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AFAB, 18, and currently seeking a diagnosis

persolus

New Member
I've always struggled with "meltdowns," figuring out the ins-and-outs of everyday social interaction, making and keeping friends, pretty much all of the textbook high-functioning autistic traits throughout my life. I always thought I was bi-polar, or that something was just plain wrong with me. Everyone around me would just tell me I was "weird" and "creative" and leave it at that, and I grew up with out any coping mechanisms.
I did a lot of research about this topic at first because I have autistic friends and wanted to understand them better. After I watched and read first-hand accounts of some women’s experiences growing up and experiencing situations and relationships, I realized that I identified with a lot of what they were saying.
More recently, I've made a handful of friends with people who are on the spectrum, and have related to their experiences and nervous habits a great deal. I saw myself mirrored in their stories and it honestly changed my life.
I've always felt like I was missing out on some universal inside joke that everyone seemed to understand but me. Like I was the only one without a club membership.

The worst that it's ever affected me was last year when I came home from a foreign exchange program six months early because I couldn't cope with myself or communicate my needs. After that experience and an entire childhood of trauma, I did more research about ASD and came to a self-diagnosis.

I'm at the end of my senior year, and now I know that if I want to succeed in moving away from home and pursuing a college career, I have to get a diagnosis. I don't want to repeat the mistakes I made on exchange, I want to leave home prepared and with a name to what I struggle with so I know how and where to ask for help.

My mother is an herbalist and relies more on homeopathic medicine than western medicine. My entire live, every time I've been sick she's treated it with herbal remedies at home without taking us to the doctor unless it's life or death. She's also anti-vaxx.
Whenever I've tried to approach her about seeing a professional and getting me help, she's brushed it off as me overreacting and at most offers me herbs and yoga. She doesn't believe mental illness as valid, and she hasn't condoned me seeing a doctor. Looking back at my childhood and having questioned my stepfather about it, I suspect that my teachers or counselors have come to her and told her that I needed to be screened for something and she may have withheld treatment from me as a child.

Through the support of my friends alone, I've found my insurance card and am scheduled to see a family physician about a diagnosis tomorrow. I can't afford the doctor's appointments and hour-long trips it would take to be fully screened and diagnosed with ASD (because the nearest qualified psychologists live in the city). As of right now I want to see what my options truly are, and maybe try whatever medication is prescribed to me for ADHD (the next-best treatment I suppose) and see if it will make any significant changes to my focus and ability to control my emotions.

I just needed to dump all of this somewhere safe with people who likely understand my situation.

Thanks, V
 
I guess the name for what we all struggle with is whatever name we were born with. I've seen a psychologist before and they diagnosed me with several mental illnesses. I personally didn't feel any more or less whole at that point. I didn't want to live my life and pin the blame for certain aspects on depression or anxiety. I have lived with them for a long time, but they have as much power and influence as I allow them to have. There's always room for change and improvement - but I think some cards that we're dealt with force adaptability, and there's no harm in that. At the end of the day what is normal?

Freedom should help you develop your personality further, away from the opinions of your mum. I get that parents want the best for their child, but the best is often what they assume to be right. There comes a point when decisions have to be made by their children and a time when they need to be treated as adults.

There's plenty of online reading materials along with tests etc you can do for free online to see if there's a strong indication you could be on the spectrum. Unfortunately tests, or evaluations or anything in the medical world is never cheap if you have to pay for it yourself. Would college have an on site counsellor or therapist service you could use for free?

I suppose everyone is different - my parents never got me or my brother diagnosed. My brother is less repressed in terms of who he is around other people. The hyperactivity, the facial and hand movements and expressions and the verbal tics are all loud and proud with my brother. Whereas I feel the need to bury my tics and traits as best I can to attempt to function as a "normal" person when I'm at work etc. As soon as I'm on my own all the "weird stuff" floods to the surface and I feel such a sense of relief that I can finally be myself.

I think you can only prepare so much with regards to leaving home. Every day contains an infinite amount of unknowns that you might possibly encounter or have to interact with. Simply living your life gradually builds up experiences and knowledge.

A large part of progress is letting go I think. We often let good moments up and vanish quicker than we do bad one's. We can hold onto bad experiences from the past, or live in fear of potential one's in the future. But good times? Sometimes I think we can fixate so much on what isn't working that we don't look around and take stock and be thankful for what is working.

Anyway, these are just some thoughts. Not sure if any of it is of use to you. This forum is a very friendly and open platform. Feel free to express, share, vent or read as much as you like. I must admit I've never met a community as inviting as the one here.

Ed
 
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The most current research points to a wide variety of genetic differences (called variations or mutations) affecting certain areas of the genome (developmental and neurological) as the cause of autism. Herbal remedies and yoga while possibly helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle can not change your genetic code.

How people approach and deal with it varies as much as how widely different it can present itself in people. Having got it in your mind to find out the answer, I hope you do. You seem to have benefited from interacting with others on the spectrum. I did as well.
 
Welcome to the Forums! I hope you make new friends and enjoy your stay in the process! :)
 
Hi and welcome. I am glad you have supportive friends, and it sounds like you have made a good plan, I hope that you find this forum useful too. People are friendly and helpful here.

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