Hi, I'm hoping someone or one of the mods can help.
I am female, mid-thirties and identify with a lot of traits on the autistic spectrum. This is something I have been aware of for three and a half to four years. I think reading and researching about it you could say, has been one of my interests. I have been a member of this forum for two years and stay on the periphery. It has now got to the stage in my life where I want to seek a diagnosis.
The catalyst for this being counselling therapy which I started yesterday. My brain and my mouth didn't match up. I found myself saying things which I now am not sure how true they actually were. We talked about identity and decisions. It came across as though I had been coasting in life, when in reality the decisions I have made in my life have been very difficult to deal with. It was difficult to get much across because i was very emotional and i find it very hard to talk about feelings and emotions. Im going to end up rambling at this point to you so will leave it there for now. However, I can see this "delay" which I think is typical of me in that in order to understand my emotions and feelings, I need time to digest and reflect. The counsellor didn't know I thought I was on the spectrum; it was a 45 minute session and I had things I just needed to get off my chest. It's something I will mention at my next session.
I have a good relationship with my GP and am currently reducing my dose of sertraline as the costs outweigh the benefits. I have mentioned the posdibility of AS to a previous doctor and she said it's something we can discuss and look into. Its on my notes. I would like to approach either of these GPs now. I know I will be asked "why do you think you are on the spectrum?". Well, how long is a piece of string?!
The difficulty now is that, because I spend most of my waking life over thinking, and I have had almost 4 years input of ASC information, I KNOW in my head how my experiences can be explained through autism but am finding this very difficult to write down. There's too much to even know where to start. Because I have been flying under the radar all my life, and I would say I am a very internal person, I am going to have to fight my case, so I need things to come from me as coherently as possible. The therapist said yesterday (about another issue) it sounds like I can become paralysed by my thoughts and I think this has happened here.
I couldn't find the list on this website yesterday, but made three headings of social communication/repetitive behaviours/sensory to start off my notes, but like i said, notes are proving difficult to write. I have done questionnaires before but have found them difficult to answer as they seem to be aimed at stereotypical behaviours.
I just feel like a tangled up mess. I want to move forward with my life and this is the next step but I don't know where to start. There's also the risk I don't get a diagnosis but I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
Thank you for getting to the end of my ramblings.
You have made very positive progress towards seeking diagnosis and making lists/notes is a good start.
You say that you were looking for a list on the website - this page has information about autism profiles and diagnostic criteria which might be what you were looking for.
There is also a lot of information about adult diagnosis on our website which might be useful.
You might also like to look at the AQ test. This was developed by a team of psychologists to measure autistic traits in adults. It's not a means of diagnosis but may indicate the need for further assessment. These online 'autism tests' do not guarantee accuracy, and while they are no replacement for official diagnosis, if the results are significant it's worth taking it along to the GP.
We know that this can be a really worrying time, but it's important to know that you're not alone, and that we're here to help.
Our Autism Helpline offers confidential information, advice and support. The team can also point you towards local sources of help and support. You can call them on 0808 800 4104 (Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm, Friday 9am to 3pm). Please note that the Helpline is often very busy and it may take a couple of attempts before you get through to speak to an advisor. You can also submit an online enquiry form if that would be easier - you'll find a link for that here.
I hope that helps.
Kerri-Mod Thank you for your reply and the links. Now I can see the list which is what I was looking for. You're right - it is positive progress and I feel good about myself for making this decision to move forward with my life as I have been stuck on this for almost four years and I have come to realise that I will keep going back to it until I have got a confirmation of "yes or no you are on the spectrum"
P.S I have notifications turned on for this thread but have received no email notifications that anyone has replied. Is there anything I can do so they flag up on an email?
out-of-step, I'd just like to congratulate you on taking the first steps (no pun intended) in pursuing a diagnosis; it takes courage to do that. I'd definitely recommend Sarah Hendrickx (both her book on girls and women, and YouTube) and Cynthia Kim, though with another of CK's books: 'I Think I Might Be Autistic: A guide to autism spectrum disorder diagnosis and self-discovery for adults'. It's short (106 pages) and an easy read - but the most important thing, for me, is how Cynthia takes the DSM-5 criteria for autism and breaks each one down into suggestions of how that might look in your own life. When you have little more than the outdated stereotype of what autism looks like (male, usually a boy, lack of eye contact, non-verbal or with very obvious verbal/social impairment, constant rocking back and forward or banging head against a wall) it would be easy for most of us to think we are definitely NOT autistic! But Cynthia's book very clearly untangles the DSM terminology and makes it clear how many of our traits, our quirks, our differences definitely do fit the criteria (especially the more subtle signs so often found in girls and women).Wishing you the very best of luck with your journey of discovery! :)
Hi VikingMermaid glad we both appreciate Sarah Hendrickx! I completely agree on the outdated stereotypes. It's only as I have read more about female experiences that i can see there are different ways you can apply the criteria and how it presents in different ways. And not just for females. I'm sure there are plenty of males who do not fit the stereotypes and also those who identify with either male or female gender. This is why it's been hard to discuss with my partner or a close friend as they don't understand it like I do and are only really aware of the stereotypical presentation. I told my friend it's like I'm a graceful swan on the surface but you don't see all the paddling away underneath!
That's why I like Anna Moomin on YouTube - She challenges these stereotypes.
I feel like I've been waiting at the platform of discovery, reading all the different timetables. But you don't get anywhere just through reading!