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.
Having thought about this a lot over the last week, I would really like to receive a diagnosis now. I can recognise that a lot of issues that I seem to have could have autism as their root cause. I do suffer a lot with anxiety and depression, and traditional forms of therapy don't appear to work with me. I offend easily and get told often that I am rude to people, when I am trying my best to be polite. I really struggle to talk in groups. And I get so tired particularly after days when I have had a lot of interaction with other people.
I'm really hoping now that I get this diagnosis in just over a week's time. In a way it's not that important for me, the self realisation is enough for me, that a lot of my problems stem from autism. However my employers and my current university may require a formal diagnosis before they will make reasonable adjustments for me.
When it comes to reasonable adjustments such as giving you more time than other students get then it's properly true, you will need a formal diagnosis, but when it comes to other things like helping you more to get started with your thesis then I don't think you need a diagnosis really, you need an understanding supervisor... Generally understanding, I mean, of the fact that every student is different. When you do your first degree there are lots of students and you can't really expect that everybody gets treated with a lot of consideration of their needs (unless someone has a diagnosis of some sort), so things will work best for those that are "normal" and less well for others. But a master student is a bit like your child (when you are the supervisor, I mean). You want them to succeed and while you can't and don't want to do the work for them it is certainly possible to accommodate their needs much more because you are only dealing with one student. Some supervisors are good at that and feel some responsibility, others less so, hope you are lucky with yours. I'd think telling them what you think would help you has a better chance of getting you somewhere because for one thing your supervisor may struggle to guess it correctly but perhaps more importantly, if you are active then it shows you are taking responsibility for your work, you are not waiting to be spoon-fed, you have identified that there are issues and you show that you really want to do something about them. I think if you can come up with things that would make it easier for you then it is definitely worth trying to get them. Of course they can reject it, but if you don't ask for it it may look like you don't care. Goof luck!
Getting a diagnosis may help you more than you think. You have clearly been trying to get a handle on your problems with anxiety and depression, but without knowing the root cause that is always going to be a challenge. Speaking personally, I have found that since my (recent, at the grand old age of 46) diagnosis, it really helps to be able to tackle the things that are a problem, from a standpoint of understanding why it's a problem in the first place.
I also suffer from anxiety and get very tired, but knowing why has helped me already to reduce time spent in the kinds of situations that just make it worse. I also told my boss at work and it was agreed straight away that I could do another day a week from home. Since my very long commute is the most anxiety inducing thing in my life, this has made me feel better already. I think he also appreciated having a better understanding of the way I think vs the way everyone else does, and why that makes me great at some things, less suited to others (I am a programmer, so some aspie traits are undoubtedly a benefit rather than a curse!)
All the best and I hope that the assessment will be a help to you. The way I look at it, we are getting a pretty good explanation for our lives to date, which give us a better chance of self-awareness/understanding than the average 'normally-wired' person will ever get, so we're lucky in a way!