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.