One of Mama’s Losin’ It’s prompts for this week is the phrase “Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a ____”. This phrase made me think immediately of what makes me different from other people. That in turn made me think of a discussion I had with my psychologist yesterday. She was talking about my diagnosis and, before she went into detail, started out by saying I’m a complex case.
I have been processing this discussion, since it stirred up a lot of emotion and contorversy. Let me explain. She isn’t so sure I’m autistic after all. For now, she’s not changing my diagnosis and is continuing with the referral to the Leo Kanner House, the Dutch top specialty center for autism. She however tried to prepare me for them saying that they don’t see me as autistic after all. And for the first time that my diagnosis is being questioned, I can actually agree.
Before this, questioning my autism diagnosis meant saying that everything is normal for a blind person, for an intellectually capable person, you name it. In other words, it was saying that I don’t have that many real problems. It reminded me of my parents’ visit with my doctor on the locked ward two weeks into my hospitalization, in which they more or less said that I was just loooking to be different for attention.
My old psychologist had gone along with this idea to an extent. My new psychologist didn’t. She said that I might not be autistic, but I’m certainly having significant problems in many areas. She has a background in neuropsychology and in fact articulated what I’ve been thinking for a while now: that my problems signal brain injury. I objected that, though I had a brain bleed shortly after birth, brain injury is usually prefixed with “acquired”, meaning that you had a life before your injury. She said the diagnosis is no longer that strict. Unfortunately, a good neuropsychological evaluation is hard because of my blindness and high intelligence, so it’s unlikely we’ll ever find “proof” for all my difficulties.
I’m not really looking to collect labels, although that is what I end up coming across as when I find support for my every (provisional or self-identified) diagnosis. Rather, I am looking to connect to people who have similar problems to me and to find out what helps them. Being a complex case isn’t easy in this respect.