The Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale – Revised; comparing and explaining results in an attempt to understand

Source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com – Feature photo by pexels

I took the Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-revised at aspie tests, if you would like to take it just click the underlined text to get access to them.  You have to set up an account first but they haven’t spammed once and I’ve been a member for months, there are also many other tests to take.

Although this test is designed not to be taken solely but rather with a professional in a clinical setting, we don’t all have this privilege.  I do not believe we have the professionals available to take the test with me at different intervals in the relevant timescales, I was once told this was because they were understaffed.

Although this test is supposed to be done in a clinical setting that can be quite unsettling for me if I’m honest. Therefore this is likely impacting and influencing the results.  It is hard to diagnose me because my disabilities or disorders do not present definitive or easily observable symptoms.

I am 30 years old with my eldest being 10, I have learnt plenty through observant trial and error, although not enough in some retrospects but I’m still young and im forever changing.

I first took this test 3 months ago with an overall score of 172 on the 17th June 2018.  I retook it on the 17th September 2018 and scored an overall score of 161.  The threshold is 65 for being suspected of Autism, this result was 11 points less this time but 95 above the threshold.

Some of the phrasing in the words caused me to overthink the question plus it is quite complex trying to stay focused on the answer choices.  I came across this article from a fellow blogger who took the test back in 2012 where it was said the questions seem to be skewed more towards Social relatedness and male orientated.

There are 80 questions on the RAADS-R that cover 4 symptoms of Language, Social relatedness, sensory-motor, and circumscribed interests.  I intend to explain a little about the 4 categories coinciding with my past and present results representative of their relevant label.4

In language Junes result was 14 whilst Septembers 12 threshold 4, Social relatedness was 66.0 now 71.0 threshold 31.  The sensory/ motor in June was 56.0 now it is 50 threshold 16 whereas Circumscribed interest was 36.0 and is now 28.0 threshold 15

I’m beginning to believe many of us don’t care about there being a right and wrong answer, it’s becoming more about understanding

This test has been designed to accommodate the fact some adults who show a presentation of autism may no longer have symptoms, that were there in childhood but no longer present in adulthood and vice versa

Another brilliant point made in the article linked above was the phrasing of the words.  The words ‘always/never/only‘ were often used causing the test to take longer as these words were mulled over, I agree that ‘sometimes‘ or ‘most of the time‘ could have been more fitting

Language is just how human beings communicate either in written or spoken words depending on circumstance, system or style.  Some do have persistent problems with social communication and social interactions can be problematic

I’m forever having my tones picked apart in formal and informal settings  When I was younger I struggled with gestures or tones of voices but i have improved over the years.

Once upon a time I used to have a literal understanding of language and used to believe people meant what they said.  An example would be when my mother told me frogs give you warts, to stop me from bringing all the critters home.

This eventually did work when I got a wart and stopped bringing them home. Obviously, no truth behind my mother’s words that I genuinely believed, it was a coincidence. It was in my late twenties and I freaked about kids touching frogs that had my partner put me right in my thinking.

I learnt in many a harder way than that, to learn not to take everything at face value and not believe everything you hear.  In my younger days facial expressions, tones, jokes, and sarcasm were my nemesis.

I have had the privilege of watching 10 years in a girl blossom and have had nearly 4 with my little boy.  This journey has taught me to become more aware of what we allow our eyes to perceive.  I can understand a lot better than I express nowadays.

I used to have great difficulty understanding other peoples feelings and intentions, followed by knowing how to express how I feel about it.  When I’m overloaded I seek alone time, I don’t tend to seek it from others.

Too many occasions, I have appeared insensitive as I try to figure out the problem and how to rectify, fix or move on from.  This can then lead to opinions and views that I am behaving in a socially inappropriate way.

To have restricted and repetitive patterns of behavious, activities, and interests can mean preferring more of a routine or lack of change, liking the same thing.  It can be hard to take a different approach when you have been taught the right or certain way to do it, I prefer to prepare for the change in advance where possible but have learnt to adapt where possible.

You can be overly sensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, lights, colours, and temperatures becoming unbearably loud or distracting creating fascinations, anxiety or even pain

Finding where to challenge your interest or focus when pursuing these can be fundamental to one’s wellbeing and happiness.

I have taken these test 3 months apart and still score really high.  I have learnt a lot and realise this test is based on accuracy so understanding it is important.  I am diagnosed ADHD officially but this journey is not finished

www.naturalempathiser.com for more reading, understanding, and depth

Further Reading

  1. My Feministic journey, into the spectrum
  2. Trip down Memory Lane
  3. Mirror-Mirror, Show me my true reflection
  4. My Journey through Mental health
  5. The words of Lilly falls Beautifully unfinished
  6. Welcome to the natural empathiser

Facebook Group and page: Natural Empathiser and Natural Empathisers

Source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com

To truly understand you have to delve deeper, accept this invitation to walk with me for a moment into so many contradicting, confusingly frustrating answers, questions and revelations.  Maybe together mysteries or already answered puzzles can be solved or connected. (Human Rubik cube’s)

We are all moulded to fit certain expectations but what happens when you force yourself, or are forced to fit into rigid structures? Does it create depression and anxiety? Are social pressures becoming more intense or are we becoming a permanent fixtured reality tv show like big brother where privacy is outdated? As myself, yourself, and others open their books, allowing insight into their stories, I hope to broaden my understandings and hopefully find answers, where there once appeared to be, none. (turning my ignorance to awareness)

When ones mental health and wellbeing are skewed, it seems like common sense to have issues with your personality. I’m newly diagnosed as an adult and untreated for 30 years, and I don’t mean medicated.  This has created many a psychological disorder over the years, creating lots of confusion to whether or not I am Autistic.

I believe through time, research and help from those able, one day I will get a definitive answer to whether I am only ADHD, Autistic or both.  All my days people, society, and systems have told me in many a varied way, that I am different and don’t fit the ‘norm’.  Being referred to as abnormal most my days has now been given the label to fit, but life has already delivered many detrimental blows with many knock on effects my entire life, whether intentional or not.

This has led me to a new path, where the therapy I will undertake can help gain insights into what damage needs repaired, in relation to my mental health in order to gather more resources, to answer the question whether I am on the spectrum more accurately?  I have created the blog/website www.naturalempathiser.com for those who can relate, who may find my words of use, but my primary goal was for those who can help, to have and be able to, gain access and insights to my words, without any systems or procedures getting breached or causing miscommunication, in a more timely and effective manner, which I believed was achieved to some extent, so what next?

I don’t agree with everything I or others have done before, but it’s through others and our own mistakes we learn. The problem wasn’t solely people, or systems, it was fitting in to somewhere so contradictory and insensible, a society that disables itself repeatedly. I do question whether it is possible for humanity to reach equilibrium, as I do not believe we are naturally supposed to live the way we are, but it is how you create an orderly society in which we all can live.

There are many whose stories or voices can’t or won’t be heard, for a vast and varied amount of reasons. This group is a place to share your stories, experiences and insights in an individual way, where the labels are just guidelines to allow for deeper understanding and insight, not set in stone. There are approximately 7.5 billion people in the world, so any label or categories you are placed are generalised not individualised. How many people in the world have the same diagnosis, neurological or Psychological disability/disorder, personality or whatever else, as you do? I’m interested in the difference between them, to find and understand the Individual, behind the label.

This Facebook group is a new project stemmed from the website http://www.naturalempathiser.com  for those relevant to hear or read, mine and others voices. I hope to open a communication platform of sorts, for whoever finds it of use, or the words relatable, who have difficulties at times with their psychological and neurological disorders. A virtual community where labels and words are just guidelines and insights for a deeper understanding. As I learn, my blog, group and page will grow with me, any suggestions, feedback, insight or thoughts please comment. I hope you enjoy or find use out of my words, as I will from yours and the peoples I hear or see past, present and future.

Just either click here and in the menu you can like, follow or join the group

www.naturalempathiser.com for more reading, understanding and depth

Further Reading

  1. My Feministic journey, into the spectrum
  2. Trip down Memory Lane
  3. Mirror-Mirror, Show me my true reflection
  4. My Journey through Mental health
  5. The words of Lilly falls Beautifully unfinished
  6. Welcome to the natural empathiser

 

New insights and understandings in my journey through, psychological and neurological disorders 

When I first initially started writing and sketching out ideas I never new what the true purpose or intent was, just that it was helping me. How time has changed that, my compass constantly shifting seeking out its destination, has now turned into my own website/blog/group/page, a communication platform I was once told, wasn’t possible at the time.

I have always gave the impression I rebel against the label, or so myself and others have been led to believe, which is not entirely true. I just want more of an accurate or closer fitting one, given as wide a scope of the situation as possible for all parties involved or relevant to this exchange of information. 

