First visit to a professional re: asperger's

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googlewhack
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15 Feb 2008, 7:16 am

Last night, after years of agonising and feeling different and not being able to 'fix' it, I went to my GP. I told him some of my problems, like really embarrassing stuff about my lack of relationships/sex/desire for anyone else to be in my space, and how I trip over words and can't express myself etc, and how I'm not that bothered about friends and going out etc. I asked if he thought I could have Asperger's and he said I didn't look like someone with it. Even though I'd been rehearsing the conversation for 2 weeks, I started crying like an idiot the second I got in there.

He said it sounded like I have a great big lack of confidence.

He then gave me an appointment to see a mental health nurse for an assessment which is in 2 weeks.

Has anyone else been through this recently? What sort of things will the nurse ask me? Will I just be discarded if I don't appear to be impaired enough?

I know doctors are supposed to look for the simplest solution/reason first, but now I feel worse than ever, like if it's just confidence why haven't I been able to overcome that in 22 years? I just feel really sad about it all now, and scared about the next step.



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15 Feb 2008, 7:21 am

It's impossible to tell whether or not you have AS from the information you've given us here, but... "you don't *look* like someone with AS?" Wtf? We don't have three heads or anything!


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15 Feb 2008, 7:25 am

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I know doctors are supposed to look for the simplest solution/reason first, but now I feel worse than ever, like if it's just confidence why haven't I been able to overcome that in 22 years?


I often keep telling myself that it's also a lack of confidence, yet I have the same question you do.

A lack of confidence may not tell the whole story. If I can regain that confidence, and I still possess the same problems(as I did in the past when I had plenty of confidence), I will know with absolute certainty the problem isn't a lack of confidence. You would probably know better than anyone your own level of confidence, and if you don't find your confidence lacking, then don't discount the possibility of AS.

Aspergers by itself is a fairly complex diagnosis. The doctor is probably doing right by not so quickly handing out the diagnosis.

If you are AS, then it may be found in the assesment. Some people see multiple professionals before they receive a diagnosis ad you'll find many different opinions. BUT, if a professional says you are unlikely to have it, then it seems as if that their statement is likely to be true. But those with AS aren't all alike; people with AS can appear perfectly normal too.

Whatever the case may be, I hope you find out and reach a resolution. Just like you, I'm trying to better understand myself.



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15 Feb 2008, 8:00 am

Your doctor is going the right route for helping you get diagnosed at least. When I first seen my doctor I hadnt heard of Aspergers then but there was clearly something wrong so he sent a Mental Health Nurse to see me. In the time between telling the doctor and the visit with the nurse I discovered about Aspergers and found Wrong Planet so was prepared with my idea on whats wrong with me.

He arrived and asked me lots of questions but non too personal. But the end result was he didnt diagnose anything because I didnt quite fit in completely into any category especially because I wasnt depressed and wanted to be alone all the time because I liked it. I told him I thought I had Aspergers and he said he cant diagnose Aspergers but its possible so would arrange for someone who specialized in it.

I dont think that the mental nurse that will visit you will be able to or qualified to diagnose Aspergers at all. They might be able to give an opinion though but I think their job is to only diagnose the more common things like Depression or Anxiety Disorders. If the nurse cant explain all your problems within their diagnosis criteria and are stuck for any ideas you might need to tell them you believe that you have Aspergers and then they can arrange for you a specialist.

I dont think my nurse had much knowledge or experience of aspergers so my pointing it out to him is probably the reason I am now diagnosed by someone who could. If I didnt read of Aspergers to be able to suggest it then I might never have managed to get on the path to diagnosis.



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15 Feb 2008, 8:35 am

Just remember that there are no right answears, only true ones. And do try to relax, it doesn't hurt.


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15 Feb 2008, 8:41 am

A GP probably won't know too much about Asperger's other than the most stereotypical/severe view of it (unless it's an interest to him/her). Complete lack of eye contact, a "flat" voice, constantly talking about your interest, etcetera.

A GP thought I didn't have AS because I made eye contact with her; I can make sporadic eye contact with professionals, and I'm sure most people with AS can. So I wouldn't take what the GP said to heart (it's only recently, years on that I'm starting to lack all eye contact, i.e., looking completely away, but that's due to stressful life events that have made me more "autistic" due to anxiety).

I assume a mental health nurse is like a psychiatric nurse that they have at hospitals? That's probably a hit or a miss type deal, I'd bring AS up with him/her, and tell him/her why you think you have it (social impairment, all-absorbing interest, etcetera). You'll need to see someone else then for a diagnosis, a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist.



