A Mid-Forties Butch Aspie
Makes Her Way
(blog originally kept at WrongPlanet.net)
The Road from Here to There - Part 11
Assessment Conclusion -
The Written Report Arrives
Composed on December 6-7, 2011
It's been a week since my summation appointment. The written report has finally arrived, and things are now even more dismal.
The first thing I noticed was that, although it says I came in to be evaluated because of some difficulties I'd mentioned, it says nothing anywhere in it at all about my concern that I might have any form of autism. In the first appointment, I'd mentioned that my sisters and I had discussed the possibility that our father might be mildly autistic, but I'd also said I'd thought that I might also be. I'd specifically said, when I'd called to get assessed in the first place, that I wanted the assessment for that reason. I'd also stated on the form I had to fill out in order to apply for an appointment that I thought I might have a mild form of autism, and I said it again, directly to the psychologist, in the first appointment. But the report makes it sound as though I'd said my father was autistic, not that he might be, and as though I thought his autism was the cause of my problems, not that I thought I might have it. So, the first problem with the written report is that it makes it look like I wasn't looking for the kind of evaluation that would reveal something like Asperger's anyway, which could then be seen as the reason I wasn't given that kind of evaluation. It specifically says that I complained that I'd had difficulties at home and in social situations and at school and that I'd had problems in school and then says that I didn't know why. No mention at all is made of my thinking I knew why and that such suspicion was the sole reason I was there in the first place! WTF!? Did this guy not hear me at all, not pay attention, or outright ignore me?
The recounting of my work history was weirdly inaccurate, stating I'd said I'd been a stock clerk at McDonald's for a week after I'd already worked there for two. This is combining two different jobs. I'd told him I'd been a stock clerk at a clothing store.
The psychologist said in the report that I'd told him I thought other kids in high school didn't like me. He failed to mention that I'd told him I'd originally thought kids were nice to me out of kindness but that I'd found, upon attending a reunion, that they were glad to see me, causing me to realize that they'd liked me after all. In other words, I'd totally misread them the first time around (unless it was really the second time around, which would matter just as much).
He also noted that I'd attributed my unhappiness in high school to problems at home, because my mother had anger issues. But that wasn't all, though the statement is written in a way that makes it seem that way. My inability to connect with others was also part of the problem, as was my frustration with my educational experience directly (because of my struggles to do well and my inability to seek help when I needed it) though you wouldn't know it from that one line. He mentioned my inability to ask for help but doesn't connect it with my unhappiness. Why didn't he?
He mentioned my having been bullied in grade school, but there's no exploration of why. He calls me fearful of others, without any distinction being made between when I'm fearful and when I'm nervous, uncertain, or otherwise uncomfortable, and without any exploration of why I might have been bullied. He said I feel odd, but what I told him was that I thought others perceived me that way. He noted that I'd told him I don't understand others very well, but, again, without exploration of why.
I'd told him my grandfather had been diagnosed with mental illness, but he wrote that I'd said it was my grandmother. When I got to this part, I felt particularly low, being more sure than ever that he hadn't really gotten the things I'd been telling him - or even cared to. All my grandparents are dead now, as are my mother and my uncle, so this one smarts a bit for that reason, too. It just seems disrespectful.
He mentioned my "cross-dressing" and wearing "mannish clothes" in two separate paragraphs. In the second, he also mentioned that I'd had a "man's" haircut. I'm not saying I don't dress butch, but he seemed to focus a lot on this thing, both in the written report and especially in the fourth appointment. What's whacky is that he also said in the written report that I'd been wearing a "man's tight jacket". This jacked fits me very loosely, even with a sweatshirt under it. So, maybe he needs his eyes examined, too.
Speaking of which, he said my eye contact was appropriate. Check my earlier blog entry about how I'd hardly looked at him for three appointments and then was unable to stop looking at him in the fourth (kind of like a deer caught in the headlights). Also, if my speech was so fluent and my voice quality so clear, as he claimed in the report, why did he sometimes need me to repeat myself during the evaluation and then end up not getting so much of what I'd said right anyway?
I don't know what "a full range of appropriate affect" is, though he stated that I'd had it. As for my mental abilities, he was clearly unaware of my frustration at not being able to come up with the words to explain myself better while under the strain of being on the spot about why I had concerns about myself. And if my insight were "fair", I wouldn't be having trouble understanding people. But maybe he was judging by what I'd been able to figure out, since I'd had no opportunity to tell him that's what I'd had to do, instead of getting things instinctively, the way other people do. He had no interest in knowing how hard I'd had to work in order to understand the things other people do.
