Before I got diagnosed, I didn’t have a clue about what it meant. But my family pushed me to get a clearer picture. I went to a local psychologist to take part in three sessions to establish whether I was on the spectrum or not.
The process involved delving back into my childhood, producing bittersweet memories of my adulthood, intertwined with ideas of how I react in social situations, eye contact, and personal ways that I behave in front of others.
I’m very unconfident. I don’t have a lot of belief in myself, and I’m wary of large groups of people, especially people I don’t know. All these factors were added together to give me a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Apparently I’m at the milder end of things, with a score of 8 out of 22.
What does that mean for me? Not a lot really. My manner, characteristics or general demeanour won’t change at all. What it does mean is that it’s classed as a disability under the Disability Act (UK) 2010. I have to declare this when applying for jobs and any future employer has to make “reasonable adjustments” to make my working life better.
44 years down the line, and I have ASD. If someone said to me at 30, I would be diagnosed with ASD, I would have laughed. But then again, I didn’t think I would have depression and anxiety in my thirties. ASD is an underlying cause of the problems that beset me from the age of 35 onwards. I have to live with this now ad infinitum. I know now what causes my down days, my anxious spells and my occasional periods of isolation from the good folks on the outside.
I have a better knowledge now of what it’s all about. But my life won’t change at all. Still the same old Allen!
Peace and love