After trying to get a diagnosis for about eleven years, I FINALLY HAVE ONE! Or, several, actually. I’ve been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, PTSD, and “very severe” depression.
The doctor kept saying she was “on the fence” about whether to diagnose me with ASD or with non-verbal learning disability (NVLD). I pointed out that they overlap a lot, and H and I both emphasized my sensory integration issues and stimming, neither of which is technically part of NVLD. The doctor finally accepted my argument that an ASD diagnosis would be more useful for accessing services outside of school, such as AANE services, ADA accomodations, and SSI. But for much of the session, she kept pushing the NVLD thing, and made some pretty strange arguments in favor of it. First she claimed she didn’t think I could be autistic because I have friends. I pointed out that most of my friends are also neurodivergent. Then she tried to claim that my social skills problems were caused by being trans; I pointed out that I didn’t experience any gender dysphoria until puberty, and that other trans people do not, as a rule, have problems with social skills. Then she tried to argue that my stimming – pretty classic rocking, twirling and hand-flapping, from toddlerhood on – was caused by depression, which doesn’t even make sense, because most depressed people don’t stim. Her last-ditch effort, even as she was agreeing to an official diagnosis of ASD, was a vague claim that her “gut” told her I wasn’t autistic, there was just “something about” me…
So yeah, even though I got the diagnosis, it didn’t feel like the huge relief that I thought it was. Instead of feeling like an expert confirmed what I’d suspected all along, I felt like I just got someone to reluctantly write down my self-diagnosis and sign off on it. In practical terms, there’s no real difference; an official diagnosis is an official diagnosis, no matter how it was arrived at. But in my mind, it hasn’t made me feel more confident than I did before.
As for the other diagnoses, I have every “inattentive” ADHD symptom, and I was already diagnosed with depression and PTSD, so no surprises there. I was also pleased that my report states in multiple places that it would be very difficult for me to work, which should be helpful for my SSI case.