Personality or autism?

As I am in the early stages of understanding myself now I have the knowledge of being on the autism scale I still have very little sense of my own identity. I’m trying to figure out which parts of me are because autism makes me this way and which parts are simply my personality.

There are some instances were I am fully aware that it is autism. For example, a couple of years ago it was a perfectly normal day and I was looking forward to a relaxing soak in a hot bath. My mind was so focused on there being nothing better than this one activity right at that moment so I filled the bath tub up to how full I like it and dipped my hand in to check it wasn’t too hot. It was cold. During the water running the boiler had gone a little haywire and so I emotionally plummeted. I pulled the plug and burst into uncontrollable tears on the bathroom floor.

I’m not an overly emotional person, in fact people have described me as being cold hearted, so I know that it’s not part of my personality to burst into tears over something as small as the bath water being cold. I know that having a good day can sometimes be a ticking time bomb because something then going wrong makes me crash into a feeling of despair.

But what about the other aspects of what makes me? Do I like to spend time alone because autism means being around people drains me or is it because I prefer activities, such as reading or writing, that tend to be solo activities because that’s just a natural part of my personality that I would have if I wasn’t on the scale? Do I not like most comedy films because it’s not my preference or is it because I don’t quite ‘get’ the jokes because of the way my brain is wired?

All of this, for me, gives me a lack of knowing who I am and it makes me feel like I am simply plodding along each day, just getting by until I finally get my appointment through to see a specialist and get access to help and support.

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Where’s the support?

My main reason for starting to write this blog is to highlight that there seems to be a lack of support for adults with particular conditions. I was going to originally write this post a few years ago when I found that there was also a lack of support for my brother, who has a brain injury, and has just been left to live his life with no support services helping. I feels like I have been left in the same situation at the moment.

My original phone call to my Drs was because I had been finding it very difficult to cope with everyday life and I was extremely depressed. I needed help and I always believed that I suffered with some mental health condition but had never received any real help from health services.

I had been to different drs in the last asking for help but was simply told to try different tablets (which I had to pay for while my finances were unstable) that never worked. Because they didn’t work I was then passed onto counselling and CBT. Their diagnosis was I suffered with low mood. BPD was never explored, autism was never explored, numourous other conditions were never explored. I didn’t have depression, I wasn’t schizophrenic and I wasn’t bipolar therefore I’m just chronically low. I was so angry. I felt like I had been completely robbed off, not given any support and not listened to so I stopped asking for help.

But things had come to a head again. I was in a loving relationship, nice house, adorable pet cat, steady job and yet I couldn’t find the motivation to do anything and I was very emotional.

So I rang the drs office, holding back tears, pleading for help.

The only reason autism was even explored is because it was suggested to me that I present as autistic so I gave that information to the dr. Even then it was a struggle to get to even the point I am at now. I was given the quotant assessment to do and the dr scored it wrong, which is something I noticed and had to check online at home. I then I had to ring the drs again and ask to see a different gp and do the assessment again. This time it was scored properly and the dr was great with the effort she made with me.

I was finally put on the waiting list to see a specialist and received the confirmation letter. Average waiting time 13 months!

My original phone call to the drs was October 2017, I received the confirmation letter May 2018 and it’s now January 2019.

The main thing I have noticed in all this time is that I have been given no support or help. Without a diagnosis I have no resources I can access even though my original phone call was a plea for help. This is something I hope will change and it’s something I’m going to look into so if someone else reading this also needs help then maybe Something I find can help them.

Or if anyone out there is reading this and knows of any help for someone like me then please get in touch.

Social hangover

Currently I’m preferring to spend a lot of time on my own, which most people would say is unhealthy but I have the opposite view on the situation.

I work in a busy, loud, bright environment so I don’t want to spend my spare time in a busy, loud, bright environment. I want to go home, put on my pjs and read before having an early night.

I decided to go bowling with work friends for our after-Christmas party because I had the weekend off to relax and recharge before going so I didn’t see the harm. I actually really enjoyed it, laughed a lot and still only stayed out for around 3 hours. While being out I felt fine, had a couple of drinks, ate some food and talked a lot.

I didn’t expect to feel like I had been hit with a sledgehammer once I was home though.

I was fine when I got in. I got into my onesie and had a cup of tea but half an hour later my whole body was in distress. I couldn’t stand the feel of my onesie, it felt too constricting, I didn’t want to keep my eyes open because the light was too bright and the taste of tea in my mouth was too much to handle. I was lucky that I was out for the evening rather than earlier or I would have been in a worse condition. I was able to get myself upstairs, brush my teeth, change into looser pjs and get into my bed in the dark. I immediately started to feel much better and woke up feeling fine again after a good nights sleep.

This is the first time I have experienced a social hangover and known what it was and how to cope with it. I spent many years pushing myself to be a normal, out going person and it just made me ill for a long time. Having more knowledge about what causes how I am and how I react has meant I’m able to notice when something starts changing and can deal with it on my own.

Introduction

A little bit about me and why I wanting to start this blog.

I’m a female in my 30’s who has spent her whole life not feeling like she fits in and feeling like there is something wrong. After years of going forwards and backwards to the Dr’s and constantly being bumped to different departments within the mental health area of the NHS there is light at the end of the tunnel: I scored high on the Autism Spectrum. I am classing myself as having autism because of that score and how I feel but I am not as far along the journey as having a diagnosis yet due to the long waiting list for assessment by the relevant department.

While I wait I wanted to be proactive about the experiences I go through on a day-to-day basis and talk about some of the issues I face, highlight any help out there for other people in my situation and, on a more personal level, have somewhere to express my feelings to take some of the stress off my shoulders.

I have found that there is a lot of help out there for children with autism but it almost seems like the world assumes we grow out of it, we get over it or that we learn to live with it when, I have found, it feels almost harder to live with as an adult. Maybe that’s because I was never diagnosed as a child or not but it’s just what I have observed from my experience. I have google searched for things to help with day to day living for myself but all that seems to come up is a lot of learning tools and visual aids for children but what about us? What about the adults with autism?