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.
Apologies, I did not notice that the bracket and full stop had been included in the link. The link is:https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/multipage-guide/employment-workplace-adjustments
I have tested the above link and it works. I have also corrected the original link.
Hi Graham, when I realised I was autistic, last May, I knew straight away that I wanted a formal diagnosis. I felt I needed it, not so much to prove the diagnosis but to confirm it, especially when I’m telling other people. It also became apparent to me that it was actually a necessity as I have been out of work now for several years. I have tried doing part time jobs that I thought I could handle, but it turned out that I couldn’t. I think I’ve been ‘passing’ for so long now that I can’t do it anymore and to be honest, neither do I want to. Now I am beginning to understand the situation better, I am able to make plans to create an income in a way that suits me, although at present, I just need time to process the diagnosis and steady myself. Deciding to get a diagnosis is such a personal thing and I don’t think I really thought about it too much or what the benefits would be but I’m realising that the biggest benefit to me, seems to be that I feel like I’ve been given ‘permission’ to finally be me. For me, this is life changing, it’s forcing me to really think about what it is I need and want in life and what I can give, without burning out and falling into depression and burnout. As I’m working that out, I can ask for the help I need and the formal diagnosis is supporting that and it is preventing me from falling back into what I’m good at or rather what I’ve done, what I’m used to, which is social worker/mental health practitioner, because even though I’m good at the job, as in, I’m good at working with the clients, the rest of the job is just too much for me. I’m working towards self employment/business owner as a metaphysician but I’m going to need support to make that happen as well as a good understanding or a better understanding of what is my ‘autism’ and what is me, so I can work with it and focus my attention on the positive aspects instead of trying to make myself fit into a box that wasn’t designed for me. I trust you will come to the right decision for you.
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!
I have booked an appointment with my supervisor on 1st December. He doesn’t seem to think it surprising that I haven’t started writing the dissertation yet and it’s due in on 19th January! I have also asked for a letter from my line manager so that I can apply for mitigating circumstances and hopefully get an extension on the hand-in date.