Neurodiversity week

This last week at work was “neurodiversity awareness week “.

I thought that I would embrace this, which I did. There have been many positives, the main one being more people accepting that it exists and isn’t always diagnosed.

I was asked about the process and I was honest and told them about the frustration of having to wait in excess of a year for an assessment.

There is a drawback to this, it is sensory overload. I have found that because I have stopped masking, it is harder to deal with this.

Overall I feel that others now have a better understanding of what autistic people go through every day.

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Struggling with the wait

Nine months ago I contacted my doctor to discuss the possibility that I am autistic. Initially I was told that they wouldn’t refer me, due to the fact that the local health authority didn’t have any people who can diagnose.

This was a blatant lie, about a month later I contacted my doctor and requested a referral. They did refer me, however while waiting my anxiety got to the point where I couldn’t work and had to take some sick leave. I had a phone assessment in January then nothing.

At this point, I did some research and found out the health authority had disclosed that the assessment waiting times should be no more than five months from referral to diagnosis.

I also had to make a formal complaint to the health authority. That did move it forward, but only to stall again.

I have since been told that it’ll take twelve months. I have contacted my MP and they have brought it to the attention of the health authority. I’m not holding my breath. The waiting is so crippling at times.

On a journey

Almost ten years ago I started this journey. When I left my former job working for the post office. Everyone said I was making a big mistake, even I thought that it was.

To be honest, change has always been an issue for me, so what bigger change can you have. To give up an okay job and good friends made over 20 years.

Little did I know what I’d have to face, the challenge of moving into community and having to go out an evangelise. I knew that it was going to be hard.

As I’ve said before this period of time, was one of growth and pain. Even though I didn’t realise what I would have to face, I knew it would be good for me in the long term.

Even while I was in community, I always struggled to fit in and felt like an outsider. They did include me in everything but I never totally fitted in.

Over the last few years I’ve finally laid down my past. All through my journey, there has been something different about me.

Now as I wait for my assessment appointment, I can see that all my life has been a gift. Hopefully soon I’ll get my appointment. My MP has written to the health trust, hopefully this will speed up things.

Finding acceptance

Three years ago, I came out as bisexual to family and friends. Today I’ve finally been able to share this with the world.

I went to my first pride event, yes I was nervous and anxious. I needn’t have worried, all I found today was love and acceptance.

I’ve seen people of all genders and none, just enjoying being who they are. No pressure, no worries. Just loads of love and fun.

I know there are people who are uncomfortable with my sexuality, but it’s who they are.

I think the journey of healing and now self discovery have helped me become a more real person.

I’ve never felt so alive, yes I should have brought my headphones with me but there you are.

Today, has given me a new perspective on my life and my journey. I’m also realising that before others can accept me, I have to accept myself.

Trying to beat burnout

At the moment I’m going through a tough time. With lots of positive things that have happened over the last few weeks, one of the things I’m feeling now is a tiredness.

I seem to have very little energy and I’m realising that I’m burning the candle at both ends. For the first time in ages I know I need a rest.

I never realised that things could affect me so much, last weekend I slept most of the time. I struggled to get up and do the simplest of things.

In the past I would just work through it and mask my feelings and emotions.

This whole process is a learning experience, a journey into the unknown and a chance to grow.

The Elephant in the Room

This is the first time I have written about self diagnosis for autism. I’m not formally diagnosed yet, I have seen a psychiatrist who put on my report “he shows traits of autism and diagnosis needs ratification”.

Getting a diagnosis as an adult is a long and stressful process, firstly you need to convince your doctor that you need to start the process. Then you have to go through two screening processes, one over the phone (mega stressful). If you meet the required score on a simple screening test.

Then you have to wait for this to be processed and then referred to the autism assessment team, they will then send out more forms and ask for evidence from your family. Again there is a wait while they review the forms and evidence.

Then they will decide whether or not to place you on the waiting list. The waiting list is around twelve months.

So what do you do and say in the meantime. Am I autistic or not. Well self awareness comes in the process here, knowing yourself and understanding yourself is important.

At the moment I feel that I’m in limbo, this adds to the anxiety and stress.

I’ve always known that I am different, so am I autistic?

The truth is I feel that I am autistic, that is my opinion. A diagnosis is only someone else’s opinion.