You were diagnosed with autism at age 31. Before you were diagnosed, you had several doctors tell you that you were fine and had nothing to worry about. What were some of the signs that led you to believe that you were autistic?
I always felt like I had to put in a lot of work to communicate with people, even just hanging out with friends, I would rehearse certain conversation points, or jokes or ideas before I would even hang out with people. It became more and more complex as friendships grew deeper. I felt like I had to put in so much work and time and energy in picking up on [certain] cues. And I felt like I was working overtime, all the time, even when I was with people I’ve known my whole life. I had a lot of unease around loud sounds or bright lights and I didn’t know why. My mom had been googling, years ago, and she had actually asked the doctor when I was a kid, but they just kind of wrote it off and said there was nothing to worry about. I knew that was something my mom looked up, so that’s why I asked my doctor [about it] in my late 20s. I told him that I thought I was autistic. He kind of shot me down, before he could even hear my case, he told me I was perfectly normal and I had nothing to worry about. He didn’t even make eye contact. He didn’t even look up from his clipboard. Sadly, I took his word. Years later, I started going to therapy [because] I was unable to put the pieces together. And I assumed that it was my fault to fix. I ended up seeing some TikTok videos of some women who were diagnosed as adults, and that’s when I was like, they’re describing my whole life. I had to seek some help. Thankfully, I was able to find a specialist who specialized in seeing adult women and it changed my life.