Hi, I'm new here.
I would just like to ask if anyone has advice on where I could find someone professional to talk to about the likelihood of an autism diagnosis. I have been driving myself crazy for the last 6 months researching about autism and whether I am or am not autistic, and I just keep going round in circles.
I'm worried that I might just be making this all up in my head, so instead of going for a very expensive autism diagnosis straight off I wondered if anyone could recommend someone I could just explore the idea with first. I live in Scotland, but would be willing to travel or maybe even do an online session if anyone can recommend anyone good. I'm looking for someone who has good experience of women with autism, as I work very hard to act "normal", and have been quite successful at this. I think a lot of people would just dismiss me because I can make eye contact (mostly) and conversation.
I just had a very disappointing appointment with a psychiatrist today and I think I really need to talk to someone who knows what they're talking about (when I mentioned autism she said that the thought had crossed her mind while talking to me, but that it wasn't her area of expertise, and that she didn't think that being autistic would explain my recurrent periods of severe depression or my "emotional disregulation" (meltdowns?) when I think it is a very plausible explanation for both!)
Sorry for rambling but when I started to feel like she wasn't listening to me and just wanted to put me on more drugs I had a mini "emotional disregulation" in her office and ended up crying hysterically for an hour, and now my brain is like jelly so I might not be making sense here.
Many thanks for any advice you can offer!
Most psychiatrists aren't that well acquainted with ASD so I wouldn't be too surprised that they didn't have much knowledge about it.
Psychologists, speech and occupational therapists are often more involved in ASD diagnosis (with kids it's often a whole team of people, with adults it can vary). The NHS service I got my diagnosis through employ a variety of professionals (I would guess probably with an overseeing psychologist) and the guy that did my assessment was actually an occupational therapist.
You almost certainly want to look at seeing a psychologist, not a psychiatrist. I would look at the British Psychological Society register here for psychologists in your area, look through to find ones that have experience in autism in adults and then contact them individually to see what they can do and how much experience they have in diagnosing women. As already pointed out, if you're set on going privately almost everywhere will do a preliminary screening before deciding whether you should be assessed further, so you don't usually have to commit to a full expensive assessment right off the bat.
I would agree and it seems others have had the same experience.
In summary. A psychiatrist is a prescribing doctor. They are the person you want to see last.
A psychologist is someone you would need to talk to 2nd.
And a good counsellor is worth a try initially.