Hi, I've recently - finally - got my Asperger diagnosis, preceded by an ADHD diagnosis. I'm in my 60s, and was misdiagnosed many years ago as bipolar, and had an even earlier label as a (gifted) child of being 'maladjusted'! I've since discovered that many autistic children were given this label, as child psychology was then in its infancy. Other than psychotic or schizophrenic, there were no diagnoses for children's mental health issues. My life has not been easy, and athough this diagnosis has been very welcome and has answered many questions, it's very hard for me to find anybody who can understand me and the difficulties I face. I've tried counselling a couple of times, but found that most professionals know nothing about autism other than basics like binary thinking and so find it hard to understand my (logical) take on everything. It would be great to hear back from anyone else who is in a similar situation, and to know that I'm not alone.
I was going to post about ASC/Asperger's and bipolar. I am in my 50s, was diagnosed with ASC/Asperger's two years ago and today I persuaded a GP to refer me to a psychiatrist to see whether or not I am bipolar. If you had asked me three years ago I would have said I was bipolar instead of autistic but as the GP said I definitely have autistic traits even if I am not autistic. there is also no reason why you cannot be both.
I also understand that there is someone at my local autism hub who has been diagnosed as bipolar but who is convinced he is autistic instead.
So you are not alone.
Thanks for that, Taltunes, much appreciated. I wouldn't object to getting a bi polar diagnosis again, but I've been down that path and know pretty much all the meds and how the side effects were so awful I couldn't continue with them. Other than cognitive therapy, there isn't much else on offer. I know from the past that meditation would help me immensely, once I can relax enough to start again, as have been having a rough time the past year, and stress levels are sky high. I'm thinking of trying CBD oil, do you have any experience with this? It has mixed reviews but many find it excellent for many things, including alleviating anxiety. I get cross with myself sometimes, as I feel I ought to be able to self-heal if only I knew the right formula!
I was mis--diagnosed with bipolar disorder and then a personality disorder before ASD. I never truly felt like the label fitted with those but do with ASD. I've also stopped having MH problems now I truly know who I am. I still take the BP meds though as they knock me out in an evening and I can't sleep naturally. My GP hasn't said anything yet.
Many of the on-line counseling directory's enable you to search for autism specialists. Someone posted on here a few days ago about the difference seeing a specialist compared to a generic counselor made.
Your experience of the counselling profession is unfortunately one I've found too. I was diagnosed a year ago, and then I was shocked to discover there are very few resources out there to support a late-diagnosed adult. I've had Counsellors just focus on talking about my feelings (even the diagnostic Psychiatrist said I was very insightful and was already fully aware of my feelings. Feelings wasn't the issue, but finding more effective strategies). Another Counsellor (by her own admission) didn't know what to do with me - so just sent me to a group workshop on breathing techniques for anxiety! Yet another kept referring to my "learning disability" - even after I pulled her up on it. And, the diagnostic Physiatrist seemed to focus on the belief that getting an active love life would solve all my problems (a very turn-of-the-twentieth century idea, akin to the common belief that a woman getting married and having sexual relations with a man would cure her of her 'hysteria').
It's funny, as thus far I've never come across a medical / mental health professional with autism. Can you imagine if you attended a women's studies lecture that was presented by a man, or a racial awareness rally hosted by a caucasian person, or a trans-awareness advocate that was cis-gendered etc? At the present moment in history, we're being talked at by Neurotypicals who in my experience just have woefully little understanding as to what it's actually like to live with autism (in a neurodivergently-hostile world), whereby the focus of the 'treatment' is either to ignore us, or force us to adopt Neurotypical standards.
Hi Evan, my goodness your experiences resonate! I too had a psychiatrist who told me that I wasn't normal because I didn't want a partner. I've found that psycotherapists and psychiatrists appear to have little self-knowledge and are often mystified by my analyses of situations and people. I've been seeing an NHS therapist but, after today, not sure that it's good to continue. Apart from other things, she doesn't appear to know much psychology: I mentioned somebody I know who was diagnosed with Munchausen's, and I had to explain to her what it was and also Munchausen's by Proxy. She also appears to know little, if anything, about narcisisstic personality disorder.
But you're absolutely right, of course. How on earth can a NT comprehend the machinations of our minds? NTs are not as perceptive, sensitive, attuned, or logical enough. They could actually try a bit harder, of course, as the information is all out there, but I doubt that they can be bothered. I mentioned CBD oil to my psychiatrist and she'd never heard of it. I'd have hoped that professionals would keep up with latest treatment options, but apparently not if they work for the NHS.
Sadly, it appear to be just a job for most of them, not a vocation.
Hi there, I can absolutely emphasise with your situation. My sister has only recently been diagnosed with Aspergers in her early 30s after years of wondering why she was like she was. On one hand she desperately needed the diagnosis to answer her questions but on the other hand she’s having such trouble actually accepting it and that there’s no magic pill that is going to make her feel better. It’s unbelievable that there is such little support for adults with autism.... everything is geared towards children it seems. You are definitely not alone and it’s half comforting to know that my sister is also not alone... there are others in a similar situation. If you discover anything that helps you please share!
In all fairness, there is a lot of psychological and medical information out there - far too much for any one individual to memorise. So, like many 21st century professions, you do expect your psychologist / counsellor to specialise, whereby they just may not be aware of alternative treatments / diagnosis.
That said, I have to agree that a lot of it is just sadly lacking (for ND's). You hit the nail on the head saying it's just a job - as the glorious pioneer days of the psychological disciplines are long gone (whereby a Psychoanalyst for example would have to undergo years of therapy themselves first, to understand how their own psychological make-up effects the therapeutic experience, including recognising their own limitations or lack of knowledge).