This has led me down a very long complicated path, which more recently, seems to have been more focused and orientated around Autism, which has to change to widen my scope that may have become, too narrowed.  I know I am diagnosed ADHD so I need more understandings there, also my mental health is damaged through years of neglect and abuse, intentional or not.

Today (30th July 2018) I had an insightfully enlightening appointment for the second time with a very uniquely observant woman (a speech and language therapist I believe), who gave me hope and understanding in a time where I was struggling to find some.  Many a time I wonder why I pursue this crazy journey with so many closed and out of reach doors. I felt, and still do at times, like giving up time and time again on many a thing, during this journey with mental health and simply put, myself. I was kindly reminded the reason why I don’t give up, and glad to see someone else hasn’t given up on me either.

The Bermuda Triangle that I refer to at times, has now pinpointed and shaped a new angle….. the starting point me, pinballing between my neurological disorder and fixing, my mental health.

I have been in a constant battle trying to figure out autism, because it was the one that made the least sense to me at the time but at the same time like reading an autobiography.  I used to have a stigma view into the most complexity dynamic label of ASD. Professionals and others kept repeatedly mentioning it in different contexts.  Whether or not I have ASD/Asperger’s still hasn’t been answered and can’t be presently due to the state of my mental health, or so it would appear but yet I can be diagnosed ADHD. If what I am reading is correct you have to fit 5 of the criteria for ADHD, been present in childhood and impacting day to day living in adulthood (in a nutshell)

Something a few professionals seem to have concluded and agree upon, is whether I have ADHD which is what I am currently labelled at 30-years-old.  My attention and focus has been less sharp of late as I’ve been stuck in self-destructive tendencies, increasingly getting worse due to catastrophic ways of thinking, which I’ve done for as long as I can remember.  When I take meds for ADHD I seem to get stuck so to speak and can actually have more difficulty focusing, becoming more spacey.  It enables in some ways, whilst disabling in others.

I need to at least research and look into ADHD further in more depth and scope to see where I do, and do not fit statistically, immeasurably relevantly and  individually, in today’s, yesterday’s and tomorrows understandings and findings.

Until I repair some of the damage done, with the aid of others through time and therapy, the question in relation to Autism will be far to difficult to answer, due to far to many overlaps and similarities.  For many a reason I question if it is even possible to separate between ASD and ADHD, when it comes to myself and many others as I have been discovering?  I do believe however over time, whilst the experiences and traumas impacting my mental health are dealt with, I will have a clearer answer to that question.  Another thought is am I wasting my time, when the NHS system is so fractured and demandingly frustrating for myself and many others.

I find this an ironic frustrating cycle, until my disabilities are managed, I can’t work amongst others so am forever hiding behind my studies, therefore I cant afford private health care, so have to hope my mental health doesn’t deteriorate quicker than, the professionals time frames assigned, to myself. All over my medical records it is plain and clear to see how may months back dated the Community mental health team dealing with myself are.

What is even more obvious is how much the departments do not communicate and when they do, how tangled and confusingly misleading the information could be, and often is. What hope do I have when the staff are so overworked doing to many jobs they never signed up to do, (affecting their mental health and well-being) who by their own words admit the system doesn’t work.  Things have to change because I don’t want history repeating itself for my children, and if they do need help, they at least can have access to it in a less damaging and defragmenting way..

My daughter had a more challenging year, really obvious nearing the end of P5.  I met with her teacher to come up with a plan of action to get her resettled because, at this point she was requesting to have her table and chair moved out of the classroom, attitude and outlook on life was daunting to say the least.  Her reasons for doing this as she said ‘I will be able to concentrate on my work’.  My daughter is bright above her years in some subjects, extremely emotional but has difficulty with expressing and controlling the feelings.  She explained that her head and tummy became upsetting and sore whenever she put pen to paper, making her ill from the anxiety it is causing her.  Her solution as I said was to remove herself from the classroom.

After a couple of exchanges with her teacher, she looked into my daughter through two years of experiences, insights and understandings after teaching her for two years.  She was compared to the current criteria for both ASD and ADHD and she met them for both. Her intellectually insightful teacher even went for a second opinion as was shocked herself as not so obvious unless looked at more acutely.  Backing the argument girls tend to suffer in silence, their behaviours not necessarily replicating the common ‘norms’ criteria for certain disabilities.

When discussed with the doctor, or any other professional nothing has ever been done or looked into, the care very poor unfortunately, for whatever reason.  I have told this story because I believe it is relevant here in regards to myself, the opinions, insights, understandings of others and my current research.  Something flagging up consistently is the fact girls are severely skewed for the diagnosis of both Autism, and attention deficiency hyperactive disorder.  I plan to look up the criteria for ADHD and ASD, writing and documenting where I’m aware I fit and where I don’t, because I do not believe ADHD covers enough of my symptoms compared with ASD, given current knowledge and understanding

I once had the distorted view I had to prove I wasn’t abnormal and could fit societies version of the ‘norm’ just like everybody else, still do at times but I think the poker face has slipped there.  I’m beginning to see where life events, uneducated, the energy and resources used to play the chameleon had.  My clinical psychiatrist once said to me with such honesty and sincerity in her eyes and voice once, ‘I believe you struggle a lot more than we think’……..

I remember thinking if only you knew, or I even knew how to begin expressing or voicing.  At least in my head I can delude myself slightly but not once the words have been spoken aloud, that seems to change my perceptions

The cost for playing the chameleon intentionally or not, has been substantial to my mindset, personal development, confidence and self esteem.  More often than not it takes more of a personal resource trying to communicate at times, that suffering in silence is the best option, or leaving people to there assumptions and implications on matters.  I once was asked what the best option is, being a statue hiding my emotions lurking beneath the surface almost unreadable , or being an open book for the world to see, and I’m yet to decide which is the best option, time will tell. It is said women with ADHD tend to suffer in silence, developing strategies to try and hide there deficiencies and more often than not, the strategies make you feel ashamed and have low self esteem.

I never questioned or understood the diagnosis of ADHD fully, most research is on males and irrelevant at the time to my circumstances, or so I thought, given my understandings and abilities.  Over time I have learnt and seen many a different perceptions, events and personalities that have broadened how I once used to perceive certain labels or words. Now that I have more of an understanding, I think it is time to delve into, ADHD which is another controversial and debatable subject.

I want to see what others have discovered, and figure out where I fit amongst the words written, and where I do not.  I’m hoping that with the trio combination of what I have learnt through life, neurology and psychology so far, then writing my findings and what I learn in the future, presently on women diagnosed or suspected to have ADHD, it will allow me to understand what others are relating to, when referring to myself

From what I have been reading so far its a minority diagnosis amongst females, because most of the diagnosis’s of ASD and ADHD are given to males in the past, but I believe that is beginning to change.  There are many a theory and opinion on why these changes are coming to light, in today’s societies, but words repeated and recited a lot seem to focus on the fact,

The majority of studies were done on males in the past, but now more research, that has been done into women under the same and different light, both in psychology and neurology, are changing our once black, white and grey outlooks on life in every way to some extent or another.

ADHD and ADD are believed not to be gender biased as more research comes to the surface, now more female research has been undertaken, a spanner thrown into the works so to speak.  The stereotype once was that an ADHD diagnosis was given to hyper little boys, extended further to stigmas that the parents couldn’t control or discipline, the fault being theirs.  Nowadays it is almost as often seen in females, as it is for males but the way individuals present these symptoms, react, behave or think can be different, depending on past experiences and understandings

What I can relate to with my findings so far in ADHD is having difficulty shutting out noises and distraction, that don’t appear to bother others.  I pick up noises and smells that can be infuriatingly irritable which can be a trigger, depending how intuitive my mindset is or my way of thinking.  Some days I’m able to tune out or be distracted, other times it appears the harder I try the more it seems to affect, eventually causing me to revert into myself or spontaneously combust spurting out word vomit, as I lose control over what my outward emotions portray.

An example would be the noise made when someone eats with their mouth open, similar to when you mix a saucy bowl of pasta…..  There are certain pitches and noises that make my skin crawl, triggering and making me appear aggressive and giving off ample amounts of negative energy as I fail to hide my displeasure or how uncomfortable I am.  Usually if I can’t find away, I walk far away as possible or remove myself from the situation as best and as much as possible

As many can probably relate, time, money and everything in-between really seems to dominate my life, interfering and influencing my abilities to achieve my goals. Something I’m looking into is the difference between a melt down and a shut down. A question in a test for ADHD referred to the feeling of shutting down and that requests for just one more thing, can send you over the edge.  I seem to cope by always looking for things, researching, avoiding, looking back and catching up, or covering up the fact I’ve shut down in the first place.  This can have me avoiding people, life, internal and external influences becoming either a couch potato or  a tornado.

I don’t feel like my ideas are always better maybe once upon a time in my younger years possibly, I prefer the best most effective solution regardless of who has came up with it.

