To Diagnose or Not to Diagnose…

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I’ve been thinking about it for a while, well, for 18 months anyway, to be professionally assessed for Aspergers.

It had never crossed my mind before, until my son was diagnosed 18 months ago. I guess that’s the way it often happens; a child is diagnosed and it opens the floodgates to all the DNA connections and combinations in the family that suddenly also scream “aspie traits”.

I still am unsure of the fit. Some traits I can identify with, but not necessarily one of the traits that seem (from what I understand – or think I do) to be necessary for the label of ‘Aspergers’. That being the understanding of social cues or lack there of. I’ve always felt I can read people well, almost being a step ahead of what they’re thinking or how they are reacting. But, now I’m starting to doubt that. Maybe that’s just me terrified of making a social faux-pas; hoping to get in first so as not to be made a fool of. A bit like my Jack Russell I used to have. He used to have what I called ‘short dog syndrome’, where he’d be aggressive towards any dog he met, hoping to bluff them into submission before they realised he was a small dog and no threat at all. I need to be a step ahead, afraid of making a fool of myself.

However, has that come from me experiencing making mistakes due to not understanding social cues? I don’t think so, but being middle aged, I guess lots of adjustments have been made subconsciously without me necessarily realising. However really, I feel I’m more in tune with others’ feelings and protective of people’s feelings. Unlike many neurotypicals (non-aspies) I know who seem to delight in others’ failings or tearing them down to puff their own egos. I’m not really much of a fan of humans. We do such harm to those around us, to people as well as to animals.

Anyway, I would not have considered myself as Aspergic, but for my son’s specialist who keeps saying he wouldn’t be surprised if I was and that I’m probably just “a good actress”. Not sure if he realised how that hit me once I was alone in my own thoughts. In the counselling room I just giggled acceptingly at him. But soon, when I was alone, I started worrying. Worrying that everyone else must have known. That my concerns that others don’t like me or my behaviour at some social get-together was reason for embarrassment were valid. That all my self-reassurance that I’d worked hard to convince myself of that it is all just in my head, my own insecurities and self-doubt that I’d projected onto others and that no-one was thinking any such negative things about me at all. That it was my own negative thoughts, not theirs. Suddenly, that all unravelled and I found myself often in tears, feeling exposed. Like the curtain I’d put up in front of me, that I thought was protecting me, hadn’t been hiding or protecting me at all. Like a hospital gown exposing me from behind; a clear view for everyone. Has everyone been laughing at me? Has my social awkwardness been plain to see?

I feel quite annoyed with my son’s specialist. He shouldn’t be making such claims without supporting the outcome. A failing on his behalf, despite his ‘Specialist of the Specialists’ title he gives himself. Though, I haven’t totally crumbled and he’s likely now to get a few more thousand from us should I get a diagnosis. So, he’s made the right move there, I guess! For himself, anyway.