(trigger warnings for suicide attempts and all that)
Hi, so I’m a teenager. I’m legally an adult, but as a new immigrant of Asian descent I find it difficult to establish independence from my mother (compounded by the fact that in our culture, offspring are expected to stay with their parent/s until marriage). Thus, I rely on others to get by, though I am capable and seem to be functioning to most people I meet.
I’ve always suffered from mental health issues, such as depression and trauma. As recently as a month ago, I had a really bad suicide attempt that got me in a hospital.
I know the depression, trauma, and anxiety are certainly present. But I hadn’t considered until going through various blog posts about autism yesterday that I very well may be on the autism spectrum.
It’s nearly 2 A.M. here so this will neither be comprehensive nor the most coherent list, but here are some reasons why:
I'm not asking for an armchair diagnosis.
I am hoping to hear what my options are, because I am desperate to be professionally evaluated. Whether it is an ASD that I have or something else entirely, I know that I am not perfectly neurotypical and learning more and more that I'm not has taken so much weight off my shoulders. Especially with strict guardians who do not understand my plight, I need to understand myself better.
P.S. Again, I'm not expecting an armchair diagnosis, but may I ask if it's not so ridiculous to think I may be on the autism spectrum?
Hello. I'm approaching 56, having not got a diagnosis until my 40th birthday. It doesn't make me an expert on anything but me, but from my armchair I'd lay money on you being on the spectrum...and I'm skint, so that's gotta say something :) As to your actual question, if you need to understand yourself better is a diagnosis what you really need? The process can take a long time and would need to start with a visit to a busy, stressed, possibly disinterested general practitioner. That gives you a few minutes to get your message across to someone who is probably much more comfortable dealing with a rash or an infection. They might, if you're lucky, direct you to a specialist, but the waiting lists are very long. I did ok in that regard, I'd had many years to hone my story of myself, and once I'd been introduced to the notion of AS I knew what I was - regardless of any diagnosis. I remember telling my specialist that I was grateful for the diagnosis, though I didn't know whether it was a sword or shield, if that makes sense. In the last few years it's proved of negligible benefit as a shield ("So? You have Aspergers? Go learn some social skills, dummy" - just last week) and if it's a sword it's a rubber sword. I understood myself well enough before the diagnosis, and while it is helpful sometimes to be able to show that label to people I deal with, most of them don't understand it, or misunderstand it. Or dismiss it. Or dismiss me...Anyway, best of luck. Seek a diagnosis, it has a certain value as a 'professional' opinion - but you could just start telling people you're diagnosed. Nobody has ever asked me for the letter I'd asked my specialist for, so that I could wave it at people who doubted me.
I guess I’ve been too naive. I do know the process is long and arduous. I’ve certainly met obstructive or dismissive health professionals. I don’t know; I guess I was picturing the diagnostic sessions themselves, with regards to understanding myself better.
Lying makes me anxious. I can’t really lie. I also have quite a flimsy grasp on who I am as a person, so I’d feel pretty dishonest if I just went around applying the autism spectrum label on myself without having been officially diagnosed. To be clear, I don’t frown upon people who choose to self-diagnose. I just think I would crumble if I attempted that.
Is the NHS all one can go to for this in the UK? My family is by no measure wealthy, but some of my elders working abroad may be willing to help me out on this.
My apologies. The biggest problem AS gifts me is an uncontrollable honesty - I shouldn't have suggested you lie. But I think I was really suggesting you tell the truth and hang the minor detail of whether you're 'qualified' to tell that truth. As the sufis say, "Does a fox need a certificate to catch a rabbit?" A fox certainly doesn't need to see a vet to get a diagnosis of foxness.I don't know if you can pursue a private route to a diagnosis in the UK.
There are plenty of private places that can assess you in the UK, and it will be quicker they range in price from £1000 -£3000 either check the services directory on this site or Google autism assessment in your area
Oh, wow, that is so expensive.
That’s a good perspective, but I’m just very uncertain with myself; especially because it may be something else. I know some symptoms overlap, though I’ve heavily identified with autism spectrum indicators surprisingly more than any other ones. Still, I could be wrong. I do also have signs of ADHD and OCD. I wish professional diagnosis and therapy weren’t so costly. I feel it would help. I am functioning so poorly, even though I seem fine — outstanding, even — to many people. I know it’s not standard teenage angst. A couple of hospital workers have actually written notes about me after talking to me several times and they do agree there’s something different about me, but as they’re a crisis team and not psychologists, they had no authority to diagnose me with anything.
I know! NHS has been paying my daughter around for 4 and a half years, so we were looking into private cost and it is really out of our league! I did come across a few cheaper places but worried they wouldn't be accepted. Alot of places offer a pre-diagnostic assessment that can be used to support NHS referral or indicate whether or not to pursue assessment.
Or... I got diagnosed privately via a Clinical Psychologist following 5-6 sessions at £90 per session.
SOME employers and possibly the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) may not accept a private diagnosis not from the 'accredited' diagnostic centres e.g. Lorna Wing
But, employers don't really have a leg to stand on as you can self-diagnose and they are obliged to make 'reasonable adjustments'...
Foe DWP it's a bit different, but you only need them to accept the diagnosis if you're looking for benefits/support...
The DWP may have taken my medical notes under consideration, but there is no formal diagnosis in them - only a letter from a psychologist confirming her opinion. Nevertheless, after tribunals in each case, I received DLA, get PIP and avoid the Work-Related Activity Group for ESA. All of which has kept me on a far more even keel than trying to navigate the world of work for the twenty years prior.Employers, on the other hand, have been a nightmare, even with the declaration. My last employer advertised as wanting to recruit disabled people - but my last manager thought that was a dreadful idea, so set out to make me fail. It took him 2 years to break me. The company offered no support and my union didn't want the fight. I've lot to say on what constitutes 'reasonable', but this probably isn't the place. In workplaces, for autism, it's likely to mean 'easy, practical adjustments that don't require anyone to think about how they treat other people'.
I think until there's widespread, formal acceptance of some kind of empirical 'test' for autism (like the MRI work being done by various scientific organisations) it's always going to be "someone's opinion..."