Bounced between diagnoses, it took a while earlier than Beth acquired the solutions she wanted. However as soon as she did, she started her journey to understanding autism and now she’s reaching out to assist others
All through my life, I’ve at all times felt that I used to be totally different. A sq. peg in a spherical gap. Somebody and not using a place. In school, in work, and – extra not too long ago – with my psychological well being analysis, too.
In 2020, after dwelling with borderline personality disorder (BPD) for 4 years, I used to be informed that I’d been misdiagnosed and that I’m truly autistic. And so my journey to understanding myself began once more.
I’ve by no means fitted in. I’ve at all times been known as ‘bizarre’ or ‘odd’ or ‘quirky’, however not in a great way. It began at college and continued till I acquired my first job. Work was tough as a result of the sector I went into was fast-paced and fairly cut-throat – I used to be neither of this stuff. Working shortly made my mind shutdown. Understanding directions for 5 totally different purchasers at one time led me to meltdown. Ruthless folks made me cry. I used to be even requested, ‘Do you suppose that is the profession for you?’ Which felt like acknowledgement that, but once more, I didn’t slot in and that meant I used to be a failure.
Work continued to be a battle and I ended up going from job-to-job not becoming in, not dealing with the setting or not with the ability to do the work on time. All of the whereas, my psychological well being was in fast decline. I used to be crying within the bathrooms at work and I used to be at all times on edge, questioning if that day could be the one the place I’d get fired. Regardless of hiding my struggles beneath a thick layer of enthusiasm and extreme working, I nonetheless didn’t match the skilled mould I used to be presupposed to.
In September 2017, I had a psychological breakdown which shocked my fiancé. He rang the GP and took me straight for an emergency appointment. The GP was variety and referred me to a psychiatrist. In October 2017, I used to be recognized with borderline character dysfunction (BPD). I wasn’t positive what BPD was however from what the psychiatrist stated, it defined my behaviour – unstable moods and probably not realizing the right way to deal with the whirlwind that was my feelings. Every little thing began to make sense. I felt like I used to be on the way in which to understanding the sq. peg in me.
“Every little thing began to make sense. I felt like I used to be on the way in which to understanding the sq. peg in me”
I’ve been seeing a counsellor since September 2010, and initially went as a result of I couldn’t cease crying. Speaking to her through the years has actually helped me to navigate tough conditions and feelings. Throughout this time, my counsellor questioned the BPD analysis and talked about that I may be autistic as a substitute. This got here as a shock as a medical skilled had formally recognized me and absolutely, she couldn’t be fallacious? My counsellor steered I’ve a non-public autism evaluation, so I took her recommendation and booked it. The evaluation occurred throughout two lengthy classes, after which a session with my mum and sister.
When the psychologist known as with the end result, I used to be so anxious. She broke the information that I wasn’t autistic as a result of I did not match the factors. She would not present additional rationalization and when questioned, stated that her findings had been remaining. I felt so dismissed and deflated. I actually thought that this would supply me with a solution for my sq. peg-ness. After plenty of crying, I made a decision to go away it previously and to not pursue it any additional.
As an alternative, I made a decision to make use of my expertise of dwelling with BPD to assist others. I grew to become a Time To Change Wales champion, Mind volunteer, and arrange my Just A Square Peg blog.
In April 2020, in the course of the first lockdown, I used to be scuffling with my BPD. My moods had been erratic, the crying had began once more, and I used to be feeling actually overwhelmed and burnt out. I reached out to native psychological well being providers however due to how stretched these groups are, they stated they couldn’t assist. In addition they stated I wasn’t a hazard to myself so wouldn’t warrant assist. My GP stated she wasn’t pleased with the response so re-referred me. I needed to maintain chasing them with a purpose to discover out what was occurring. In August 2020, they lastly assigned a counsellor to me and I spoke to her for a interval of six weeks. Each she and I continued to be persistent and managed to get an appointment with a psychiatrist in November 2020.
The appointment passed off over Zoom. I discover video calls overwhelming at one of the best of occasions, however this was an entire new stage of hysteria. I saved considering this was my one and solely probability to be seen and heard as somebody who was struggling.
We chatted for round an hour, and close to the top of the appointment the psychiatrist stated, “I believe you have been misdiagnosed and I am 99% positive you are autistic, and at all times have been.”
I went from having a stigmatised psychological sickness and the negativity surrounding that, to being neurodiverse and having nothing ‘fallacious’ with me.
The psychiatrist praised my persistence and stated I wanted to self-refer to the native NHS autism service for an evaluation. 24 pages later, I submitted the shape. Like ready on a job interview, I anxiously waited to see if I’d been accepted. In December 2020, the letter got here to verify I used to be on the listing for evaluation.
“The highway to this has been a protracted and tough one and, when talking to different ladies my age, they are saying it was the identical story for them”
The highway to this has been a protracted and tough one and, when talking to different ladies my age, they are saying it was the identical story for them: being recognized as having BPD however truly being autistic. Many of those ladies, as a result of it’s so tough to get a proper analysis, self-diagnose and establish as autistic that means. And that’s what I’m doing till my evaluation.
When you suppose you may be autistic, I’d suggest a e-book known as I Assume I May Be Autistic by Cynthia Kim. It’s a sensible e-book the place you possibly can undergo and tick off the traits and behaviours that sound such as you. You possibly can then use this when contacting your GP and asking about having an autism evaluation. Earlier than talking to my GP, I wrote down the traits/behaviours that affected me essentially the most. For instance, problem with govt functioning (following directions, processes), not realizing how I really feel, and particular pursuits that flip into obsessions if not carefully monitored.
When chatting to them, ask about how one can entry an autism evaluation. Totally different well being boards within the UK have totally different processes so it’s at all times good to examine what your native space gives. The ready lists will be lengthy, however, when you’re on them, it’s price it. You can even go down the non-public evaluation route, however it may be fairly pricey – or there may be the Lorna Wing Centre in England, which specialises in feminine autism assessments.
I’d suggest, whereas ready on your evaluation, to speak to a counsellor. Verbalising how you’re feeling will be actually useful within the lead as much as the evaluation. It may possibly make it easier to to know the way you’re feeling and the issues you could inform the assessor about when the time comes.
Since my misdiagnosis, I’ve felt in limbo. I’ve felt extra of a sq. peg than I ever have earlier than. Individuals have informed me that “labels don’t matter”, and that “you’re not your analysis”, however I’m. It’s a part of me. It’s a part of my id. However, because of being so persistent, I’m on the highway to attending to know myself higher. It’s empowering to know that there’s nothing ‘fallacious’ with me and that I simply suppose otherwise.
I would endlessly be a sq. peg in a spherical gap however going by this expertise has helped me realise that it’s OK. It’s OK to be totally different and stand out as a substitute of being like everybody else and disappearing right into a sea of ‘normality’.
For extra data and help, head to autism.org.uk, or to speak to a counsellor, go to counselling-directory.org.uk