Don't really know how to start this post, I guess I'm just trying to reach out as I don't know where to go next... I haven't had any kind of official autism diagnosis.
I don't know how you know whether what you're feeling is down to autism or whether its just me... I'm scared of talking to the docs about autism again - I've already raised it once but the doc said what would it benefit me by knowing and when I look back on it that was the end it the conversation... yet I'm still fighting my own mind to try and work out why I can't make friends, don't fit in, can't look someone in the eye, obsess over hobbies and don't know how to talk about feelings... how do I know if this is autism or just my mind being crazy?? What if the docs just say it's me being silly?! How do you move on from a non-autism diagnosis?!
Any words of guidance please?!
I certainly can understand that feeling. I've failed to communicate the first time I tried asking for an assessment, and it ended with that they misunderstood that I didn't want one....I felt terrible and wasn't sure what to do next. I think for the second time, you are now more prepared than the first. If they ask you that question again, you can say it's for your peace of mind, and provide an explanation for your difficulties. The NAS has listed some benefits of getting a diagnosis as an adult: https://www.autism.org.uk/about/diagnosis/adults.aspx If it's hard to explain to the GP (and many others along the referral process), you could also consider going for a private diagnosis.
Regardless of whether or not you get a diagnosis, it seems that you certainly identify with the life experiences of autistic people, the autism community is very open to those who self-identify and relate to the experiences.
Firstly if you are autistic then you are autistic whether you get a diagnosis or not. The diagnosis is just confirmation. I personally felt like I needed the diagnosis as reassurance that I'm not just weird or a bad person.
If you are autistic. I don't think you can ever completely know what is down to autism or what isn't. There are some things like eye contact that are very typical of autism. Other behaviours can become more blurred. They could be because of autism or they could just be part of your personality.
If you are looking at getting diagnosed I would write down the points that you think are most relevant about why you should be referred. Taking the AQ test and writing down the score would also be helpful. This way you can think of what you want/need to say before you go in so you don't get flustered or overwhelmed trying to explain.
If they ask if it would make a difference knowing I personally would say yes it will help me to understand myself and give me peace of mind. It also can give you support in the work place and legal protection. For some people it helps them get benefits that they need.
Good luck with whatever you decide.
I think Binary is right. The best place to start is by taking one of the Autism AQ tests. My own GP said there was quite a high correlation and reliability between these tests and a formal diagnosis. So, he was quite happy to refer me for a diagnostic assessment when I was able to tell him I'd already taken the test and got results that suggested I was very likely to be autistic (indeed, in-line with my autistic sensibilities, I'd taken variations of the test numerous times, and gotten fairly consistent results).
There are several variations on then test, but they all stem from the same origins. There's a 50-question version available at this link:
… or, you can take a newly revised 121-question version at the link below (personally, I find this one more insightful, as it provides a visual representation at the end of how your unique psychological topography is manifested):