After my ‘Psychology 101’ debacle, I felt completely and utterly deflated.
I had no idea what I was going to do next.
Did I really still think ASD might be the cause of my current problems ???
Was knowing I was ‘on the spectrum’ really going to make a difference ???
Fortunately, the decision of what to do next, was taken out of my hands when
I received an appointment for about 10 days later, with a team of psychologists
specialized in ASD. I had been trying to get them to answer my emails for a
couple of weeks, and then just given up on them.
But now they had finally replied : ‘A one hour talk is 50 euros ; please present yourself at our offices on date x, time y.’
I can’t say I liked that answer very much. It felt … disrespectful.
But I went anyway.
With dragging feet and a ferociously beating heart.
Another young woman greeting me at the door. Sigh.
We entered her office, which was hot and stuffy, and smelled like old sweat.
I was told to take a seat.
I was very nervous and self-conscious when I told her why I was there. But once she started asking me questions, I started feeling a lot better. Even though the conversation was largely the same as during my first appointment, the atmosphere was completely different. She really listened, and I felt as if I could trust her.
About 50 minutes later, I asked her what she thought. Did she think my suspicion might be right ?
Or was I just imagining all kinds of things ? Was I just making a fool of myself ?
Her answer : ‘I would be very surprised if there wasn’t something wrong with you.’
I remember a feeling of relief flooding through my body (but in hindsight : that answer wasn’t really all that flattering … :-) )
I asked her what my options were, and she said I could have myself tested (which would cost me roughly the equivalent of 70 to 100 books from BookDepository – gulp), or I could ask for practical help (same team, different person, 50 euros per session), or I could get help from a job coach (id.).
But if it were up to her, she would have herself properly tested,
because then the team would have a better idea of what I struggled with,
and they would be better able to help me.
If the tests were positive for ASD (which she didn’t doubt), then I could decide to make the diagnosis official (which would require a visit to a psychiatrist). This would make it easier to get ‘official’ help in the future … (Not sure if I entirely believe this last statement.)
So I took a deep breath and said I was going to have myself tested.
Even though that’s an awful lot of money, I just wanted to know.
I needed to know, so that I could continue with my life.
Two weeks later, I started with the tests.
They were grueling and nothing like what I had expected.
I had to do memory test, logic puzzles, math, make patterns with blocks, look at fuzzy drawings (well, they seemed fuzzy to me), tell stories, draw pictures, and answer about a gazillion questions about my family, friends, anxieties, hyper-sensitivities, what my youth was like, etc.
It was a lot.
And I felt physically and mentally exhausted after each session.
I did not like it one bit.
All in all, there were 6 sessions of an hour each, with the final one a discussion of their findings.
So yes, I was diagnosed with ASD. And ASD is also the reason for my current burnout.
In a way, I feel relieved.
Whatever the ‘failures’ in my life (as my parents quietly call my lack of achievement) … it wasn’t my fault. There’s nothing that I could have done differently, or better.
It is what it is.
But knowing what the problem is, doesn’t make the problem go away. And that’s kind of scary.
It means I cannot return to my previous way of living. It means I cannot go back to my job.
I’m worried about how I will be paying my bills in the future …