Hi Ellie and Happy New Year :-)
Like you, I went down the private assessment/diagnosis route. I am not renowned for my patience and 'not knowing for sure' was just adding to the stress and anxiety that led me to look for explanations in the first place. I think my biggest fear was of no diagnosis, of being sent away with a simple 'no, you're wrong about this' and no alternative explanation.
I've got to say that based on my experience, you might not notice much change to life in general if you do get a diagnosis. In my case, the most immediate and clear difference was that I was able to explain to my boss why the commute was a huge problem for me and now have an agreement to work an extra day a week from home. Apart from that it's been a mixed bag. My dad was really quite interested, asked a lot of questions and was very supportive. He promptly motored through several books on the subject of Asperger's in a quest for knowledge. My mother hasn't actually mentioned it since I told her that I was right and now had a formal diagnosis, apart from to say that she hoped I was now coping a bit better with the anxiety. My sister I don't think understands what it is, and has carried on as before, I suspect never to mention the A-word again! My better half and my best mate have taken it in their stride and I think actually appreciate what makes me tick (or not) better than before. There are even a few jokes made about it ....
I guess what I am trying to say is that it's probably best not to expect too much in the way of a response to the news from others!!
I would definitely say it is worth getting a formal diagnosis though. Knowing what you are dealing with and why things are as they are is very valuable indeed. For you though, not anyone else. I can now much better rationalise my reactions to things. I force myself to stop and ask myself whether I am causing myself undue anxiety by my extreme black and white tendencies. As my father pointed out to me, there are many possible outcomes in any case, and 'horrifically bad' and 'absolutely amazing' are only the extreme ends. His words "I have made it to 70-odd and probably the worst has actually happened only about twice in my entire life. Normally it's something in the middle". I now try when in full-on catastrophising mode to pause and remind myself that there is also 'pretty bad', 'a bit rubbish', 'kind of average', 'pretty nice' and 'great' between the 2 extremes, and chances are it'll fall into one of those. It does actually help.
On the other hand, there are some things, like sensory sensitivities, which cause anxiety and you can't do much about. I suppose being aware that that is what it is means you can try to avoid them as much as possible, but that's about it.
And last but not least, you have a justification for being you, rather than trying to meet an ideal set by a society that doesn't get what it means to be you. It can be quite a weight off your shoulders, knowing that you are not unfriendly, inept, lazy or anything else. You just are how you are .... no point in swimming against the tide. Being yourself has the added benefit of taking less energy than pretending to be what you guess other people expect you to be too. However, I do acknowledge that pretending is habit-forming and takes a while to let go of. I am still working on all of the above anyway! Probably the other reason that nothing changes overnight ....
Best of luck :-)
ElephantInTheRoom said:"everyone is a bit like that"
First off, I'm HF Autistic, and have ADHD.... and I believe everyone has traits of autism, but I am firm believer in people not belittling autism, or any mental illness, because.... "Everyone is a bit like that" . Sincere Ignorance, has to be one of the most annoying things I can imagine. But I guess with enough pushing, and teaching, these people can slowly learn. I treat ignorance, with food for thought. "Oh you find it hard to talk to people" - 'everyone is a bit like that' - "Oh, so they'll struggle to make even small talk, and know facial expressions, and social ques?", If they say "Yes" Say "Cool, they might be autistic too then."
ElephantInTheRoom said:Well, it's 2018 and trying to think of the best way forward.
I'm really trying to make 2018 my year, I'm ripping off this persona, I've used most my life to fit in, and if I lose friends, fine. I only got diagnosed not long ago but I can confirm, it is like an epiphany. It's like everything slots into place, why certain things and events happened certain ways.
I got diagnosed a few months ago, but I really hate this persona I have, I'd prefer to be myself and happy, than someone im not and completely fake and unhappy.I hope you find your best way forward in 2018 Ellie! p.s - Sorry if this seems slightly angry, cs' it is, I get "Everyone is like that" a lot, and it stopped me from seeking certain help for a long time.
The Foyster said:I'd prefer to be myself and happy, than someone im not and completely fake and unhappy.
That is the aim...! and I am very lucky to have such wise people on here to support...but it seems one heck of a personal journey and it is tinged with sadness in that I have to gather all my inner Mo-Jo on my own. Talk about mid-life crisis!! - :) My OH thinks the cost of a diagnosis could be better spent.... grrrr!
It is very hard, I find myself reverting to NT pleasing persona now and then. It's horrible, but also quite empowering. I'm only 22, so I Can't imagine starting from your age, more and more and more years of that fake persona, it is gonna be a rough journey, Im sure it'll be amazing when you get through it though. I live in the UK so i got my diagnosis free, I was lucky, the waiting list for the diagnosis of Autism, is huge here (5-6 years) but I got in early, cs' my psychiatrist, felt it was detrimental, and knew how to do the diagnosis their self. The feeling of being isolated, and on your own- and growing up, changing every ounce of yourself to fit in, is horrible. I really wish you the best! :)
Thank you Foyster
For a youngling you are very wise...(thank you for reminding me that i am nearly twice your age!! - lol). I could ask for a doctor to refer me but I am a coward and impatient. I don't really want to wait so long. The first half of my life has been clocked on the system...time to harness my own self for the second act!
Thanks again. Keep playing that Ukulele!