Good post-diagnostic meeting with Autism Hampshire

Just thought I'd let you know about my experience of the (a?) post diagnostic meeting with Autism Hampshire (henceforth AH). I didn't really know what to expect or how it might help when I went for it, but decided to go anyway as all offers of help are potentially useful.

It was a very relaxed meeting in a comfortable environment. I was there for about 90 minutes but that was because I was enjoying talking rather than any need for me to receive lots of information or actively do anything to meet the needs of AH & I could have easily left at any time if I had needed to.

It was a bit like a therapy session in places (a good thing) but with someone who understands autism at least from a theoretical perspective and having met lots of autistic people.

I found it helpful to be able to talk about my experience of autism and late diagnosis with a professional who understands but who wasn't looking to diagnose me. This latter aspect enabled the conversation to range across things that aren't part of the diagnostic criteria and be quite reflective in a sense of putting the jigsaw of my life together. Not that anything particularly new emerged; it was more me saying "this is how I now understand this" and her confirming that I'm very likely to be correct and that it makes sense from her understanding.

So I left feeling just a little bit more validated, a bit more sure about the pervasive and permanent nature of autism, and that enabled me to relax just a little bit more into my own skin and see the demands placed on me by the "shoulds" that come from NT society for what they are - in general, things that we don't *have* to comply with if they cause us disproportionate stress. I was explaining that, because I've lived with myself for all of my life and hence by my own definitions I am "normal", and have successfully masked for several decades, that there is a little monster in my brain that tells me that if I tried harder I could *be* allistic but that I know that the monster lies. She agreed and this gave me some extra monster-killing power. Or probably monster-subduing power, because I'm sure he will keep waking up.

Anyway, very much a positive experience. Nothing startling, no introduction to a secret society, no special privileges, but worth going.