“Labels are for cans,” my friend says.
But I’m still curious whether I’m autistic.
The first doctor’s office said I needed a referral from another doctor. The second doctor’s office said I needed to pay around two thousand dollars to sit with him three times, so he could potentially tell if I had autism by asking questions.
I am not good with questions.
At my eye exam a few days ago, the optometrist said, “Grace, we need to work on your answers.”
We had gone back and forth with different lens options because I couldn’t decide which lens I preferred. I declared that I was getting headaches from my outdated glasses.
“You have to be sure,” he said. “Your answers dictate the prescription. If there’s no difference, you can say so.”
A lot of my answers started turning into “there is no difference.”
It ended up being that my current thick blue-framed glasses don’t need changing. I’m probably getting headaches from stress or not eating properly or looking at the screen too long. But not from using the wrong glasses. Which is a bummer, since I wanted it to be a problem I could pinpoint and fix.
When I used to take music lessons, my teacher would ask, “Are you going to the masterclass on Saturday?”
I didn’t know how to answer.
I didn’t know how to say “no” in a way that didn’t make her angry or disappointed. She seemed perpetually angry at me anyways.
“Uhm,” I said. “I think so. If I don’t have a gymnastics practice.”
I would sign up, but never pay and then never show up. Then I would invent an excuse during the following lesson. I think my piano teacher caught on after a while.
To this day, I’ve never attended a masterclass. I didn’t know how to act or how I should take their advice or how mean they might be. They are not my permanent teacher, so how valid is their opinion? Why would I sign up to be yelled at?
This is like the neuropsychologist appointment. I don’t know what the results might be, but I already know that I suck at questions. I don’t know how accurate the results might be.
My friend said her psychological assessment lasted 3 months where she did different tests that were like games, like where her head was strapped to a computer to track her eye movement, which seems a lot more accurate than 3 interrogations about my childhood.
The office secretary said, “Do you want your parents to be involved in your assessment? Often it can be helpful in understanding development.”
I don’t know if I have a fair recollection of my childhood. I had a lot of happy times but I also remember that I was hit.
The violence was always my fault, I’m told. I was too loud or annoying or provoking. I didn’t understand how you were supposed to act and then I would make someone angry.
Now, I am told, there was barely any violence at all. “If you were really hit, then you would’ve ended up in the hospital. It never happened.”
It makes me think I’m crazy until I read my journals.
I did not answer the question about whether I’m autistic. I don’t know that I’ll get an accurate answer if I can’t answer questions about my childhood. I am nervous to hear the questions that I can’t answer then have the neurologist get frustrated because it is a theme that people get frustrated at me when I don’t have an answer.
I know that I would like someone’s help with understanding my mental health. But I am not sure if the help I need is a label to understand why I am the way I am, or if it’s someone to tell me why I am struggling.