I went to a workshop with my Mum today about autism assessment. They described the type of thing that will happen when I get my appointment, how to prepare and so on. I wish I had had this kind of advice before my assessment back in 2006 or whenever it was, although, to be fair, it was only my experience in the workplace from 2017 onwards that really convinced me that I am on the spectrum and helped me to systematically look at my life to find signs of ASD. I discovered that I am doing the right thing by writing notes about my symptoms to take with to the assessment to show my symptoms which was good as I was worried that it might be frowned on if I brought out a sheaf of notes. As the psychiatrist assessing will want to speak to my Mum about my childhood, the workshop recommended that I speak to her beforehand about what seems important to me from childhood and whether she agrees.
They all said that we should bear in mind that nothing changes when I get my diagnosis. I’m not going to magically feel better if they say I am on the spectrum or, conversely, if they say that I’m not, that doesn’t mean I’m imagining my issues or making them up. That’s what worries me the most about this process: the question of what happens if I don’t get diagnosed on the spectrum. What would it say about me that I struggle with all these things that “normal” people don’t struggle with, or that I struggle with things to a greater extent that normal? Why can’t I hold down a full-time job, communicate effectively with people verbally, build friendships and romantic relationships and so on? Why are my mental health issues so intractable? Some of this is explained by depression and social anxiety, but not all, to the extent that I think that my mental health issues are rooted in my autism (or whatever it is).
I’m feeling stressed today as I’m trying to deal with too many things at once, and there are few things that I can actually focus on and finish. I’m juggling thoughts about autism assessment (as above), the library job from yesterday and the possibility of using it to become a chartered librarian, careers workshops from two different organisations, dealing with potential other career changes and Chanukah preparations. I’m not able to deal with my novel nor am I exercising right now as I would have liked. It is difficult to know where to start or what to do. I’ve spoken to my parents and got a better idea of what I’m doing, but I still have a lot on. I still haven’t got used to the winter nights either. After it’s been dark for several hours, I think it must be late and I should be winding down, and it’s not yet 7pm! In some ways that’s good (having more time), but it encourages me to be nocturnal and shift my day to the night. That my parents eat dinner late and go to bed very late doesn’t help matters as it’s hard to set up an independent schedule. I know I let my life become nocturnal again, but really if I want to work – or get some sunlight in the winter – I should be getting to bed earlier.
I spent time after dinner editing the list of my autism symptoms that I’ve been working on, trying to get it into some kind of order based on what I was told today. I feel like I have identified a lot of symptoms that I have, which reassures me that I am right to pursue this diagnosis, but at the same time I feel that I’m lacking in supporting evidence, although I have time to work on this. It did take much longer than expected, though, so I was not able to do Torah study yet. I hope to do a little before bed, but I won’t be able to do much (again).
Chaconia suggested some useful things about the potential new job on my last post. I do feel a bit overwhelmed at the thought of becoming a chartered librarian. To be honest, the last few years I have come to feel that I am a useless librarian, not least because of my failure to do CPD and the difficulties I had in the further education library; it is hard to accept that the issue may be that I am not suited to some library environments and that my failure to do CPD may be due to depression and social anxiety (I’m wary of attending conferences and training and don’t have the energy for things outside the remit of my job) rather than innate lack of ability. I do still wonder if I went to the right university for my library MA; it was not a great one, but the reasons for going there seemed good at the time when I failed to get in to my first choice university because they would not let me deal with my depression the way I wanted. I feel inadequately trained and unskilled a lot of the time, but that may be only my perception. It is hard to tell.