I’m actually good at organising and structuring tasks, but I can really struggle juggling it with my personal relationships and incorporating it into my daily life, self esteem and confidence play a big part there. I do go to bed with the intentions of being organised and motivated, but more often than not the next day arrives, ending in the ground hog feeling of deflation. I sometimes wonder if it’s possible to fulfil my potential  or meet my goals, more often than not because I have no control over the outcomes, I am reliant on people and their timescales, systems or procedures.  If this is referred to as despair…… I most definitely can relate.

I often feel as if I’m an imposter in my own body (internal prison), a shadow of my former self just trying to pass as normal.  As time passes though I become more and more fed-up, I’ve became sick and tired of the constant looping cycle that’s so self-destructive.  I’m forever just trying to cope to get through the day, trying and failing to stay organised, in control of my emotions as I struggle to communicate my feelings. There never seems to be time for relaxation, even when I try my efforts seem pointless.  I know there is help available out there that could substantially speed up my process, I still can not gain access to them though, in an efficiently and effective worth while way, because they are out of my control or not seen as needed under my current label.

What is the difference between mental health and Autism?

Source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com – feature photo from my 2016 journal

It is thought to be believed, that mental illness is most common for people on the Autism Spectrum than in the general population, and is more often, overlooked.

My life has been filled with so many confusing questions, some answered, but the majority of the time, the answer doesn’t seem to fit when it comes to expressing or explaining me.  I remember my response when it was first ever verbally said, that I may be autistic, two and a half years ago.  That is the first time I had ever heard it, in that context directed towards myself, I was 28 years old.  Bearing in mind, I had already been thought to have, postnatal, PTSD, depression, then bipolar, and medicated for these.

I was also in the system since 12, many a professional trying to help to the point I had to go into care despite my parent’s best efforts.  All these people from all walks of life and job title, so many a professional with many an opinion, technique or medication. In my opinion they were and still are, relevant pieces in the puzzle that is me, the process of untangling, but still not allowing enough to balance my scales.  Linkable to the fact that ASD is something entirely separate but interchangeable from mental health, and I seem to fit to well in both, currently diagnosed ADHD, which is biologically more a male orientated diagnosis, were as mood disorders are more commonly diagnosed in women. (I am a minority it appears, still treated like the majority, no wonder damage control varies.

This has all happened in the time frame of 2016-2017-2018, but the reality is, it has been more than half my life, and all my life.  Sometimes I find it so ironic how people worry abound legalising cannabis.  There was a story I signed a petition for with regards to a young boys meds for his fits, containing a key ingredient found in a marijuana plant.  Unbelievable what that family and boy had to go through due to debates against facts and fiction, easy to go buy a pint or vodka though, turning many into nutters by choice.

Well believe me you, from personal experience, prescriptions, and tested medications, used for all sorts, can be, and has been for me personally, the most aiding and disabling trips I’ve ever had, in my entire life, unless educated or experienced, opinions influence, make sure it’s for the right reasons.  Everything has a side-effect, what works for one, may not for the other, the key is knowing your own internal balances to ensure your scales aren’t tipping. (equilibrium/balance).

Something I learnt back in 2016 when I was put on a mood stabiliser is, epileptic medications are used to treat some with bipolar.  One actually helped what I once described as the black cloud from suffocating me, but I was far to medicated to give a clear outlook.  Dramatic word choices I use at times I know, but verbally, words can fail me majorly and that was the only way, I could describe it.  Meds seem to work really different for me in many a way, also I’m extremely aware of my bodies internal chemical balance depending how inertly focused I am. (just don’t know the words sometimes or how to explain)

Further down the road of discovery, and also an opinion of a gentleman on our very first meeting, was once nicknamed my action man, and a woman I called the delicate flower (the hand over process when one nurse leaves for good), ADHD was my action man crisis nurses opinion, which I’m currently diagnosed, and finally, it appears for me and those I hold dear, we may finally be on the right path to answers more suitable or helpful, the unanswerable in some ways, Autism.  Autism I now believe given my understandings, is separate from my current diagnosis of ADHD (mental health)

I will never forget mine or those that are closest to me, first response or opinions to the thought of me being Autistic….. no chance, and that is putting it mildly, obviously influencing my way of thinking, and those around and relevant, to some regard.  The reason I thought this was because of the narrow-minded view and education I had on the subject, also what others, my entire life’s views have been, even professional.  I have no obvious physical deformities (there are and were some), but i am beginning to broaden my understanding through experience, just being me, and educating myself, I have learnt so much more.

Every time things go skewed, it’s usually due to interactions or input from people, other human beings. Maybe relationships is a more accurate word for this setting, and not just intimately, regardless of what shape and form, relationships seem to be the answer or word, making the most sense.  Looked at more acutely, people, linkable and compatible with emotions. Time and time again, I tell people my need, not my want, but my need for time to gather ones thoughts uninterrupted or influenced, unless chosen, never seems a possibility, just a pipe dream.   No doubt everyone can relate to some degree and beg for space, but it is fundamental to keep my mind healthy and functionable at points, or the aftershocks are defragmenting.

This has led me to the question, what does mental health look like in someone with Autism, given current knowledge.

My thought process is as such, if I can figure out what areas of my mental health is skewed and fix or enable them to be less problematic, maybe just maybe I can figure out what autistic traits are interfering and impacting on my life, in a negative way because there are many a positive.  My theory is, once this is figured out I can learn the abilities to counteract, making it easier to cope and get my life finally on the right track, where I may be currently disabled.

I feel so trapped and it is becoming more and more suffocating internally, eventually manifesting and spilling outwardly.  Always a similar pattern with similar outcomes, just slightly shifting and changing whilst I continue losing and winning battle after battle, will I ever win the war?? Or were the odds never in my favour?  No doubt more unanswerable questions with many a different view so I will move on from this way of thinking as the odds are in my favour, when I make them.

I wrote an article about self-hatred, anxiety and depression a time ago, now my research has taken me deeper into the questions asked or relevant to that first Article.  Roughly 40% of individuals who are autistic will suffer one anxiety disorder at any time, compared with the general populations statistical figures of 15%.  This can then influence and create sadness and depression.   Vulnerability and stress seem to be the key words popping up time and time again when finding the words to describe how I feel.

I have always given the impression I rebel against the label, or so I have been led to believe, which is not entirely true. I just want more of an accurate or closer fitting one, given as wide a scope of the situation as possible for all parties involved or relevant to this exchange of information, so I can get access to the help already available out there, but unreachable to myself and others, who could really do with it. This has led me down a very long complicated path, which at this present moment, seems to be more focused and orientated around Autism.

Leaving no other choice but to personally search for answers to questions such as where on the spectrum do I fit? What do the 4 categories results of the RAADS actually mean or tell ones-self and others? When do I start following the cookie trails in my medical records, or should I even do that? I can tell statistically and through research that this genre of writing seems to be needed, therefore I will continue to write what I discover on this journey, for all those interested, as I’m tired of hitting a brick wall due to time restraints, debates, negligence, my disabilities or disorders and my gender.

My way of processing data seems to be, naturally categorise everything, for deeper analysis and understanding. Knowing what is relevant and irrelevant is a complicated process all humanity relates to and stumbles upon daily.  They deal and react given their own unique coping mechanisms and abilities, accessible and relevant to the situation.  I appear to put labels/categories on everything to help me remember and to put relevance, where there was possibly none, depending on where they fit in my head given that days abilities.

“There are definitely things I will never be able to do, but, I can learn new abilities to contradict the disabilities.  I try to achieve this by creating better order, where I once may have been disorderly, to the best of my capabilities”

Every time questionnaires are pulled out I swear I internally implode and metaphorically poop my pants, depending on the setting, context, understanding on what I am actually being questioned for or, if I can even answer the question by paying enough attention where relevant, it has my hackles, guards, and walls shooting as high as possible.

Aggressive I’m told, but a more fitting word may be protection with enough cause for it to be my primary reaction. I’ve been on the receiving end for trio of decades repairing the damage, it is not for the faint hearted hence why I rely on my primal instincts to guide me, they have kept me alive since a young age, where people intentionally and unintentionally have failed.

Please remember it is my health in question here not yours, I am not just a label, category, or statistic, I am an individual pointing her voice out there in the only way I know how. All I ask is to please tread more carefully and have the support necessary for dealing with the landmines and implications you happened to stumble upon in my mind, without a second thought to damage control. Trust is a two-way thing, and it’s getting harder and harder to trust those, who continuously say one thing, but do a complete other, leaving disappointment and a lack of hope.

I was reading through the words I had to pay for, written by my clinical psychiatrist and she had asked me to write a time line, life story, keep a journal and we were supposed to do the RAADS but I had never understood that or had the time to recall the words.  I have created a free way for my clinical psychiatrist and any other professional aiding in dealing with my care, can have access to my words, understandings and insights, hopefully limiting lack of communication and confusion, resulting hopefully in effective results from the limited time slots available, for helping an individual..

