Hannah Gadsby Taught Me I Have High Functioning Autism

The first blog I wrote for Mama Tine Autism had to be about Glennon Doyle. She gave me the words, those words gave me the permission. I was illuminated to the darkest and most sorrowful crevices of my mind. I had a lens to see myself for who I was; a woman who carried trauma from her childhood. She said it was cruel for anyone to try to take my pain from me. It is cruel to try to take away my time to process my trauma. To go, at my own pace, through the steps of the grieving process (please take the time here to research the five steps of the grieving process if you have not studied it yet). She said, the feelings from grief and loss are just as sacred as someone’s happiness and joy.

[Anecdotally, it is the reason I was struck down by Disney Pixar’s “Inside Out.” It boldly delved into mental health. It gave kiddos the lens to study the inner workings of their minds and hearts. It said, sadness is just as essential as joy in our children’s little healthy hearts.]

Glennon Doyle, and all her courage and eloquence, primed me to receive some earth-shattering knowledge from Hannah Gadsby, another hero of mine.

Hannah Gadsby broke Comedy. She saw that there was not a path for that which she wanted to create. And she boldly created her own genre. That is freaking amazing! With “Nanette” and her TED talk, she unpacked her diagnosis of high functioning autism HFA and my heart was shattered and seemingly healed in the same instant. She was talking about me. She was describing me. Her path was just like mine. I was the same kind of alien as her.

My whole body clicked. You know when you’re trying to twist a lid on a stubborn jar? You twist around and around, waiting for the thread to catch. Waiting for it to just sync with home and you can finally close the damn jar? That was me my whole life, up until my 36 years of life. Constantly buffering, hoping, waiting, just looking for home. And with Gadsby’s performance I felt that successful relief. Thirty-six years is a lot of wear and tear.

The relief, the diagnosis, comes with a relief that reflects the magnitude of the wait. It was cathartic to say the least. It was a a beast of a burden. And it dissipated like a magician’s cloud of smoke. It was heaven on earth. It was every ooey gooey cliche, because it was true.

I encourage you to watch Gadsby’s “Nanette,” her TED talk on YouTube, her Skavlan interview on Youtube, and “Douglas.” She so eloquently breaks down what it is like to have grown to be in your thirties before receiving a HFA diagnosis.

Wishing you growth, comfort, and warm fuzzies,

Mama Tine


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