Hi sorry, just need to rant somewhere a little to blow off some steam after a frustrating meeting this morning.
I've been on the jobcentre's work and health program for just a little over a year now, and volunteered to go on it after bouncing back hard from a major depressive period over that Christmas and then being buoyed up by finally getting some one to one CBT for anxiety. At the time I had no clue I might be autistic and believed what I'd always been told - that I had generalised anxiety and just needed to build some confidence and get out there. I did try to engage with the program and started looking for work experience and doing a little voluntary work each week, and eventually the search for work experience let instead to being offered a job interview. Unfortunately I got so stressed and scared as the interview approached and they tried to coach me in preparation for the interview that I had what I now recognise as a meltdown and the person I was seeing on the program allowed me to take some time to recover and agreed we should proceed more slowly. Since then the person I see has changed a couple of times and while still nice they are a bit more intense about pushing me forward. Unfortunately things had totally changed for me as with talking to a friend with some experience with ASD and my own research I had come to realise that anxiety may just be a symptom and not the root issue so my position has been that I would really like to wait to be assessed before deciding how to move forward. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me as the wait time I was quoted was 6-8 months and I'm already 2 months in. However I keep being told now that since I am on the waiting list and that is effectively done and dusted until I hear from them I should stop worrying about all that and push forward with finding employment.
This morning was particularly frustrating as there was yet another new person there this morning sitting in on my progress meeting with the adviser as a trainee. It was explained to her that I believed I was autistic and that getting a diagnosis was my "sticking point" and I was asked to explain how it affects me and why I was so set on waiting (basically I NEED the certainty one way or the other as something solid to build upon going forward). There was nodding and agreement.... and then I basically sat there shrinking into myself and staring at the table top as this person talked rapidly non stop about how she was going to find me a job, that if I could do a couple of hours voluntary work out the back of a charity shop I could get a paid job, and how because I have an accounting qualification and most autistic people are really good at maths and computers (grrr) she intended to go through any job listings in that area phoning them up and trying to get me some work experience. I tried to say something but got no further than "err..." before I was bombarded with positive affirmations about how brilliant I must be. I just couldn't argue after 25 minutes of that, I got stuck in that place mentally where you just nod and mumble agreements even when you don't mean them just to get out of there. I didn't even wait around to get my travel costs refunded, I just wanted to leave.
Its taken me all afternoon to finally process and have it all sink in and have the numbness wear off. Am I being unreasonable wanting to get my diagnosis before moving on? Is it bad that I can't just put all this autism business to one side and get on with life while I wait? I know I certainly notice the impact things have on me more since becoming aware that not everyone feels like this. In a way its difficult because it almost feels to me that everything I said at the beginning about needing the diagnosis to give me a solid platform to stick up for myself from and how I'm easily bullied into things by people with some kind of seniority or power relative to me was turned around and used to attempt to bludgeon me into something I don't currently feel ready for. I'm ashamed of it, but I can only find the strength to worry about one priority at a time. I also feel guilty for feeling that what I said might have been turned back on me because it could simply be the effect of someone being too enthusiastic to prove themselves in their new job...
Sorry for the wall of text, I guess I'm still trying to process everything even after ruminating on it all afternoon.