I once had a trauma-specialized therapist tell me that he was hesitant of me embracing my autism diagnosis because, and this is a direct quote, "Sometimes diagnosis makes people exhibit more autistic symptoms."
He posed this as a negative and a reason why I should avoid digging too deep into this diagnosis. In fact, he had some general ethical disagreements with another one of my care providers adding the diagnosis to my chart, and voiced a belief that I was not autistic and that the other doctor had misdiagnosed my PTSD.
As it turns out, two things can be true. I am definitely autistic and I also have PTSD.
I didn't understand what he was describing at the time, but I know now that he merely had a negative outlook on autism in general. He wasn't qualified to be talking to me about autism and as a result filled me in on his bigoted views . I ended up ending my care with him over this when I discussed the matter with other autistic people who were fairly horrified on my behalf.
My following trauma therapist was a lot better, and because we worked with my autism, I was finally helped in a way that the previous therapist had not been able to. He refused to listen to me when I said that I was unable to do visualization techniques and my care suffered accordingly Because of my autism diagnosis, I am able to advocate for myself in this regard with my future mental health practitioners.
(To be clear, I mention diagnosis in this way not because I feel like it’s necessary to validation of one’s autistic traits, but rather because the diagnosis is what helped me access proper healthcare)
I know now that this increased manifestation of autistic traits I experience now is because I am finding ways to be present in my body and mind in a way I was not before. This presence is a double-edged sword. Sometimes my autistic traits cause me a lot of difficulty in life, and sometimes they almost feel like a superpower. That dichotomy is something I’m coming to understand as a major component of what makes me who I am.