I had a bad year last year (depression, loneliness etc) and ended up with an Asperger's diagnosis. I'm still coming to terms with it and it's really messing with my head. I'm 34. I had shingles over Christmas which may have permanently damaged my eyesight and I have also developed some kind of acne on my face. I was just prescribed an SSRI but I've just found out I can't take it because of the problem with my eye.
I really don't know what to do as I am in the middle of a funded PhD. My partner is also 8 weeks pregnant. Should I take some time off or ask for an extension of my studies? Should I just quit altogether? I can't claim benefits because I'm too high functioning and I need to do some kind of work because I enjoy it.
I'm a bit worried I'm just running myself into the ground and I genuinely don't know what to do. I don't know if I can approach the university about this at the moment - I was thinking of contacting my local autism charity to see if they could offer any advice or advocate to the university on my behalf.
To me it sounds as though you at least need at least a little time out to reflect and also to begin the process of accessing some post-diagnostic support. Even if this is just to explore your feelings and air your concerns with someone outside your immediate circle, I think this might prove worthwhile to you. Is this something that the local charity might be able to either offer directly or signpost you towards?
I would also suggest a 1:1 with your tutor/lead professional (?) as it may be that there are other options which might take off some of the immediate pressure and head off any longer term issues which might be arising from this difficult time. If you feel hesitant about this, though, maybe drill down into your reasons. If you think they'll not be supportive then yes, maybe an advocate would be able to step in and help.
i'm also wondering whether your stress levels have affected your immunity and left you more open to shingles. The Asperger's diagnosis, PhD and the new pregnancy all demand some adjustment and effort, even if they might, in themselves, be very positive for you. Plus from my experience shingles can have quite a long recovery period - more of a convalescence, i'd say. What are you doing for self care right now? Your post outlines the demands on you but where are you in all of this - your choices, preferences and ways of relaxing?
i think I'd probably get a brief list together, just simple bullet points of the main concerns, then get straight on to the charity as a starting point.