Over the last couple of years I've come to realise that it is very likely that I am autistic/aspergers. In every online test I take I score very highly. My son is autistic and so as I have learnt more about autism I've felt that it would explain a lot of how I am and feel.
I am now considering seeking a diagnosis but I am unsure whether to go for it and was hoping that some of you may be able to tell me what the benefits might be.
I'm a 38 year old woman, married with 2 young children. I think I am very good at masking outside of home but it takes a huge amount of effort. At home I'm constantly on edge, I wonder if I'm trying not to mask but then being judged for it so not sure who to be. I left work to care for my son but I don't feel I could return because I'm afraid of repeating some horrible experiences I have had there. I'm exhausted and struggling with anxiety, and the fight to get my son the support he needs is taking its toll on me because of all the meetings and phone calls. I am, though, worried that the people in my life who I have difficult relationships with could use a diagnosis to say that all of the problems are just because I'm autistic and not due to any bad behaviour on their part.
Do you think a diagnosis might help me? If so, in what ways?
Thank you for taking the time to read this far.
The NAS website has a list of the benefits of getting a diagnosis, which you could consider, or maybe you have already read and still feel unsure. Anyway, here's the link: www.autism.org.uk/.../adults.aspx
I understand the dilemma of not knowing whether a diagnosis would enhance other peoples' understanding or instead backfire and use it to blame all the problems on you. At the end, whether to seek a diagnosis or not, is ultimately your choice. But regardless of whether we have a diagnosis or not, I think we should all try our bests to be the best person we can be. As a student to study hard so that we could put our knowledge to good use in the future; as an employee to work hard and develop products/services that contribute to society; as a friend to be helpful and compassionate; as a parent to provide a warm and caring environment to nourish the next generation.
I am 52, and literally just got my official diagnosis this week. I found that since becoming aware that all my issues are down to asd my life has been so much easier. My close friends and my husband have been so much more understanding as they have come to the realisation that I’m not just being awkward about things, ‘thick’ when I don’t understand something, and argumentative when I am trying to understand the reason behind a decision. Now I know for sure, it probably won’t change much in terms of relationships, but I now feel I am in a position to challenge things in the everyday world like writing to Tesco and asking them not to have the music so loud, or making use of our local shopping Mall’s ‘autism hour’. I now understand why I hate shopping in the city so much, why I cant bear to go to Tesco when I’m on the way home from work or church (socialising is draining - I just want to get home) and why I ‘overreact’ when my husband drives a different way to where we are going, or announces he needs to stop on the way to deliver something. Now I understand that these things are my ‘problem’ and not other people being inconsiderate I actually deal with things much better.
Yes, yes, a hundred times yes. Knowing definitely helps.
Hey Kara I relate to you so much with that last bit about people using a diagnosis against you but those are the people you need to get away from in life.
On the diagnosis you need to proceed. The world is becoming a harder place for people without autism let alone us with it. Stop thinking about things and just do it. It is the ASD itself that is making you uncertain when the path should be obvious (getting as much help as possible) but you will only realise this later on like I did!
Greetings. I always write this...
Gaining an Official Diagnosis gives access to extra things IN LAW. Extra support, Services, and better understanding/consideration. And so, yes, always push for a proper diagnosis and it is certainly worth it. If one GP will not refer you, then go and see another. And it takes a long time, waiting-list-wise, and so just ask for it as you have opportunity to do so. Good Luck. (Do not "mask" during your diagnosis, by the way.)
Replying to the above do not "mask" during your diagnosis can you explain in detail what you mean by this please?
The thing I will say is with every extra year of your life you seem to mask more as you learn sayings or replies for people's comments. Speaking from my own experiences growing up the hardest part for me was leaving school and having to face the world.
There was many times through my teen years and early twenties that I often wouldn't reply to people when for example they said something like "How are you" and I would either reply "alright" but then also listening to other people's replies to those sort of questions they would reply " good thank you how about you" for example. So then I would use this for future socialising often feeling like a programmed robot trying to be normal rather than just be myself.
I don't think you can ever mask when you put your foot in it by coming out with something out of the blue or doing something what others would consider stupid.
Also I may add that when I talk to people at work I often talk by looking to the side of them and I can' help but notice they look around to see if anybody is there. I try my best to look at the bridge of the nose when speaking as one of my old teachers told me it means you are confident so if I do this I suppose this is kind of masking in away because it' not me being me.
Surely at an assessment these professionals know what to look for?
I am brand new to this forum - I'm 51 and had my formal ASD diagnosis recently. As a mum of 3 who has struggled with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember, this has come as a huge relief and helps me to make sense of my life. I always felt different and I understand your description of "masking" social difficulties - it is exhausting! I would say go for a diagnosis in order to access further help and understanding. Autism isn't everything I am but it is a big part of how I react to the world - those who don't want to understand this are not people I choose to be around.
Thank you all very much for your replies. I've decided that I will seek a diagnosis and have booked my GP appointment (after finding out how much a private assessment costs!).
Lellynelly said:they have come to the realisation that I’m not just being awkward about things, ‘thick’ when I don’t understand something, and argumentative when I am trying to understand the reason behind a decision.
Lol, so true
This exact post is the reason why getting a diagnosis is beneficial for home life. It helps the people you live with understand you better, and helps them understand the things you just can't mentally process the same way as them.
After my diagnosis, my wife became very supportive with the things I can't process, instead of intensely annoyed that I was being "difficult". And like you say, I wasn't being difficult at all, I just didn't understand some things in the same way that she intuitively did.