My Journey to Autism Diagnosis

I don’t know if anyone will be interested in this video, but I really wanted to make it.

I have been ‘quirky’, or ‘weird’ all my life. At times I have felt discriminated against, but have felt powerless to do anything about it. Eventually I decided to have an ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) Assessment to see if I have high functioning autism, or Asperger’s. I felt this seemed like it would fit my experience of the World.

The assessment process of spending many hours looking at myself now and over the years since childhood was informative and revealing, giving me many ‘aha’ moments where I started linking things together about myself in ways I hadn’t before.

I knew something of Asperger’s because I have been working with children/teenagers and families for about 15 years, and have had limited training and read a few books on the subject, but in the questionnaires I filled in there were things I had never thought of as being associated with Asperger’s that I was able to relate to now and as a small child.

Generally I’m not a fan of people being labelled because so many people blame their label and absolve themselves of any responsibility, and I have seen parents do this with their children. But if someone is seeking a label or ’cause’ for a good reason then I think it can be really helpful.

For me, I felt that finally knowing once and for all, one way or the other whether I have something like high functioning autism or have something else, or whether I have nothing, and instead I am just weird. I reached a point in my life where I felt strongly I needed to know, and wanted to know. I wanted to understand me, who I am and why I think so differently to others. I wanted to be able to help others understand me and help them to know how they can help me, rather than having them think I am just trying to be awkward, or dictating things because ‘I want my own way’ when in fact all I want is a quiet space, or all I want is to get out of where it is busy because it is becoming overwhelming and I am about to get angry and will probably be very blunt and abrupt with people in my attempt to cope, or I am not being a bad friend by not getting in touch, it just doesn’t cross my mind to get in touch, or I’m not telephoning because I’m lazy, I just don’t like making phone calls because I don’t know what is going to happen or how it is going to go so I have to spend weeks thinking through the phone call and as many scenarios as possible before making the call or answering the call…and I could go on…

Luckily for me my life took a change of route when I discovered hypnosis. Hypnosis is all about communication skills, so developing an obsession with communication skills has allowed me to learn how to communicate with people, albeit artificially, although I am doing more unconsciously all the time.

I still find myself in situations where I don’t know what the right response is, and stupid things make me get anxious/angry and snappy and all I want to do is escape, whereas big things generally are predictable in how I should respond, so I find these easier to deal with (I am more comfortable having someone threatening to kill me, than I am asking a waiter for the bill).

Despite challenges and difficulties I have had I have still achieve a lot over the years from being part of a TV programme about fear, to writing about a dozen books, and working as a psychological therapist. I wanted to make this video to share something of my past, and something of what has helped me cope with my different perspective on reality, and the positives of seeking diagnosis whatever age you are.

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