It’s been four years since I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Recently I have been seeing a few people on my Twitter feed going through the process of diagnosis and thought it would be a good idea to post my own experience of my diagnosis journey.
Asperger’s Syndrome was something I hadn’t heard of let alone Autism. My dad and I would argue a lot when I was growing up, apparently I was a pain. After the arguments my dad would constantly tell me that he thought I had Asperger’s. Being the typical moody teenager I was, I ignored him and felt furious that he would say I had something wrong with me although I had always felt different from a young age.
Anyway, after some years my curiosity got the better of me after some discussion of AS and I took an online test. Just the questions themselves had me interested. I couldn’t help but think ‘but, all of this pretty much sums me up!’. I scored high on the test so decided to start looking into forums online. This was just another world. I couldn’t believe it, this Asperger’s Syndrome was me 100%. Yes, there were some traits that didn’t fit but the majority of them did so I booked an appointment with my GP.
I took my mum with me to the doctors. She’s been my rock ever since this all started. She never let me down and never questioned me once. We sat down in the room with my GP and I told him, ‘I know I have Asperger’s Syndrome, can I see someone to be assessed please?’ He then shuffled in his seat and asked for his wife (the other GP) to join us in this appointment. She asked me one question ‘Have you taken your GCSEs?’ I replied ‘yes?’ for her to tell me that no, I did not have Autism then. I challenged her and said I wouldn’t leave the room without being referred to a professional that deals with Autism. Luckily, they put the referral through.
A few weeks later I had my letter through with the date and time for my assessment. I decided to prepare beforehand by collecting all school reports from reception up until the end of secondary school. I then made pages of notes of things I did throughout my life that stood out. Things that I easily forgot about in school for example; if my friends were all away and I had no one to eat lunch with, I would sit in the toilets and eat. Sounds sad and depressing but the anxiety of being at school alone consumes you and you resort to anything. This is one of the things I actually forgot about after leaving school. It’s a good idea to write notes simply because if you have Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism, you tend to become accustomed to a lifestyle that you’ve made safe and comforting to avoid any dangers, but you need to write down all of the things you do so the professional diagnosing you can see every part of you.
On the day my mum accompanied me. The plan was for her to wait in the waiting room but when the psychologist entered to call me in for my assessment, she invited my mum in to join us. The assessment took around 2 hours in total. It started with me telling her about my childhood, school life, friendships in school, relationships, work and home life. She then asked my mum some questions about my behavior as a child. Apparently, I was often alone, teachers had to really encourage me to play with friends, I hated sharing my toys, fell asleep in classes, was very intelligent but too shy to participate and easily distracted.
After discussing my life growing up etc which took around an hour, we moved on to the criteria questions which you get scored on. This took around an hour. Without knowing she was already assessing me for adult ADHD at the end of my assessment as she felt I had shown traits of that too throughout my life. Mainly with the lack of concentration at times, being easily distracted and becoming very hyper very quickly at times. The assessment itself was relatively relaxing, the psychologist was a very friendly lady who didn’t put any pressure on me. She did ask me halfway through the assessment if I noticed anything in the room that stood out. I responded with many things but the thing she pointed out was a banana sticker on the rubbish bin liner. I had noticed it but didn’t think to mention it, almost felt like it was a test and I hate having to look between the lines, I go into panic mode. She didn’t seem to mind.
So, at the end of the assessment she started to clear everything up and said she would send off the result to my GP straight away. I obviously asked her if I had Asperger’s Syndrome for her to reply that I was a clear cut case. I felt so relieved hearing that. She left the room to print out my notes that I had brought to the assessment and brought back some print offs of some Autism books she recommended I buy.
We left the clinic and went out for dinner. I felt so normal and content for once in my life. I had my answer and that was all I needed. I felt so exhausted afterwards which is expected so I would recommend a high dose of energy beforehand and keep plenty of water with you and even a banana too.
A week after my diagnosis I went back to my GP and the first thing he asked me was if I wanted some Ritalin for my ADHD?! I was disgusted. Now, I’ve been brought up by a health freak of a dad who has educated me on medicine and the system so I already knew my GP’s intentions. He always was so very keen to prescribe me drugs. Luckily my new GP’s have helped wean me off the majority of the crap I was taking. Anyway, of course I didn’t want the Ritalin. What I did want was some support.you know, after being diagnosed with something that has affected my whole entire life in many ways than one. But, the real help I needed didn’t come in the form of a pill so he didn’t give a crap. I’ve received more help from friends that I have met here and on other social media platforms.
I’ve come so far in these four years. I’ve become more confident as a person and more trusting of myself. I am still learning about my Asperger’s and the therapist I currently see specialises in Autism so she has been giving me more insight into the disorder. I have become less critical of others and more loving of others.
If there is anything you would like to know before your diagnosis or in the process of, please don’t hesitate to comment or email me 🙂 (my email is found in the About Maria section).