My thoughts on self diagnosed autistics

I am always hugely supportive of self-diagnosed autistic people.

Research is obviously needed; to self diagnose you need to be educated. The #actuallyautistic hashtag on twitter is a good starting place. The AQ test, RDOS test, & family history (if available) can also help point you in the right direction.

Autism is a spectrum, it’s not experienced the same by everybody…the sensory issues, stimming, social difficulties, shutdowns/meltdowns are all unique experiences.

For a lot of adults who were missed as children (particularly AFABs – assigned female at birth), self diagnosis can be the only option.

This can be due to:

  • money
  • misconceptions on autism perpetrated by healthcare professionals (eg “you can’t be autistic you just made eye contact!”)
  • medical trauma/C-PTSD
  • disability (inability to travel to specialists, inability to wait several years to see specialists etc)
  • family history/family members at appts impossible (often these are a requirement at assessments, & professionals refuse to work around)
  • or their country not offering adult diagnostic services.

This is the case of many places in the UK. Only certain areas have the service to diagnose autism in adults, & it involves much fighting to be referred by incompetent drs, & then years of waiting.

Technically, I count as self diagnosed. The NHS doesn’t have a way to diagnose me in my county (& even if they did I can’t travel far due to physical disability); all I have is my NHS autism passport – no formal diagnosis on paper.

The vast majority of self diagnosed autistics have struggled THEIR WHOLE LIVES. Since childhood knowing they were different, but never having an explanation. Treated horribly by teachers, students, family moments; made to feel like a failure & an outsider. Then as an adult they discover they are autistic, & there’s a whole community out there who truly understand them!! Finally they’re with others who understand, support them, encourage them to be themselves & stim as they need!

And suddenly their whole life has changed.

It isn’t my fault my autism was missed in childhood. It isn’t my fault AFABs are hugely undiagnosed & dismissed. It isn’t my fault the NHS doesn’t deem it important to diagnose adults correctly.

Nobody has a right to gatekeep or tell others how their health is. We, as autistic peeps, should be supporting each other.

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PEM crash

I’m experiencing such PEM rn 🙄

I had my iMSK appt last Tuesday, on Thursday we had a picnic in my electric wheelchair, then on Saturday we went to Lyle’s parent’s for a few hours…so now I’m in a mega crash.

My exhaustion is off the charts. In my most well moments I can barely watch tv or read. Neck pain is awful. Seizures are bad. But mostly it’s the crippling exhaustion.

The adventures were fun, the appt was awful, but the PEM/PENE is the worst!!

(Bandit is my assistance dog in training, & yes he is extremely adorable 😉)

But these last two days? This is my reality…

IMSK appt

iMSK appt was….mainly good.

Didn’t get the MRI referral, which is why the GP fricking referred me there & what I need urgently, so that is absolutely NOT good. But she said she was too worried she’d order the wrong ones, even when I told her what the CCI specialist in the US had asked for.

So she’s having to refer me to a spinal specialist to get the MRIs they think I need, which has a really long waiting list & involves a lot of traveling 🙄
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Consultant also hadn’t been told I was autistic/the adjustments I needed, which Lyle had phoned about last week & was told they’d pass them along.

The biggest issue with this was it meant I didn’t get detailed explanations of what she was going to be doing in tests, or asking for consent several times (as when I’m making I’ll just say yes automatically). So one test involved stroking all along my face, which I wasn’t told about & which pushed me WAY over threshold. It caused hours of struggle afterwards 🙄 She also misgendered me, despite my cap covered in pronoun pins. This also made me autie struggle a lot more, & feel lost/overwhelmed.
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But the good:

  • we’re getting referral to a spine specialist so they can decide which MRIs I need (this will be a wait of months 🙄)
  • she agreed that I almost definitely have hEDS & has said in our next appt we’ll go through criteria.
  • she’s booked me an appt to see her again in 6 weeks
  • she’s gonna talk to the rheumatologist, regarding EDS diagnosis (see below as to why)
  • she’s also getting in touch with pain management & has suggested amitriptyline for me

