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Autism and ADHD

JJLemon18JJLemon18 Community Champion Posts: 1,955 Extreme Poster
edited November 2023 in Neurodivergence
I've wrote this in the 'I need a hug' thread and wanted to ask a bit more about it so I thought I'd start a new thread.
JJLemon18 wrote: »
I just decided to take two online quizzes and turns out theres a high likelihood that I have both autism and adhd... Idk if thats a good or bad thing

Today I talked with my GP a bit about this and she said Autism and ADHD are two "opposite" disorders and its not possible to have both... is that true? I've done a little bit of researching and apparently its pretty common to have both. I'm confused...

She said I don't have either (and was surprisingly confident about it) even though I clearly relate quite a bit to some of the symptoms and stuff. At this point I kinda want to know I have these cause that would explain why I've been behaving like this for all these years and why I find everything so hard to understand and everything. But she said it just anxiety... now I kinda just feel stupid :/
I asked her if I could get referred for some diagnosis to check and she sent me a link to a website where I could "self-refer", but the website says this:

"Unfortunately due to the complexity of this condition and or the need for supporting documentation from your GP it is not possible to do a self-referral for ADHD. Please see your GP who will be able to refer you." (Says the same thing for Autism)

Maybe I really am just overthinking it and I have neither, but I need some validation as to why I'm so 'different' to everyone else. I always knew I think differently and this seems like the perfect explanation. I really don't know what to do or even think about this.
Believe in me - who believes in you
Post edited by JustV on

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    JJLemon18JJLemon18 Community Champion Posts: 1,955 Extreme Poster
    Btw I also mentioned this:
    JJLemon18 wrote: »
    The reason I mentioned this is because there is a society at uni that is just for neurodivergent people, and it sounds like a really nice and chill place. It genuinely sounds like The Mix if it was at my uni lol. But without having a proper diagnosis I don't want to join and annoy anyone or anything just in case I don't actually have autism or adhd. It sounds like such a peaceful community and I wouldnt want to ruin it if that makes sense.

    And now I feel even less inclined to join :/
    Believe in me - who believes in you
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    AbigailAbigail Posts: 819 Part of The Mix Family
    Well as someone who has a long line of family members with adhd and asd, you can have both conditions. So the statement you can't have both at the same time is a myth. Unfortunately with ASD and ADHD the services in most areas are stretched with many not taking on new referrals due to the back long that the tiktok trend that has come about over covid about adhd and being diagnosed and the myths etc surrounding it.
    No where will accept a self-referral (believe me I've tried) unless you go private and then sadly the NHS tends not to recognise private diagnoses (this is what I am aware from family who have done this).
    Only thing you can do is read the NICE guidelines, speak to family about when you was younger look for patterns of behaviour, for ADHD there is a scale thing (I'll try finding it later) take the evidence written down so you don't forget and relay why you believe having this diagnoses will help and the impact these 2 conditions INDIVIDUALLY has on you and your day to day life. Expect to wait, expect knock backs, expect being told your referral has been sent when it hasn't, expect being told the waiting lists are closed at this time. But just try different GP in your surgery. I've been through 3 GPs in 3yrs and I'm still waiting for my ADHD paperwork to be accepted my a clinic, ive been lied to multiple times about this which is why I know all this.
    Some people think I am unhappy. I'm not. I just approach silence in the world that never stops talking.
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    Millie2787Millie2787 Community Champion Posts: 5,160 Part of The Furniture
    JJLemon18 wrote: »
    Btw I also mentioned this:
    JJLemon18 wrote: »
    The reason I mentioned this is because there is a society at uni that is just for neurodivergent people, and it sounds like a really nice and chill place. It genuinely sounds like The Mix if it was at my uni lol. But without having a proper diagnosis I don't want to join and annoy anyone or anything just in case I don't actually have autism or adhd. It sounds like such a peaceful community and I wouldnt want to ruin it if that makes sense.

