On diagnoses

Ever since I realised I probably have Asperger’s, I’ve wondered about getting a proper diagnosis. I now have a long list of pros and cons, but I’m increasingly feeling the need to have one, just for someone to back up my suspicions.

Cons

  • I’d probably have to pay as I can’t see my GP referring me – after all, I’ve managed this long without one
  • Once I have a diagnosis, I can’t put it back in the box. If people ask me in an official capacity, I’ll have to come clean and that’ll probably result in my being judged negatively
  • The actual diagnostics would involve me going over all kinds of evidence, including the numerous excruciating faux pas (is that a plural? My French is a bit crap) that I manage to make and try to push from my mind as much as I can
  • Ideally, they like a parent there too, so I’d probably have embarrassing stuff dragged up that I didn’t even realise I’d done
  • Maybe they’ll decide it’s not an ASD at all, and either diagnose something I haven’t got, or make out that I’ve made it all up or I’m being silly

Pros

  • I’d know for sure: it would be nice to have confirmation of what I think
  • Long term, I’d like to be able to be more open about it with people, but wouldn’t want to do that with a self-diagnosis: I’d want something more official first
  • I’d be able to take part in research on female aspies – there’s a shortage of participants for studies
  • I’d be able to be an advocate and perhaps increase understanding of the condition – on the other hand, while I tick all the boxes for social ineptness, sensory issues, spotting details, needing routine/predictability, having very strong interests etc., I’m unusual in that I’ve managed to live independently for periods of time, and maybe that would mislead people, given that most people with ASD struggle here.

My husband has said he thinks it’s a really bad idea to get diagnosed, because of potentially having to declare it. He’s particularly worried about issues with health insurance (which I don’t have and I don’t need as I’m in the UK), and my driving licence and possibly my car insurance – but you only have to notify the DVLA if a condition worsens or a new condition emerges, and since there’s been no change and I’ve always had it, including when I was learning to drive and taking my test, there isn’t a problem there. I’ve been driving 27 years; car insurers can charge more for a disabled driver if there’s a substantiated increased risk, but nobody seems to have heard of this happening.

My job, meanwhile, is becoming less and less aspie-friendly. The direction the business needs to go (which I’ve identified – I’m doing a marketing plan right now) is for my role to include more face-to-face corporate business stuff and very little research, although research is what I was mainly taken on to do. I’m really not great with corporate environments; all those kinds of jobs I’ve had in the past have involved problems which I now know are ASD-related – getting the wrong end of the stick, not doing appropriate stuff, doing inappropriate stuff, totally misreading things –  so I need to get out! I’m applying for lots of academic jobs right now, which are a much better fit because eccentricity is almost expected, though I’ve not struck lucky yet. Fingers crossed…

 

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2 thoughts on “On diagnoses

  1. I have not gotten diagnosed but I do want to. But because there seems to be a stigma attached to the self diagnosis. But my mother has passed away and the only family members that knew me as a child were sent away so they have little recollection of my quirks growing up. I’m not on speaking terms with them either due to their abusiveness. So I feel any childhood history needed might be lacking. I have spoken to my GP about my suspicions but he says only kids have Aspergers. I guess supposively adults just grow out of it… I wish you luck on your job search.

    • Thanks for the comment. Autistic spectrum conditions are down to neurological differences, and so they’re lifelong; unfortunately, some GPs aren’t that clued up on certain conditions. I’m self-diagnosed in that I’m pretty certain I have Asperger’s, and as I have a background in psychology (a PhD, although in a different area), I can make sense of the academic literature. It’s really just for my own use: recognising why I have problems with certain things, and working out how best to deal with them, but it would be nice to have confirmation from a real expert. I gather some adults are diagnosed very late in life, with no input from family members who saw them grow up, so it can be done.

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