sonnolenta. In Italian, to be drowsy. sleepy. soporific; is “SONNOLENTO”. I started saying this word, because the Italian word for tired, “STANCA” sounded like “stinky” to me. Silly thing, but how words sound and look is a bit of a fascination for me. I like words. I especially like unusual words, like “dormiveglia”- look it up! Literally to me, I’ve pieced together other things, loosely: sono: I am (io sono) lenta: slow
For me, “sonnolenta” is the art of living life slowly, fully, intentionally… within the limitless boundaries of being a neurodivergent woman on the Autism Spectrum!
I was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum in 2011. I also have ADHD, mild Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and frequent Insomnia which presents as a difficulty in maintaining sleep. I am a female, in my 40′s, have been married/divorced twice, and am a single mother. My Son is my sunshine, truly. We have two rescue dogs, Neptune and Luna.
I appear on most levels, like a “normal” individual. I have been able to excel academically in high school, college, graduate school, and work; although not without a lot of difficulties, which I became very good at either hiding or over-compensating for. For this reason, some people refused to believe my diagnosis. They believed that I simply needed to appear to be “more disabled” in order for it to be true. I’ve heard all kinds of strange rebuttals to my diagnosis. Everything from “you don’t look autistic”, “you can’t catch autism” to “but you took ballet classes” and “you went to college and started a business”. Yes, it’s true- people on the autism spectrum can do lots of things, and we’re all very different from one another. We are on a “spectrum”. It’s a broad range. We’re very diverse in our differences, but very similar in our desire for a more accepting world to exist in.
There is a great deal of misunderstanding and ignorance regarding Autism Spectrum disorders in women. Women tend to go undiagnosed, with a trail of misdiagnoses and a lifetime of confusion and struggling to fit in, left behind in their wake. Women with ASD are more likely to be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, than their male counterparts. Women with ASD are more likely to be treated like they are mental patients, flawed, weak or defective; while males are more likely to be correctly diagnosed, seen as disabled, receiving correct treatment/help, and not looked upon as negatively. This presents a unique, and often heartbreaking set of challenges for women with ASD to overcome. Mostly all of the early writing, documentation and research about Autism and Aspergers was done with male children, and men. Not women. It was believed that it was a male disorder. That is not the case.
I have been frightened to share my diagnosis or to write about it. I’ve become a hermit of sorts, and had given up on being part of the movement to change society’s perceptions. But I’m stronger now. I’m ready. I made my first public (although anonymous) “declaration” of my diagnosis and situation in this post. While it is characteristically verbose, it hardly scratches the surface of what I hope to eventually write about.
On February 14, 2014 I participated in the #lovenotfear flash blog to raise awareness of neurodiversity and autism acceptance. It was on this day that I put my professional skills as a cosmetic formulator to use and created a special eyeshadow color, #lovenotfear to be sold through Aromaleigh Cosmetics, and benefit The Golden Hat Foundation. It was important to me that the world know that this eyeshadow was concepted and created by a woman on the autism spectrum. Rather than continue to hide behind my diagnosis, I chose this as a good opportunity to raise awareness. You can read more about the eyeshadow and purchase a sample or full size, here.
I’m not sure what direction this blog is going in. Some days I write about life on the spectrum, some days I share photos from my hiking excursions. Other days I reblog, when I can’t get the words to flow correctly. But most of all, what I wish to eventually share is my journey. There are many wonderful and informative blogs and websites about Autism and Aspergers. I hope that my writing can provide a unique window into my world. Thank you for visiting!