I’ve passed through the first gate; the assessment appointment is behind me.
After an uncharacteristically long and deep sleep, I’ve awoken and reemerged, and I think I can gather my thoughts together coherently enough to write about it.
Going in, I was unexpectedly emotional. I couldn’t quite articulate why, but I had a handful of vague ideas…
During the “countdown”, I posted a few short “T-minus [x] minutes” updates on Facebook and Twitter. Both were met with an incredible outpouring of support, warm wishes, prayers and thoughts, encouraging words, and more. The emotion I felt swelled to equally-incredible proportions. I felt like the entire community was rallying behind me, in love and support. It was actually energetically palpable. It felt almost telepathic. Sure, I read the much-appreciated typed words and emojis on social media, but there seemed to be even more to the story. The sentiment behind them came through in a pulsating volume, much more than a computer screen can deliver. I directly felt the hearts and thoughts of the people behind those words, on the other side of the screen. All I can say is: mind-blown (in a very positive way).
I am nothing short of blessed, and the words “thankful”, “grateful”, and “appreciative” fall remarkably short in expressing the magnitude of the gratitude that I feel. Even after switching off the smartphone on which I do most of my internet browsing, I felt a circle of loving magnetic current around me. I cannot describe the intensity of its power, nor can I describe the heights of its positivity.
I was in tears, although in a very good way.
I was also hit by the significance of the moment. Here I am, really doing it, actually going through with this.
Thoughts of my early research and blogging days came back to me, too. The much-desired deluge of fresh information, the newfound awareness and realization, the long-overdue cultivation of understanding and self-compassion, and wave after wave of emotional releases of forgiveness, acceptance, and healing that washed over me.
And with that, the flood of memories from childhood, mostly challenging and painful–they came back to me, too. More tears fell, but these were tears of healing, of redemption, of beginning to come full circle.
In short, it was an emotional potpourri, and I was mildly an emotional wreck.
But not a “wreck” in a bad way. This was actually good, if that makes sense.
After taking a deep breath, deciding it was time, switching off the phone, getting up from my sitting spot under a tree, and walking back inside, I made my way up the stairs to my office and did my best to keep my composure while walking down the hall. My partner was coming out of his office, and we met in the hall. All I could say was, “I’m kind of freaking out right now, in a good way” and I was surprised by how much my voice shook.
This sounds really negative and traumatizing, but it wasn’t.
In fact, I hadn’t expected that I would feel so intense, and I couldn’t figure out why I did.
But now I know. We were going to review my life. We were going to poke deep inside the recesses of myself. We were going to expose aspects, characteristics, habits, memories, etc, that I can count on only a few fingers how many people I’ve told. I didn’t have any reservations or discomfort about revealing my innermost aspects to my specialist that I was aware of; I think it was more about examining them so closely myself.
After all, saying something makes it real.
Saying out loud makes it even more real.
I wiped my eyes and took some deep breaths, sat down at my computer, and waited for the Skype call to come in.
Suddenly, there it was.
It was really happening.
I took another deep breath and pushed the “answer” button.
Suddenly, we were face-to-face, via a computer screen. We had both audio and video. I could see my specialist; this means he could also see me.
My specialist is a nice guy, very intelligent, with a comforting vibe. Not “comforting” in an oily “and tell me how you feel about that” sort of way. Comforting in that he was genuine and real, and I felt I could be real with him.
As far as I can tell, we left no stone unturned. We delved into the following areas (description, characterization, discussion):
- How I began to suspect that I’m Aspergian
- Childhood environment
- Relationship with parents, siblings
- Romantic relationship history
- School history, from Mom working with me at ages one and two and starting Montessori school at age three, to graduating med school at age 32. (And the eight changes in college/university majors in the meantime.)
- Work/employment history
- Physical health history
- Mental health history
- An interview questionnaire with Yes/No questions pertaining to various traits of Asperger’s/autism
Our session was estimated to run an hour and a half. In reality, it ran two hours. I really appreciated that. Running on the lower end of my normal range of sleep, I had some trouble putting my words together, or trying to recall certain details. I was grateful that my specialist was very patient with me and took the extra time.
One thing that has been mentioned elsewhere, in other peoples’ firsthand accounts of the diagnostic process, is how tired they feel afterward. I’m typically a pretty high-octane, energizer-bunny kind of person (it’s been numerically measured; apparently I have the energy equivalent to 2-2.5 people lol, although that may not necessarily be a healthy thing), but…
…after we disconnected, I was semi-surprised to realize just how exhausted I was. I realized how much I didn’t want to talk. (The other Aspie/autistic people who describe that particular profound post-assessment fatigue aren’t kidding!)
But I knew that my mom and one of my best friends wanted to know how it went, so I called each of them…
…and so I ended up talking for a total of four more hours combined.
By the time I was finished with that, I was almost practically mute. We watched a movie, which I had no problem staying awake through, but then I turned on another TV show and promptly fell into a long, deep sleep.
From here, my specialist is going to combine the results from the various online assessment tests that I took, as well as the questionnaires that my mom, my partner, and I filled out and submitted to him, and the information gleaned from yesterday’s consultation, and generate a report of his findings and thoughts.
The next step is to sit down in a second appointment and review this report together. We scheduled that session for next Friday; the delay is not his fault–it was my idea, primarily due to the intensity of my typical workload Monday through Thursday. By scheduling it on a Friday, my “peopling” will be finished for the week, and I’ll be able to sit down and focus much more effectively. I’ll receive the report via email on Friday morning, a short while before our session begins, to give me a chance to review it.
And so the real “countdown” begins.
Within the next seven days, I’ll have a verdict.
Within the next seven days, I’ll know.
Which way will the gavel bang?
Some of my Aspergian friends had some incredibly kind things to say! One conversation between a couple of them went like this (to maintain confidentiality, the specifics have been redacted):
Person #1: “You did it!!!!! So proud and happy for you!“
Person #2: “Just remember however it turns out, you are still you and you know you better than they do.”
Person #1: “Trust me [Person #2], if The Silent Wave isn’t an Aspie then there’s no such thing and NONE of us belong [in this group] “
Person # 3: “Agreed; no one but an aspie could possibly write that blog that so touches my heart.”
Person #1: “Totally agree [Person #3]”
And if that wasn’t touching enough (seriously, I was so touched that I teared up by then), I checked Twitter:
“Sending happy thoughts!”
“Best wishes! Look forward to hearing about it after”
“See you on the other side, my lovely” (Awww 🙂 )
“Good luck! Just be open and honest; prepare for a lot of emotion you didn’t know you had!”
“Good vibes your way”
I just want to say, from the bottom of my heart:
Thank You to the Asperger’s/autism spectrum community, across multiple platforms, for all of your kindness, love, thoughts, caring, and support. I wish I could telepathically beam to you the magnitude, fullness, and wholeness of what and how I truly feel! Words are crude and inadequate tools that don’t even come close, but I think y’all get the idea anyway ❤
Thank You to my specialist, whose patience, accommodation, and genuine nature helped bring me out of my shell during this session. I look forward to an ongoing supportive connection! 🙂
I feel rested now 🙂