So, just over a week ago, I emailed my client questionnaire to the Autism Spectrum Condition Diagnostic Assessment Team… Well, actually three versions of the same questionnaire: the first being a quick overview of things, the second being a much more in-depth explanation of my needs and experiences with quotes from Aspergirls (which, if you have been following this blog, has greatly helped me in the process of requesting an assessment), and the third being a slightly abridged version of the second one with the quotes from the book taken out. I felt it necessary to embellish on things after completing the first one because it did not really give much by way of explaining what I find difficult in particular but realised the extended version may be quite long. This way, the clinician can look at whichever one they wish – I know that all information has been shared from my end.
I also asked in my email for an update in terms of timescales for an appointment, because I feel that my mental health is becoming progressively more fragile the longer I am waiting for this and the uncertainty is heightening my anxiety greatly. Even if I could be given an estimate as to which month I am likely to be given an appointment, I would have been most grateful. The lady I had been emailing had said a few months ago that the service was looking to recruit more assessors and I was (understandably) wondering if this has affected timescales for appointments.
It was, needless to say, disheartening to have the one line reply to my email: “Thank you for the attached documents, I will be in touch as soon as I have an appointment for you.”
In every email exchange, I have made mention of my anxiety, stress, and fragile mental health… but it appears to mean very little. I feel like, if you’re going to be working in a service for people who suspect they are on the spectrum, then it would be beneficial if you have a shred of empathy for the clients you’re encountering.
So, just over a week has passed since this email exchange and it’s been playing on my mind… not helped by the increasing stress at work. I finally mustered up the courage to ring the service to ask again about timescales. The crazy thing is that whenever I need to talk to someone on the phone for virtually anything else in life, while I don’t like it, I can manage okay enough… but today, I was stammering and finding it difficult to keep myself together to ask… I can’t quite explain it, but I almost felt like my articulate self ran for the hills and left my vulnerable self behind without any support. I was told that they’re seeing clients referred in June/July (2015) currently, so we’re looking more at July/August for me, as (through no fault of my own!!) they only added me to the waiting list in September. I feel a bit better knowing that it shouldn’t be too much longer, but at the same time, I’m frustrated that it was such a palaver in the first place. Had I not chased up my referral because I hadn’t heard anything back in the estimated six weeks, I would still be waiting!! The fax from my GP surgery was never received (honestly, who uses fax anymore???) and it took me nearly having a meltdown over the phone to my surgery to get it sorted out… It still gives me a flutter of anxiety when I think about it now… quite similar to the anxiety I felt when things were pending with the mortgage and taking AGES to finish. I suppose it’s the whole “managing expectations” and not being told one thing and it being something completely different or just flat-out wrong or late.
Anyway, I’m hoping that before the end of August, I will at least have had my assessment and, hopefully before my 32nd birthday, I’ll know for sure and have the validation I’ve been after since last summer. It’s crazy how much time has passed, yet at the same time, it feels like it’s dragging.
I’ll quit blithering now… I’ll be back soon with hopefully something more interesting for you all to read. 🙂