I have a real issue with change, I like to do things a certain way and I like repetition. I love collecting things too. I have always been like this. If you’ve read my blog before you can probably see examples of that. I have an eating disorder. My obsession with bags. My enjoyment of making lists and surveys. I’ve always questioned whether I was normal. I just thought I was always a bit quirky. I am a bit quirky.
Last year my issues with change started to really cause me… well… issues. I was due to be married in August… Married! I have never been married before. What do you do? How will my life change? All these worries started to build up in my head. Everyone said I should be really excited but I felt more stress than excitement. Why was I not excited? Did this mean I was making a mistake? Why did I not feel the same as others? I made lists of positive things but I couldn’t get worries out of my head. Friends told me I wasn’t making sense. I had to get away. Run! Run away from the change. I had a breakdown as I couldn’t see anything positive in my future. I saw a therapist who told me it was just cold feet and not to worry and that my anxiety attacks would pass once I was married. This calmed me and I started to look forward to the wedding.
My wedding day was amazing. I was calm, I had no nerves and it just felt right. Everyone I loved was there. It was a great day. It felt amazing to get married. I was happy… for a few days. The anxiety attacks I thought had gone away didn’t. I was putting on a face for people. I found myself feeling like I was going to be sick. I couldn’t concentrate. The structure of my life was falling apart. I just couldn’t function. I fell into a deep depression.
As my wife is wonderful and amazing she did everything she could to help. In October I saw my doctor who put me on a course of antidepressants and referred me to a different therapist. My new therapist noticed strange patterns in my thinking and behaviour and asked me if I had ever been diagnosed with a Autism Spectrum Condition? I wasn’t sure what to think. When I think of Autism I think of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. That isn’t me, but I was willing to be assessed because I needed answers. I needed to know why I think the way I do. I was sent lists of questions to complete and on Tuesday 14th May I would be assessed by a specialist. I spent weeks wondering & worrying about the outcome. What if they said I am not on the autstic spectum? What does it mean if I am? If I am then I guess it would be closure. I would have my answer.
The more the specialist spoke to me the more I could relate to the diagnosis and it seemed to tick boxes in my head…
- They find it difficult to understand what other people think, and how they feel. ✔
- They can have good language skills. But some people with Asperger syndrome think that people always mean what they say. For example, someone with Asperger syndrome might not be able to tell when someone is joking. ✔
- They may only talk about their favourite subject. ✔
- They may be very interested in some things. ✔
- They may want to take part in games or activities with other people. But they may not know how to do this. ✔
- They may like to play the same game or do the same thing every day. ✔
- They can have a good IQ and may go to the same school as children who do not have a disability. ✔
- They may be good at concentrating on one activity. ✔
- They may find co-ordination difficult. ✔
- Some people with Asperger syndrome may like to eat the same food every day ✔
- They may have mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression. ✔
So what changes now? Nothing. It just means that the way my mind works is different to those who don’t have this disorder. I have my answer. I have closure.