    And now I feel even less inclined to join :/

    If the society at your university is anything like the one I help to run at my uni - then we really aren’t bothered on if people have a official diagnosis or not , as we recognise in the current climate how hard it actually is to get that diagnosis

    As for having both an ADHD and autism diagnosis - whilst it’s hard to get a diagnosis of both as there’s a big cross over of similar symptoms and traits between them , it’s not impossible so I’m not really sure why the Gp said that to you :)

    Look into whether your university offers a diagnostic service - I know mine does and whilst it doesn’t give you an “official diagnosis” to be able to access things such as medication- it does provide you with a report that means you can access support through your university.
    Sometimes all you need is one person to believe in you , for you to begin to believe in yourself.
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    Amy22Amy22 Posts: 4,127 Community Veteran
    I also agree with what everyone else has said on this thread as the concept of having just autism or just adhd is in fact a myth. You can be and indentify as AUHD (which is a combination of both autism and ADHD, which I got myself and was dignosed with at a young age) It does sound like your therapist may have been unsure eventhough you knew yourself that you may possibly be neurodiverse. I know a lot of self - referral places can be private and most of the time they will just sign-post to a CBT counsellor or CBT online conselling which isn't always helpful for most neurodiverse people. I can understand how hard it is to get a formal dignosis especially as the services are stretched and the waiting list for an assessment is super long. It can take years for some to get a dignosis. I also agree with what @Millie2787 mentioned about looking into the services that your uni provide, if the club is for all types of neurodiverse people then there shoulden't be an issue for you to join. If your uni offers these services they can often assign extra support or a support plan in place which can help you. My college did something with me and my now my workplace are doing the same. It can be good to look at your options and explore what's best for you :). <3 Always here too if you need someone.
    Just a person who likes pop culture and films
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    JJLemon18JJLemon18 Community Champion Posts: 1,955 Extreme Poster
    @Abigail wow that sounds painful. I'm so sorry that you had to go through all that :( and I see you still have a lot to go through... Hope they sort this out for you soon <3
    sadly the NHS tends not to recognise private diagnoses
    I don't want to imagine spending thousands of pounds for a private diagnosis for it to turn out to be useless...

    From what you said, no thank you. I don't think I'm ready for all this trouble right now.

    @Millie2787 so do you think it would be worth just asking them if it's fine that I join? I'm worried they wouldn't want to tell me "no you can't" so it might make the situation kinda awkward.

    As I said, I just don't want to ruin a chill community, I know I can be pretty annoying at times.
    It just seems like a place where I can feel comfortable and understood. A place I can belong in a way.
    Or maybe I wont belong at all, I'm starting to be very doubtful. I'm literally going off of "I think I have adhd" and no actual proof.

    I havent heard of my uni offering such service. I'll try to look deeper into it though.
    if the club is for all types of neurodiverse people then there shoulden't be an issue for you to join
    Here's the thing, they call themselves the "Autism Society" but do mention that other neurodiversities are also welcome, so I'm not sure.

    I'm probably overthinking it as usual. I think I should just ask and either they say 'sure' and it will be great, or they'll say 'no' and I won't have to worry about it anymore.

    Thank you all so much for the advice, I appreciate it! :)
    Believe in me - who believes in you
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    Millie2787Millie2787 Community Champion Posts: 5,160 Part of The Furniture
    i would just join - and if they’re a decent enough society they won’t even question if you’ve got an official diagnosis or not . Your most likely find there’s other members in the society who are in the same position as you.

    The society I help run are called the Neurodiverse society and most of our members do have autism - but again we cover others such as ADHD , Dyslexia , dyspraxia etc :)
    Sometimes all you need is one person to believe in you , for you to begin to believe in yourself.
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    JJLemon18JJLemon18 Community Champion Posts: 1,955 Extreme Poster
    Ugh idk what to do again. I asked the person running the society about this and they gave me some helpful information where I could go at uni to help me in this situation, a service that can hopefully steer me in the direction of getting a diagnosis.

    They said that I'm welcome to join the society and mentioned that if I strongly believe that I have autism/adhd then it means I probably do. They used the word 'strongly' twice. But that's the problem, I don't believe it strongly at all. I'm just suspecting it.

    What if I join and later realise that I'm not neurodivergent at all?? Do I just leave and pretend I never joined? Then feel bad about all the time I spent there?
    I'm terrified of squeezing myself in a place I don't belong. I don't want to go there and feel like I'm fake.

