I am still digesting the results of Friday’s autism screening that suggested there was an 80% chance that I’m on the autistic spectrum after all, despite my being told years earlier that I was neurotypical.  Anyway, it’s Chanukah and I don’t want to spend all evening on the computer.  So here is a brief note that I wrote on Thursday.  I took it to my screening in case I was asked why I wanted another screening despite my earlier assessments being negative.  As it happened, I didn’t need it (although I did make some of the points in my interview), but I thought it might interest people here.

Why I am Thinking About Diagnosis

I think I coped as a child by learning (consciously and/or unconsciously) certain ‘scripts’ for survival and by concentrating on my academic studies, which were ‘safer’ and more knowable.  I also had a non-autistic friend who supported me.

When I got to my teens and especially when I got to university away from my friend, I began to struggle with social interactions and I became severely depressed.  I was assessed for autism then and told that I had a lot of symptoms, but not in the right categories for diagnosis.

Depression kept me out of the wider world for a number of years.  In that period a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist, both of whom had got to know me very well, felt that I had been misdiagnosed and was on the spectrum; several friends with family/professional experience of autism also asked if I was on the spectrum.

In the last few years I have been trying to move into the world of work.  I have found that many of my coping strategies no longer work and, as I have experienced new environments I have become aware of symptoms that I did not recognise in myself before or which had never been so severe e.g. difficulty coping with the noise in an open-plan office, dealing with lengthy spoken or implicit instructions, new types of social interactions.

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