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.

12 thoughts on “Organising

  1. You’re very hard on yourself, but it must be nerve wracking to fret over a diagnosis. What is CPD? And goodness, you DO have friendships, here on your blog! I hope you don’t discount us!

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    1. CPD = continuing professional development. Basically keeping all my work skills up-to-date. I struggle to do it – it’s hard enough for me to do a job (or hunt for a job) with all my issues without putting in hours of unpaid extra time doing that.

      I didn’t mean that I have no friends, just that I don’t have many and struggle to build them.

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  2. I would be inclined to think that the right university part of the equation levels itself our after a year or two if you end up in a job that’s a good fit for you. I went to a good university that didn’t have a great nursing program , but at least for me the effect of that wasn’t particularly enduring.

    In terms of the autism diagnosis, if you do end up not getting diagnosed as being on the spectrum, from the various symptoms you’ve described it seems like a fair number of them could potentially be a result of a mix of depression and social anxiety, with a dash of personality traits like introversion, even if those potential causes seem less acceptable than autism.

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    1. That may be true about depression, social anxiety and introversion. I suppose it’s just tempting to want to see my issues as stemming from a single cause that I could potentially do something about, rather than the same old issues that nothing can help with.

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  3. Re: ASD diagnosis — as it is a spectrum and there is some subjectivity in diagnosis you can never be sure. However, I would be very surprised if you were not diagnosed with ASD. If that happened I would think that they have just got it wrong! You are right — a diagnosis won’t change anything but I think it will be very helpful. It would help you to feel better about yourself — it would help your family and friends to understand you better — and it would be helpful in applying for jobs and in the workplace as employers have to make reasonable adjustments for disability and special needs.

    Re: the Chartership — in your last post you compared it to doing your MA which you hated. Unless things have changed a lot since I got my ALA (now MCLIP) in the early 1990s it is really a piece of cake! You do need a chartered supervisor — and assuming there is not one in your workplace you would either have to approach a chartered librarian you know or get one supplied by CILIP – they have a list of mentors. They don’t do much really apart from read the thing and sign it off. Mine was about 40 pages and included a critical evaluation of my whole professional development with future projection. You can include a lot of things which are not strictly speaking library related but contribute to this e.g. your previous degree, relevant voluntary work, research. It is quite a satisfying task and you can do it in your spare time at home. I think there’s a lot of information on it on the website and it’s easy to sign up for it.

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    1. Until a few weeks ago, I would have agreed that an ASD diagnosis would help me with work, but now I’m not sure. I’ve been advised by a careers adviser not to mention my depression until I have a contract because (he said) I’m likely to get rejected out of hand, even though this is illegal. I would assume the same would apply with ASD.

      OK, I’ll think about Chartership, although at the moment I’m struggling to find time for lots of things. Thanks for the advice.

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  4. Yes I agree, you would be wise not to mention depression. But I think ASD is different. For certain jobs like computer programming, information work, research, accountancy — ASD traits are considered advantageous: conscientious, methodical, organised, focussed, serious minded, hard working, highly intelligent. ASD (Aspergers) is seen as having a positive side while there is no positive side to depression!

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  5. I haven’t come across this in librarianship/information work, although I have heard through other people I’ve met on the spectrum of employers in IT and corporate finance deliberately seeking out people on the spectrum.

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