    I'm probably overthinking all this, and who knows, maybe they'll be happy that I join. But again, I'm shite at socialising and behaving like a normal human being so I'm here panicking that I'm doing something wrong and I'll get embarrassed or something :bawling:
    Believe in me - who believes in you
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    JJLemon18JJLemon18 Community Champion Posts: 1,955 Extreme Poster
    Oh wow. I've been looking through videos going over autism and adhd and damn I relate so much! There was this one video that mentioned that relating to other people with autism and adhd is a good sign that you might have them too. Its kinda crazy actually.
    Now tho, how do I tell my parents all this... They arent gonna like this idea. I asked my mum a few days ago if she thinks I have autism or adhd and she straight up said "no", that it's not possible otherwise we'd know it by now. Plus they definitely don't like the idea of having an autistic child and I'm not sure why...
    Believe in me - who believes in you
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    AzzimanAzziman Moderator, Community Champion Posts: 1,914 Extreme Poster
    Hey @JJLemon18 - in a sentence, yes - it's not uncommon for someone who is on the autism spectrum to also have ADHD, and vice versa. I've never heard of them being "one or the other", that's for sure. If you want to have a clinical, formal answer, then NHS diagnosis is the way to go, though there is a very long waiting list for it. The university society won't require that - they'll probably recognise that it's hard to get a diagnosis at the moment (or in certain countries).

    That being said, the reason they'll mention "strongly" believing it to you is just so you'll feel like you can relate to others (for example, some people use the word "autistic" to describe themselves for the sole reason that they like routines. In reality, being autistic means much more than that! So the society probably isn't the right choice for that person because the space isn't really meant for that situation). The reason that society is set up is to provide a space for those who experience neurodiversity, so they want to make sure that those that join are best placed to be a part of that community.

    The fact that you've gone to the GP and considering diagnosis options suggests that it's not just a casually-used term for you. And the society is likely to be a good choice for you if you want to feel understood - talking about your experiences with others who may resonate with how you feel is validating! But if you find that you're not neurodiverse while you're there - that's completely fine. Part of going through the diagnosis process is that not everyone will meet one condition's criteria, and it may be that you find that it's something else entirely - finding a diagnosis isn't always a straight path. At that point, it'd be right to leave because the space isn't right for the support you're looking for, but that doesn't mean it was wrong to be there at all. At the moment, it's your best guess so it's the best support space for you. Talking to others and seeing if you relate to them is a helpful pointer as to whether you might be neurodiverse as well :)

    And on talking to parents, remember that the best placed person to decide if you're neurodivergent is someone who's spent their career working on it and understanding it - the doctors are more likely to know than anyone else! I think parents often don't want to accept that their children might be neurodivergent, not because of any malice, but because they fear how being neurodivergent and having that label might affect them negatively in life (social, career etc). Often times, it's out of love and fear, not out of hatred. I hear how it's a difficult conversation to have with them, and you should talk to them if and when you feel comfortable to do so. If that means waiting until you have more information and answers, that's completely fine, there's no rush!
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    JJLemon18JJLemon18 Community Champion Posts: 1,955 Extreme Poster
    Wanted to post an update. I joined the society and been to the first meeting today. It was not what I expected. And even though I felt kinda awkward at first, I also felt a lot less anxious than I normally do! It was a very welcoming space and I'm very glad I joined!