Nowadays, you tend to be referred to self-styled 'Counsellors' who have attended some hippy workshop for a weekend, or have got some internet certification. They're not even familiar with the traits specific to autistics, instead seeing any deviation as something that just needs to be brought back into the norm, something to be 'fixed' not understood.
The problem stems from how they consider the Neurodivergent viewpoint - not as a legitimate alternative (a "different ability") but the vast majority of such practitioners work from the unacknowledged bias that there is something innately 'wrong' with us - ergo their entire focus is on bringing us back into the Neurotypical model as much as they can force us to.
For me, the current medical model is crying out for more practitioners who are actually autistic.
I completely empathise with your sister. Unfortunately, I've found a complete lack of suitable resources for adults - so I'm sorta floundering myself. But if I do discover anything useful, I shall of course let you know.
I got my diagnosis just over 2 years ago, at the age of 56. My experiences as a child and youth, and my school reports, all provided the pointers - except, as you say, it wasn't generally known about then. I learned to read at 4 and was way ahead of the others in my first year at primary school. But then it all started to go wrong, and I lost track. I couldn't cope very well with school, and was bullied most of the way through it. So I was give a variety of labels. Quiet. Shy. Unfocused. Inattentive. Disruptive. I was told I would never amount to anything. I left early without taking any exams. I was pretty much dismissed as a dunce. Later though, in my 20s, I got into Mensa. At 30, I had a degree. University learning - more self-directed, and largely 'alone' - was more suited to me.
I was misdiagnosed for years. Many things pointed to BPD, but my CMHT dismissed that out of hand and bounced me off to substance misuse services - even though I didn't drink much. This is quite common, as I understand.
My life hasn't been easy, either - something that I find it tremendously difficult to explain to neurotypical people of my acquaintance. 'Oh, we all have tough lives in our station of life', etc. I work for an autism trust, where at least my colleagues are trained to have an understanding of the issues. They still get it wrong sometimes, though. It isn't an easy thing to explain. There are various analogies I use. Such as, I'm a cat in a world of dogs. Or I'm an Apple Mac in a world of PCs.
The diagnosis was overwhelmingly positive for me, because it enabled me to make sense of my life at last, and realise that I wasn't simply a socially-awkward, anxiety-ridden depressive with relationship issues. I can't help wondering, though... if I'd had that diagnosis as a child, it could have made a big difference. Fundamentally, though, I don't really want help or support now. I don't want to go through some course of therapy designed to make me 'fit in' more. I'm quite happy being on the outside of society - just stepping in to do the usuals of my job, my shopping, etc.
It would be nice, though, to get a little more understanding from others. I think it's great that people like Chris Packham are out there, in the public eye, talking about his Asperger's. Hopefully, that can help to spread the understanding and debunk some of the myths. It's going to be a very long and slow process though, I think.
Evan said:The problem stems from how they consider the Neurodivergent viewpoint - not as a legitimate alternative (a "different ability") but the vast majority of such practitioners work from the unacknowledged bias that there is something innately 'wrong' with us - ergo their entire focus is on bringing us back into the Neurotypical model as much as they can force us to.
This also, of course, points to the problem that many high-functioners have in going for employment, and coming up against that application question: Do you consider yourself to have a disability? If you're like me, you prefer to think of it as 'differently-abled' and say 'no'. But then you could be laying yourself wide open to problems. Supposing you find that you need some adjustments to be made in your working environment, and then request them on the basis of autism? 'Why didn't you point this out when you applied for the job?' etc.
I've had two jobs since my diagnosis, and have pointed it out each time at interview stage. It hasn't prevented me from getting the jobs - but then both jobs were in special needs care, so I expected a more understanding reception. In other fields, though, it could prejudice a person's chances. They can guarantee you an interview, being 'disabled' - but they can still discriminate by not offering you the job anyway. Disability is essentially a social construct. The world is designed around the 'fully-abled', and the neurotypical. Even working in a congenial environment, where I can openly discuss my autism with management and colleagues, I still have struggles. I'm still expected to go in of a morning and accept that the task I was expecting to do has been changed to accommodate the needs of the centre, and the other workers there. And I still get made to feel incompetent if I'm so focused on doing a particular thing that I neglect something else going on. It's never easy.
Martian Tom said:Fundamentally, though, I don't really want help or support now. I don't want to go through some course of therapy designed to make me 'fit in' more. I'm quite happy being on the outside of society - just stepping in to do the usuals of my job, my shopping, etc.
You sound in better form tonight and I am pleased to read that.
I am struggling to get to sleep tonight because I have an appointment with my GP tomorrow. Dreading it.
It was arranged on the pretext of reviewing my blood pressure and thyroid meds but I know he will ask about my last meeting with a psychiatrist which did not go well. I'm in a better place now than I was then thanks to this forum so I hope I will be able to get through it OK. Neither he nor the consultant knew anything about aspergers by their own admission. So like you experienced,they both concentrated on my use of alcohol.
The quote above says it all for me too. I have accepted I don't fit the normal definitions and just want to live out my life in peace and quiet, foraging out when I know I am in full control of the situation and will not be confronted with awkward social interactions. The local agricultural show for instance is something I look forward to every year. I can watch without getting drawn into anything.
I notice a couple of mentions of CBD oil in this thread. Am I correct in assuming that is cannabis oil without the THC?
I did mention this idea a couple of years ago to a practice nurse who was tut tutting me for the amount of wine I drink but of course it went down like a lead balloon. Just like my suggestion that the NHS should offer e-cigs to smokers as it is 95% safer however I read recently that they are at last coming round to that idea. About time too IMHO. It will cost them a lot less than nicotine patches that is for sure and the success rate will be significantly higher. Worked for me.
Anyway good to see you are feeling better, take care, Laddie.