Backstory: I've known I have Aspergers since I was a teenager. I'm now 28. Early self "diagnosis" and a deep introspection of my flaws and how they relate to classic aspergers symptoms. Since then, two doctors and one therapist have suggest in passing, that it was very likely i have aspergers or some form of "mild" autism, due to my mannerism, behaviour, triggers, etc. I've also had multiple friends who have been close enough to talk to me about it, ask me if I was.
I've never been officially diagnosed, because in my mind, what difference does it make. I'm certain of who I am, and I function for the most part, very well apart from in certain social circumstances or with some relationships, and what is getting an official diagnosis going to change about either of those things. I work through what I have to deal with and who I am and that's that. At this point I wear it on my sleeve pretty openly and i'm not shy about discussing it if people want to.
What I'm wondering though, is what effect would an actual official diagnosis have on my life? If I sat down with a doctor and...Presumably, took some tests? And ended up with that showing on my medical record.
Would it have any disadvantages? Being precluded from certain occupations in future because of it? Or anything where people with mental health issues may have to declare those? Would it possibly affect any future health care, insurance, etc?
On the flip side, would it have any advantages? Without being crass, would it help to give me a "safety net" in certain situations, professional for example, where I could lean on an official diagnosis to excuse something or rather, help put my behaviour into context? Would I qualify for any kind of social help, free bus pass, etc, anything like that? Could it help me should i (god forbid) have any legal troubles in future? If I'm going to have this...whatever you would call it. Condition. I might as well benefit from any help I can receive as a side effect of that.
I have a full time job with a salary that pays well, and a decent career path, and just recently I've been thinking about it more and more. I happily tell people that I am, I KNOW that I am, but what if somebody ever calls me out and wants "proof". What if they say "have you been officially diagnosed. is it on your medical record?", i'm not going to lie about that. Perhaps people will think I'm just attention seeking or self diagnosing to excuse poor social skills?
Give me your thoughts. I already understand who I am and the issues I face and I know what the medical term is for it, but would that being on my medical records, really have any actual real world effect, above and beyond me just saying that I am.
You'll find many, many threads on here dealing with the same subject. Many people ask the same question (check the 'Related' column on the right).
I'll give you my own story. I was finally diagnosed (at my own instigation) 3 years ago, at the age of 56. Before that, I'd self-diagnosed for about 2 years. In my own mind, I had no doubt about my condition. But I wanted validation. I wanted that moment - which I got - when I could hold my official diagnosis in my hand and finally see my whole life in its proper context. I've mentioned before how it felt like I'd had a Turing machine running in my head for decades, and suddenly all the tumblers fell into place and the code was broken.
At my age, I wasn't especially bothered about what impact my diagnosis might have on any future career path, or emigration plans, or anything else. The one other really positive thing it's brought me, though - aside from that validation - is the ability to negotiate things better in my own behalf. With my employers, for instance. No longer can I be labelled fastidious, sensitive, incompetent, inflexible, etc. I have a condition, and I can expect that to be taken account of. As it is. I also, if I so choose (which I don't) can claim access to support services if I need them. Also, if I'm ill, I no longer need to rely on the old 'excuses' (as they felt to me) of depression, anxiety disorder, SAD, and so forth. Actually, following my diagnosis, my mental health has improved. Because now I understand the root of it all.
I understand your reservations. Regarding your preclusion from certain careers, all I can say is - would you sooner take a chance with a career (no matter how much you might want it) that might lead you into problems further along the line? Supposing, for instance, you had a heart condition - but didn't disclose it because you wanted to join the Marines. It's unlikely that such a situation would occur. But, of course, many people with undiagnosed health conditions have come unstuck with the rigorous training programme the Marines have to undertake.
These are my thoughts, anyway. Again, I understand where you're coming from with your reservations. It's a lot to take into account.
I'm pretty sure you'll soon get some other insights from the fine folk here!
All the best,