I'm new here, and came to this website because I've got some questions.
In September last year my depression relapsed again for the third time in three years. I went to my GP and she referred me for psychological assessment. At the assessment the psychologist referred me for therapy for my depression and anxiety but also referred me for an adult autism assessment. I thought nothing of the latter until the letter came through offering an appointment.
I attended the autism assessment this morning, and won't learn the outcome for a couple of weeks. But I don't know what a diagnosis (or non-diagnosis) is going to mean, and how it can help. I know I think differently to other people and struggle with some aspects of social interaction, but I work full time, I've got a mortgage on my own house, and I've learned to cope with being social. I'm 43, I'm just not sure how it's going to help make a difference either way.
Sounds like quite a sensible psychologist. Autism (especially mild versions) often comes with anxiety and depression, so it's probably a good idea to figure out if that is the cause of it (for example stress caused by spending a lot of energy to fit in). Some common therapeutic approaches against depression and anxiety also don't seem to work particularly well with autistic people (I'm not basing this on studies, just on experiences people have written about). So if you are autistic they may have to adapt their approaches somewhat and recognise that there are things that can't be changed, so rather than trying to make you change them anyway they would perhaps focus on coming up with ways to better deal with them. I hope that would be a possible conclusion anyway, because it seems a lot of counselling is rather inflexible and if you don't respond well to the one-fits-all approach then it is seen as your fault because you don't cooperate, presumably because you don't want to get better.
So I guess if you get diagnosed with autism not much is going to change otherwise but perhaps that therapy for depression and anxiety has a better chance to really help you and you (and possibly others) may start to understand a thing or two about yourself.
Hi, thanks for your reply. Having read some information about autism on this website and forum I am finding quite a lot of synergy with my own experience. My full time job involves working with people and I'm usually falling asleep in the car on the way home, let alone when I actually get home. While I am university educated I have a long history of not living up to the expectations of education professionals and teachers, particularly with regard to self directed study (such as writing the masters degree dissertation I'm supposed to be writing but have still yet to start). And I have been in capabilities (pre-disciplinary for low performance) at work more times than I care to mention.
I had to take time off from work to attend the assessment yesterday and I was honest with my line manager over the purpose of the assessment. She wasn't hostile but she didn't show a lot of understanding. She asked how a diagnosis would make any difference, and I had to admit that I didn't know.
Hi, if you get diagnosed then you should be offered a few counselling sessions with someone specialising in ASD, so that may be a good opportunity to figure out if there is anything in your workplace that could be made working better for you with some relatively small changes (the reasonable adjustments caretwo mentioned). That would be positive for both you and your line manager because it may make you more productive. If your job requires a lot of working with people than to stop this may not really be reasonable (unless it is a large company where they could offer you a totally different job) but for example things that cause distraction could be reduced or you could have some guaranteed "people-free" time every day when nobody is supposed to interrupt you if you also need to do that sort of work.
Regarding the master thesis the benefit could be quite big because the risk of having requests turned down would be a lot lower, but I guess it will come a bit late for this, you probably need to submit sooner, isn't it? Your problem isn't a specific ASD problem though, but struggling to see the bigger picture and to organise oneself are not helping. Do you think you can discuss this with your supervisor? You could ask for them to help you with breaking things down into smaller bits. Come up with a framework together. They will probably ask you to do that yourself first and then discuss it with them. If so, instead of trying to get it perfect and potentially getting stuck I would suggest writing down what comes to mind quickly and then discuss it with the supervisor because you may come up with that "perfect" framework much more easily when being guided a bit. Maybe ask them then to request drafts of those smaller bits, one by one. You need to be a bit proactive there or some will think you ask for being spoon-fed. It is definitely something I would do for my master student (even without it being requested if I noticed that she struggles to get started). It is so much easier for a supervisor to have that bigger picture, I think any master student is allowed to need that help. Also if you do it for the first time it seems like this really big thing, like a massive ball and you just can't find any corner where you could grab it.Personally I would suggest starting with the easiest bits, describing the methods for example (if your work is of that sort), because this is what you have done, so you only need to write it down. Things do get easier when you are not sitting in front of an empty page anymore, especially if there is a framework to fill in. When writing papers I try to finish the day with a sentence I know how I'm going to continue from there for a few more sentences, that helps with getting started the next day. And don't worry about fine-tuning, you can do this later or when you have a bit a bad day because revising something that's already there is a lot easier than writing it from scratch.
Good luck, hope both your boss and masters supervisor have the understanding for that!