It seems a bit odd for someone to still be learning something like that at my age (54), but for the past few weeks I have been seeing a psychologist, and (an expensive!) specialist in order to do exactly that ...
I posted about my mental health (some of the things I have been through in the last few years, and the work/etc problems I am now having) 2 weeks ago - here
... it was my ABC Wednesday letter F post :)
and I also came up with the title, and a plan, to post this for the Letter H
... because I kind of knew that by now I would have one more answer, and one more part of the puzzle that is me:
On Monday I had a third visit with the not so cheap doctor ... I paid to go and see this particular doctor because he is one who specialises in Autism Spectrum Disorders ... Yes - I have suspected I may be on that spectrum for a few years, but had not realised it could be affecting me so much, so had dismissed it as not particularly important ...
But, after discussing things with my psychologist, and her having sent me to discuss things with this doctor - now I know it is important, and I needed to know for sure - and it is now official - I have been diagnosed as having "level 1 Autistic Spectrum Disorder" - otherwise known as Aspergers ...
(There is also a heap more info here :)
So ... as odd as it sounds - I can now say I have been diagnosed with an incurable condition, but I am Happy about that!
Yes - Happy! ... How can that be? - to me (and from what I have been told - most people who get diagnosed with Aspergers later in their life), it means that instead of being a "normal" person who has had a heap of problems with things, I now know there is a reason I have had many (most?) of those problems - because i am an Aspie! (and/or because I didn't know I was one).
... and although Aspergers is/can be a disability, it also kind of isn't (and it doesn't qualify me for NDIS funding or anything like that, because it doesn't impair me from being able to live a normal life or mean I would require support to live normally, etc, etc.)
Aspergers is often now described as a different way of thinking, that a fairly large number of us have ... and it is often said that in some ways it is also a gift ... and yes - I guess it can be ... being creative and quirky etc is a good thing (sometimes - lol) ... I LIKE being weird - this is who I am - take away the Aspergers and I would not BE who I am ... I would just be some normal person, lost in the crowd ... probably happier, but boring - lol
Oh - and one other thing (that I found myself saying to my Mum) - I am not going to use Aspergers as an excuse (for doing/not doing anything I should or for problems I may have or whatever) - it is not an excuse for anything - it is a reason, not an excuse.
Apparently, I also need a textbook to study this subject of "How to be me" - lol - the doctor who just diagnosed me has suggested I buy this book ... I might buy it, but for now I have got (and already read :) the free sample that Amazon sent, and have requested to borrow a hard copy from the library (they don't seem to have it as an ebook ... but I have not actually borrowed an ebook before, so I might be doing something wrong - lol).
But now ... I still need to do something about the other half of the problem I currently have - being an Aspie explains some of the how's and whys of things, but I still have to sort out the mental health issues I currently have - the stress/etc thing that has resulted in me being away from work ... probably "adjustment disorder" or somesuch ... on top of a messy snowball of stress and some depression ... but at least now I know a bit more about what makes me tick, and why I had at least some of the difficulties that contributed to the stress/etc - I think I am now mentally in a far better place - and hopefully I can now get the right sort of help, and I feel more confident that it will actually help ... and I now feel a whole lot better about myself, and more able to come to terms with the fact that I have "fallen apart" lately - I now know that it is not because I am weak or useless (apparently poor self image is a common problem for Aspies, and definitely has been for me!) - I now know there is a perfectly logical reason for it, that I didn't know was affecting me that much, but now I do - add being an Aspie, and not knowing about it, to all the other stuff - and it is no surprise that I have fallen apart (in fact the surprise is that it didn't happen sooner and/or worse?) - and I am now going to be a lot better equipped to pick up the pieces and put them all in the right places - so that I can, hopefully, end up being a lot more happy about myself and my life than I have been ...
Actually, a poem I wrote, quite a few years ago (before I got quite so stressed/etc in the last few years) comes to mind ... and I think it kind of applies to me now :)
I looked at life the normal way,
And didn't like what I saw,
So I looked at life the other way,
And now I enjoy it more.
Except maybe I should change the word "other" to "Aspie"? LOL
... So now I just need to learn a whole lot more about Aspergers, and being an Aspie, and I also need to keep working with a psychologist (with that and all the other mental health/stress/etc stuff) for a while - and learn HOW to actually BE who/what I now know I am :)
Hopefully I will get around to posting to my blog a bit more often again now ... Hopefully about a few slightly more normal things, and/or not so normal but not so freaky things ... and also maybe a few more things about my journey into the uncharted territory of my mind, and how I am going with finding myself and learning how to be myself ... (and possibly something about what ends up actually happening when I go back to work - which could be a strange but possibly interesting process, which apparently needs to involve a "rehabilitation provider" and a "graduated return to work" ... which all kind of makes it sound serious and scary, and confusing, but hopefully means things will have a better chance of actually going well for me ... unlike the start of this year, when I tried to go back with no support at all, and things just got worse than they had been)
I am still feeling rather confused, and possibly a bit overwhelmed - have felt like that for the last few weeks, which is probably quite understandable considering what I have been going through :)
Who knows where this weird journey of my life will actually take me next - could be ... interesting ... and quite possibly frightening at times ... but knowing what I have already been through at times during my life, and some of the things I know I have inside my weird mind - strange and frightening is something I am probably already quite used to :)
Oh ... and I am probably already tweeting a bit too much about some of this stuff? lol (oh well - my followers (all 1 or 2 of them? :) will just have to live with it - it is kind of rather important to me at the moment, and what I am busy sorting out/doing ... so of course I want to tweet about it - lol)
... The mind of a "stressed out" Aspie is a rather strange place ... Confusing, scary, and - oddly enough - I am also finding it quite interesting - lol
The other day I found myself saying that I have a whole universe inside my mind - and it made me laugh - because, in a way, it is true ...
Beam me up and go to Warp 9 Scotty! - I need to explore the universe :)
... In the meantime, I will just explore a few more odd corners of Canberra :)