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.
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.