After months of anticipation, I received an official autism diagnosis this morning.
I also got diagnosed with ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and social anxiety disorder (SAD). No surprises there.
Although I already self-identified as autistic, being professionally assessed and receiving feedback from my psychologist was an incredibly validating experience.
My psychologist was experienced with how autism presents in adults and marginalized genders. She was kind, smart, and LGBTQ+ friendly. I couldn’t have asked for a better psychologist to be assessed by!
Preparing for the assessment
Before my assessment today, I had provided a 10 page self-assessment report plus a 39 page document full of old facebook post screenshots dating back to 2007. Clearly, I had gotten quite hyperfocused on documenting all my autistic traits and evidence.
I was worried that I went overboard and that providing my own self-analysis would come across as patronizing. Thankfully, my psychologist recognized it as a classic autistic infodump. We had a good laugh about it.
My psychologist also thanked me for all the information and the way I organized my self-assessment because it helped her get the information she needed. Basically, I made the work easier for her. So my self-assessment and documentation of my autistic traits ended up being a good thing. Not all doctors appreciate such proactiveness, and some even take offense. It was partially luck that I ended up with such a great psychologist.
I feel excited, relieved, and happy.
Why a professional assessment?
While I think it is fine for people to self-identify as autistic, if they have done their research, a professional diagnosis can help with imposter syndrome. Plus, as an autism content creator and blogger, it bothered me that I wasn’t “officially” diagnosed. What if people were to question my autism status and didn’t believe in self-diagnosis? Not being officially diagnosed bothered me, so I seeked out to be professionally evaluated.
My assessment will cost me around $1300 CAD + tax (I’m still waiting for the written report to be completed). For me, this was worth the peace of mind. Plus, with the written report, I am able to request accommodations if I go back to school or decide to work under someone.
While I’m satisfied with the outcome of my assessment, I realize that not everyone is able to afford a professional evaluation. Also, some psychologists are ignorant about how autism can present in adults and marginalized genders, and being invalidated during an assessment can be extremely upsetting. It comes with risks which may or may not be worth it to you.
There is a lot more to say on the topic of professional assessments, but I’m just happy to finally have my diagnosis. For 28 years, I struggled through life while my autism went undetected. My life finally makes sense in light of my autism diagnosis. It feels great to be validated.