In the middle of last December I went for an appointment I had been waiting a while for. It was for an autism assessment. In the run up to it I was nervous beyond anything. I’d managed to get the day off work, which proved a sensible move. On the day I was a wreck. Sitting, waiting to get called through, even I was surprised by how much I was trembling.

Walking into the room the first words that were said went along these lines:

“Hi I’m *name I can’t remember* and this is *another name I can’t remember* and we’ve both been doing this for nearly twenty years so the buck stops with us. Whatever diagnosis we give you is the end of the line.”

Looking back on that opening statement, it comes across as arrogant beyond belief. Way to put someone who is nervous as feck at ease. But at the time, I put my trust in of the two ladies with their notepads and pens. After all, they had far more experience with this stuff than I did, as they were so eager to let me know.

The whole thing passed by in a bit of a blur. I answered questions, they asked my partner questions, they ‘hmm’d a lot and looked at me quite oddly as they jotted things down. They asked these questions in a semi-chronological manner, the basics about myself and what lead me to seek a diagnosis, then family, then schooling…

I laughed when they said the section about ‘family’ should be relatively quick and easy! Ha! We’d only barely touched upon primary schooling before one looked at the other and one said “Do you know?” The other nodded. “I know.”

It was at that point the assessment technically ended.

“You do not have classic autism.”

I can’t explain the feeling when they’d said this. Somewhat numb, a little shocked, still nervous.

“The reason why, and we asked this question a few times over to make sure, is because you were aware of other family member’s emotions when you were growing up.”

Oh. Okay then.

“And you may have dyspraxia. But there’s no tests for that.”

Oh. Great.

“There were plenty of things that could lead us to believe you have autism. The hyper-sensitivity to noise, your difficulties with functioning socially, etc. But here’s the details about an optician in Ayr that has been conducting research into different coloured lenses in glasses, and has found that sometimes helps with dyspraxia.”

Erm. Okay.

“And we’re going to write to your doctor and suggest psychotherapy. You seem to have some attachment issues.”

Now, the reason I haven’t written about this assessment until now, or even mentioned the outcome to anyone bar some very, very close friends, is because of that word.


When that was mentioned the little part of me that had been saying “They’re just going to confirm what you already know, you’re just fucking crazy and that’s the end of that!” punched it’s hand in the air, said ‘ner-ner-ner-ner-ner’ and stuck it’s tongue out at me.

That sounds fucking crazy in itself. But I think you might get what I mean.

Stupid thing is this. Psychotherapy is simply another word for counselling, something I had previously wanted the GP to get me onto. But then hearing someone else saying it got my back up. It’s akin to talking about your own shortfalls in a derogatory way. It’s perfectly ‘acceptable’. But if someone else, an outsider, dares to say exactly the same thing, then that’s an insult of the highest order.

‘Attachment issues’? ‘Psychotherapy’? Because I have a memory box, a few guitars and rather large CD collection? Seriously?! I could think up far better reasons (which were never touched upon) to have lead them to that conclusion, although the attachment issues was a new one for me!

I went away, stuffed my face in a restaurant, went home and nursed a mammoth post-stressful situation migraine.

A few weeks later, the GP that had (somewhat begrudgingly) set up the assessment had been trying to get in touch with me. I could only assume that he had received the letter about the outcome of the assessment and was wanting to talk to me about it.

“What’s the point?” I said. “He’s only going to say, ‘told you so’!” (He’d previously told me that because I was capable of talking in a pre-arranged doctor’s appointment, he didn’t see how I could be autistic. Oh, and for all the other stuff here’s some more anti-depressants!) And so I ignored the phone calls.

So, where am I left now?

Well, I’m not sure!

There’s a whole load of issues that are swirling about just now. Job dissatisfaction. General dislike of the human race. The first two often intertwine… Brain frazzles starting up… again! Feeling distant from my family. Losing all fondness for living in Glasgow with its bloody miserable weather. This could all be a case of winter-borne depression. It probably is. Do you know, we don’t really see the sun up much up here. Maybe a few hours a year…

BUT it’s not all so bad! I’m thoroughly enjoying writing and editing, especially now I’m back working on the ‘2014’ project after a (slightly too long!) festive break. I have a few ideas for a project I shant say much about until I’m ready to get it underway… I don’t want to create a beast I can’t quite see through!

And, at the very least, there’s still cake and gin! 😉