cinema_babe: (A Dr Who Xmas)
[personal profile] cinema_babe
Before you even begin reading this, stop. Below are my feelings, belies and attitudes about "being on the autism spectrum". Some of it is not soft and fuzzy and will irk people. Big surprise.

If you get easily upset when I get blunt, you might do best to skip this post.

When last we left our intrepid heroine, she had just been told that she was on the autism spectrum (apparently, Asberger's Syndrome is no longer used, you're just "on the spectrum")

This did not make me happy. At all.

The majority of people I have encountered who claim to be “on the spectrum” seemed to use it as an excuse to be an asshole. A test you find on the Internet or some random dude (or dudettte) telling you you have Asberger's is not a diagnosis, it's validation that mean, lazy people cling to as an excuse for their bad behavior. The few people who truly are on the spectrum get smeared by the unwashed hoards who abuse the diagnosis for their own purposes.

Everyone in Psych Services started referring me to books and articles and web sites and support groups, and every resource they had to make me feel better about my “diagnosis”.

One small problem: I never felt like this diagnosis was right.

The objective part of my brain could see very clearly that the data was right but the subjective part of my brain could not reconcile my personal life experience and feelings with the data. Subjective be damned, I had the scientific data, my test scores. Overlaid with my oral history, they convinced a highly trained psychologist that I was autistic so it had to be true. Right? So all of the psych professionals are talking to me in quiet, calm voices about how I just need to find the voice on the autism spectrum that spoke to me.

So I (re)read Grandin and it didn't fit and they said "her diagnosis is much more severe than yours", read Robison instead.
I read Robison and it didn't fit and they said, "he's a man, his life experience is different, read Willey.
So I read Willey and *that* didn't fit and they said, "well, she's a white woman so her life experience is different"

And they referred me to more books and sent me out to you tube and into online communities where I encountered all types of people reveling in their victimhood. There was the loony vlogger who insisted that if you thought you had Asberger's but the doctors say you don't, get other opinions until you find one who gives you that diagnosis. And the blogger who said she was very sad and weepy because (according to her) Ehlees-Danlos is a common co-condition for people with Asberger's but for 5 years doctors have been telling her she doesn't have E-D. OK, it's a rare disease maybe the docs are wrong. However, her crusade for an E-D diagnosis was based pretty much on a (a)shaky Asberger's diagnosis (she was never fully evaluated but a psychiatrist had told her that he though she might be on the spectrum) (b)People always telling her she looks so young for her age and soft, young skin equals E-D, and (c)she sprained or dislocated an ankle twice. Twice in her entire life. Having read what people who live with E-D go through, that pot was just disgusting.

But if this diagnosis was right, this is my fucking peer group. Great. The more I tried to acclimate myself to this the "wronger" it felt.

I spent much of this summer sad and despondent; I told my therapist that if this is who I am, what I am some redneck racist may as well put a bullet in my head right now because this was not a life I wanted to live*. I told him that "Depressed and Anxious" is fixable with therapy and maybe medication but autistic is defective. It was no longer about strategizing how I was learn to color within the lines but how all of the helpful people at psych services would get the university to bend the lines for me.

This was not acceptable.

Then I figured it out: The pieces all make sense but the intentions behind the actions didn't. I shared this with my therapist and he put it together with something he read in my records. That I had read a book on children of alcoholics and even though there was no alcoholism in my family, the chaotic atmosphere made those stories were all too familiar to me.

After a couple of weeks he said told me that prolonged, PTSD can present in very similar manner to Asberger's but that he had to do some additional research into it. He came back a week later and said that he was convinced that I *was not* on the autism spectrum, I just never learned very good social skills and have a butt load of malapadtive ways of dealing with life as a result of chronic PTSD from a string of events from my childhood and youth.

OK, fixing this is still not easy because it means going back through stuff I didn't go back through before because I edge towards psychosis when I do. Oh joy. But it also means that he's going to get the bullshit diagnosis (which apparently not all of the diagnostic team was on board with the start with) swapped out for the more accurate one. I was right, I am broken, not defective.

The scary thing is that if I didn't know myself so well, was more easily persuaded and followed authority without question, sorta like my mother, this story could have ended with me just giving up on my life because of what I couldn't do. This episode didn't do a thing to restore my confidence Asberger's diagnoses, if anything, it's made me even more leery of them.

*Note to self: never make a statement like that to a shrink. They will try to make you sign a contract promising not to hurt your self. I'm not a 21 year old filled with cutting angst, I'm a 40something year old cockroach, I have a tendency to survive shit I should not.
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