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Morgan Harper Nichols /instagram Morgan Harper Nichols
Morgan Harper Nichols has been diagnosed with autism.
The 31-year-old musician and poet opened up about the diagnosis in a blog post published on Thursday, writing, "Last Saturday, after a very, very long journey…I was officially diagnosed with autism."
"Years ago, I asked my doctor if he could refer me to a specialist because I thought I might be on the autism spectrum. Without even looking up from his clipboard, he smirked and said, 'You have nothing to worry about. You're perfectly normal.' I wish I didn't take his word, but I did," she began.
According to Nichols, this led her to continue mistakenly think issues she had been struggling with were her own "fault" and she "just needed to 'do better' and be more responsible."
"Among many assumptions about autism, some may think that autism is a mental health disorder when it is actually developmental. Now, I have actually dealt with mental health issues in my life, however, I didn't realize that there was more to explain what I was going through," she wrote.
David Livingston/WireImage Morgan Harper Nichols
Nichols said everything came to light last year when she saw a TikTok video of a woman sharing her experience about being diagnosed with autistic as an adult.
After watching more videos from online creators with similar experiences, Nichols decided to find a specialist again and began researching professionals in her area who saw adults with autism.
During her journey, Nichols discovered that many aspects of life she struggled with — including communicating with peers and sensory issues — resonated with others who had been diagnosed with autism.
"I have struggled throughout my life, and I can honestly say this experience of getting diagnoses has ultimately left me feeling supported and like I have permission to breathe just a little bit more, knowing that there are explanations for my experiences and the struggles I face," she wrote.
"After giving me tons of information about my diagnosis, the specialist I have been working with ended by saying, '….and it's not your fault,' " Nichols continued. "I immediately burst into tears."
"For years, I internalized the message that this was all my fault and it was on me to 'fix' it so I can function like I felt like I should. And now, I can see, this is who I am," she wrote. "It comes with many challenges, and also, a unique experience that I have somehow also been able to find beauty and joy in, even before I had the language of what was actually going on. I'm still figuring out how to talk about this, but ultimately, I do feel like I can sincerely say: I am grateful."
Nichols added that she hopes to bring awareness to autism by sharing her diagnosis story, as the disorder "is often misunderstood and people can be hurtful, due to ignorance or meanness."
"My hope is that autistic people are able to get the support and love they need in a world that may not always understand who they are," she wrote. "I want to encourage anyone out there who is wanting to learn more to seek help and also listen to other autistic people. There are so many autistic people out there doing the work of educating and helping others and I am very grateful for them. You're not in this alone, and I'm so grateful that I'm learning that."
She concluded her post, "No one should feel alone or unsupported in this which is why I wanted to share."