Now however, I have completed one to the best of my ability available on another post which is better than nothing I suppose.  I apologise for the time delay, I always seem to be reflecting on what I miss, but I do get there in the end.

The overall score for yours truly, a 30 year old whose gender is female, in a long-term intimate relationship alongside being a mother to, a preschool boy and a tween girl, who given my knowledge and understanding meet autistic thresholds for Autism but back to their mothers score on the RAADS, of 171.  I will retake soon and see what the results are as I believe I have more understanding into the questions therefore the patterns will have changed, my compass shifted.

When I understand more of the words within the question, its relevance and what the results tell, or give insight into, for the clinician or those relevant, yourself included, I’ll post an article, but I stumbled upon this piece of writing below today.  I remember how lost I felt when I lost all ways to communicate, when my mind was that tangled and crammed full, it was reflected in every angle of communication, but most devastatingly so in the words I wrote, refusing to allow them a reality I went into a complete malfunction of sorts.

February 2018 (my skill returns to give comfort to oneself)

How to start!!! The ultimate question that has left so many pieces of paper blank, possibly writers block implemented in my brain for the past few years.  I miss it, my mum says its something I’ve always done is write it down.  When thinking back she is right, it is when I’m not getting what I’m wanting to say across verbally, I write.  I have not lost the skill, just the ability to use it in the short-term, even what I write is so below my normal skill set but I don’t care I want it back, therapeutic arguably and the more I do it, the more it improves, the better I can communicate as proven back in February 2018 with my GP, a  man I have struggled with emotionally over the years, butted heads with, but formed a genuine bond in which together, we can now laugh at the history in past memories over the years. 

I will never forget our first meeting end December 2012/January 2013. I had just moved to the land of the lost, after seeking refuge.  We had our appointment and his eyes unsettled me to the core near the end as they noticed things my poker face couldn’t hide, asked questions that no other doctor has, in the context he done it, maybe compassion is the word I’m looking for.  I clammed up so tight as his brain and eyes were far to observant and sharp, unsettling me and leaving me feeling vulnerably exposed.

I remember the phone conversation with my mum after where I described him as one of these hillbilly doctors, probably living in some cabin in the woods (not stereotyping something from the movies at all here!!) I’d just moved from the city to the country, I was used to the conveyor belt treatment).  His eyes unnerved me because they appeared to look as if they could see through my armour, past the chameleon that is me, as if he could look into my very soul, I left with my tail dangling between my legs.

He wanted to help, always has and regardless of the struggles, he always will if he is able, and that was why I cried out for help to him, as I was failing with everyone else.   I knew he would listen and try everything he could to help, I just had to communicate it right so that he could.  I feel honoured and privileged to of had him as my doctor, a pillar to the community and that’s not just my words, most sought-after doctor here, a credit to his profession and believe you me I’ve only met a handful like him over the years, I wouldn’t be where I am at the moment without his support, understanding and patience when my behaviour is less easily explained.

I have a plan, a focus, fixing my inner foundations and structure…. That’s if I don’t flat line on appearance and become trapped in an inner hell, looking for anything to clutch so I can come out the other side.  After my appointment back in February 2018 where I handed over words so raw and open to me, overwhelmed was an understatement, silent tears flowed, triggered by anything happened for hours, got stuck in my past, these words are found in the post defining a rebel is someone who does not fit the ‘norm’.  

Being around me can damage your own mental health when I am like this and verbally communicating, dissecting as my mind raced all because I managed to get the words down, someone took the time to read and I knew I had got across what I wanted to say.  At the time his answers gave so much relief and hope it was intense.  I wanted to hide, thought of hospital, hiding in my room in a pain no one should have to witness or be around.

Through time I became more high, metaphorically running around looking, listening reflecting on ways I could fight the dark fog threatening to suffocate me. I then became higher emotional instead of low, flat and deflated if that’s the right word, my mum understands my language and even though verbally to anyone else, they wouldn’t have understood, just left the conversation exhausted and confused, my mum managed and helped to change my perspective slightly. 

Best I can explain but to the next point, triggered from the change in perspective, ignorance can be bliss, but I no longer have that option, knowledge and understanding is what I’m lacking, so fix it.  I read mass amounts always have, but have stuck to more fantasy and supernatural, time to come out of fantasy and into reality no matter how badly I want to avoid it.  

What I’ve found on mental health has been exhausting, a point-less or more in some ways, so decided to start looking in to the one I refused to believe many a moon ago, ASD but resources are limited and time consuming.  I have found a book written so brilliantly, I have decided to read the whole thing in one setting.  Would have been done February 2018, would have been an all nightery as the first 50 pages had me so intrigued but I had promised to switch off, if there is such a thing, to try switch of. 

To date I have still not managed that book and to many tasks to list as far too much has clouded my focus, knocked it off or changed it entirely for that moment in time (mostly out of my control).  Unfortunately that bit of space with no influence has not been possible and I’ve exhausted the resource that is me yet again. When it does become a reality and space is not just a fantasy, I image I  will have already found most my answers and more, eventually they will become reflective, time frames are just to long though, that is something requiring immediate attention. 

My compass is forever shifting as I pass by, no matter how tiny or huge, always shifting to point me in the direction I need, want, or must be at that present time.

www.naturalempathiser.com for more reading, understanding and depth

Further Reading

  1. My Feministic journey, into the spectrum
  2. Trip down Memory Lane
  3. Mirror-Mirror, Show me my true reflection
  4. My Journey through Mental health
  5. The words of Lilly falls Beautifully unfinished
  6. Welcome to the natural empathiser

 

What are some of the sex differences influencing diagnosis for Autism?

source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com – feature photo Scottish Loch

Over the course of the past several years, there have been many studies done, creating a number of explosive and insightful discoveries, into the disorder Autism, especially for the Females.  More people have been able to observe how, why or even if, Autism presents differently in females.  A development becoming more openly welcomed rather than shunned, but there is a unique presentation of Autism in females, that is fundamental in helping better identify and treat, those who may have the disorder.

I am terrible with consistency out with my personal comfort and timescales, also I medically pop in and out on paper, for help due to all the labels, stigmas. Worst of all can come from those you put your trust in to help, their treatment can be the most damaging from those claiming, to only be trying to help. Unfortunate but true, sometimes your biased, stuck or uneducated view makes everything extremely more challenging, for all parties involved, especially the patient or clinician.  For me it can put me on the slippery slope of depression, because all the professional words continuously contradicting one another, leave me more confused at times, than when I started

These challenges are for a number of reasons because, not only are females just as diverse as any other groups of individuals with the disorder, but there is a more pressing matter I would like to stress.  I yet again keep hitting a metaphorical brick wall that makes it harder for me to gain access to the help I need, and that is because most autistic screening and diagnostic tools were developed and based, primarily on, observations and behaviours of boys.

I was reading an article by a clinician who was expressing her views and opinions that I happen to agree with.  That was in relation to specialist research and those closest to the individuals in questions, which was the matter at hand of, missing girls with symptoms who do not fit the “typical boys presentation”.  This brings me back to an article I previously wrote with regards to three tests added to the mix, one for the female, one for the male, and a combined more generalised one and see what that produces.  I very much would like a test more relevant to my sex plus a more generalised to give me the answer, it would be very much appreciated. PDA is one of the better questionnaires, especially with wording, that has not had me wanting to pull my hair out.  My next articles will include the different profiles, will include PDA, an area of personal interest I will be delving into.

Anyways this article written by the clinician, helped me to be able to, word, that as a female parent, by my own and many professional opinions, am in fact Autistic, but where I fit seems to be the time consuming and frustrating process, that is like pulling teeth out, the most mentally, invigorating, deteriorating experience I have ever been through, which believe me you, says a lot.  My children are raised by a self diagnosed ASD (awaiting diagnosis if relevant) but a clinically diagnosed ADHD female mum, they are not going to meet the levels of ‘norm’ for your criteria necessarily or to the T, I work really hard flipping their stuck mindset and helping them gain broader and greater understanding.

For that reason, I listen to what my children’s words and body tell me, that is why I listened to my tween’s teacher as she explained, my daughter met the criteria for both ASD and ADHD, she even went for a second opinion, but doctors dismissed it, hitting another brick wall.  Therefore with the 10 years of knowledge gathered between raising the two of them, 30 years of being me, and what others have learnt, written or communicated, I am beginning to find answers and better ways of doing things.  Not everyone has the ability to be a self-directed learner and it comes with its costs and sacrifices to.

My daughter is the double of me in so many ways its unbelievable, she see’s the world in the most amazing way, and like her mum can learn and excel at anything she puts her mind to, but her focus is language.  My 3 year old son appears as a mute in nursery at times, didn’t start communicating properly till 3 and really flags a lot of the criteria.  He took years longer with verbal speech but is a little mastermind, when your truly listening and watching, he has to be comfortable too, he’s a possible mathematical Wizz in the making.  So here are 3 possibly undiagnosed Autistic people, who are unreachable and unhealable by those who could, but simply unobtainable due to stigma and stereotyping.