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15 Feb 2008, 8:47 am

I can relate when it comes to eye contact - I've started forcing myself to make eye contact, because it's something you do...



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15 Feb 2008, 9:53 am

googlewhack wrote:
Last night, after years of agonising and feeling different and not being able to 'fix' it, I went to my GP. I told him some of my problems, like really embarrassing stuff about my lack of relationships/sex/desire for anyone else to be in my space, and how I trip over words and can't express myself etc, and how I'm not that bothered about friends and going out etc. I asked if he thought I could have Asperger's and he said I didn't look like someone with it. Even though I'd been rehearsing the conversation for 2 weeks, I started crying like an idiot the second I got in there.

He said it sounded like I have a great big lack of confidence.

He then gave me an appointment to see a mental health nurse for an assessment which is in 2 weeks.

Has anyone else been through this recently? What sort of things will the nurse ask me? Will I just be discarded if I don't appear to be impaired enough?

I know doctors are supposed to look for the simplest solution/reason first, but now I feel worse than ever, like if it's just confidence why haven't I been able to overcome that in 22 years? I just feel really sad about it all now, and scared about the next step.

googlewhack,
if read the recent threads on here on how to spot an autistic,and what an autistic or aspie looks like,they say what a lot of people automatically associate with anything autism related,and it sounds like that is what gp has done,gps are not specially trained in autism or aspergers [some might have training as part of speciality],their main speciality is with simple general health things,anything else should be referred on.

Am wonder whether even a mental health nurse [is that a CPN?] can diagnose things,or whether they're there just for helping with things,it's pyschologist with experience in ASD that need to see.


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googlewhack
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15 Feb 2008, 9:57 am

Yeah it's a CPN that I'll be seeing. I don't really know what one is and I don't know what to expect. I think I'm going to have to write a clear list of my major concerns. I'm just really doubting everything about myself now. My mind is all cloudy and I can't think straight. I get the impression that the CPN won't be able to diagnose anything though. I've had to take a day's holiday leave for my appointment to stop anyone at work finding out. Arg.



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15 Feb 2008, 1:17 pm

If you want to know if you will be diagnosed with AS do not go to any medical practitioner. You need to find one that has actual experience with AS.

Its just like if you had a cracked vertebrae... you will want a doctor with experience with the spinal column to look you over and treat you, not the doctor that spends all of his day looking up people's noses.



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15 Feb 2008, 2:07 pm

I don't think that's how it works in the UK though. To see a specialist in anything you first need to see a general practitioner to get a referral. It just means that the process for any kind of answer is drawn out longer than necessary.



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15 Feb 2008, 2:20 pm

googlewhack wrote:
I don't think that's how it works in the UK though. To see a specialist in anything you first need to see a general practitioner to get a referral. It just means that the process for any kind of answer is drawn out longer than necessary.

Anyone can go to see a specialist privately and pay for it themselves. If you can afford it, that's the best way forward. As has already been pointed out, most GPs know next to nothing about AS. If you see a specialist in autistic spectrum disorders it shouldn't take him long to tell you if you have it or not.



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15 Feb 2008, 3:58 pm

:( sorry to hear you had a bad time.... if its any consolation, your experience proves you're more likely to be an aspie, since its so similar to what so many of us have been through before. it makes me pretty angry that things dont seem to have changed since 13 years ago when i went to a gp, despite the ridiculous amounts they get paid now! :evil:

the problem with getting things done through the NHS is its a complicated and slow system full of silly people blindly following procedures. so when you go to a doctor and appear to him stressed and crying, he immediately goes off down the 'mental health' procedure without considering anything you have to say about AS. it sounds like he was just fobbing you off, theres no such thing as 'looking like' someone with AS.

unfortunately CPNs can be even worse at the fobbing off game, they are people who are pathologically 'nice', and try to turn everything into emotion, no matter what you say to them they will reply "what makes you feel that way?" i guess that the problem is that most normal people run off to the gp at the first hint of something being wrong, before trying even the most basic simplest thing to help themselves. people like us on the other hand try to help ourselves as much as possible before going to the gp, but then when we tell the gp this they dont listen, treat us like the other lot and then they have to rule out all the other stuff we've already tried, wasting everyone's time and leaving you in a lot of anxiety.

