This isn’t a post about medications available to some of us. It’s a ruminate on our culture of medicating.

I knew so little about autism, when I was diagnosed, I assumed that it meant I would be put on prescription drugs for the rest of my life. If you are ahead of me, or less ignorant than I was, you’ll realise how bonkers that sounds! But perhaps there are other undiagnosed and self-diagnosed autistics who also think that one of the bonuses of having an official diagnosis is that you’ll then be given tablets that will take all the bad aspects of being autistic away. It can’t be just me because I’ve been asked by well-meaning friends what ‘they’ve given me for it‘.

To cut myself a little slack for my naive view, most of us have been raised in a culture where differences get ‘fixed’ with ‘treatment’, often in the form of prescription drugs. When I was diagnosed as autistic, I didn’t understand that I was born with a neurotype that meant this me, is normal me. The right me. The ‘bad bits’ of being autistic largely occur due to living in the very culture that seeks to medicate us.

I truly thought that autism was like depression or bipolar – alleviated, to an extent, with medication. I also knew that some ADHDers find that prescription drugs help them. And, of course, by the time those of us who find out our identity later in life actually get the grand reveal, large numbers of us are already being medicated with treatments for co-occurring conditions, such as depression, OCD, anxiety, insomnia, eating disorders, addictions…because life has taken its toll on us neurodivergent misunderstood souls, and often because many of us, particularly girls and women, have been misdiagnosed or had their true identity missed.

So, if taking medication is what we have been doing for, potentially, decades, why would we view our autism any differently? Not helped by the fact that autism is diagnosed using two manuals – one has the word Diseases in the title, and the other has the phrase Mental Disorders in the title. Of course we think we need fixing – this is the message being rammed in our faces!

My diagnosing psychologist, lovely and gentle as she was with me, explained that the world isn’t going to change for me, so I am going to have to find strategies to cope in the world. This brought dread to my heart. Surely, that’s what I’ve been doing for half a century or more and it’s just NOT WORKING.

The only options open to me, as I see it, are:

1) withdraw from this intolerable society as much as is practically possible OR

2) do my little bit to change societal attitudes.

Ever proactive, I’m doing both of those! I’m moving to the Outer Hebrides – a world where time has stood still in a wonderfully soothing way AND I’m developing this website.

When my psychiatrist has decided whether I’m an ADHDer (I am), if he offers me medication that dangles the lure of improved focus, I’m definitely going to give that a go. To live a less chaotic life would surely reduce my anxiety and help me at least achieve the basics? I will update this post if and when I get that stamp of white coat authenticity. I shouldn’t sound so cynical about medical professionals, my psychiatrist is incredibly lovely. The calmest person I’ve ever met (maybe he’s on meds?).