Battling exhaustion, at least the doctors did blood tests, but did not find much and were vague, life was simply too much for me, so I was exhausted.
Assessment and diagnosis for autism spectrum was stressful but after a few weeks of shock, I started to feel valid, human, not just ‘awkward’, ‘troublesome’ and ‘odd’ as JM and others said.
But I was alone with the shock, still with inadequate help.
I used to drive to the leisure park and just sit there because I was too numb and confused to skate or see a movie.
The Diagnosis read Asperger Syndrome, Depression (already Diagnosed), and ‘Social Phobia’.
At last, fairly clear diagnosis, although I believe that the social phobia is agoraphobia, sadly even this breakthrough was not without problems.
Firstly, it surprises me that the Maudsley did not pick up on Post Traumatic Stress or psychological trauma.
Secondly they did write some rubbish on that report. They wrote that I ‘fantasized’ about having a boyfriend, that is yuk, fantasized? RUBBISH!
The assessment was not long after I had broken up with G. and I was surprised when the nurse went on and on about didn’t I wish I had a boyfriend? until I said ‘yeah, I guess so’.
I was not in the slightest bit bothered by being single, just as I am not now. I have never approached anyone to ask them out and have been asked out a few times, resulting in 3 relationships in my adulthood, which are an extra responsibility for me and not something I look for. I do not and did not ‘fantasize’ and I think that is a disgusting, degrading and misleading statement.
Anyway, onwards from there, it was recommended I was put on an antidepressant which should not be given to people with blood pressure risks, and even by then (and untreated even now), my blood pressure was not right, and my close family have a blood pressure history, on both sides and in my siblings.
So I was put on this drug, presumably because one of the people who took me to the Maudsley was on this drug himself and suggested it.
It made me very ill before I withdrew from it on my own, as I did with all the others.
The Maudsley recommended that I had further assessment including brain scan and screening for mental illness, and they recommended behavioural therapy.
Well, I was thus referred to a psychiatrist, I thought all psychiatrists were old men in white coats, but this one was a polite young man.
As far as I know, and I am pretty sure, no further mental illness was found, no diagnosis made. I was at a bit of a loss when it came to talking to the psychiatrist, because it was the same as seeing a counsellor, I do not know how to interact. He was very nice anyway, I only saw him a few times, no behavioural therapy at all was available on the NHS there, so he referred me to some day courses in anxiety management and anger management, but again, I could not learn from them, firstly I had trouble getting in to the building where they were and getting a seat, which made me too anxious to learn anyway, and there was no helpful content, sadly. it was like that self-help course, it was not anything I could take in and use.
Anyway, the polite young psychiatrist, after a few sessions, told me he was leaving as he had a new job, so that was that, I was referred to two very ugly women, one was presumably a psychiatrist and the other her trainee, they were not only incredibly lacking in charm and sparkle, but they did not help me and even turned up on my doorstep one time without my permission, so I dismissed them.
Basically, psychiatry can do little for me, because my conditions are not really something they can do much with, psychological help is vastly more appropriate and I also feel much safer with psychology than psychiatry, my head needs soothing and untangling, not messing with.
Anyway, with regards behavioural therapy, the lengths I went to to get that therapy was incredible.
It was not available on the NHS in Hampshire, so I contacted the NAS and wailed miserably at them about how I had been DIAGNOSED and Needed HELP!
They sent me a list of behavioural therapists who could help people on the Autistic Spectrum, and it turned out that none of these were in Hampshire, the nearest was in Sussex, and I considered it, spoke to the therapist in Sussex and one in Dorset, but the combined costs of travel and fees were simply too much.
I wrote to the Hampshire Chronicle, asking if they could appeal for help for me, I got no response and felt shamed.
I continued to seek help, and looked through lists of counsellors, found one near Winchester who worked with trauma and abuse, and she worked with me, for reduced fee, for two years, and helped me tremendously with communication and relationships and overcoming some of my overwhelming past. She even had a book of metaphors for people on the autistic spectrum to learn.
But behavioural therapy, which I also still needed, remained out of reach.