Today’s good news is that no sooner had my alarm gone off than my phone rang. It was the Maudsley Hospital, who do autism assessments. They wanted to talk to my Mum (I’m not sure why they phoned me) and arranged to a phone appointment with her for 12 October. I understand that this would be the first stage in my assessment and that they would want to ask her about my childhood. So hopefully that’s moving on now. This is probably a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease, as Mum has been chasing them lately trying to find out where I am on the waiting list.

***

I had autism support group today, but I struggled with it. I didn’t feel able to say anything and there was someone in the group who would not stop talking, even when asked to stop by the facilitators, which annoyed me and just increased my social anxiety around the group. I guess its inevitable that in a group for people with social communication issues that things like this will happen. There was also distracting noise from outside, even with the windows shut. By the end I was drifting out of it and struggling to concentrate. I also feel there is a kind of anti-neurotypical sentiment sometimes in meetings like this which I find distasteful, people talking as if neurotypical behaviour is somehow defective compared with autistic behaviour, which is just reversed prejudice. Someone also said to see autism as a gift which always upsets me, because I don’t experience it like that at all. I was disconnected more tangibly at one point when I lost my internet connection. I’ve started having problems staying connected online since we changed our hub the other week, even though it was supposed to be an upgrade.

The focus of the group was on autism and details. Attention to detail is a symptom of autism. I’m not sure that I focus on detail the way other people in the group do, although a small number of people did dominate the session. I don’t think I see lots of details when looking at objects, for example, the way other people described, which is the kind of thing that makes me wonder whether I’m really autistic, although people do exhibit symptoms in different ways. I do find that I bring in a lot of detail when relating something, even though I get annoyed when my Dad does the same thing. I get overwhelmed by all the details he brings in and can’t concentrate on the important bits. I think I used to be good at noticing details in writing, for proof-reading and cataloguing, but in recent years I’ve been struggling with those, particularly cataloguing. I do notice details in ongoing TV programmes or novel series, particularly Doctor Who and can get annoyed when these contradict each other.

***

Perhaps unsurprisingly I was tired after that, even after I had had lunch, and struggled to do anything else, although I did manage a few things. I tried to send some emails and leave blog comments for friends who are struggling with different things, but it was hard, as I was worried about saying the wrong thing.

I did some Torah study and worked on my devar Torah (Torah thought). I also cooked dinner, bean burgers, which is perhaps the hardest recipe in my repertoire of ten or so recipes that I cook regularly as they tend to disintegrate when I fry them, particularly when I flip them to cook on the other side.

***

I got another job rejection. I also applied for a proofreading job. I’m pretty sure I could proofread well (despite my issues with attention to detail in recent jobs), but it’s hard to fill out a CV and cover letter when none of my experience is in that area. So that brought me down, as did wondering if I’ve lost my attention to detail skills.

***

My mood was generally good today, but in the afternoon I was upset about the young women Ashley blogged about, who were raped and killed themselves. My mind kept returning to them, the pointless waste of young lives and wondering how the men who assaulted them could do such a terrible thing. I’ve also been thinking about friends who are going through hard times.

People sometimes think that autistic people are emotionless or lack empathy. In fact, we experience emotional empathy (feeling someone else’s pain, wanting to help others), but lack cognitive empathy (putting oneself in another person’s position). This means we can get very emotionally moved by other people’s problems without knowing what they would want us to do to help, which is a difficult situation to be in. (This is the reverse of psychopaths, who can put themselves in other people’s positions to manipulate them, but don’t feel any pain if they hurt others.)

4 thoughts on “Mostly About Autism

  1. I hope the autism assessment takes all the variety of symptoms into account. It seems like there is no “cookie cutter” set of behaviors. I wouldn’t consider anything that causes anxiety, and social issues a gift. You (and the others too) are working at managing whatever characteristics you’re dealing with; I would find that exhausting and frightening. (always wondering if I’m missing something or saying/doing the wrong thing)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope so too. I’ve prepared a very long list of symptoms and behaviours that I think are relevant and I hoped to show it to them in person, which obviously may not happen if they’re switching to phone meetings. Maybe I can email it to them in advance.

      I think some people can cope without the anxiety and don’t worry so much about the social issues, particularly if they were diagnosed as a child and received support at school. That was obviously not my situation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad the Maudsley have been in touch at last. I have also been chasing them, but for a different reason, and was told that their 18-month waiting list is now 2 years. I remember my son’s ASD assessment. It was very long indeed and very detailed. I had several hours of questions and questionnaires, and so did he. Don’t worry about not displaying all possible ASD symptoms – no one does. And with regard to things like attention to detail – well I can see this in your blog – e.g. the way you quantify how long you spend doing various activities each day – this strikes me as quite an autistic way of measuring yourself. Your writing is also carefully crafted – no careless mistakes – punctuation perfect – you are careful to italicize Hebrew words and give the English equivalent each time. You would probably make an excellent proof reader! And I think this is something you might enjoy. I have a couple of friends who work from home doing proof reading, editing and precis indexing. Not sure how easy it is to get into though. Your comments on empathy (cognitive and emotional) are interesting and have set me thinking …

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! I have actually made some attempts to get into proofreading in the past, so far without success. I’m not sure if I’m not promoting myself enough or if people are looking for someone with existing experience. It doesn’t help that I’m not sure how fast I could proofread or what is considered a normal speed in the profession.

      Liked by 1 person

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