A Mid-Forties Butch Aspie
Makes Her Way
(blog originally kept at WrongPlanet.net)
The Road from Here to There - Part 5
Assessment in Progress -
Awaiting the Third Appointment
Composed on November 14, 2011
This past week has been better. My anxiety was less after the last appointment, and I was more able to let go and get my mind onto the other stuff I was doing before my next pre-appointment anxiety started.
Tomorrow concludes the IQ test. I'm both concerned about doing well and worried (as always) about how things will all end up. It's hard not to picture the psychologist trying to reassure me that I'm normal and that I've worried over nothing, because the things I've experienced happen to everyone.Might he even say that, because I've said my father might have Asperger's, I'm simply imitating him? Will he think I picked up the tendency to behave oddly from him but that there's no other reason for why I've been as I have? I suppose he could also say I come close but don't quite make it, which will still make me feel like I've been left hanging and not been properly understood.
I've noticed I've been spending more time than usual (unless I'm just more aware than usual) rubbing the backs of my teeth on the lower left side with my tongue, which is a habit I've had for years. Is this stimming? Is it a nervous habit anyone could have? I do other things, too, but I can also suppress them. Being really focused on something else sometimes makes me stop doing something more major, but I might still do this thing with my tongue. The psychologist likely hasn't noticed it, even if it makes my lip look tight or something (which I don't know, because I'm not looking at myself when I do it). He may not be able to see any better than he hears, and I know he has a hearing issue. He's an older guy with a hearing aid and glasses. Sometimes he has to ask me to speak up or repeat myself. It's really hard to be louder on purpose!
I've learned there are so many things that are common to people with Asperger's that it strikes me as strange to diagnose or not based on so few things as I've seen on tests and been asked about during my assessment. I'm frustrated and concerned, wondering why that is.
I have the feeling the psychologist probably made up his mind about me on the first visit but that the IQ test is simply required. So, he will have known what he's keeping me in the dark about for quite some time before I'm allowed to know. The first visit involved all the questions about me. The last is a summation. So, I think that last one is just to tell me what he's already known for weeks and then deal with my reaction.
I've had two big questions since even considering going through this process in the first place. One is whether or not I have Asperger's. The other is what I'll do once I know one way or the other. I think I've decided that a positive diagnosis should eventually lead to openness on my part towards the people I hang out with the most. There are others around me who are very open about things they've been diagnosed with, which took them some courage to do and seems to have benefited them in at least some ways. If I'm not open, not only will it be awkward for me regarding other Aspies I know, but it would be bad in relation to people with people who've been diagnosed with other stuff. I'm now finding political activist history and sense of according responsibility kicking in. I want to respect others and what they've done. I want to shoulder the risks equally. I want to contribute my share in making things better for everyone by being one more person who is different and unashamed, as demonstrated by my unwillingness to hide it. Besides, I simply abhor the closet. After nearly three decades of being out about being gay, why would I welcome waltzing into a brand new Aspie closet?
And if I'm told I don't have it? What then? Will I believe what I'm told? I have Medicaid and Medicare, so this is the end of the line for official diagnosis - my one shot at finding out - or having confirmed/acknowledged professionally what I already think I know. Yes, self-diagnosis of anything can be problematic. But so can relying on professional opinion when so little seems to be involved in the assessment process and so much about Asperger's (and autism in general) is still not known or properly understood.
What makes it worse is that I'm not always sure how to answer some of the questions or what I need to make sure is known beyond what's asked. "Do you have friends?" How shall I answer this for someone trying to move things along so as to fit everything into a half hour? All there's time for is, "Yes," because I get cut off. So, how do I get across that a close friend to me might be more like a regular friend to someone else, and a regular friend to me might be more like an acquaintance to someone else? And I hate questions about my activities or how often I do things, because I don't know how to gauge frequency of irregularly occurring events or get across how my fibromyalgia fatigue and pain affects my activities. So, it may seem like I have this very busy life, but is it really? I don't know! I don't even know how busy other people are, but they always sound a lot busier than I am! (You know, I can't even tell you how much television I watch each week, because it varies so much - not just by the day but also by the week...)
I think I'm not going to know what to do if the psychologist says I don't have Asperger's, except for one thing. I've been maintaining on Wrong Planet a status of "Not sure if I have it or not" while waiting for the outcome of the assessment. If this guy says I don't, I think I might change my status to "Have Asperger's - Undiagnosed" instead. That might be the most accurate, correct way of stating things. I think I do, even if I don't get the diagnosis. I'm not going to let the struggles and pain of my life and the huge effort I've put in to manage the progress I've made get the "crap treatment" just because of some guy who is too narrow in his questioning to know what's going on.
Now, I don't want to fall too far into the expectation that things won't turn out well. But I've learned to steel myself against disappointment so that it doesn't crush me when it comes. This might go okay, and maybe he really does know what he's doing. In that case, I'll be glad and put this time of anxiety behind me. It's not as though I'm stopping the rest of my life because of it, so it's just a bit of harmless worry. I'll get over it. If he says I don't "qualify" for the diagnosis, it won't be a shock. I'll just figure it's a failure of the assessment process. So, either way, I won't have wasted my time. As always, we'll see.
On to tomorrow...
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A Mid-Forties Butch Aspie Makes Her Way
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