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.
A really interesting thread - thanks for starting. I am a 52 year old female, happily married and working as a special needs teaching assistant, and have always suffered with mental health issues - the main being depression which i was first diagnosed with at the age of 18. I always felt people were against me, were inconsiderate and didnt't care. I also found that sometimes the slightest (to most people) thing would set me off either in a bad temper or tears. (Eg, we are going out and my husband tells me we need to take a detour to deliver something which means we wouldn't be arriving at the destination at the time I thought we would - or we may have to leave home earlier) I have always struggled with noisy environments - why can't people just be considerate and stay quiet - and I notice small sounds that others don't - what IS making that sound and how am I the only person bothered by it? Artificial smells make me feel ill - how is it acceptable to spray that perfume in the staffroom?- etc etc
It was my pastor who told me she thought I am autistic when I went to her very depressed to talk about my mental health. she said straight away she didn't think I had a 'mainstream' mental issue but realised within a week of knowing me that I am probably autistic.
This conversation took place over a year ago and within a week of me pondering this and researching it was as if a lightbulb had come on. -
so THAT'S why I failed school when I have an IQ of 142, THAT'S why everyone in inconsiderate (they aren't - they just don't understand me). THAT'S why I get so upset over little things (meltdowns!), THAT'S why my senses are so acute.
My life has been so much easier since then. I understand myself, and others understand me better. I now don't need to avoid certain situations because I know my friends will understand when I stay for a while but then say 'I'm sorry, I've had enough now, I need to go'
And my mental health has been so much better.
I am now waiting for a private appointment for a full diagnostic assessment
I got my diagnosis yesterday - positive for ASC.
So....this is the first day of my new autistic life!
I'm hoping things wil be easier from here on in with a bit of work from me and understadning from those around me. I hope you get what you want / need from your assessment and subsequently any help that you need. Good luck!
Congratulations - and I do believe it is something to celebrate. Finally understanding why is worth its weight in gold. I am a contractor too, and am determined to use this new-found knowledge to make informed decisions contract-wise about what will suit me and what will do me harm.
The knock-on effects of undiagnosed AS, and not dealing with the anxiety that it and my multiple sensory issues provoked, led me to a point where I thought I was going mad and was about to have some kind of breakdown. Since I have known and understood what is going on, I am doing much better. My current client has agreed to more offsite working, which has helped massively.
All the best and I hope your new autistic life will be good :-)
Thank you moggsy really appreciate the comment! Yes - I'm not "upset" about the diagnosis - I do view it as a positive. It'll take some work to accomodate - but onwards and upwards! Good to hear of a postive contracting experience too. Maybe "politically" unwise at my current role but having the diagnosis will certainly help me be more selective and appropriate in future. Thanks again for your kind words.
I am very sure that having this diagnosis is going to have a hugely positive effect on your life.