A Mid-Forties Butch Aspie
Makes Her Way

by MindWithoutWalls
(blog originally kept at WrongPlanet.net)

The Road from Here to There - Part 3

Assessment in Progress -
Awaiting the Second Appointment

Composed on November 7, 2011

  Last night started rough but ended better. I'll tell you what happened.

  I'd been fretting all week, rattled by how the first appointment had whizzed by, feeling confused by what had just happened. My fear that nothing could really be known by so little information being given was stoked by my realization that nothing more useful would likely come from the form my girlfriend was supposed to fill out. The psychologist sent me home with it, with the instruction that one or more people who knew me well should fill it out. The trouble, as my girlfriend discovered, was that it was so general that she couldn't feel like she was contributing anything significant. It only allowed the checking of boxes for level of ability for a list of tasks, and there were only three options besides admitting to guessing: that I never do something, that I sometimes do when needed, and that I always do it. Not much room for comment is provided at the end.

  When I got a look at the thing, I saw exactly what she meant. For example, yes, I can make conversation. But she has to figure out how to explain my difficulty with it, or else there's no way to indicate that I ever have any trouble. Granted, it may be my foggy, fatigued fibromyalgia brain that's to blame for some of my problems, such as tracking a conversation over a long period, so it's not like I have an attention deficit, but still...

  What's more, I looked over at the pile of dishes on the counter, and I couldn't understand why she'd said I always do the dishes. I often do, especially on weekdays. But sometimes days go by when I can't cope with them, so if she doesn't help, they just sit there until they seem to have bred like rabbits. I also didn't know why she said I mend my own clothes. I can sew on a button, but there's a pile of mending to be done, and much of it is mine. That's not just because she hasn't gotten to it yet, but because I haven't done it myself in the first place. I'm not good with that stuff, and I find it intimidating.

  Lastly, there's no room for something that she may or may not have noticed. (I just thought of this, so I'll have to ask her about it.) I have learned to do things over the years, like make good eye contact and have appropriate physical contact with people when I greet or depart from them, such as shaking hands or hugging. But there's nowhere for her to tell of any of my history, observation of any changes, or differences in how well I do, based on circumstances and my comfort level. And if she hasn't noticed any difficulty to begin with, what then? She can't say anything at all. The thing is that, at times, she can be as oblivious to something about someone as I can. I've come to understand that she has some of the same social difficulties I do, though for different reasons. (That seems to be part of why we understand and support each other so well.) So, she may honestly not have realized when I've had certain issues, unless I've actually mentioned them.

  I was exhausted by the time I finally went to bed last night. In the afternoon, I'd gone on a beautiful hike with an organized group we belong to. In the evening, I'd been reading furiously in order to get through more of a library book she wants to read next. I thought I'd drop right off and sleep through the night, but this was not to be. Instead, as soon as we turned off the light, I realized I was incredibly awake. My head was buzzing with thoughts of the form and its shortcomings. I worried over what it would mean when I turned it in. I was filled with doubts that lasted most of the night, so that I wasn't in bed long before I simply got up and went down to the living room to try to read some more of my book.

  At first, my girlfriend was too zonked herself to realize I wasn't with her. But when she had to let the dog out at about four o'clock, she was surprised and concerned not to find me beside her. By the time she came down, I'd finally turned off the light and drifted off on the couch. But I woke up when she went by with the dog. I just stayed put and let her take care of that, not really moving until she went back upstairs again. Then I had to read again, because I was awake and worried all over again.

  About an hour went by. I read for a while, then I thought things over some more. It occurred to me that maybe the form was only about seeing if I could live on my own. I'd lived alone successfully for ten years before moving in with my girlfriend. In fact, she's the only other person I've lived successfully with, because she's the only one I've gotten along with well enough for long enough to make it work. So, the form will reflect that I don't need services associated with living arrangements, taking care of my health and well-being, and so on. It will also show I don't necessarily need classes in things like social skills. Easter Seals doesn't just evaluate people; they also provide services and programs. So, the psychologist will want to know about such things in order to decide what to recommend for me, if anything.

  While I was mulling this over, I also considered that I might have given more information at the first appointment than I'd originally realized. Immediately following it, I hadn't recalled some of the things I'd said, because I felt so befuddled, frustrated, and scared. In those wee hours, though, I remembered mentioning a small number of things that revealed my history, such as my difficulty accepting help with things I didn't grasp in high school classes, even if the help was offered. I loved my school, and it was the perfect place for me. At my appointment, I said so. But I also admitted to having an equivalency diploma, because I was unable to manage to finish. My inability to arrange for help, even when it was clearly made available, was part of the reason why. A tidbit like that might've been very telling for the psychologist. And there were more snippets like that along the way. They just didn't get told to him all at once. The sporadic nature of my relating of these details, combined with my nervousness at the time, level of distress following, and blurred recollection of the more run-of-the-mill kinds of questions he'd asked, appears to have obscured my view of the session. So, maybe it wasn't that bad, after all.

  At about the time I began to relax with this new insight, my girlfriend came down to see how I was doing. It was about five in the morning, and she needed to know I was all right. She was relieved to discover I sounded better, and it helped me even more to be able to let some of my thinking out with her. I was glad to be able to reassure her, and she said she'd have another look at the form before I have to take it back tomorrow. She'll see what she might be able to add in the comments section that might be helpful.

  When I began this journey, I hadn't expected such a roller coaster ride. I know a lot of that is probably unnecessary. I'm doing at least some of it to myself. It's just hard when you don't know what to expect with this sort of thing. I'm still afraid of being told I'm nothing but a mental health hypochondriac, grubbing for attention or of being diagnosed with something totally inappropriate and really nasty. My trust in the field of Western mental health and of mental health professionals is very low, and that doesn't help matters. We'll see. For now, I'm looking at going in for my IQ test tomorrow with at least somewhat less trepidation.

  Maybe I'll sleep a little better tonight. I hope so. I want to do well on that test...

The MindWithoutWalls Asperger's Syndrome Assessment Blog:
A Mid-Forties Butch Aspie Makes Her Way

2011, 2012

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