Life without Autism, or the Consequences of Being a Medical Anomaly.

It’s been about a year since my autism symptoms went away due to switching to a carnivore OMAD diet, and since then life has been interesting to say the least. I detail more about my history with autism here.

Autism is a controversial and largely unknown neurological condition, many autistics are proudly neurodivergent and don’t see the need for a cure, and honestly, good for them, I respect that. I want to make that very clear. However the autism community does not respect me, they feel threatened by me, they somehow think that I invalidate their experiences, and that’s simply not true. What I propose is that autism is a symptom, not a condition in-and-of-itself. Just as a fever might be the result of any one of a number of diseases, I believe autism can be triggered by a variety of conditions. In my case it’s autoimmune, I got sick when I was 11, I suddenly became intolerant to plants and because I kept eating them, my autism symptoms persisted for a decade and a half. What evidence do I have for this? Basically, only my own anecdotal experiences. I know that my autism symptoms return if I eat the wrong things, and I know that I am definitely not autistic right now because the experiences are like night and day. It’s like having a completely different brain.

That brings me to my main point, I have seriously struggled to find validation and acceptance over the course of this past year. I have alienated friends and family, and even my former GP. I have been betrayed, bullied, accused of insanity and developing a cult-like fanaticism with the carnivore diet. And honestly, when you’re being gaslit from all sides like this, you do start to question your own sanity. Here I was feeling happier, healthier, and more confident than ever, and I was being punished for it. The people I thought I could trust turned on me. So I did what I always do when I have a problem, I turned my attention to research; I would scour the Internet looking for as much information on autism and diet, or autism and gut health, and found next to nothing (the list of my findings here). There was hardly any research going into this topic, I had absolutely no evidence to back me up, and nothing but a handful of other former autistics sharing their stories online. The only small comfort was at least the science wasn’t outright telling me I was wrong, I guess.

Autistics often say that they feel a cure would cause them to become a completely different person, and I can say for a fact, that’s true. I’ve had to grapple with the loss of one identity and the process of building a new one. I really cannot identify with the person I used to be, I don’t think that way, I don’t share the same interests or opinions, we don’t live the same lives at all. I used to be so high-strung, anxious, easily irritated, everything had to be a particular way, now I’m far more tolerant and at peace. I am also much more mature, where I was once emotionally and psychologically stunted, I was too afraid to ride a bus by myself until I was 16, I watched My Little Pony as a 22-year-old, I even played with the toys. It’s kind of embarrassing to talk about now, but that shows how far I’ve come. One of the most fascinating changes was this newfound stillness, no longer am I constantly stimming, and fidgeting, and pacing around, I’m not terrified of making eye contact. Now I can pay full attention to another person in a conversation, if anything I stare too much, perhaps because this is a new and novel experience to me. Now I am an extrovert, I like going out and meeting new people, I don’t need to wear earplugs or shy away from handshakes. And yet those closest to me don’t seem to see these changes, or choose not to, it’s frustrating when no one sees you for what you really are. But perhaps I can take it as a compliment in a way, maybe I did such a good of job of acting neurotypical that now I really am, they can’t tell. I have yet to find a psychologist who is able to revoke my autism diagnosis, autism is already a very specialised field, and I’m an even more peculiar case. I don’t feel like I personally need that kind of confirmation, but given that there is no scientific validation, this is my next best thing. So this year has been an experience of learning to rebuild my identity, accepting the loss of my old life and almost everyone in it, and somewhere in there, actually enjoying a clearer, calmer, mind.

Do I miss anything about autism? There were some advantages, the hyper-focus, the obsessions, those were quite useful when channelled correctly. Although I wouldn’t say I’m less creative now, but it seems my skills have shifted unexpectedly, I used to be an illustrator, now I’m a creative writer. I struggled to write stories before, now I can’t stop, it just flows so easily, perhaps because I have a newfound understanding of people and social interactions and all of that, writing realistic characters and dialogue has suddenly opened up to me. I would also say the meditative, euphoric state that came from stimming was a nice experience too. I’ll probably never experience that again. Rocking back and forth doesn’t do anything for me anymore.

I’ve had a number of people contact me about my journey with and without autism, so I hope that answers some questions for some of you, but if not, feel free to get in touch. Of course I’m no expert, but I can share with you what has worked for me and what I’ve experienced. If I’ve learned anything since creating this website, it’s that it’s terrifying to not get any support when facing misunderstood and mysterious medical problems, even worse is when it’s dismissed as psychological. I’ve experienced this with Chronic Fatigue, and IBS, and I’m dealing with it again with reversing autism. I’ve had to become my own doctor, I’ve had to become completely independent, which thankfully I can be now that I’m not autistic. I’ve learned to listen to my gut, literally, I know how I feel and I know what works for me, and damn anyone who tries to tell me otherwise, because they can’t ever know.

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