VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Morgan Harper Nichols On Discovering She’s Autistic As An Adult
Writer, musician and artist Morgan Harper Nichols shared her journey to being diagnosed with autism as an adult in her new uInterview.
Nichols, who makes motivational art and poetry for her 1.8 million Instagram followers, has publicly shared her journey to receiving her diagnosis as a 31-year-old woman.
“Growing up my parents thought that it couldn’t be possible that I was on the spectrum,” Nichols told uInterview founder Erik Meers. “However, when you study about autism you find that it’s very hard for girls and women to get diagnosed and that was even more difficult in the 90s when I was growing up, and it’s also true for people of color. So, I was definitely in the category of people that don’t typically look like what someone would expect an autistic person to look like. So as a result I just traveled throughout my whole life dealing with communication challenges and things, and never really being able to make sense of it.”
She said that by 27 when she hadn’t gotten “a lot of the stuff that [she] felt like [she] was supposed to like eventually get as an adult,” she went to her primary care doctor to ask about the possibility that she was on the autism spectrum.
“And before I could even get the question out good, he was just like ‘Oh, you’re perfectly normal there’s nothing to worry about,'” Nichols said. “And sadly I took his word and I just walked out that doctor’s office and for several years I just continued to struggle and doubt myself.”
“And then, it was during the lockdowns last year, during the pandemic, where I was on TikTok and TikTok showed me some videos of some women who have been diagnosed as adults. And it was just like everything clicked, and I was like, ‘Wow they’re explaining my whole life experience.’ So that was actually what led me to Googling and finding a specialist in my area.”
Nichols said one of the clues to her diagnosis was her struggles with deciphering tone of voice and sarcasm.
“For me I just felt like, ‘Okay at some point I’m just going to grown-up and catch on to all these little nuances and things,’ but I just, I never did,” she said. “The good side of it is that as an artist and a writer because I have this really analytical brain I’m able to do a lot of roleplay and like play on different things and like switch things around and there’s a lot of freedom there.”
The artist sees her autism, along with her sensory processing disorder, as a strength, allowing her to “see colors within colors” and “sounds within sounds.”
Nichols’ new book How Far You Have Come: Musings On Beauty And Courage aims to help people understand their own life.
“There’s so much to learn from the landscape itself,” she said, “like even if we look back on our stories and we’re not quite sure how to make sense of it, just start with the landscape.”
“I knew that I was not alone in just — in general people trying to make sense of their stories, make sense of their lives, and that’s a really big task that could be very intimidating,” she said, “so it’s my hope that through the art and poetry that it just kind of gives the reader like an invitation to kind of slowly, maybe look through your own phones camera roll and find photos that are symbolic of just the beauty and courage in your own life.”
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