Apparently in this area there’s no way to diagnose EDS – they have to apply for an out of area grant & send me to a specialist in Sheffield. The grant is exceedingly hard to get, so yet another diagnosis might be unobtainable due to lack of services in my area. Welcome to healthcare in the UK 🙄

iMSK consultant also pulled up my recent bloodwork, & said my inflammation markers were high. I wasn’t told this by my GP surgery, I just got told my iron was low. So she’s ordered a repeat bloodtest before I next see her 🙂

The last 1/4 of the appt was lost to me as seizures were triggered. She asked me to stand up (turned out so she could do Romberg test); I told her I’d have a seizure, she got iffy, but I pushed for it as I wanted her to do all the tests she needed. Unfortunately after the seizure due to all the bright lights I crashed & could barely formulate thoughts due to fog…so I was pretty ‘blank’ for the rest of the appt 🙃
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Overall…kind of a positive appt.

Didn’t get what I need most, but we got some positives.

It did trigger a huge shutdown/meltdown episode, which left me feeling unable to handle going through the city/getting a train home.

As a result Lyle ended up pushing me 8 miles along the canal (constantly reassuring me he loves hiking & the weather was gorgeous 😂) so I’d be able to recover/wouldn’t have to deal with loud noises/lights/crowds 😭

Hugely grateful to him, as I wouldn’t have been okay otherwise. As it was I could rest, recover, & talk through my confusion 💙

The day before iMSK…

Well I didn’t feel well enough to go out today alongside other things I need to do before the iMSK appt (go over notes, type up/print my last notes, shower). So instead we decided to stay in, get everything ready, & dye our hair 🙂
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Even though I don’t feel great physically today, I definitely feel better than I have the least several days!

My joint pain is much better, overall pain has gone down a bit, seizures aren’t great but aren’t abysmal, & my heart rate is ‘good’ for me (50bpm increase). With as much of a rest day as possible today, I should be ready for iMSK tomorrow!

Also as it’s scheduled rain we won’t be taking Zeke, which means we’ll be able to go the inaccessible fast route to the train station rather than the 60min way…hey council, ya gonna sort the scaffolding & stop breaking the law anytime soon? 🙄

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Blue boy 💙

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Uuugh, disaster walkwheel. Not AT ALL what I needed the day before a big medical appt 🙄

Obviously both my autism & medical trauma means any appts are hugely stressful for me, but this one is especially so as:

– I’m expecting to be met with cluelessness
– there’s a lot of complex information to get across (explanations about ME, what CCI is, how they crossover, missed hEDS)
– & this is a service I have no experience with.
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For an autie, this is A LOT to handle.

I was hoping this walk would be a nice distraction, but nah, it just triggered a meltdown. The final trigger is always something so ridiculous, as by then I’m way beyond threshold (“the straw that broke the camel’s back”).

This is known as “trigger stacking” in the dog training world. On this walk the final trigger was Lyle attaching my lead belt wrong when Bandit was on my lap 🙃
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So fricking unlucky. There was a 20% chance of rain at 11am, we waited in all day until the entire rest of the day was below 5%, then went out. It hadn’t rained ALL DAY. Until we were out 😑

Bandit alerted to my meltdown, which was good…but what a shite walk.

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Still haven’t sorted the last few of my notes for tomorrow.

Lyle laminated my DIY communication book today. We spoke about the appt as I was stressing, especially about how to answer that BS first question of “so why are you here today?” 🙄 As an autie that blows my mind; I really struggle with what to say, don’t know how to word it/explain it. Tomorrow’s particularly difficult as there really is SO MUCH STUFF.

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This is my DIY communication book for when I’m nonverbal.

I have an app on my phone, but I prefer a physical form as:

  • it’s easier for me to use
  • doesn’t cause issues with photophobia
  • is silent (my app verbalises the phrases & I often forget to silence my phone)
  • & my hand tremors can’t communicate something entirely different than what I wanted 😂

I also like that I can tie in my pronouns, overall health, & how medical professionals should treat me, too!

9th August 2019

I’m falling apart, I swear idk if my joints have ever been this bad.

Wrists = agony, shoulders = agony, one hip is being a twat & my fingers are awful too. All my joints ache & pain is immense.

Can’t cope with my phone or Xbox controller, can’t eat with cutlery, can’t hold a drink. Ugh. Trying wrist bands to lower pain.

