Monthly Archives: November 2011

On vulnerability

My new job is for an organisation that supports people with Aspergers. ¬†Which is good. ¬†Great, in fact. ¬†They are a lovely group of people and on the whole, I trust them to be DHB (that’s Decent Human Beings). ¬†However, there is a difference between mentally assenting to the kindness of colleagues and letting them in on a bit of an unexplored area – to whit – my own pending Aspergers diagnosis (Dith steps bravely, if nervously, out from her own self-imposed near-silence on this one).

Ever since I got the job, I have known in my soul that I would almost certainly ‘come out’ as an Aspie at some point. ¬†I did however assume that I would have gained my official stamp of Aspie-ness before I did so. ¬†I also thought that I would have given myself time to get my own head around it more and would have also explained it to my nearest and dearest first, too. ¬†You may see at least one flaw in this already, the assumption that the much coveted Label will be forthcoming, but that is almost immaterial at present. ¬†That is not the only flaw in this series of assumptions, tho…

Today two of my colleagues were talking about a client who is himself seeking an Aspergers diagnosis, and discussing how he could go about it.  I have overheard this matter being chatted back and forth before now, buthave kept quiet.  However, today was different.  Today, they both made some sweeping statements about what Aspies are like (none of which fitted me!)  As a consequence, I felt I was a little terse with one of them Рand undeservedly so, given that she had no idea of my own back-story.

I had thus painted myself into a bit of a corner.  I could keep quiet, and have this otherwise lovely woman conclude that I was being an arse for no good reason, or I could bite the bullet  Рopen the can of worms etc.  The decision to disclose was helped by the fact than it was only the two of them present, and I had already had chats with the other about related stuff (she is almost certainly on the spectrum herself, but says she feels no need to follow this up, which is fair enough).

Sooooo, I told them. ¬†I told them where I am on my Aspie journey and how the referral process was working for me. ¬†I also apologised to the first colleague for snapping at her. ¬†They were both very gracious, and even thanked me for being so honest. ¬†I then retreated to my own desk (in the room next door) and proceeded not to be able to focus on my work. ¬†In light of this, I felt I should learn from past experience, and not sit on this piece of info about myself (as I have about health matters in previous jobs, only to have it go ‘kablooie’ at a later date). ¬†I took a deep breath as I ventured forth to inform my line manager. ¬†¬†He was also very understanding and even said that having an Aspie in the organisation could be an asset, and in no way affected his assessment of me as an individual.

The thing is, one of the main reasons I applied for the job initially was because they advocate for people with Aspergers (thus offering support to a group of people who can often be overlooked or neglected).  I saw the ad for the job at a time when I had been prompted to think about my own possible place on the Autistic Spectrum, so it had an appeal to me above and beyond the natural fit of the role of Advocate to my character.

Anyhow, that is where I am.  I have had one assessment by a general psychiatrist (it is NOT a mental illness, but that is where they send you) and am awaiting a response from the further referral to a Aspergers specialist.  As with something like Fibromyalgia Рfor which I do have the label Рthese things can be dependent upon the person doing the assessment, so there is no guarantee that I will receive the Label I desire, even tho I myself am 99.9 percent sure in my own mind Aspergers explains the complexity of my life in a way that no other diagnosis could ever fully justify.

This post was initially an e-mail intended for a fellow Aspie alone but, in for a penny, in for a pound.  I am prepared to run the risk that some who end up reading this may question my decisions and wonder about the wisdom and/or accuracy of my assumptions.  If so, let it be so.  This is such a grey area and opinions can be so varied, that I need to be true to myself.  On reflection, I have decided that this means beginning to own my Aspie-ness, in all of its glory and gore, whether I have the stamp of authenticity from the medics or not (yet).

I do hope that on the whole, people will respect me enough to know myself sufficiently well. ¬†It is not as though I have been trawling through scientific journals, the popular press and Schott’s miscellany actively looking for a new explanation. ¬†I had been fairly resigned to the idea that I was just a bit broken mentally, with all the depression/anxiety and similar other psychiatric stuff I have been assigned. ¬†This possibility fell in my lap as part of a discussion with a friend, and further investigation strengthened my conviction that Aspergers may well have been the explanation all along. ¬†The good thing about this is that it means that I am not broken, I am just different. ¬†(To see someone explain this much better than I, take a look at¬†www.dudeimanaspie.com¬†)

So, in conclusion:

 

My name is Dith, and I’m an Aspie.