I’m getting closer to being ready to take The Plunge into the world of formal diagnosis.
I have identified and chosen two different assessment entities. Both recognize Asperger’s in addition to the rest of the autism spectrum. Both have pledged to keep the results of my assessment “off the record”, since I’m doing this ultimately for my own clarity and corroboration. Both can–and do–offer services via two-way internet chat/video. Both have plenty of experience. Both are intimately familiar with the struggles and challenges of Asperger’s/autism, but both hold an overwhelmingly positive attitude and progressive view of our advantages, talents, and potential. Both understand my position.
Last night, after placing a couple messages with these entities, my partner and I left the office toward home. On the way home, I was surprised to feel a sense of “lightness”, of optimism, of hope. I found it easy to realize that it was connected with the idea of finally leaving “LimboLand” (my term for my own situation) and being able to jump over my “Wall of Enlightenment” with both feet, as opposed to just one. (I realize that the terms ‘LimboLand’ and ‘Enlightenment’ could theoretically sound snobby, as though I’m putting myself down for not being formally diagnosed and claiming that diagnosis is the only way toward becoming enlightened, but please know that that’s not at all how I intend them; I’m referring only to my own situation, and the words are meant in a very emotionally-neutral, zero-judgment manner not in a denigrative tone.)
A tiny (but loudmouthed) part of me wonders, what if the assessment is negative?? What if I mask/mimic/act too well? What if I’m having too good a day? What if I’m “functioning” too “highly” that day? That loudmouthed side knows better, and might shut up for a while, but has to pipe back up every so often and get her two cents in.
The rest of me tells the loudmouth to shut up, because indeed she knows better. She’s well-aware of the struggles…the challenges…the awkwardness…the over-analysis…the criticized personality traits…the misunderstandings…
…misunderstandings that include (and led to) incorrect diagnoses in the past. Misunderstandings that led to unnecessary and inapplicable “treatment”.
There was always a missing piece.
Am I right? Could I be wrong?
I’m sort of freaking out right now. Is that “normal” for someone in this position? (The word “normal” is almost laughable–for me–because “normal” has never been used to describe me, and this position, while definitely not wholly unique, is indeed semi-uncommon in the grand scheme of the world.)
Since so much misunderstanding and misinterpretation has happened in the past, my fear is that it will happen again. It was bad enough when it happened to me as an adolescent. Now, the stakes are higher; I’m working, married, and older. Time is more precious, and reservations in my schedule are tougher to make, and the cost of doing so is higher. I’m also the one footing the bill. If yet another professional misses my true diagnosis (whatever that may be), then I haven’t gotten any real benefit for the investment I’ve made.
It’s all about steps, I think. Baby Steps. Meanwhile, I’m sure the emotional and cognitive rollercoasters will rage on.
But so will I. After conversing with my partner to allocate the funds and getting the final go-ahead, I will start “adding verbs to my sentences” and start picking out real, tangible calendar dates.
Any good-luck wishes are much appreciated! 🙂 ❤
(Image Credit: Cyril Rolando)