My name is Moggiecat and I am a 27 year old woman and postgraduate student. It's really nice to have found out about this forum.
I have an appointment with the diagnostic team next Monday and am driving myself mad waiting for it. If anyone has any words of reassurance or guidance, please let them be known!
I had my initial appointment with the service in November 2017. I had years and years (since very early childhood) of knowing something was different about me, accessing plenty of mental-health related services, trying antidepressants, being diagnosed with various physical and mental conditions, and then at some point, something 'clicked' and I felt things started to make sense.
The diagnostic service I am using is known for requiring parental input, but I have been wilfully estranged from my parents since 2012 as they were abusive in my childhood and harassed me as an adult. Despite explaining in advance of my appointment that I didn't want parental involvement in the diagnostic process, I felt somewhat coerced to supply my parents' addresses. In the culture my parents come from (one Middle Eastern and one North African), I am not sure how prevalent awareness is about autism in the community, and even apart from this, I don't know how well placed they were to notice anything 'different' about me as a child. I was an only child, and when my parents were not busy fighting each other, they were ignoring my health problems and telling me they were attributable to being 'blessed' or otherwise spiritually endowed. I don't even know if they will have responded to the questionnaires.
I had a lengthy interview and spoke about many of my issues with the interviewer. I have since been told I am not epileptic which makes my overload symptoms, sensitivity to light and sound when I am out, and need to go home often as soon as I get to my destination, seem more relevant to this possible diagnosis so I have written them an update letter.
I am so anxious that the service will not diagnose me, and I know this will have a crushing effect on my life and self-perception so I cannot stop myself obsessively reading and prepping before the appointment. Eep!
I can understand how difficult a time this must be and how anxious the appointment can be. I am still on the waiting list, and feel the same way. I also stated in advance that I did not want parental involvement in the diagnosis process, even though the diagnosis service is known for requiring it. I am also a postgraduate student similar age to you. I'm not sure which university you are at, but mine has still been able to provide some support/advice without a diagnosis. I was really afraid to go to them at first, but now I only wish I had gone to them earlier. It may be well worth a try contacting the disability services or counselling services in your university to seek advice on this issue as they have a lot of experience with dealing with students who are seeking a diagnosis. I wish you all the best in your appointment. If it really does turn out that they say they do not have enough information from your parents, please don't give up, as that is not your fault, and you can still always go seek a second opinion.
Many people have these concerns before their diagnosis. I thought I was autistic for 10 years before I finally got my diagnosis.
Sensitivity to light and sound is not uncommon in the autistic community, you were right to send them an update letter.
Here is a link to an article and video about women who are autistic.
I wish you all the best and hope your appointment goes well. Graham.
Thanks so much for your kind reply. Yes, you're absolutely right. I am lucky (!) that since I have other disabilities I am already enrolled in the Disability Services at uni, and have spoken to my mentor and others there, who have been very helpful. They also said that I can seek a second opinion.
I hope your studies go well for you and hope your uni is making reasonable provision and adaptations for you to enjoy your studies and uni experience.
Thanks so much for your comment, and for sending that link to the video - it's very thoughtful of you.
I am so glad you finally got your diagnosis after 10 years. For so many, a diagnosis is something to be feared but I am hoping to have answers and a way of understanding myself and relating to others.
I hope since your diagnosis you have been able to take positive steps. Thank you so much again and all the best!