Questions about diagnosis

Discussion in 'Braaaaiiiinnnns...' started by Starfall, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. Starfall

    Starfall New Member

    I'm currently in therapy (and have been for years) for a couple anxiety disorders and depression, which have severely impeded my ability to function for over a decade. My therapist is amazing, and I have no doubt that my current diagnoses are accurate. However, for the past year or two I've spent increasing amounts of time wondering if it's possible that I'm also autistic, and if I have some form of ADHD in addition to my other disorders. (I can try to list some of the reasons I think so if that would help, but I wanted to keep this post brief because I know from experience that I'll probably never finish writing it if I don't. In short, though, writing about autism and ADHD more often than not sounds to me like it's talking about my own experiences, to the point where it feels like the world makes more sense if I assume it is about me, I've had multiple "wait, this isn't just me? there's a name for this thing?" moments reading posts like that, and I regularly find advice for autistic people and for dealing with ADHD helpful and applicable to my life.)

    I want to bring this up to my therapist, but the thought of doing so makes me feel very self-conscious. I feel like I would look stupid suggesting to a professional who's worked with me for years and knows about my issues in great detail that I know better than them; it really does look likely from where I sit, but it also seems implausible to me that a therapist who knows me so well wouldn't have already suggested autism and/or ADHD if I had it. I'm also not sure I have a good reason to want a diagnosis for either of these things even if I could get one, because I don't have a clear idea of what if any practical difference having a diagnosis would actually make. And I'm worried I would come across as having bad priorities, like I'm more focused on hunting around for a shiny new diagnosis on the internet than on actually fixing the problems I already know I have.

    So the questions I'm looking for advice on are:
    1. What purpose does a diagnosis serve? If I do actually have autism or ADHD, is there any reason I'd want or need an official diagnosis for it in addition to the diagnoses I already have?
    2. Is this kind of thing worth raising with a therapist? I'm know that the sheer degree of anxiety I feel about bringing it up is irrational, but I could use a reality check on whether my concerns that it's not a good priority are accurate.
    3. If yes, how do I bring this up with my therapist? If anyone has experience doing this or knows a good way to go about it, I'd greatly appreciate advice.
  2. aetherGeologist

    aetherGeologist Well-Known Member

    Where are you? What a diagnosis qualifies you for will vary.
  3. Starfall

    Starfall New Member

    United States here. Does state make a difference?
  4. aetherGeologist

    aetherGeologist Well-Known Member

    Probably, although I'm afraid it means I can't help you as much - I'm UK based.

    Still, one thing a diagnosis will give you is certainty - I can't say how much it will help but a lot of people do feel better from that confirmation, of yes this is a thing that applies to me and I'm not lazy/unsociable/whatever your brain is throwing at you. Bringing it up with your therapist might lead them to think you have bad priorities - some therapists have bad opinions - but it's probably more likely that it means they'll be able to help you in a more effective way.

    it's up to you, which i understand is probably not the answer you wanted.
  5. Starfall

    Starfall New Member

    It's an answer to some of my questions, which is what I wanted. So thank you for your input. :)
    • Like x 1
  6. Athol Magarac

    Athol Magarac I prefer reading posts without a lot of topics.

    Sorry I didn't type up a reply earlier.

    I just told the psych-people that I would like to be tested for aspergers and they signed me up for a test-suite that included an ADHD segment. But since was depressed at the time and "depression can magnify the aspie traits" they were reluctant to really say one way or the other.

  7. Artemis

    Artemis i, an asexual moron

    1. In my case, I'm looking for diagnosis not for any expectation of say, aid or anything, but just because it would bring me immense relief to have the diagnosis. Otherwise, I'm still really shitty at people and emotions and socializing, but without knowing why (I mean, besides the abuse and stuff, that obviously has some impact same as my anxiety and depression but I'm pretty sure there's more to it than that)

    2. If it's something that's on your mind and you have a good relationship with your therapist, as you indicated you do, then I think it's worth raising. The therapist can't provide their input if you don't let them know you want input on a particular thing.

    3. Personally, I brought it up with my therapist literally as an interruption of talking about codependency with "by the way I think I'm autistic, if that impacts anything with how we look at my relationships or whatever?" (In my case this was followed up by "Why do you think you're autistic?" and a not-as-specific-as-I'd-like answer, and the homework assignment to come in next time with it written down so I can refer to it.)

    I've wondered if ADHD is also a thing for me, but have never brought it up because frankly everything is so co-morbid I don't know how anyone could disentangle it from anxiety-panic-depression-cptsd-autism conglomerate, and also because if I do have it, it's... not anything I feel any investment in getting an answer to? I don't know how to explain why I'm invested in the autism diagnosis (or lack thereof, officially) and not the ADHD possibility, other than perhaps because I feel frustratingly more certain about the autism and want someone to just listen to me when I say "hey I just met you and I present a bunch of symptoms of autism, call me maybe".
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