I think I have always known that I was different. I often felt as if I was acting, pretending to be like everyone else and, some of the time, failing. This combined with several years of bullying led to the destruction of my self-esteem. I felt as if I was broken or damaged for not understanding friendship groups or how to do my hair. The truth was that I have Asperger’s syndrome. It took me a long time to accept even that, but after I did the effect was immediate. I stopped hating myself. I no longer minimised the difficulties I have with social situations and stopped beating myself up over making social mistakes. I finally understood that what was affecting my mood was not negative thinking but a reaction to my senses being overwhelmed. Basically I accepted that I was different and that it was okay. I could still be independent, I just needed a little bit of help sometimes. And that was okay too.
Diagnosis is important. At least in the U.K. it is. You can get extra time in exams, grants for Uni and be able to use a computer instead of handwriting things. People will understand and make reasonable changes for you. In short a diagnosis allows you to access help that you otherwise may not get.
Being diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is not the end of the world. You are still the same person you were before the diagnosis, you just understand yourself a bit better. There is no shame in being different and consequently there is no shame in having an ASD. Be proud of who you are 🙂