A Mid-Forties Butch Aspie
Makes Her Way
(blog originally kept at WrongPlanet.net)
My Argument for the Need for Diagnosis
Why I'm Pursuing an Asperger's Diagnosis -
Reasons I Believe It Would Be Worthwhile, Useful, and Appropriate for Me
Compiled on December 4, 2011
I'm composing this list so I won't have to worry how to explain what good I think it would do for me to get professionally diagnosed with Asperger's (or get accurate official word I don't have it, if that's what's discovered if I'm ever actually evaluated properly). This might be important in helping the person who evaluates me to take seriously the things I have to say. It also might help that person to be more willing to present true findings at the end, instead of being reluctant to offer a diagnosis that may appear to her or him to have no useful purpose.
- Considering that I have Asperger's, now that I've learned enough about it, makes my life make sense to me. Understanding myself is important to me. Being confused and frustrated with myself and being at a loss as to how to approach my difficulties, because I don't have appropriate and sufficient explanation, is stressful and leaves me with lower self-esteem. I believe this state of affairs accounts for much of my occasional anxiety and depression.
- Approaching life as though I had a diagnosis of Asperger's is already helping me and my girlfriend make better decisions and handle issues that come up in a better way. But there are people close to me that I'd like to be able to explain things to, and telling them we're guessing this is the reason for my struggles and difficulties feels inadequate. It's far to easy for others to dismiss the claim if it's not backed up by professional opinion, and then I not only look bad for what can't be explained any other way, I also look silly for claiming that explanation. A professional opinion might encourage my friends to educate themselves, rather than rely on their existing stereotypes because they have too little current information. Not being able to tell my friends because no diagnosis has been made makes me feel like I'm having to hide something from them. I find that painful and awkward, especially whenever I encounter someone I know has (diagnosed) Asperger's.
- Understanding my troubles as potentially being Asperger's related has given me a sense of peace already. It lets me naturally feel less judgmental both towards myself, because it means these things are not the result of moral failing on my part, and towards others, because they were also frustrated by what they couldn't understand. Because an explanation was not available before, how could any of us have known how to handle things any better? But I need the reassurance of an actual diagnosis in order to feel secure in the knowledge that I'm viewing things correctly, not just guessing and hoping I'm right.
- My original experience with being assessed went so wrong that I'm shocked. I' very distressed over it, and I need my situation to be resolved. The process felt rushed. There were only four appointments, each a half hour long. The last was a summation, so the decision had already been made by then. The second and third were an IQ test, so nothing else was dealt with then. Only the first appointment involved asking me any questions about myself, many of which were about whether or not I knew where I was and why I was there, whether or not I cook and drive, and so on. Very few were about experiences in my history or current life that might reveal difficulties related to Asperger's. When I managed to state things that related, I had no opportunity to explain or elaborate. The psychologist simply moved quickly on. When I mentioned, on the third visit (because I hadn't had a chance to earlier but remembered to try to fit it in there instead) a habitual rubbing of my teeth with the tip of my tongue that I do almost constantly, the psychologist immediately dismissed this as nothing to worry about. Nothing else that might be either stimming or tics ever had a chance to be brought up, let alone discussed. At no time was I ever given a standardized test specifically designed to assess a person for Asperger's, nor was I asked the kinds of questions I've learned commonly appear on those tests. I feel as though I've been cheated and left hanging, and I need an assessment that leaves me with the sense that the matter has been properly dealt with at last.
- The psychologist who assessed me essentially decided that, for some reason he cannot discern, I'm simply an underachiever who chooses to be different just to be different. (He pulled those words about my being different right from something I'd told him a teacher had said about me in a parent-teacher conference when I was in grade school. I'd mentioned it during the first appointment, in an attempt to show that I'd been misunderstood, because it's not what I'd been trying to do as a child.) He attributed my lifelong feelings of separateness and non-belonging to my gayness and, when I asked him if he were attributing it only to that, then also to "cross-dressing" (his words, and a supposed example of my deliberate effort at difference for its own sake, as he pointed out that cross-dressing is a thing that can be helped, unlike the birth mark on his face). He never considered to ask if I also felt separate and like an outsider amongst other butch lesbians, nor did he inquire about how I felt about my attire or sexual orientation when amongst non-homophobic, heterosexual, feminine women to see how much that accounted for my discomfort amongst others. I feel that limited perspective, prejudice, and preconceived notions led to both a decision having been made not to bother to assess me properly in the first place and a conclusion that was not only incorrect but also insulting, to a certain extent. I cannot accept letting a conclusion drawn from such a poorly conducted process by a person with apparently stereotype driven views be the last word on the matter.
- I simply have as much right to know the truth about my health as anyone else.
- I have no negative feelings about neurological dissimilarity to others, in and of itself, because all people have variations in their brains, as well as their bodies, that create differences in their interests and talents. All people also have varied life experiences that create differences in their knowledge and skills. Everyone is unique by nature. Therefore, a diagnosis will not harm my self-esteem.
- Participating in an online community of people with Asperger's and reading books about people who have it has given me a sense of commonality and belonging. It's been a great relief to find I'm not alone in my feelings and experiences. I get excited every time I discover yet another thing so many of us seem to understand together. My original assessment experience left me feeling frightened of losing this, because the outcome of it was that I was essentially told this was one more group of people with whom I didn't belong, even though I finally thought I'd found a place where I fit. A diagnosis would relieve that fear and validate my sense of a right to participate in the way that I've begun to since my realization that I might have Asperger's.
- Someone's belief that I don't have a sufficient argument in favor of my to need to know if I have Asperger's is not a reason to withhold either a proper assessment or the truth of its outcome.
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A Mid-Forties Butch Aspie Makes Her Way
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