Hello. As the title says I'm new to this forum. I'm currently seeking an Aspergers diagnosis as I feel many of the female aspergers traits fit with me. Went to see my gp a few weeks ago. Thought I was going to have a job to convince him so was really nervous but to be fair he did take my concerns seriously and referred me to the mental health team for assessment. I have an appointment this week with the mental health nurse. For the past couple of weeks I have been really struggling with low mood and anxiety which I feel affects my work. I work in healthcare as a nurse and although I believe I am great with patients I really struggle interacting with my colleagues who probably at best see me as odd/aloof or just don't get me at all/see me as useless. I love my job and I'm terrified I might loose it as I've only had it for 6months. I've not mentioned to my managers that I suspect I have aspergers as I don't feel comfortable doing this without a formal diagnosis but I am anticipating a long wait to be assessed. Last year I experienced bullying at work which caused ptsd like symptoms. I had to take time off and had counselling to work through the anxiety.
Does anyone have any advice on discussing the situation with my employer? Am I right to leave things until after I get assessed?
Anyway I'll stop rambling on now. I'm hoping I will find some support and reassurance from this forum as I go through this process.
Thanks for reading x
Hey...you got missed! Sorry no one has replied to you.
i am in a similar situation in that as though not diagnosed formally I have told a couple of people at work.....but def hears, but no upset either..
what are you trying to achieve.....understanding that work elements can be challenging? , request adjustments at work?
I'm sorry I missed you, too. I have a lot of identification with this. Coincidentally, I once was also the victim of severe bullying in a hospital setting (I was a clerical officer in an Oncology Department) and suffered PTSD afterwards. I was off for months before eventually leaving. But this was all many years before autism had even entered my field of consideration. I was finally diagnosed almost 3 years ago, aged 56. I now work in care with autistic adults. I've worked in special needs care for 12 years in all. Like you - I get on far better with the service users than I do with some of my colleagues!
I, too, didn't discuss the situation with the employer I had just before I was diagnosed. I, too, hadn't been there more than a few months. At the time, though, the process was going through for me. When I got the diagnosis, I brought it up with my manager, who then asked why I hadn't mentioned anything at interview. I explained that it was still uncertain as to whether or not I'd be diagnosed at that time. She was fine with it and just asked me for an explanatory letter to go on my file. The autism unit I'd been to provided me with such a letter, just basically saying I had been diagnosed, without going into any further details. I told other people at work, too, and found them generally accepting.
Why would you lose your job? They can't push you out because of a condition like this. They can't discriminate in that way. It's illegal. Is it a private hospital or NHS? Have you thought about joining the union? I wish I'd been in the union when I had my bad incident. I was compelled to put in a complaint about the member of staff concerned - but they closed ranks against me, because I was the junior and she'd been there for years and was more valuable to them. Is there anyone else at work - an HR person, say, or an occupational health doctor- whom you could talk to first? Once again - though you know the situation better than I do where you are - I can't see that you can lose your job over it.
One other point I wanted to pick up on. Don't, please, be disappointed or distraught if your appointment with MH services doesn't prove satisfactory. I didn't find them to be at all helpful, and they dismissed outright any suggestion that I might be autistic. One psychiatrist (loads of letters after his name) said I couldn't be autistic because I didn't flap my hands! Pursue things if this doesn't work out. Take the AQ test and give the results to your GP if they're indicative. If they still demur - push on it. You have a right to this.
The test is here if you're interested and haven't tried it before. It takes less than 10 minutes, and is the standard test used in pre-diagnostic assessment.
Good luck. Keep talking to us. And keep your chin up. There is a way through this.
You've said you've been in the job for 6 months.
How long have you known your manager for, and do you trust that person, or are you unable to say for certain that your manager will fight your corner if required?
If you wouldn't feel comfortable approaching your manager, what about someone else in the organisation who is in a position of authority?
In my last role, there were quite a few individuals who sought me out over the years for a quiet chat about things. Some needed help and advice. Others just needed someone to listen to them. Initially, it was people I'd worked with or managed in the past, who had then gone on to other things. Then I had people coming to me because they'd been advised to by the first lot! Somehow, I always made time for people, because it was the right thing to do.
If I was in your shoes, I suppose I would write down the options (tell them / don't tell them), along with all the pros and cons of each.
Of course, you don't actually have to mention Aspergers. One possibility could be to schedule a few minutes with your manager to explain that you are going through a difficult time right now, and you thought you ought to let them know, just in case the situation might temporarily affect your performance at work. You could perhaps add that you've been proactive by seeking medical help, and that you'll keep them informed if you have any updates they need to be aware of.
By framing the discussion this way, there's a good chance your manager will respond with something like,
"Many thanks for letting us know. I really appreciate your honesty. Is there anything we can do to help and support you?
Naturally I don't wish to pry into your personal life, but if the problem is something at work, I will need to know a little bit more to be able to help. If for some reason you don't feel comfortable discussing the issue with me, you could approach <<my boss>>, or perhaps <<appropriate/friendly person in HR>>.
Are you aware of our free and confidential employee assistance helpline? Please keep us informed and do come back to us if you later think of something that might help."
At least, that's what *I* would have said...
Thank you all for your replies and supportive suggestions. They mean a lot to me as I feel quite isolated and lost at the moment. I had my appointment with the mh nurse on Wednesday. I think it went well as she seemed to take my concerns seriously. I found it hard to focus to talk to her though. I've not been sleeping well lately and have been struggling with background noise. The clock ticking, traffic noise, and trickling radiator were all really distracting. Even the sound of my own voice which sounded very distorted by the echo in the room.
She gave me a shorter version of the aq test but I have done the longer one online, which I scored 41. I believe that is quite high. I am now waiting 8-10 weeks for a referral to psychology. Not as long as I had anticipated which is good. Also going back to see my gp to ask for antidepressants.
I think I will contact occupational health where I work. Also there is a manager in work who seems friendly enough that I could talk to. As some of you have suggested I will only mention what I know to be definite which is my low mood.
Martian Tom said:One psychiatrist (loads of letters after his name) said I couldn't be autistic because I didn't flap my hands!
Gosh I'm really sorry to read this. I'm starting to realise that I must spend a lot of effort not rocking or doing "socially unacceptable" things. I always used to rock back and forth when I was revising for exams until a fellow student saw me doing it and laughed at me calling me a "spastic". Not a nice thing to say to anyone. Suffice to say I put a lot of effort into not rocking after that so I could be like everyone else. Now that I'm feeling run down and mentally worn out these little habits are creeping back in.
Not sure where all the smilie faces came from! I swear my phone has a mind of its own :-)