That is why as a female parent, who by my own and many a professional opinion, am in fact autistic, and now that I am in touch with someone from the National Autistic society I might actually get somewhere with the diagnosis, hopefully one step closer to those that can give it.  Because of how easily dismissing the process can be, (I’ve been in it since 12) I’m scared to let my daughter walk in my footsteps and it isn’t right to be made to feel this way.  I have a feeling things are about to change though, for the better and maybe my trio can be helped

I started by looking and reading a little into biological science, which tells me I’m delving into a subject that is, extremely confrontational and debateable.  As a minority myself I agree and disagree with what is to follow but they are personal opinions, I’m not educated enough and have nowhere near enough information to say anything without a shadow of doubt, but I need to start somewhere.   This is just what I’m coming across on my personal journey for answers into where my cluster fits on the spectrum.

This is the beginning of research, delving into the mystical world that has become the  differences between males and females.  Something I see often happening, is sex differences put solely down to culture differences, but science suggests a biological difference between the male and female, in relation to the brain.  These differences are not absolute, have been generalised as the majority and tend to be skewed depending on ones sex.

I looked through a narrow scope into why males appear geared towards math, where as females language, why women are more emotional, how the sex’s feel pain differently, how males are more likely to suffer neurological disorders, where as women are more likely to suffer mood disorders.  The gender difference’s apparent before birth and, why it appears women handle stress better than men, and finally why we are led to believe males have weaker impulse control.  But what if you are a minority?

Changes are noticeably presentable from birth, but even before that, taken to the development stages when you are still in the womb, things are different.  Gender is determined immediately upon fertilisation, meaning the sperm is the only one that knows what sex it is going to be, and the egg only carries a stationary X.  The 23rd pair of chromosomes establish the sex of the baby.  So to illiterate more clearly, the female egg contains one X chromosome, whilst the male sperm carries either the X or Y chromosome.  Once they meet the egg becomes XX=Female and XY=Male, so in a nutshell

“The baby’s gender is known before it is even consider a foetus” during the first few weeks the external and internal genital structures are the same, but this is just the process within the development stages.

The foetus gonads will either become ovaries or testicles, the phallus either a clitoris or a penis, and finally the genital folds will become either Labia or scrotum, depending on whether or not testosterone is present, which in turn determines the “default sex” of either categories of male or female.  Remember the sex is determined by the males sperm , to the mystery of whether it is carrying either an X or a Y, because the egg holds only an X.

Intersex describes a variety of conditions, where the minority of individuals who are born with, a sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit typical presentations, of a male or female.  Examples would include a person born with genitals that are between the usual descriptions of, male and female parts, or, they could be born with both XX and XY chromosomes.

A way that has been described to try and help understand intersex, were words written to think of gender like the colour spectrum. As sex organs vary in shape size and dimension, of course it seems only common sense, that so would the sex chromosomes determining the default sex.  As these conditions are very rare, however, they do still exist.

“It is argued to be a humanistic way, of categorising people into gender categories, not the original way of nature”

As gender is determined upon fertilisation, at around the 16th to 18th week of pregnancy, the foetus produces a bud called a genital tuber, at the site of the genital.  By the end of the 20th week, the external sex organs should be fully formed for both the male, and female sex of the foetus. At around 26 weeks, the female foetus generally starts developing thicker corpus callosum, which is the part of the brain that connects the right and left hemispheres, than a male foetus.  This information helps explain why women tend to use both, whilst men tend to lean towards the left hemisphere, which leads me on to my next point, that might explain what you have just been reading.

I often hear people saying that he or she is not in their right mind, but if looked at in a biological sense, women are the ones more in their right mind the majority of the time.  I say this because men mostly use the left hemisphere, to process information, where as women are more skilled at using both hemispheres, as we see happens because of differences in the making, of males and females in the womb.  So there is an obvious difference between males and females, which would affect the workings of their mind, would it not?

“So in a literal sense women are the only one’s in their right mind.” but what about the minority of males who do not fit this notion?

It is believed women are more likely to suffer mood disorders, than Autism and ADHD, because male brains, synthesise serotonin, far more quickly than the female brain.  Obviously when looking into biological factors, it’s then placed into categories and researched for many a year, seeing patterns develop, so yes the majority of people fall into the criteria’s described, but now doors are opening for more insight and analysis into the minds of the minorities, who may be more alike to some once classed, part of  majority, than we once thought.

Standardised intelligence test show no statistically significant differences, between males and females. When looking at the brain we can see lots of differences, take the findings that suggest that genders tend to slightly lean towards, categories with regards to their abilities, in maths and language.  Males are said to have a larger inferior-parietal lobules (IPL), than females, which is an area of the brain that is thought to, influence mathematical abilities, which matures in boys about, 4 years earlier than girls?!

The frontal and Temporal areas of the cortex, are larger in females, and are thought to influence language, matured approximately 6 years earlier, than the males.  All these words I have written to date, are just me summarising my findings so far from what I’ve gathered, and this is a subject I do not specialise in, I’m learning for vast and varied reasons now. It is a very debateable subject obviously, because a minority or girls can be maths wizzes or vice versa, minority of boys can be language masterminds, that comes down to individual choices, opportunities and circumstances. Personally I excelled in all subjects at school just some more acutely, some of my most traumatic problem’s arose during high school, with social communication and interactions, where my biggest cost, was my education.  These are the years where I learned to become a chameleon the best, with some of my harshest lessons.

So, from that we see above the majority of males mature quicker mathematically, by approximately 4 years, and the majority of females mature 6 years earlier, than males in language.  There and always minorities and splinter groups, who do not fit where the majority of others do.  Take the way we feel pain, there are even differences there between males and females.  When men experience pain, they tend to activate their right amygdala, where as for women, they tend to activate their left amygdala, which leads us to believe, women feel more pain.

“The left amygdala is more closely associated with the ‘internal functions’, this is the reason behind why it is often thought and expressed, women experience more pain than men do”

According to biological science from where and what I’ve been reading, males are more likely to be dyslexic and autistic, than females, this is noticeably explained in the skewed differences in ratios, between males and Females.  It is also said, that males are more likely to experience Tourette’s  and ADHD.  Females appear to be found, and thought, to be more likely to suffer, mood disorders.  The reasons for this is because, females have larger hippocampus, and deeper limbic systems, than males.  Therefore allowing females to feel the full range and depths of the emotional spectrum, more so than males. Is that why this minority female, keeps getting caught up in the Bermuda triangle effect of, Autism, ADHD and bipolar?

I wonder what a visual image of my brain would give insight into for someone, me in particular.  Since someone once said to me I am like the human equivalence of the Rubik’s cube, it has kind of stuck in my mind since, because no one seems to have figured out the riddle that is me.  If someone specialising in neurology or psychology was to take an active, time-scale appropriate interest, into researching my brain, I wonder what findings would be discovered, as I’m already aware I’m a minority thinker.  Maybe one day that will be possible, but at the moment, it’s a fantasy, my reality is just words, opinions, views, theories and a lot of both reliable, and unreliably communicated evidence, and experiences, in the search for the answers, to my questions.

I’ve been reading that, when it comes to differences in intelligence, between the two sexes, there are more males than females that differ, and become more skewed on the results.  Male IQ has greater variance from one perspective, than the female IQ.  This is why females appear to be more clustered around the middle, where as the males occupy the extreme high and low end, of the intelligence scale.

Studies have shown that the majority of women, handle stress better than men.  Science shows that whilst both the male and female release the hormone oxytocin during stressful events, the difference is by combining oxytocin with the female estrogen, it produces a calming effect, whereas male testosterone only makes men more aggravated.

It is coming to a point in need to finish up writing this article, before I end up writing the never ending story, that never gets published.  I will stress, I am no expert, just someone currently going through the process of life, just like you.  If I’ve worded something that upsets or offends, I assure you that was, and will never be my intention.  I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my words, message me personally, shared and helped me on my feministic journey into the spectrum.  If you have a story that’s related please comment.


I personally am recieving extreme difficulty waiting, like many of my readers and those taken the time to message, just to see someone who can analyse and determine, whether or not i have autism before gaining access to, the help that is available.  I’m aware we do not have a vast number of people that specialise, but something does need to be done here to accomadate.  So the studies indicating it is more challenging for a female, undiagnosed in childhood, to obtain a diagnosis later, i fuly agree with, from first hand experience.  I am living proof this is the case, for getting access to the help already out there, that one requires, firstly you need the label that is the diagnosis.  I was suspected back in spring 2016, referred and awaiting specialist input, many a moon ago.  This week is the first time i have met with someone, who does specialise in an area i need help with, who looks like she can and will help, where she is able, she gave me hope, that things are changing, and that space may be possible.

www.naturalempathiser.com for more reading, understanding and depth

Further Reading

  1. My Feministic journey, into the spectrum
  2. Trip down Memory Lane
  3. Mirror-Mirror, Show me my true reflection
  4. My Journey through Mental health
  5. The words of Lilly falls Beautifully unfinished
  6. Welcome to the natural empathiser

 

Why do women on the spectrum, fall short on some diagnostic tests?

