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Female autism

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Re: Female autism

Postby mihaela » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:00 am

Clarkie - I'm glad it was of help. You might find the next post useful too :)
Last edited by mihaela on Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Female autism

Postby mihaela » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:06 am

amaya wrote:But it freaks me out quite a bit how many of these traits are exactly describing aspects of my childhood. So many conditions have huge, huge areas of overlap.

Very true, and a very common response. Psychiatry is not a black-and-white area, it's not a science, and a lot of guesswork is involved.

Next week I am going for a diagnostic discussion about whether or not I have borderline personality disorder and to look at what significance the emotional trauma (that I know I have) has.

Be very careful over this. Generic psychiatrists understand BPD/EUPD, but only very rarely do they realise that many of the traits are also indicative of female type HFA. They can also be lazy, and dole out BPD diagnoses to those who don't seem to fit into any of the usual diagnostic pigeon holes. It's often used as a catch-all diagnosis, where 3 out of 4 diagnoses are given to females. This is where a huge number of misdiagnoses originate. The treatments given for EUPD, usually DBT, MBT and medication, are not appropriate for those on the autism spectrum - who cannot be treated due to autism being a neurological condition, rather than a mental health disorder. Such treatment can and does damage our lives for decades. Our accompanying MH disorders are a different matter though, but even then treatment should be tailored to be autism friendly.

It now worries me that much of what I experience, especially when younger is also highly indicative of a learning disability (if that is the category that aspergers belongs instead of mental health). Could I have all these diagnoses?

Yes, it's quite possible that you have them all. I have several, but with me it is the autism that is the underlying cause of the others - that went unnoticed for decades. For me, everything must be treated in the light of that. I too experienced many childhood (and later) traumas, and untangling what caused what is impossible. Those early traumas still haunt me. Autism is all about extreme sensitivities, and from birth onwards we are more prone to the effects of trauma, because we experience it more intensely. I suspect that women on the autism spectrum are much more likely to develop EUPD than those who are not - simply because they are more sensitive. It's a very complex area, and there's little agreement even among the experts. I also believe that including BPD/EUPD among Cluster B PDs is a very bad mistake, but that's another story!

Autism is a neurological condition, so it's neither a mental health disorder nor a learning disability, but these can, and often do, co-occur. MH services concentrate on MH disorders and LD, while HFA (especially in females) falls through the net and is missed. Only those people with LFA are noticed, because they have very obvious LDs. However, I strongly disagree with the 'high functioning' label, for lots of us, including myself, have areas of low functioning - mine is quite severe executive dysfunction, and I cannot live independently without support in that area. This a definitely a learning disability. Panic attacks also reduce my ability to function 'normally'. I also have mild dyspraxia and dyscalculia - which are LDs too.

I feel very confused right now. Where do you even start? The psychologist I will see is a specialist working mostly with people with borderline to provide MBT counselling. Not sure he will be able to take a broad view and answer these questions for me or not.

You start by reading up on all this, so that you can understand yourself as fully as possible - ahead of seeing a specialist. I feel that any specialist in EUPD should also be well grounded in female-type autism. Ask him what he knows about it, and if you're not happy with his reply, I'd go for an autism diagnosis - if that's what you think you have. (If you had childhood autism traits then you still have autism). Only after that, seek an EUPD diagnosis if you feel that you have that too.

You said in all areas except one, you passed the threshold in an online test. Which test was it and what area was it that you didn't pass? This could be important. It may not mean that you're not on the spectrum, but it could mean something else. Were you a gifted child?

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Re: Female autism

Postby amaya » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:19 am

Yeah the whole diagnosis of personality disorders is controversial. We live in an unequal and screwed up world and the norm is being decided as a product of that system. But if it is a model that works to some extend and makes treatment easier to get then I don't mind a diagnosis as a tool, but not as a definition. That's my way of dealing with the reality I live in without actually succumbing to the point where I think it is right.

I did not know much of what you said, especially about it being neurological and not learning disability, so thank you for that. As well as sharing some of your own things with us :)

I am in Holland and I will be having that discussion in Dutch on Wednesday in a system I don't understand so I am not sure I can manage what you say exactly, it would be great advice if I was still in the UK. But I will still ask him about it as best as I can.

The test I did was the Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale.. The total is over the border but not by far, so was language, social relatedness and circumscribed interests. My sensory/motor category was below the border. But I always felt like I wanted to discuss every question because the answer didn't neatly fit in the boxes so I am not sure how accurate it was. I am not really high on the spectrum, but I might have a mild autism I think.

Not gifted no, only a little above average intelligence. But I always had extra classes in school and was a straight A student until I went off the rails and have never achieved what I am technically capable of.

I can make a story up for myself that explains all of my life experience and development and I can see autism fitting into the explanation quite neatly, or not. I think it would be good to know one way or another though.

I am feeling really bad that this thread turned into a discussion over me a little bit. I hope it is helping clarkie too! :)

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Re: Female autism

Postby rsxo » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:28 am

Hi clarkie,

It's a good idea to get it checked by a professional in the field - they can also provide some really helpful advice. I'm getting a review request for my autism at the momentx

Much love <3
RSxo <3

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