In 2017 I was diagnosed as having ASD.
To me, this was groundbreaking. Years of meltdowns, being infantized by my peers, and friendships lost all made sense. It was the final piece to the puzzle into knowing myself.
The diagnosis process was hard and long. It took 3 phyciatrists. Eventhough NJ has some of the best special ed recources in the country, I sadly flew under the radar for 17 whole years. As a toddler i had gotten kicked out of 2 preschools. My parents took me to my first psyciatrist. Now, I have no recollection of this lady. But from what my parents have told me, she barely helped.
I began kindergarden around 2004 or 2005. My hyperness and constant troublemaking haden't subsided. This is when I began seeing a new psyciatrist. An older man with graying hair with an office filled with polished wooden furniture. Here he diagnosed me with ADHD, OCD, and ODD.
However this diagnosis didnt make things better. While yes, i did have ADHD, the meltdowns wouldn't stop. My parents tried many methods to make me stop, some including punishments and yelling. This tought me to mask my meltdowns whenever I was home and doing my own thing. School however, was diffrent. There wasn't an escape. And my ability to detect that a meltdown was about to occur was lacking severly.
4th grade was the one of the hardest elementry school grades for me. I had to go to a whole new school for a year because of redistricting, I had to take a bus (i was a "walker" before this point"), and my dad had had been sent to his second tour in Iraq. Alot of changes for me and my mother. And the teacher i had, didn't help.
I remember how much cruler she was in comparison to prior ones I've had. She was extremly strict. We wern't allowed to talk at all during class, not allowed to go to the bathroom, we had to bring pencils pre-sharpened (and if they broke? "Oh well" was her exact words). And bygod, everytime i began to show a sign of a meltdown, she would scream. Many arguments has happened between me and the cruel lady and many trips to the principal's office were made. At some point she snapped so bad that she ended up saying something horrible to me, which caused backlash amoung the parents (as if there wasnt some prior to the incident) and she had quit.
I have to give a shout out to the principal. Every time i went there in tears, stumbling from fustration into her office, she was nothing but kind to me. She was the one who convinced my mother to see a new psyciatrist, as well as some group therapy. At her whits end, my mother agreed.
I began group therapy with some kids my age during that summer. Since my mother couldn't drive we had a family friend drive us every thursday whenever she could. When my dad came back in 5th grade we began to see my new (and current) psyciatrist. Her office was just down the hall from where group would be held which added convinence.
An office flooded with troll dolls and troll merchandise greeted me on my first visit. Extremly diffrent to the musty wood of the prior. She was kind, sweet, and listened. She would also give me time alone with her to talk, which helped alot.
I wasn't diagnosed imediantly, as I began to warm up to her, she noticed something about me. When my parents explained what had happened in the weeks prior to that months visits, and my attempt at explaining my feelings during these outbursts, she suspected that I had more than ADHD, but that it was overlapped with autism aswell.