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.
Thanks for your post - and I also value the reply from Martian Tom
I'm a 46 year old male and waiting a diagnosis - I have had the tests last week. My situation is different - but here is why I would value a diagnosis...
From my own perspective, I NEVER knew I may have ASD/Asperegers until 6 months ago - or whatever it may/may not be. But throughout my adult life I have struggled with anxiety and social stress. I have paid privately to see several stress councellors (did not want it on my medical records for all sorts of reasons). Those councellors did, with hindsight and to be fair to them, ask the leading questions, but it would appear I had not self-analysed enough at that point to be able to truthfully answer them (eg I denied any problem with physical contact). I wasn't lying I don't think, I was just hiding the truth, from the world and myself. So...the concellors gave me incorrect (and expensive) advise, blaming it on non existent childhood trauma, a lack of work/life balance. I tried their recommendations - nothing worked - so I kinda gave up...carried on...
A diagnosis would explain to me - after DECADES of suffering with stress, social anxiety, people phobias etc that the stressors may be very different to what I have thought them to be all my life? I've always blamed my very busy career, the big responsibilities I had. Now with some self-analysis and guidance, some of it is as simple as - trigger noises, new places, the exhaustion of social contact? The diagnosis may help me take a different path to stress and anxiety reduction? Not sure what that will be yet - I'll need to talk with the assessors. For the first time in my life I may be able to UNDERSTAND why I am like I am. I will really value that. Maybe at my age I need that piece of paper as proof - I've been very capable at learning to cope to a degree and hiding stuff up until now. An official diagnosis will give me answers.
The other "biggie" for me from an official diagnosis is an explanation to my nearest and dearest about why I appear so RUDE, I avoid family and social situations, don't turn up to weddings, or leave half way through, refuse holiday invites, avoid/dislike their noisy children, sit in my hotel room alone when I could not find the excuse not to go to some hell hole of a theme park. Diagnosis will give me the ability to explain to them it's a condition and I might be able to go with some limitations - as opposed to I'm just an ******?
At my stage in life I think for me it would be less convincing if I announce one day - I think I may have "xxx" - without some medical assessment and opinion to back that up? I have told a few people - none of them believe it at first - my social masking has worked well!
The negatives - I told one colleague in confidence. His sneering, disbelieving response gave me forewarning that I may not want to share this too widely. I've told my GP I'm being tested - I may or may not take medication my assessor has advised may be useful to cope with the stress & anxiety. I'm self employed - so luckily have an understanding boss!!
It will impact future career / contract choices. I may or may not declare to future employers, I may refuse certain contracts - depends if I feel I can do 100% of any role without showing my old responses? If I need dispensations I may ask if I can take them???
I think I consider you "lucky" Kaixeka to understand your diagnosis earlier in life, and I understand why that piece of paper may hold less value for you. Having it on your medical records may negatively impact life insurance (I dont know that for sure - but I do know that stress/depression on medical records has some bearing). It may also get you access to services - should you need them at a later stage in your life?
Good luck with the decision! All the best. Mark.