Case Study: Mike
My name’s Mike Williams, I’m 35 and as of 15th May 2020 I received an official diagnosis that I was born Autistic.
The lead up to my diagnosis was constantly staccatoed by miscommunications between medical professionals, waiting lists so long I couldn’t even be told a date for my next appointment and the bouncing around between numerous, different avenues of care. All bar one of which failed in offering any of the advice and support I really needed. Another issue where I’ve received an impactful lack of support is during the lockdown due to Covid-19. There seemed to be no clear pathway or infrastructure to support someone in my situation even before lockdown measures took effect. Even though I have been told reports of huge numbers of adults being referred for diagnosis. Once lockdown measures started, mental health services and services specifically aimed around Autism and Asperger’s closed or were not taking on any “new patients”. Finding the right support pre-diagnosis was as difficult as it was post-diagnosis. Unless I paid a lot of money or had an official diagnosis, I couldn’t receive the support I needed from anyone.
Along my diagnosis journey I was categorised as an autistic individual by four separate medical professionals. These were nothing more than informal diagnoses though and I felt I now needed an official answer so I could receive the right support. This left me in a state of limbo, confusion and frustration. My mental and physical health suffered greatly from this. I had numerous meltdowns from lack of support, to the point of causing myself serious injury. I sank deeper into my already severe depression too. My other comorbidities suffered also due to this; I was in a very dark place.
As soon as I received my official diagnosis, I booked an appointment with my GP. I understood that this might not be an everyday occurrence and explained exactly what it was about so they could prepare for it accordingly. I also sent in a pre-diagnostic assessment and my diagnosis letter from my Psychologist. I needed advice and support regarding a condition requiring specialists and what my next steps should be. In the space of two weeks I had three conversations with two GPs. Only at the beginning of my third conversation was when they had actually looked at the information I had sent in! After the end of that last conversation, I had still not received any advice or support. I have since felt obligated to make a formal complaint about my treatment and I have moved GP surgeries.
Due to years of living without a diagnosis and developing subsequent physical and mental health comorbidities, I have unfortunately suffered from suicidal thoughts habitually, on a daily basis since I was a child. It has been the second of two logical last resorts for me. My first was to section myself as I believed I was going or had actually gone clinically insane. The other was to end my life to escape this torture. After going through this ordeal with my GP surgery I was left to feel completely worthless, alone and literally helpless. The urge to take my own life had never been so serious.
En-Fold’s service leaflet was given to me a day after that last call by Rebecca, Northampton IAPT, for which I will forever be grateful. I truly believe it saved my life. Just the content gave me a pang of hope, something I had genuinely not felt since I was a child. After my extensive research into what are considered beneficial steps to take for an adult with a late diagnosis of Asperger’s, the information was literally life changing for me. I instantly contacted Diane and have been having sessions with her since. If anything I now believe that receiving an official diagnosis of ASC has given me the ability to focus my research and self learning. Basically, guiding me to the doors I need to walk through in order to proactively move forward with my life. En-Fold and Diane are giving me the keys to open these doors and walk through them informed and with confidence.
Feeling positive about anything that revolves around me is something that I am not familiar with, in the slightest! I look forward to each session and cannot wait to see how, together, we can help me discover me and work towards creating a more positive life for myself.
Apart from offering this much needed service for myself, my wife is also receiving support from En-Fold and Diane. This is muchly appreciated as the lack of support she was feeling had negative effects on her health too. The level of support she is now exposed to is helping her combat these issues positively and with success.
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Disclaimer: En-Fold does not endorse treatments, interventions and therapies but lists them so people can make informed choice. This site is for information purposes only and is a starting point for readers to look into options that may fit or resonate. Remember, therapies for autism, like any condition, should be discussed with a trusted medical practitioner or certified therapist before use. All information, data and material contained, presented or provided here is for general information purposes only and is not to be construed as reflecting the knowledge or opinions of En-Fold, or as providing legal or medical advice. All treatment decisions should be made by the individual in consultation with a health care provider. Case studies provided are done so in good faith, and based on the personal experience of the individual submitting them. En-Fold are in no way endorsing the establishments that are mentioned but offering peer reviews to inform readers.