Life can be alienating and challenging at times, especially if you’re driven primarily by both intellect and intelligence, head strong and far to independent in thinking at times.  If your someone who does not seem to fit the female, or any stereo type for that matter, and not so common at all as it would appear, a minority, life can have its more challenging complications in a sense. The more learning done through time seems to highlight, that personally, I don’t think in the common sense kind of way the majority do.

Many a time I have been asked question’s, answered and returned In kind, been given insights and returned them, have helped and been attempted to be helped, for more than half or all my life. In some proceptions and perceptions it hasn’t worked yet though, not in the ways it should, well that has and is my opinion as of late, after what I’ve been reading and learning.  This is yet another branch, and the reason behind the question, why do women fall short on the diagnostic tests for autism? (More acutely me).

A clinical psychiatrist once told me she would be very interested in reading my analysis and views on where I fit on the spectrum.  This is why I am going to be dedicating a separate section headered in my side bar on the Natural Empathiser, titled My Feministic journey into the spectrum, in a question based theme, in the order there done and published, A book Blog so to speak. To many questions needing answered in my head that keep bouncing off one another, needing an out let.

Questions along the lines of what are the statistical differences between diagnosing a male or female? Are the features harder to recognise? In what way do you consider something a repetitive behaviour or restricted interest? What does it mean to show signs or not? What signs would you like me to show you, me or the chameleon? When I show me I confuse, frustrate or simply annoy the person trying to get the answers, becoming disabled or appearing disorderly under certain lights.

Before going further I will give a brief outline of the journey being diagnosed autism entails, from my knowledge and understanding at this time over years of gathering and experience.  Hopefully getting my point across that the diagnosis can come with many terms and labels, as I have discovered.  Names associated with the spectrum include Autism, Autism spectrum disorder, (ASD) or condition (ASC), three types atypical/classic/Kanner autism, Asperger syndrome or pathological demand avoidance to name but a few.

There are constant changes, some more recent than others, being done to the main diagnostic manuals for the ‘autistic spectrum disorder’ (ASD), which is predicted and most likely to become, the most commonly given name when referencing someone diagnosed on the spectrum.  Obviously additional terms will be used for deeper understanding and analysis, but ASD is the one word it is categorised and generalised as, when describing the particular autism profile showcased by the individuals.

Another point to note is, someone diagnosed or symptomatic of the spectrum, may also have learning disabilities, mental health issues and other conditions separate to the diagnosis of ASD, which can and often does, complicate the diagnosis period. In my case the Bermuda triangle, ADHD, ASD and Bipolar type 2, the trio from the start of this journey that still seems quite accurately insightful, but needing further analysis from those qualified. I believe that for more consistent and linkable communication, for all parties involved, possibly lessening the confusion, can be obtained with more frequent periods of time spent with the individual in question.  In my current opinion, if possible, it would help or at the very least give more insight, into the individual whether autistic or not, or so one would think.

If the clinician or person assigned to aiding an individual lacks experience in autism, or other conditions/illnesses, they can make numerous assumptions that are incorrect, both informative and misleading, disabling and influential at times, and vice versa for the patient to the professional.  People or systems, whether consciously aware or ignorantly, that do not take the issues related to autism into account, are part of the problem that needs a solution through teachings and learnings.  The reason I say this, is because you could find your self stuck on the long road around, instead of cutting right through the middle, which can be a dissatisfying and detrimental cycle to become stuck upon.

For years I’ve had professional and unprofessional opinions telling me I am or am not this or the next thing, so who do you listen to when your own voice can be so confusingly frustrating at times, forever entwined with the voice of many? A wise woman pointed out that to much information can be a bad thing as well, but I argue against this to some degrees, it’s knowing what to do with the information in question that can lead to the most interesting discoveries.  Moving this piece, creating or uncovering a new piece to fit the gap,  manipulating and imposing the abilities to expose insights into seeing the bigger, more precise and clearer picture.  Words and how they are implemented paint a picture, body language paints another, and so forth.

Back to explaining the diagnostic manual and the one in question being referenced, being briefly described to give some insight for those interested. It is the tenth edition, which is the most current, for the International Classification of diseases, (ICD(10)).  Inside this book, which I am yet to find time to properly delve into, contains a number of autism profiles such as Asperger’s, under the Pervasive Developmental Disorder heading defined as,

recordable abnormalities in reciprocal and social interactions alongside patterns of communication.  Also restricted stereotyped repetitive patterns of interest and activities determining how they function in all relevant situations

There is a manual that is not most commonly used in the UK, it s the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical manual.  It is predicted to significantly influence the next edition of the  ICD which is used by many diagnosticians.  It has been recently updated so the diagnostic criteria are simplistically more clearer, and now includes sensory issues, which is where I score extremely high in comparison to the other criteria, followed closely with social and communication.

Here is where my interest spikes because if this is the case, it would be extremely useful to me, and I hope it does significantly influence the next edition of the ICD.  My reasons to support this statement are as follows. I am living proof of how detrimental these issues impact day-to-day living and because I do not have the diagnosis, I can not access the help and support to hopefully change that cycle, impacting my children and those attached.  It also includes support needs and other factors that impact on the diagnosis.  So what is the current criteria for being diagnosed with the official label of Autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

To get a full diagnosis instead of a partial if my knowledge is correct, you have to meet all 3 of the criteria for social communications and interactions, restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours, activities or interests (including sensory behaviour) present from early childhood, that influences and impacts day-to-day living.  Also you have to be able to answer these questions which can be challenging if communication falls under your disability.

“Knowing where to draw the line is challenging for everyone and is at the end of the day, a choice influenced by vast and varied circumstances, situations or events, but a decision down to the individual.”

The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, documents the behaviour of the adult, when they were children.  I am a 30 year old female adult who’s gender is female, with at least average intelligence, by my own opinion and others. Without a shadow of a doubt, I would now agree and say, that it is in fact, an extremely challenging group of individuals to diagnose. It seems, where women are concerned anyways, the ones diagnosed have dramatic signs in one domain, usually communication or social interactions, and mild to moderate signs in the other two domains.  Whereas more commonly documented research highlights that the majority of males show more moderate signs across all three domains.

The reasons for looking into Autism started off personal, and still is to some extent but runs much deeper now, I don’t know if I would be this persistent if it only involved myself.  Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on perceptions and conscious knowledge and understanding ,when I’m looking into it I have three people in mind, a pre-schooler boy (3-5), tweeny girl (10-13) and a mature female adult (25+).  From what I am learning there seems to be a pattern developing, a focal point seems to be that women more commonly flag up for one criteria, where males more consistently flag up for all 3, this is not always the case though.  Even in the majorities of the minorities, you have splinter groups where they are outnumbered and often missed.

I keep hitting a brick wall where the population seems somewhat divided on their views with regards to sex differences.  I keep hearing quotes and references along the lines of;

“giving the scope of the study, surely if there are sex differences or whatever else they are bound to show up??”

Not necessarily because to me it seems common sense their are differenced between sex’s in some regard or another, taking further to difference in the individual.

The gap between differences in sex and individualism seems confusingly wide to myself and others at times, therefore I intend to look further into this when the time arises.  What I do know is that our body make-ups are different, grouped into the male and female sex at birth.  What stems from that is another story entirely, and one I am still at the baby stages of learning and understanding.

There are current consistent patterns developing over time and analysis in the majority, in relation to repetitive behaviours and restricted interest.  Studies that point to the possibility that both women and men present differently and would benefit from, diagnosis tools that take gender differenced into account.  Is that just me or is that yet not again common-sense to the process of finding answers for the individual?

My opinion is starting to lean toward the notion there should be questionnaire’s structured around these criteria’s and differences considered and implemented.  I’m never going to struggle getting an erection, I do not have a penis??? The medication is not effecting my man hood, or the questions are not relevant because you are aiming it at the wrong sex, therefore the question and questionnaire is a point-less and irrelevant in some shape to me, the individual in question.  Therefore it is just one point that gives credit to the argument, that it is mostly male orientated and research based at this present moment, that can change.

Are we beginning to blur the lines too much between individualism and sex differences, this remains a question pin balling around my head.  Both sex’s and those stemmed from it are stigma and stereotyped in some way, everything can be and is expected to dance to the steps orchestrated and choreographed by societies expectations and wants, from whichever and whatever group you may fall into, given the current timeline.