anyway sorry to rant, i should try and think of something helpful to say :lol:

first thing, as other people have said, if you can afford a private assessment with an AS specialist it will be a lot easier and quicker. (if you think about it, the only real reason gps dont just send you straight for referral is they've got to justify the cost, especially if it comes back negative). the NAS might help you to find a place local to you that does assessments.

second thing, think about what you actually need the assessment for... how would it help you, having a 'professional' assessment? is there anything you specifically need it for, like accommodations at work? would it give you peace of mind?

third, if you're really having problems speaking with GPs and mental health people do you know anyone who could advocate for you or help you in appointments? its your right, and believe me there is nothing like having someone else there with you who believes you, the GPs magically go from unhelpful fob-off-mode to bending over backwards to give you exactly what you ask!

if you need to talk about it please do, i've helped a few people through the diagnosis process and i know one of the big problems sometimes is just finding the will to keep going, to jump through another hoop, to see yet another person. and i struggle with a lack of confidence myself. but i know that most of my own issues arent explained by just 'lacks confidence', and anyway confidence comes through real success, its not just a state of mind.



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15 Feb 2008, 4:10 pm

Its the same in the US. You need to be reffered by a general doctor to a specialist.

However, psychologists/psychiatrists deal with the mind not the body so you dont need a general doctor's refferal. If you do need one in the UK then what's there to lose to call a specialist up and ask them if they'll make an appointment with you? Especially if its one with experience with AS; those should know that most other doctors dont have a clue about AS and may take you in.



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15 Feb 2008, 11:03 pm

ascan wrote:
googlewhack wrote:
I don't think that's how it works in the UK though. To see a specialist in anything you first need to see a general practitioner to get a referral. It just means that the process for any kind of answer is drawn out longer than necessary.

Anyone can go to see a specialist privately and pay for it themselves. If you can afford it, that's the best way forward. As has already been pointed out, most GPs know next to nothing about AS. If you see a specialist in autistic spectrum disorders it shouldn't take him long to tell you if you have it or not.


Yes, this is true. You can go to see a specialist privately in the UK.

BUT, your National Health Service GP does not have to accept a private assessment/diagnosis. If you are lucky, s/he will take the private dx on board and then send you to an NHS specialist to confirm the private dx! This is particularly crucial if you need NHS recognition in order to claim state benefits or concessions. A private dx does not suffice most of the time.

(Such waste of time and money. But thus the all-powerful NHS has made itself bankrupt...)



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16 Feb 2008, 4:05 am

Thank you for all of your replies, I really appreciate it and it's helping me to get everything sorted in my head.

DivaD wrote:

second thing, think about what you actually need the assessment for... how would it help you, having a 'professional' assessment? is there anything you specifically need it for, like accommodations at work? would it give you peace of mind?


It's purely for the peace of mind. Basically, the majority of the time I love being on my own, and everything I want to do (web design, animation, reading, music) can be done on my own in my room. But I have a hard time when people question me about it, it makes me feel like a freak and no reason I think of ever satisfies people. They try and force me to go out when I really don't want to, but I never have a 'good enough' reason for them for staying in.

That's not the only reason I'm looking for answers, but it's part of it.

DivaD wrote:

third, if you're really having problems speaking with GPs and mental health people do you know anyone who could advocate for you or help you in appointments? its your right, and believe me there is nothing like having someone else there with you who believes you, the GPs magically go from unhelpful fob-off-mode to bending over backwards to give you exactly what you ask!



Maybe I should ask my mum to be with me. I've always tried to be independent, like 'I don't need anyone else', but people do tend to walk all over me so maybe it's a good idea.

DivaD wrote:

if you need to talk about it please do, i've helped a few people through the diagnosis process and i know one of the big problems sometimes is just finding the will to keep going, to jump through another hoop, to see yet another person. and i struggle with a lack of confidence myself. but i know that most of my own issues arent explained by just 'lacks confidence', and anyway confidence comes through real success, its not just a state of mind.


Thank you, this gives me great hope. I know my issues can't all be explained away by a lack of confidence too. Maybe I should explain to the CPN that the reason I can't go out after work is because my week is like a rectangle, and anything in the night time (on the top of the rectangle) that requires me to go out is a detatched square that breaks the flow and uniformity and causes me to not want to do it. And that tuesdays are especially bad because they're the colour of thunder clouds, and if I had to go out I'd much rather do it on the solid brick-red thursday or a light green airy friday.

Will that get me locked in a padded cell? :lol: