quarridors: Sporting a giant Tangle (not a chrome snake) (September 2012)
[personal profile] quarridors
I've been on and off work due to stress for the last month or so. For the last couple of weeks, I've been focusing a lot on self care and reducing stress. Yesterday was my first day of phased return to work with reduced hours and responsibilities, and it was a success, I'm going to work another 4 hours today and the plan is to try this 5 days a week until the xmas holidays then start ramping up in the new year.

I identified a while ago that posting here would be a nice way to get thoughts and feelings off my mind at a slower pace than Twitter and with a small audience of understanding people who I've known for a long time. However, there's been so much going on in my life that writing a first post with all the context for the rest just seemed too big and overwhelming. I decided that I'd try to write out the shortest possible 'elevator pitch' description of what's gone on, which has resulted, thanks to my tendency towards verbosity, in a reasonable length entry with a 'To Be Continued' ending...

I'm still living and working from home in the same place, and still getting regular support from Nottingham City Asperger Service. They're working on helping me manage stress and anxiety, and to improve emotional/self-awareness and executive function. Our main goal at the start of this year was to help me get more of the things I want to do done without damaging my mental health in the process.

During the first half of this year, the Asperger Service moved buildings and had a lot of disruption and noise in their offices, so my specialist, who works as a therapist-cum-lifecoach for me, started coming to my home for our sessions.

Seeing me in my own living space, while focusing more on how stressful I found work and how difficult I found the organisational aspects of many parts of my life, led us to assess me for executive dysfunction and ADHD.

Several hours of solo testing and interviews involving my mum found significant executive dysfunction and ADHD traits from childhood. Three different experts then took a few weeks to decide if I also have ADHD, rather than those traits being explained by the combination of dyspraxia, Asperger's and executive dysfunction. Eventually it was decided that I have ADHD, Inattentive type, with it noted that I also have significant impulsivity and hyperactivity traits when tired.

The report about the diagnosis stressed that it wasn't helpful to consider ADHD alone or Asperger's alone, or to ask "Is this an ADHD problem or an Asperger's problem?" Everything overlaps and interacts, they're all pervasive. Really it's best to think of me as a multiply neurodivergent person who can be diagnosed with dyspraxia, Asperger's, sensory processing disorder, executive dysfunction or ADHD depending on what sort of specialist assesses me and what aspects of my cognition they focus on.

I've had this explained to me as different facets on a diamond being most prominent depending on the angle they're viewed at or the type of light shined onto them.

When all that was over, my therapist was concerned about how I was taking the new diagnosis, both from the "there's another thing wrong with me" angle and from the disruption it would cause in my sense of self to learn that Asperger's / autism, which I have built a strong feeling of community around, isn't a perfect or complete explanation for how I see and interact with the world.

I was mainly upbeat about the whole thing at the time because it meant that I understood things better, that there were new strategies we could try and promising medications to investigate. I especially made a big deal about how good it was to finally have all the answers about me. There was nothing left to diagnose, I finally understood everything that was going on, and how that could only be a good thing.

And then I went to BiCon, Nine Worlds and Autscape...
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