Back to Blog Directory
Evaluation Anxiety 06-06-2012 03:12 pm Ethedrial's Blog
As I stated in my last entry, I am currently in the process of being evaluated for Asperger's. I got the call today that my report is ready, and I am going in next Thursday to receive my diagnosis.
I am being evaluated by a 3rd year grad student (who is, of course, being supervised) in the clinical psychology department at my college, and as far as I know whatever diagnosis he gives me will be seen as a valid diagnosis.
I am so worried about this diagnosis, for a number of reasons. First, I found out the clinician (grad student) is only 7 months older than me (I'm 24). I don't want to invalidate his expertise based on age, but I have no other means of determining how qualified he is to decide whether or not I have Asperger's. I keep thinking about that saying, "If you've met one Aspie, you've met one Aspie." There is no, "Aha! You have this trait! You must have Asperger's!" or "You mean you don't x? You can't have Asperger's!". I guess I'm depending on his supervisor to be more experienced (I wish I knew who his supervisor is. I am also in the Psychology program, although as an undergrad.).
Second, the evaluation consisted of a phone screening, a two-hour interview, an anxiety questionnaire, an IQ test (minus the "point to where this is in the picture" and "repeat the story from the tape recorder" parts because I remembered those too well from last time), a learning styles survey, and a 300-something general mental health questionnaire. During the phone call I told someone (not the clinician) why I thought I had Asperger's (and, due to not being familiar with the person, being on the phone, and other reasons outlined in my last blog entry, did a great job of explaining social anxiety disorder instead, oops). During the interview I told the clinician about myself and what about me pointed to Asperger's (and also social anxiety disorder by accident, again, /facepalm).
There was no ASQ test. I came in saying I would like to be tested for an autism spectrum disorder. If I have Asperger's (which I am about 85% sure I do), it would most likely be classified as high functioning, so it's not like I seem so autistic that he didn't even feel the need to run a test. So...how do you determine whether or not someone has a non-obvious spectrum disorder without testing them?!
I'm just so worried that I'm going to get diagnosed with social anxiety disorder or told there's nothing wrong with me. I know that may sound odd. I've seen the topics on this forum by those that hate having Asperger's and wish they were neurotypical. I know I can't be normal. I've researched extensively, and Asperger's fits me. I can't determine the emotions of others at times when other people can (so I know it's just me). I can't instantly process information someone is giving me when they are talking to me. There is a delay, and if, for instance, they give me too many instructions at one time without pause, nothing sinks in. I have to have pauses to process or write down what people tell me (and if I write it down I usually won't know what they mean until I read it). Most of my clothing is uncomfortable to me (jeans feel too tight, shirts feel too loose, thick, or thin), but I have such a problem with all the stumuli in stores (lights, merchandise everywhere, signs for sales, people, music playing, air temperature, husband complaining) that I will rush a purchase just to leave or not be able to focus on what is important (how the clothing fits and feels). I will not jaywalk, and I will not walk into a store through a door marked exit or vice versa (strict adherence to rules/moral code). I become extremely interested in a topic (my experience with Minecraft always comes to mind) for a few weeks/months/years then when I know a lot about it I lose interest. After I found out that the Minecraft wikia had all of the recipes for making stuff, and after I learned most of the recipes and found out what all the different blocks do, I was still interested but not as much. Then they changed the game significantly and I lost most of my interest. I still want to play at times, but I no longer feel like I need to play, and I cannot play for extended periods of time without feeling like not playing anymore. There are many other symptoms that I present, and I'll talk about them if anybody asks (in the comments), but I'm trying to reign in this monologue.
I gave social anxiety disorder a fair chance. I really did. I looked it up in the DSM. I found a forum such as this one except for social anxiety sufferers. On that forum I found a series of Youtube videos of a documentary on social anxiety disorder. I watched all of the videos, but none of the people seemed to experience the same problems as I do. I have given speeches in front of a class with no symptoms of anxiety other than elevated body temperature and heart rate (but not to scary or unmanageable levels). I sang Vitamin C's "Put a Smile on Your Face" with 3 other friends in my 6th grade talent show in front of the entire school (in the gym with all of the lights on, so it wasn't that I couldn't see the crowd) and I didn't feel nervous at all. I only feel mildly anxious about going to Wal-Mart for groceries, and it's not just because of the people there, it's mostly due to all the stimuli combined. I had to define culture during a class discussion last week to a class of about 15 people and I was slightly anxious. This was because I wasn't prepared for a discussion. I am not anxious in front of people (no matter the size of the group) if I know what I am doing (e.g. prepared speeches, practiced routines). I get anxious when I feel like I am doing something incorrectly or otherwise appearing stupid. I believe this stems from being made fun of for being weird/different in school (and sometimes for thinking I am being made fun of because I don't know how to interpret the person's actual intentions). I don't like doing things that could invite being made fun of because I can't usually tell when someone is actually making fun of me (and if they're doing it in a friendly or non-friendly manner). If I don't do anything worth making fun of, then obviously they aren't making fun of me.
Like I said in my last blog entry, I believe I have Asperger's, and any social anxiety type traits stem from experiences exacerbated by Asperger's.
I feel like I'm not qualified to reply to anyone's threads until I am officially diagnosed with Asperger's. If he tells me I'm not on the spectrum, I won't even fit in here. :(