week.
But, yeah, I really wasn't shooting for the inspiration porn vibe that was apparently radiating from the previous post. I don't want anyone's sympathy or to inspire anyone. I merely wanted to educate and illustrate the reality of growing up without a proper diagnosis.
I choose not to define myself by any of my bad experiences. I don't wear my struggles as some Badge of Honor. Shit happened and, yes, it helped shape me but I have not been that child for many, many years. I'm not even comfortable with the word 'Survivor' anymore. The way I see it, with the weight we have assigned to that word now, it's still giving too much power to the past. Everyone suffers at some point in their lives so if they're still breathing, they are 'surviving'. All that being said, I certainly don't begrudge anyone else the labels they choose to assign to themselves. I just prefer not to use that particular one myself.
I'll stick with Autistic, Wife, Mother, Friend, and the occasional ridiculous online moniker but I'll happily pass on Survivor or Inspiration.