I’ve had quite the journey over the last couple of months in coming to terms and moving to a point of acceptance and celebration of my diagnosis. Last night I attended my first support group meeting of Aspies at a state Aspergers organisation. It was quite the experience and the discussion firmed up in me the decision to come out loud and proud about my Âû identity. I posted on facebook my coming out speech if you like…

****Alert LONG POST***

Over the last couple of years, I have been carrying some things pretty close to my chest. I have been walking a road of discovery and revelation.
As a lot of people already know two of my kids are Autistic. Emily who is now 21 was diagnosed something like 10-12 years ago and Bonnie now 9 was diagnosed about 3 1/2 years ago just before she began school.

The thing that I have really been carrying close to my chest is that I had suspected that this might just be the case for me too. So a couple of years ago I began the task of finding out if what I was thinking was true.

The process took a little longer than it should have taken for a bunch of reasons, but the end result was that I also am Autistic. I have been officially diagnosed as High Functioning Autistic or Aspergers.

So I was tested back in 2013 but it wasn’t until last year that I was given the news. Over the last six months or so I have been on a bit of a time of discovery and coming to terms with all this.

For the first little while, I was feeling something like I have been smashed to the ground and was in a grief and loss kind of stage. I have now emerged from that and accept and celebrate that I am an autistic person.

I identify myself as an autistic person and not a person with autism. There are a few reasons for this, perhaps at the basic level the reason for this is due to the fact that autism is a pervasive condition, it pervades all aspects of who I am. My Autisms is a part of pretty much everything about me.

If you’re still reading I thank you for hanging in there.

Please don’t be shy about talking to me about this stuff as I am open to doing so with you.

I am incredibly grateful to Andrea Johnson for her incredible support in this journey of discovery and the continuing along the road I walk. Thank you, my darling I love you more than I can ever express.

It is in fact thanks to Andrea that I was ever able to begin this journey. Over the years, Andrea would make gentle hints to me that perhaps this was something we should talk about and consider. I was either deaf to this or totally oblivious to how she was able to see the obvious traits of autism that were clearly there.

I imagine there are many who will say this is not news to them really, or at least that this is not a surprise to them. It seems that on this I have been the last to realise the bleeding obvious.

You will probably have noticed that my name here on facebook has gained a couple of extra letters at the end of it. This is my way of being out and proud as it were. I am, in fact, proud to be an autistic person.

My life has certainly been an interesting one. I was the subject of much bullying as I negotiated school, which apart from that was often something of a fog. Social interactions have always been something of a challenge and I have seen friends come and go and have not been able to really understand why.

My working life has been a difficult thing as generally I have managed to misconstrue or misunderstand interactions and destroy my opportunities.

I guess this post is my full disclosure moment, and there are certainly a bunch of groups of people on here ranging from people I know through running, church, school, autism, children etc, and so I guess there will be a whole bunch of responses and impressions made.

I would like to take the opportunity to apologise publicly for any times I have caused offence or hurt to any of you due to my inability or limited capacity to read the cues or inferences that have been given. I am a quite sensitive person and care deeply for many people and many causes and passionately stand for things I believe in. This at times results in my forthrightness being at odds with friendships etc. Whilst I don’t resile from my thoughts and beliefs I am certainly sorry for any hurt and offense I have caused.

I am an autistic person. Autism is a pervasive developmental condition that results in the autistic person seeing the world in a different way. It is a different way of being rather than a deficit or whatever. Autism is not a disease, it is a neurological different way of being.

Throughout my life, I have lived as if in a fog of some kind. A fog that involved an internal dialogue that was pervasive, pervasive in asking why is it that I don’t seem to get stuff about people, why is it that I never quite know what to say, why is that I seem to be so different to everyone else.

Since it was confirmed that I am an autistic person it is as though I have emerged from this fog and suddenly so many things actually make sense and I understand myself in a way I never have before.

I want to thank you all for hanging in there with me over the years or months or whatever it may have been. I care about you all, even though it may not seem so at times. Thank you for being involved in my life and I hope this is able to continue.

I realise this has been quite a post and I thank you for reading. I am posting this as a public post as I want it to be able to be viewed or shared if anyone feels they would like to. If you know of anyone who you are aware I have burned off feel totally free to show them this post. If you feel there is anyone who would benefit from reading it please share it with them.
Thanks again.
Richard JohnsonÂû

Well if you actually made it through all that I am really grateful you took the time. Thanks.

What has been amazing to me is the absolute incredibly positive responses I have. I am really overwhelmed and incredibly encouraged. I am convinced it was the right move to make.

Today I am just exhausted though. I have taken us much time today as I can to just chill out in  solitary time. I needed it.