I'm 54 and only just been assessed and diagnosed with ASD.
I had a breakdown after bullying at work, 75 hour weeks and high stress levels.
I spent 12 years under the community mental health team. They diagnosed chronic severe depression and anxiety and at various times have even diagnosed borderline personality disorder. In those 12 years I have only had 12 hours of counselling, been on every antidepressant going and even been subjected to ECT.
About 3 years ago I found an ex on Facebook who was a nurse. She told me I had always had ASD and it was obvious. This helped things, in my own mind, begin to make sense. I'd been in a school for Maladjusted Children as a teen.
I raised it with my GP and the CMHT. My GP made a referral. The CMHT took no notice. As soon as I was on the waiting list, CMHT refused to carry on 'treating ' me. They went as far as to say they would only treat me if I came off the Neuropsychology waiting list.
3 weeks ago, after 2 years of waiting, I finally received a diagnosis of ASD.
During the 2 years on the waiting list I had the crisis team out several times as my mental health care was left to my GP.
Life is already making more sense. I'm not weird, I'm just me.
I still have no idea what happens next. Do I start to get the right support and treatment?
Will This come via the GP or will I be referred to a specialist?
My big question would be: Shouldn't the mental health professionals spotted the ASD? Aren't they trained? Should I ever have been given the harmful drugs I've had? Should I ever have been given ECT?
The last 12 years have been hell. I lost my job, my home and everything I own. I lost my wife.
I feel that if I'd understood myself and ASD I would have coped better and not had the breakdown. If I'd been diagnosed earlier I'm sure I would have dealt with the depression and anxiety better and could have dealt with things better.
I was also diagnosed three weeks ago, at 31, and feel much the same as you!
I never reached my potential and have had anxiety, depression and an eating disorder my whole adult life. It’s really sad but at least we know now why we are this way. I’m sorry that I can’t help with what comes next as I have no idea myself! I’m sorry life has been so difficult for you though :(
It is good to finally know though isn't it. Things just seem to be making sense now though. Looking back at the difficulties, it just seems I would have coped better if I'd understood myself better.
Good luck. Hope you can now get the support you need
Hi, i too was under the mental health care team for many years. I have had mental health problems my whole life, i was previously diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoid personality disorder and idiopathic hypersomnia. After many years i decided i no longer wanted to be under the mental health team. both due to their lack of resources which i didnt want to waste on me but also because apart from medication i wasnt offered much else that i deemed constructive.when i was 24, i had a son, he was diagnosed with autism aged 3. He's 7 now and i am still blown away with how amazing he is. Then recently i was having a difficult time and ended up back under the mental health team, lots of appointments, lots of questions and it all came to a head a week ago, i was diagnosed with autism myself, a day after my 32nd birthday.Its accepted i still have mental health issues, namely dysthymia and schizoid personality disorder.At first i was confused, how could it have been missed for so long, but most of my schizophrenia symptoms are what are typically classed as "negative symptoms" which means shutting down, isolation, socially awkward etc. Im still looking into it, but it appears that they can be confused more commonly than you would believe. I suppose its understandable as shrinks cant see our thought processes, all they can do is ask questions, which often dont delve into the right areas.As for what happens after a diagnosis in adults, i havent a clue. When my son was diagnosed it seemed that the services available were good, but the psychiatrist just talked to me for an hour, gave his diagnosis then shook my hand and said goodbye. I dont know who i need to tell, or what local services, groups etc there is for me now.
Hi, it's good to hear I'm not the only one. Cant agree enough on how poor mental health care is. No resources and throwing pills at a problem seems to be all they can offer.
My experience was the same as yours. Told me the diagnosis, shook my hand and wished me luck. Although he also said I should research the condition online and gave me a leaflet.
I'm sure there is support out there. It just seems we're left to find it ourselves. Good luck to you.
I suspect that the MH teams expect all the autistics and Aspies to have been picked up in school years earlier so they're simply not looking for it. Most of us will present as depression or inability to cope with the world - so that's what they treat.
I think you're right but as I said, they were aware that I'd been sent to a school for Maladjusted children as a teen. Surely this should have raised some questions. I genuinely believe that the mental health teams need more training to recognise Autistic traits.
There seems to be a genuine disconnect between mental health services and Neuropsychology. Why refuse to continue treating depression if you join the Neuropsychology waiting list? I spent 2 years on the waiting list without any support from CMHT, resulting in having the crisis team attend several times. I went to see CHMT and asked for help and the psychiatrist told me she would only treat me if I came off the waiting list.
I think many NHS services are still in the early stages of building autism awareness across all of their services, including mental health services. To me it seems obvious that knowledge, experience and awareness should have been built in from the start, and astounding that it wasn't, but it seems this is only now getting off the ground.
I personally went through various rounds of counselling and psychotherapy at several points in my life plus my adult son was with the early intervention service for 3 1/2 years and it was only towards the end of that process that autism was even mentioned. Even then it took another couple of years with a different team to get a diagnosis. So i feel angry that so many opportunities were missed.
My local trust are only just going through the process of training their staff in autism awareness (for about 2017 from the looks of it).
I've read very bad things about that trust by service users on Twitter, especially Autistic people. Abusive and ignorant staff, from what I've read. Just thought I'd warn you.
That doesn't surprise me. I've not encountered any overt abuse but ignorance abounds. Along with other failings. Plus I have a couple of complaints lodged with our local CCG, not that I'm expecting any further response form them as it's now been a couple of months. :(
Overall I'm quite shocked to find that autism training for all staff is really only just beginning.
It is shocking but I would have thought psychiatrist would be trained to spot the difference from day one.