When I was researching Autism/Asperger’s before my own diagnosis I was led to believe it would be years of frustration and pleading with doctors to just listen to what I was saying.
In reality the most frustrating part was the waiting. And possibly the train journey.
Now it might be because I’m in the UK – specifically, England – so the NHS had my back and I was reading mostly American blogs, but my journey to a diagnosis was really very simple.
1) go to doctor, nervously try to explain thoughts. Forget cards with list of reasons. Doctor seems a little bored, only listens to the first few reasons anyway, but agrees to refer me.
2) wait for a letter with an appointment date on
3) turns out the appointment is several weeks away. I was expecting that – I’ve used the NHS mental services before, and pretty much anything non-urgent (i.e. not gonna kill you that night) is done on a 4-6 week waiting list. And “4-6 weeks” usually means “6-8 weeks”.
4) go to first and only appointment. It was very far away so the train journey was difficult and frustrating. I’ll pass my driving test one day. The guy I met was nice! All we did was chat for an hour. Again, that surprised me. A lot of the blogs I’d read had described logic puzzles or tests, and a relative of mine had described something similar. We just talked about what I thought, he flipped through the questionnaires I and my relative had filled out, and I guess he was watching my behaviour a lot as well now that I think about it but I didn’t notice at the time. Some of the stuff he said confused me – I don’t really understand how I don’t have a theory of mind, for example. But he said he agreed with me. I am autistic. Expect a more detailed letter/report in (say it with me) 4-6 weeks, and a follow up appointment after that.
5) Start a blog, I guess…?
I just thought this was be a good post to start with, and when I build up a backlog of posts I’ll pin it somewhere nice and visible. All the accounts I had read suggested getting a diagnosis would be quite hard. For me, it really wasn’t. Maybe I had just done my research enough that I knew what to say and what points to make, or maybe I just come across a lot more Aspie that I realise, but I want to reassure people that it’s not always a struggle.
Though maybe it would be a good idea to read some other people’s experiences as well.