The ADI-R appears to highlight the possibilities caregivers and parents tend to recall, fewer repetitive behaviours during their childhood for women than men, which then trudges up more questions.  Am I caught up in the loop of researchers relying on the ADI (R) to diagnose me?  If so is that why even the partial diagnosis is so hard to obtain here in the UK for a female, the other diagnosis given beforehand fail in comparison on an emotional wellbeing level.

I thank my persistent, dog with a bone nature or I would probably still be stuck on the slippery slope of depression.  There is no fail safe guaranteeing I will not fall back onto it if all patterns and behaviours were so transparent.  I’m not saying that the ADI (R) isn’t one of the best ways for identifying those behaviours, I’m not saying it is either.  What I am saying is they are all relevant in highlighting different linkable, comparable and relevant information.  What is done from this information is down to the individual and those involved.

Leads me yet again to the thoughts that maybe, 3 test specifically designed and structured for a male, a female and both sex’s combined, as the root basis.  What would branch from there is something unknown and above my knowledge, understandings and education.   By adding 2 gender orientated questionnaires alongside the combined into the mix already there, might increase the likelihood of reaching more individuals.

Many women (men as well for the minority), do not receive a full diagnosis and are often misdiagnosed with conditions such as ADHD and social communications disorder, rather than autism.  The reason for this is because the individuals relevant to this statement do not meet the criteria with regards to their repetitive notions.  I’m forever shifting my compass, from one end of the spectrum to the other just trying to live.

As I have said there are so many different terms associated with the word diagnosis such as autism profiles, diagnostic manuals and tools, alongside varied research and quite commonly said, misdiagnosis.  Life affects everybody in multi-dimensional complex ways on many vast and varied levels of difficulty, depending on the individual.  Subjects I’m focusing on currently are language and cognitive development, emotional intelligence, motor development, avoidance to demands and expectations, anxiety, control and social demands.

One thing I can say that I am sure of,  all these questions both disable and enable, influencing and impacting the individuals involved, both the patient and the professionals.  More so the patient though who is there, probably in crisis but also a choice based on necessity, creating difficulties predictable and not, in obtaining clinical support and access to more useful and beneficial resources.

I for one am extremely clumsy at times, disastrous and end up quite bruised especially on my legs, is this possible dyspraxia. My body language and behaviour is unexplainable to some at times is this border-lining personality disorder. Depending on the current clinician aiding in the search for answers, experiences, insights and views impact what is transpired. Sometimes I am so switched on its intimidating for the majority of personality types, as my passion in what I am discussing or saying, can be mistaken and commonly misinterpreted as aggression, something I’m working on so I don’t retreat back under the rock, I’ve just managed to resurface from under.

Trip down memory lane March – July 2016 – 08/07/2018

“Every action good or bad, has a repercussion that impacts something or someone, a chain reaction negative or positive.”

How does one begin telling their story, ultimate question that has been continuously on a never-ending loop in my head, forcing me to a decision? My story is a complex headache…. Not my words, the words of one professional opinion some years ago. I started writing my version of my bible when I was 28 years old, so I think I should start by sharing one of the first full consistent pieces of writing I was able to do, when I lost the ability to communicate verbally and written.  This was one of the most scariest moments in my life and my families to date, followed by a more recent one 2 years later.  I have also included a piece of writing after an appointment with a clinical psychiatrist,

My words are brutally  honest at times as things only go wrong when I mince them.  They are just my perspectives and insights into a world, at that moment. A world that becomes more confusing and complicated every day, what’s acceptable today may not be tomorrow, and what once was acceptable and learnt may now, not be. I struggle every day, fighting like everyone else to breathe, my journey just has more obstacles shone on in a different light, reflected back to you in the words I only know. Some people can do this naturally, a skill I admire and wish I could hurry and learn.

Sometimes my efforts feel pointless, then those I’m attached remind me I’m a survivor, just like you. Take one of my favourites I learnt through a course I studied, taken from morgens metaphors (not had the privilege delving into his story yet), the be like a living organism metaphor, which in essence means constantly evolving to the change around you. Not just relevant to business but everyday life for the entire human race in a society encouraging difference, diversity and dynamics you need to be open and susceptible to change

Back in Spring 2016 a lot of events contributed to one of the most traumatic episodes of my life to date, a major contributor to the already stacking up PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) traits, until I began learning a lot about many varied things I once was oblivious to. The difficulty in learning how to manipulate myself to handle the changes that seem to occur internally, an on-going journey of discoveries, is a detrimentally challenging one, at times.

Whatever happened in 2016 was an extreme vortex of emotions, a meltdown of all meltdowns where all levels of communication were unattainable, so I gave up even trying at points welcoming the black hole because it was easier than my reality. Whenever I did try and communicate it was never precipitated or received in the way it was intended, becoming pointless, when I did communicate everything was magnified worse in extreme ways. The loss in control was triggered by events well and truly out of one’s control, there is truth in the saying you can’t run from your past.

After an intensely surreal experience with a clinical psychiatrist, I was asked to keep a journal. I explained, in probably the worst verbal dialect, my sensory senses were through the roof, I had lost the ability to write and I truly had at the time, but because of this request I began writing and drawing again, if you can call it that. It was chaotic but understandable to me, titled ‘my bible’ to make it symbolically significant to me, started March 2016.

As I’m reflecting on these moments I’m going to write about them, as my bible was a go to whenever the thoughts in my head became too much and needed an out let, almost like a personal religion that brought comfort and hope. I was that far in the depths of my black hole, not just skating along the circumference, that too many times my body nearly gave up, mind, body and soul were not one. I think the clinical psychiatrist glanced at it when I took it in months late, her comments were along the lines of ‘good reflection, as tangled as my present’, and closed the book. That is the only time she set eyes on it, no one else appeared to be interested in the words written

I began writing in Spring 2016, quite symbolic, time of growth, new life, evolving with good old mother nature, a time of year the world becomes brighter and new life begins, another looped cycle of life. Personally, my favourite season is Autumn, but writing seems at its best and most reflective and useful in spring. Each diary entry reflection will have the date it was done and follow that pattern, so my blogs will be the dates I reflected on the writings. There’s a quote from a piece of writing that I once wrote that I want you to remember as you read the insights given into my life.

‘How a person interprets words depends on many factors to name but a few…. Their natural and unnatural environment, circumstances on which its heard, the emotional meaning, or message portrayed in projecting the word, may it be tone, style, word choices, body language, personal circumstances, past experiences, current knowledge…… The list can go on and on, but the point is words are pointless if they confuse, misguide, hurt, destroy……if you don’t understand, if you don’t give your full attention and truly listen to what’s been said, to imply and interpret the words heard in a way that is not meant……then how can you understand, how can anyone help…. Sum it up you REBEL or OBEY against a fight that will never be eliminated just changed from minority to majority is awareness vs Ignorance.’

What I hope to achieve is help, for all individuals needing it, and together we can gain better insight into individuality. By understanding and preventing stigmas, that these labels are in no way concrete they are a way to generalised through a lot of research, time, and experience. It is a way to place information into categories and sub categories that are easier and easier to understand and communicate to all levels of society.  This first week of July 2016 entries seem to be reflecting on the entries written so far, so I’m going to include them here in the order and date they were written.

My diary entries are to follow, 3 are about the sections named above as I reflect over what has been written into them in the months leading up to the entries.  I thought I would also include a Diary entry from March 2016 and an entry written after a psychiatrists appointment. My diary entries are to follow, 3 are about the sections named above as I reflect over what has been written into them in the months leading up to the entries.  I thought I would also include a Diary entry from March 2016 and an entry written after a psychiatrists appointment.

