I started the diagnostic process in October of 2020 and received my report in January of 2022.

I am officially diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder, Depression and “Autism – Rule Out” with the recommendations of Individual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and possible psychiatric consultation to help with medication that will work with my seizures to help with anxiety, depression, and sleep issues.

The review goes over my personal, family, and education history. It mentions that I’ve been married for 10 years and that I was tested through “clinical interviews and observations, completion of symptom ratings, administration of psychological tests, and a review of records.” It goes through all of things that I reported through the many questions that I answered and forms that I filled out.

I had “mild impairment in auditory focus and stamina and exhibited observable overactivity (bouncing leg and rocking back and forth) during administration.” I showed “well developed higher order executive abilities in verbal and nonverbal reasoning, problem solving, judgment, and decision making”. I had normative motor speed and coordination.

I exhibited significant social difficulties, an unusual volume when speaking, mild overactivity, marked anxiety, and psychomotor retardation during the ADOS-2 interview.

There’s a bit on personality, self-concept, anger management, and interpersonal stuff. There was also a section on the results of the questions my friends and family filled out.

My ratings support “significant historical and current symptoms of (predominantly inattention) ADHD”. However, “in the context of [my] high level of social anxiety it is impossible to clarify a diagnosis of autism…or presence of ADHD.”

If I engage in “consistent, chronic treatment” to target my anxiety and get to a point where my symptoms are managed, then I can go through all the testing again to “clarify” things.

This whole process has been beyond stressful, exhausting and, in the end, a disappointment at best and crushing at worst. I haven’t been able to talk about it much. In trying to process it I realized that I probably will be for a while. I can’t imagine going through the testing again, which I told them. They seem to understand but, it is what it is. My counselor seemed just as disappointed as me, which made me a feel a bit more sane.

The peaks of knowing that I’m on the spectrum and having peace in that realization seems much more vulnerable. Spiraling into the valleys of “I’m an imposter” seem much more frequent. I’m trying to remind myself to live as if I really believe it, every day. I need to not feel so silly on days that I struggle, to cry, to shut down. I need to allow myself to pull down the mask, to isolate if needed, to stim more. Thankfully, I will always be able to find solace in the beautiful community of other autistics who firmly accept self-diagnosis as entirely valid.

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