He correctly noted that I'd said I was closer with my sisters than I had been in the past, but he neglected to mention that, when he'd asked how close I was with my sisters, I'd told him I didn't know how to gauge that. How convenient for him to leave that one out if he didn't want to deal with my understanding of connection with others.
His description of what I do in a day makes it seem as though I do all kinds of stuff in the same day, because he says that's what I do on an "average" day. That's nothing like what I tried to tell him. I told him that I do things when my fibromyalgia allows. I can't do all those things in the same day. I normally only do a few in the same day, and sometimes I can't even get out of bed for a long time, and then I get nothing done all day. But the report makes no mention of that, even though I'd been clear about it to him at the first appointment.
The gross inadequacy of the questionnaire my girlfriend filled out is something I've noted in an earlier blog entry, but he certainly took advantage of it to claim I'm way above average in social skills and other areas. Also very convenient.
In the summary, he said of my history, "She was inevitably something of an outsider among her peers, and in many ways, she exacerbates this sense of being an outsider by the way she carries herself and in her interests, which tend to be somewhat unusual." This connects with his earlier error of saying I felt odd, when what I'd said was that I'd felt that others considered me odd, and it also connects with his statement in his recommendations that he strongly recommends that I "be in counseling with someone who can help her to accept her tendency to be different in some ways from others and can help her begin to overcome many of the activities and ways of dealing with people and life that exacerbate these differences." Let me be clear here: I do not feel uncomfortable with being different from other people. Everyone is different from everyone else, and it's best that we not all be stamped out with a cookie cutter. I don't need to put on a dress to feel better about myself. I'm also not feeling harassed by everyone around me about my clothes. People who have given me a hard time about that have been bullies, not all the ordinary people around me. And if ordinary people really are prejudiced, the problem is their prejudice, not my clothes, hair, or way of carrying myself. furthermore, the Medieval recreation group I participate in is my major source of social interaction, and they don't think I'm weird for doing the same activities they do, nor are they bothered at all about my appearance and relationship with another woman. So, if I'm feeling out of phase somehow with them, that's nowhere near the reason. These people clearly like me and are glad to see me whenever I show up. But I still have problems, even amongst them. I never got a chance to explain that. There was no time, no opportunity. He didn't care.
He made two other statements in those last two paragraphs that are worth noting: "Furthermore, she seems to have done very little with her good intellectual ability and should have been able to accomplish a great deal more than she has at this time," (a statement my girlfriend called "pompous") and, "I believe she would also be helped if she began to use her ability more effectively in some kind of work that she can manage despite her physical problems. Overall, I think that with the proper approach in counseling, her prognosis could be on the fair side. She has many talents that could be very useful for her and could be much more satisfying than the kind of life she is leading now." Well, thanks for the compliments, buddy, but you obviously have no idea what it takes for me to be able to manage what little I do now, for physical reasons alone. You know, folks, this gut has no knowledge of how I've adapted to do all kinds of things that have been satisfying to me, even though they've taken way more time and effort than most people would need. I'm not a bum! My life is good, and I'm not wasting it. I don't feel bad about myself for not doing more. I've just about climbed a mountain to be able to accomplish what I have. I combat my fibromyalgia fatigue as best I can with nutrients and then beat back my pain by displacing it with workout pain, which is easier to deal with, even though I'm hardly good for anything else in my day once I've managed that. I've meditated for psychological and spiritual benefit. I've made a big, kickin' Website. I've taken up a musical instrument and learned to play it well enough for others to dance to my playing.
I think the psychologist is uncomfortable with my appearance and would find my life unsatisfying, so he's decided other people dislike how I look and I must hate my life. To put it bluntly, that's just arrogant and stupid.
I see my GP tomorrow. (Actually, given what time it is, that's now technically today.) I'm taking printouts of the 9th, 10th, and 11th (this one) installments of my blog about the assessment, and I'm also going to show her printouts of my list of reasons why I think I have Asperger's and the one about why I think I need a properly performed assessment and diagnosis. I'm sure this latest entry is full of little problems I'd normally edit to correct, but it's late. If I can do it in the morning, fine. If not, I'll take this one as it is. Besides, in spite of all my nit-pickiness, I still end up with all kinds of errors in punctuation and grammar anyway. I'm imperfect. So, sue me. I'm too cranky and tired right now to care.
I don't know if I'll sleep tonight or not. Although I've only been to see her a few times so far, I consider my GP to be someone I can put my trust in. But things have gone so wildly wrong with my assessment that I'm just generally rattled. I feel as though anything could happen. All I can do is go find out what actually does happen and then deal with it as best I can. For now, I'm going to bed. Maybe having written this blog tonight will help me feel as though I've done enough to prepare that I'll be able to get some rest.
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