I have recently discovered that I am an autistic mystic. I already knew about the ‘mystic’ part, but the autism has been a recent revelation to me.
As a mystic, I have spent my whole life questioning, exploring, and making sense of my inner experiences and my interactions with the outside world. I have always known that I felt different from the way other people felt, but it was difficult to understand why. As a child, I had profound transcendence experiences that my family could not understand. The only explanation I could think of was that I was an alien dropped into this world from another planet. I have spent thousands of hours meditating, and I believed that maybe this was why my brain functioned differently. My deep and questioning introspection meant that I had full awareness of my internal world. What I didn’t have was a reason for my eccentric weirdness. I now realise that all the above is common to a lot of autistic people.
In my 50th year I didn’t expect that my whole life would suddenly be shifted into a new paradigm. I didn’t expect that I would finally get the explanation I’d been looking for.
It started with a conversation around a campfire on New Year’s Eve. A new friend asked me if I was autistic. I said no.
Little did I know!
My friend (now considered a real life angel of mine) sent me some information about women and autism. Although I recognised a few of the traits as mine, I dismissed the idea at first.
But something made me go back to the list, the more I read, the more I realised this WAS me!
My autism diagnosis.
I recieved my official diagnosis in May, 4 months later.
Since then, the realisations have been profound for me. The more I have learned about it the more my life, my experiences, my behaviour, my work, my thinking processes, my general ‘weirdness’, and my difficulties with socialising and the outside world, have come to make sense.
I’ve discovered that literally everything in my life is deeply rooted in having this autistic brain. This includes my lifelong obsession with creating a logical, ordered, and neatly categorised non-religious spiritual practice. Now I know what I know about autism, this makes me laugh so much!
The diagnosis has helped me to feel held in a container of specific ‘weird’. I no longer experience the disparate and confusing weird that I’ve previously felt. My diagnosis explains everything about every single aspect of my experience, throughout my whole life. I’ve realised that everything I do and don’t do is due to having this type of brain.
I felt completely seen by the specialist who diagnosed me, probably for the first time in my life! This diagnosis has helped me so much and I know it is spot on for me, precious to me even.
The lost women.
New diagnosis is happening for so many older women at the moment, which is great. Experts have learned that, during childhood, autistic traits of girls were unseen or ignored. Unusual behaviours are masked by girls because they are encouraged to comply with stereotypical female behaviour. Also, until recently, most of the research into autism has been done on boys.
However, this is relatively new information. There are still many adult and child female, trans, and non-binary people who are still being missed. These people, like I did, find themselves fumbling their way through a world that doesn’t make any sense to them. They can end up feeling wrong, bad, and hopeless.
I have learned so much more about autism in women from reading their memoirs and blogs than from text books. There is something profoundly helpful about being able to join other autistic women inside their lived experience. This is much more insightful than reading descriptions of externally witnessed behaviour. For the first time in my life I’ve been able to see myself and my weird experiences reflected in other people. I no longer feel like a total human anomaly.
Sharing the autistic mystic experience.
And this is why I’ve decided to write about my own discovery experiences. My lifelong autistic special interests are the human mind and the intricacies of consciousness. I’m thinking that it may be helpful for people to hear from my unusual perspective as an autistic mystic. My approach might bring up something different that you can relate to. Also, the more non-male voices we can add to the mix, the wider the knowledge base will be. I’ve made many connections with other women and non-binary people within the autism community. I’m not the only autistic mystic out there, I’ve realised. The innate introspection of the autistic brain lends itself easily and naturally to a path of mysticism.
Resources for autistic women and non-binary people.
In this blog I will be sharing many resources. So here I’d like to introduce you to the work of Sarah Hendrix. This video is one of the first I came across, and I found it really helpful. In this talk she covers many of the lesser known intricacies of autism in women.
I’d love to hear your response and I’d also love to hear about your personal experiences of this. Are you autistic? Do you think you might be? Do you have any thoughts you would like me to blog about?