23/03/2016 An attempt at writing again

10:37am – 11:15am

Concentration is border lining on impossible now.  Quetiapine in one sense has helped but it’s like it’s blocking half my brain and is pulling me further and further into darkness.  I feel so low and just want to cry my heart out.  I’m losing hope, every day I must be conscious with my word choices and actions but right now my scales are so unbalanced, body, brain and mouth just won’t work together.  This is the first time in months I have been able to put pen to paper.  I have battled more than half my life with this ‘illness’ but my old coping mechanisms have no relevance in my life just now.  If I lose concentration for just 1 second, my train of thought just disappears and I’m unable to remember what was happening.  I have not felt this out of control since I was 11-12ish when I took my over dose, my mums eyes will always haunt me.  The difference this time is I am an adult and I have managed to raise 2 amazing children and I will never commit suicide.  I am not that selfish or cowardly (words are harsh but necessary at the time) as I once was in my deluded narrow outlook on life or flip that when I gave up on humanity.  I try my 100% best everyday just to co-exist and I’m sick and tired of it.  Mental health has changed so much but not nearly enough.  I have never been an open book, learnt that at a young age with a punch in the face, or simply allowing others their own perception whilst with-holding mine (was easier that way).  So, since the age of 8 I have created masks for every dimension of this ‘illness’ and blocked my traumas.  But there are so many triggers now.  Nobodies wiped my arse for me since I was 12, I was viciously bullied or misunderstood, creating problem after problem not understanding the consequences of my actions. My behaviour was so out of control, I’d come home it was like being interrogated.  Nobody has ever been able to understand so I started running away and then my parents were put between a rock and a hard place, and I ended up in the system and even they didn’t help just a whole new bunch of traumatic events.  I spent most of my time living on the streets, up or under trees, cornfields etc. Help was never available in any way that was of use, and I just became so numb and that is exactly how I am starting to feel again.  All I do is survive I want to start living again.  I’m naturally a reflective learner but I can feel myself putting my walls up.  All the wrong meds this last year has put all my scars + pain + trauma out in the open this stops now

PLAN

Take my mood stabiliser despite my fears

Try to stay in my present and take one day at a time

Accept the fact now I’m not taking very good care of myself

12/04/2016 Personality and ‘my bible’ explained

I’m going to start with one-word Personality which in turn creates a character. Is it the end or the start of a new thought process, beginning of a new sentence? Or the end of the previous? Well in this case the final full stop at the end of this sentence indicates a temporary break until I ponder over the words PERSONALITY

A personality is a person’s individuality and quirky character ,that defines the person’s identity therefore defining their personality. By altering the thought process, I have come to an understanding. I started with one-word personality which is a bold word which in favour should have an ending which for me, is ERASED

What I did today was get up, get dressed, went shopping and came home. After a meal, i wrote in this book with a new pen and some new paper, now let’s see if I can work out how we clean up my messy tangled Personality, with (A) start + (B) Tangle = (C) End / (A) past (b) present = (C) future

This was the structure to the writings placed inside my ‘bible’

  • My green section of my bible – Black and white (logical)
  • Pink section – Black/White/Grey (Summary)
  • The turquoise section – Black (Forma) (data) (Tasks)
  • Blue section – Multi coloured (tangle)

 

4/07/2016 Pink section reflection so far

Yet again I seem to be at a loss for words. I have started with this section because it is one of the easiest. In this section it is obvious my moods are reflected in my writing. There is a lot of spelling mistakes, Grammar, different writing and wrong words but oh my that was hard. I told my Crisis Nurse once…. Sorry lost my thought process. Reading through, oh wait I remember what I was thinking. I told my Crisis nurse I always have a blind spot, where I’m not aware and was quite surprised at the things I’d wrote, that I have put to the back of my mind. So much has gone on but the best thing I have ever done was forcing myself to write and get back something that is my safety blanket. I thought I was writing for the sake of it, couldn’t be further from the truth. A lot of what Is written here are things that I was not capable of communicating for whatever reason and probably might never be. But to read it back has made me feel a sense of pride in myself and my family for being able to handle all that has happened. It was like therapy in a sense but was always so scared to read. This section is mild, the blue is the worst so easing myself into that one. I was in a really bad place and I’m lucky I’m alive yet again, but how many times can you cheat death, I don’t know and I don’t want to know. We’ve all came along way, my other half, Welfare and Housing officers, Crisis/CPN, Clinical psychiatrist, GP and friends have all helped to get me out of the dangerous, self-destructive place I was in. I will always be grateful and thankful for all their help and I’m glad I get to read and reflect, give myself time to pause on everything that has happened

05/07/2016 Green Section reflections so far

From reading this section, I can see more detail has been put. At the start of each section there was a labelling system of writing, but as things spiralled more and more out of control, I just started writing anywhere. Some bits are quite unsettling to read because my head was in a scary place, but writing about them was a brilliant idea, as reading through these has given me a clearer perception. I find it strange that my writing even reflects what is going on inside my head. The weight on my shoulders doesn’t feel so heavy. I have had a hard time trying to get better, but my moods are still quite uncontrolled. I take 600mg quetiapine a day, divided in to 3x daily to slow my brain down, 3 of what I call pixy Trixie’s to try handle the side effects from the quetiapine and 100mg Lamotrigine a day plus 7.5mg zopiclone to help with sleep. I rely a lot on meds at the moment just to live in my circumstances, I know how reliant I am on them because if I miss a dose my head just goes off on one. Can also tell by the way I talk, and act becomes apparent, others notice this and make me aware of this, so I take them. Seen my last bit of writing saying I burned down my first house but it was unfinished, so I will elaborate, I set it on fire so that I didn’t have to live there no more, I was young lost and confused. I’m surprised by my writing and how much I have been able to write. I have started a separate book for writing about my past, and only my past inside this book, written in a general journal where my writing requires no restrictions. The last entry in this section is dated May 20th 2016, so haven’t been writing in this section

04/07/2016 Blue Section reflections part 1

Oh my, haven’t even begun reading what’s still attached in this book. I remember ripping out a few pages I’d wrote a little while ago. These words were my first attempt at writings at the start  It really is like the ramblings of a crazy person, my heads all over the bloody place. Confused mostly of communication, trying to get the right words to explain because I was saying all the wrong words and confusing everyone, these writings are from the 15th April, 2 weeks after hospital, in fact the first is dated 14th April but things had already started going unbalanced back in the year my son was born. When you read this and in my case, it just takes me back to an extremely embarrassing cringe stage which is upsetting and unsettling to read about. Just had to put this point down as was my thoughts on reading those loose bits of paper. The tangle in my brain where I have managed to draw and word on paper some of the stuff that was tangled but wow I really don’t know what else to say, just wow……

05/07/2016 Blue section reflections so far part 2

Just finished reading the last bits of the blue section. Clearly my moods have been more negative than positive. I need to remember where I was and where I am now. I have managed to reach a level of stability in some respects when it comes to my emotions. Reading this has put me in a place where even I must be proud of the fact, that together with my family, have managed to pull me out of one of the darkest and most lost places I have ever seen. Today is my appointment with my clinical psychiatrist and I’m never sure what  to expect, because you only get a small amount of time with her then it’s over, months before you get to see her again.

06/07/2016 reflections after psychiatrist appointment

I had a better appointment today with my clinical psychiatrist, but it was intense. I struggled communicating at some points but overall it was a lot better. My lamotrigine I’ve learnt is a mood stabiliser. Since taking that it really helped prevent me from hitting the lows I was in, that could last for months. Before November which is my next appointment with my clinical psychiatrist I want to of filled this book, but I also want to finish the book I started where I only write about my past. Was glad to see that my writing was starting to improve, was noticeable when I began to read it. I know I am in a better place than I was before, and I really like my clinical psychiatrists because she is a thorough person when looking into what my condition is. I’m going to work on relaxing and reducing my stress levels. My past may be messy and messed up, but my present has barely any issues, that’s probably why my struggles and behaviours became more apparent, they were out of my realm of the ‘norm’. The level of quetiapine I must take is high, I’m wondering if I should begin reducing them down in the future when my body has adjusted, to the increase in the lamotrigine. My clinical psychiatrist hopefully, will now know roughly how or what the right way is to help me recover from everything that has happened. Trying to find positives about myself is something that I have always struggled with. I live a quiet life, the only issues I seem to have is from an ex that is not even mine. I could not predict, understand or control the actions of others or the outcome, because it was that insane with no logical or rationality, full of nothing but emotions. It was a really scary place so how I reacted was affected and influenced by my moods and having to stop all the meds I was taking. My anxiety was extremely high, to be honest I probably should have admitted myself into hospital the year before. I don’t blame anyone for my actions I take responsibility. With the help of CMHT (community mental health team) and the people closest to me I’m hoping I can bring back my confidence and like myself. People always seem to initially attract towards me because I am different, but eventually they will back off. I have great insight in people, but nobody likes their flaws out in the open. I have a bad habit of analysing people and trying to figure out why they are the way that they are. These types of people are not a constant and cannot usually handle constructive or a criticism of any type. I can find that hard myself especially when I was really depressed, in a way I probably use them as they are the type of people that want company from everyone and it’s quite clear they are never going to change their ways for the better. Right now, is quite challenging because I have a lot of past issues and traumas to work on. I can feel myself constantly putting up walls but at the same time more are getting knocked down. This is not going to be an easy journey but through all this I will have a better quality of life possibly, and that is worth its weight in gold, baby steps.

Writing is extremely useful as once you read it back it takes you through a period in your life that you can reflect on and get a better perspective of what’s been going on. I’ve been thinking a lot about my conversation with my clinical psychiatrist. It was so intense, and my brain raced a lot so got a little more tangled with my communication. I feel sluggish today, not too much energy but that’s just a little off, and by saying that I mean different, not myself, at times I question who I am, but I know I’m still here

A lot of issue highlighted are still the same and what I was told could help has never happened, yet again holds merit to that saying ‘don’t believe everything you hear or see.’  I’m going to end here and start this off another day from more entries from this particular journal.  Thanks for reading.