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Went on a small dog walk today but had an autistic meltdown, Lyle realised it was ongoing fallout from him being ill last night…I always struggle with him being poorly & knowing what I should be doing. That sucked, although Bandit was awesome…peep him alerting post meltdown.

Got a letter asking me to answer a survey on the ambulance service that helped us avoid A&E last month…the only thing I could positively rate the NHS on currently 😂 May be quiet today as Lyle has had to type this for me!

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Check out this storm!! 😱

Discrimination from local council & Cumbria Design Scaffold

We’ve been fighting the council & the scaffolding company (Cumbria Design Scaffold) for several months.

All we wanted was that they put ramps down where scaffolding has made the pavement inaccessible.

My main manual wheelchair is now broken thanks to their inaccessible design, & since then I’ve been unable to get to the shops, transport links, GP surgery, vets etc in the town centre 10mins from my house.

Finally, after waiting months, we were told they were putting ramps down.

Only they haven’t put ramps down, what they’ve actually done is closed the entire fucking pavement & told pedestrians to use the other side.

THE OTHER PAVEMENT IS TOO NARROW FOR A WHEELCHAIR YOU ABSOLUTE ARSEHOLES!!!

Hence why we need bloody ramps. Aaaagh the ableism is fucking breaking me 😭

Without ramps it takes 45-60mins to get into town the accessible way – 45min to the supermarket, 60min to the train station.

Next week I have a super important medical appt, it’s at 10am in the city…we’re gonna have to take the 60min route to get to the train station because the council are disgusting ableist pricks who don’t give a shit about disabled people. Time out the house needs to be kept minimal, that day will have HUGE repercussions on my health, & now it’s got an extra 2hrs added to it…UUUUGH.

Yesterday’s fun

Morning

All symptoms terrible today ow and why. Wet room people came round couldn’t cancel again, they were lovely will post about it later gonna go try survive this current crash.

Evening

Oof today has been a battle, I have been SO unwell 😂 Finally started to feel human waking up from my third nap at 6.30pm 😂 TW for food on next slides!
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So the company the council has paid to do the wet room came this morning. The guy was so lovely!

He gave us colour charts to pick, told us which ones most people were going for, then went up to measure stuff. The paper chart are the walls, & the squares of colours were the flooring choices!

He asked if we were happy with the plan we’d got in the post, which we were, & explained they couldn’t do the bathroom door opening inwards as the bathroom is too small and it’d hit the toilet! We picked our colours, which was stressful but badass 😂
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The company does a lot of specialist bathrooms for disabled people, so we’re in very good hands! They’re coming to do it at the end of this month (aaaagh! 😍) & it will take a week 😱😂 It’ll be hellishly stressful for me, but the company seems awesome & it will totally be worth it!

Some of the specialty stuff they do for nursing homes sounded incredible…like a bath with a chair that raises the person, lifts & holds the person over the full bath, then the bath LIFTS UP TO GO AROUND THE PERSON so the carer doesn’t have to bend over the tub!
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Gonna try for a little dog walk now. I was excited about taking Zeke the long way into town today, but I daredn’t push my body too far with how crap I’ve felt 😂

After walk

Teeny walkwheel done. Kinda fun, kinda awful. Bandit alerted to a seizure & was incredible, but my right wrist is knackered 😥

Here he is being a little star though!

Quick bit of seizure awareness –

Complex partial seizures are not what you typically see being portrayed in the media, although they’re actually the most common type of seizure. Did you know there are over 40 types of seizures?!

In CP seizures, the person is totally unaware of their actions or surroundings, & has no memory of the event afterwards. During the seizure they may continue an activity they were doing beforehand, such as walking or eating. They may fidget, pluck at clothing, laugh, talk nonsense etc. Afterwards there is usually a postictal phase, where the person is confused, disoriented, & may have trouble speaking.

My right shoulder has been extremely loose today, constantly slipping in & out with me eventually saying to Lyle there’s no point making sure it goes back in 😂 Dunno if it’s related to that or not but my wrist started KILLING on this walk, with no trigger…it hurts so bad, feels similar to a broken bone but definitely isn’t. Super ‘ugh’ though.