I’ve had the weekend to think about Friday’s doctor visit, talk to my partner, reflect on things some more. I’ve calmed down and recovered from the emotional state that was induced by my needing to head out into the world without my “protections”.
I sent “Dr. Nice” (as I will henceforth refer to him) an e-mail on Saturday (via my previous GP who has left the practice…so hopefully it will make it to “Dr. Nice”…I have no way to know for sure).
I thanked Dr. Nice for being as kind and compassionate as he was. He really did try. He tried reframing, he tried to “validate” my experience as someone who has risen above multiple challenges. However he was unable to see me as a woman with Asperger’s as it doesn’t fit into his mental box of AS.
In my letter, I told him how difficult it was for me to present myself in my “real” and vulnerable state (rather than my strong, brave, capable, lick ass, public face) and that I no longer want to pursue a dx because of how painful Friday’s experience was for me.
I also told him more about my experience as a woman with AS. I repeated the fact that gender based medicine has shown that the symptoms of heart attack are different in women than men and so too is it with AS, as with many things. The fact is one size does not fit all and men and women have a very different physiology.
I told him that it was clear that he needs some education on how to spot AS in women and I invited him to communicate with me if he wishes. I also shared a few links with him on symptoms of AS in women and offered to lend him my Tony Atwood book.
At this point, I see Dr. Nice as the gatekeeper of the mental health system. Perhaps in some ways he has done me a favour. This experience has given me a chance to think about/get a small taste of what an appointment seeking a dx would likely look like. I would have to leave my island and travel far the city. The thought of that alone does my head in – traveling is such an exhausting thing in and of itself. I would be wiped out before even getting to my appointment.
Once there I would come face to face with some stranger who I have given power over me. And, it is likely that in that situation my coping mechanism of presenting as a fierce invulnerable woman would kick in and fool whoever I was faced with. Or, I would have to break it down and present myself in my vulnerable state….ughhh.
Then, being in the city and away from my awesome support people, I would have no “rescue” available post appointment, as I had on Friday. All in all it sounds like a recipe for disaster and unlikely to get me to the dx that I seek.
Fact is, I have done really well at integrating my challenges into an amazing life. I have found a physical millieu that suits me fine, thank you very much. I leave my island of artists as little as possible, and it takes recovery time and energy when I do. I have now found a name for why I am different from “normal people” – I have Asperger’s Syndrome. And, I now have new lenses with which to look at my experience of the world and these lenses suit me just fine.
I don’t need a stranger to validate my experience of life. Especially a stranger who would pathologize my way of thinking/being human. I left school and officialdom almost 30 years ago. Why on earth would I want to seek official recognition now?!
Perhaps that is what Dr. Nice was trying to get me to see in his own clumsy human way.
I will give him the benefit of the doubt. I will thank him for keeping me from straying too far down a path that would lead to further depletion of my vital life-force energies. Time will tell whether I see him in a professional capacity again.
In the meantime, I will continue to try to advocate for AS and educate Dr. Nice (if he’s willing) so that he can deal respectfully, carefully and knowledgeably with girls/woman with AS.
After all, it may be my own daughter that benefits one day from my advocacy.
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