    @Azziman Thank you so much for the advice! :)
    Believe in me - who believes in you
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    JJLemon18JJLemon18 Community Champion Posts: 1,955 Extreme Poster
    Is there such thing as being 'slightly' autistic? Or is it a definitive yes I'm autistic, or no I'm not? Cause I feel like I'm autistic but not as strongly as other people. Or is that not a thing?
    Believe in me - who believes in you
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    Amy22Amy22 Posts: 4,127 Community Veteran
    Hey @JJLemon18 autism can vary from person to person. Some are more 'high-functioning' whereas others may be 'milder' in symptoms. An analogy that I tend to use to describe autism is that it's a rainbow and autism can vary in people. It's a huge wide spectrum so yes you can be slightly autistic as you don't have to identify as high functioning. I too have a milder type of autism so I know how you feel. But all in all you can identify as little or as strongly as you like as it's a big spectrum varying from all different types. Also, I'm very glad and proud that you went to the neurodiverse society and enjoyed it there. It does sound like a very good group too. I think it's okay to feel anxious when you first visit as it can be a big thing attending a group even if it is your first time as well. <3
    Just a person who likes pop culture and films
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    AzzimanAzziman Moderator, Community Champion Posts: 1,914 Extreme Poster
    Hey @JJLemon18, well done for going to the event! It feel like a big deal to join a society full of new faces, so be proud of taking that first and hardest step :) I'm really glad to hear that you felt welcomed there, it sounds like it could be a good space for you to be a part of <3
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    MaisyMaisy Moderator Posts: 672 Incredible Poster
    edited October 2023
    Unfortunately, some doctors and (even some other medical professionals) aren't always up to date with autism research. There is actually research that suggests that autism and ADHD are often co-morbid (appear together), even though they may seem like opposite things. Autism is kind of complex, and not really something that a doctor could say whether you do or don't have it just in a consultation alone. It needs to be diagnosed by someone who is actually trained in specifically diagnosing neurodiverse conditions. It's also very easy for autism to get missed, and instead to get diagnosed with anxiety and other mental health conditions. It's possible you do have anxiety, but if you feel you might be autistic, then there may be more to it than just anxiety. Would it be possible for you to get a second opinion or see a different doctor for a referral?

    As for telling parents, that's a tricky one. Since parents are older, they may have old fashioned views of autism and so may genuinely think that you can't be autistic. Or they may feel that it's just a trend these days given how we have access to the internet growing up while they didn't. Equally, and depending on your parents, whether they are also neurodivergent and their own life experiences, they could potentially be in denial (if they are neurodivergent) about themselves, seeing as it's likely you share traits with them which they may relate to. To have you diagnose with autism, may make them question themselves, and sometimes it's easier to shut it down by going into denial instead. And Azziman said, parents often just want what's best for you. Being diagnosed with autism can lead to a lot of stigma if other people don't understand autism, and your parents wouldn't want you to suffer as a result of that.

    It's easy for parents to think that if their child was autistic, they would've been diagnosed a lot earlier in childhood. But actually, this isn't true at all. There's a combination of autistic masking (hiding autistic traits), plus professionals (e.g. teachers) not knowing much about autism (can't get diagnosed if teachers don't see it and refer for diagnosis), plus it takes years for research to improve and make it's way into the community (it's only in the last decade that we've realised girls are often not diagnosed with autism and get missed until later years) that will affect when someone gets diagnosed. It's not as simple as saying that parents would've known when their child was younger.

    Regarding being slightly autistic...that depends. Medically, you will either get diagnosed with autism (and a functioning level...1 being higher and 3 being lower) or you won't. But that doesn't mean that you don't necessarily have autism. Some of the criteria used to diagnose autism has been criticised over the years. Equally, functioning levels have also been criticised. And I think some people have proposed that it's possible to have autistic traits but to not hit the criteria for diagnosis, leading to a 'broader autism phenotype' (this is just a theory though). But what many people can agree on is that autism is a spectrum. So there will be things that you find easier than other autistic people, and yet there will also be things that you may find more difficult than others. This might be why you may find that you aren't as 'autistic' as others, and yet still relate to autism. And equally, other things like ADHD, life experiences, plus your own personality may also affect how much or little someone relates to autism. Whatever you feel, it shouldn't stop you from accessing autistic communities and support.

    It's really good to hear that you joined the society though! You've been really brave to take that step and I hope that it also helps you to realise that all your worries about joining the society were unfounded :)
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    emiip98emiip98 Moderator Posts: 132 The Mix Convert
    Hey @JJLemon18 it may be worth getting a second opinion, sometimes it can take a while to get a firm diagnosis as conditions such as autism and adhd can be so variable. If you feel that you are not happy with what you have been told by your GP then its definitely worth exploring other opinions and avenues to get where you need to be :) hope you are feeling okay about it all <3
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    JimetteJimette Posts: 85 Budding Regular
    @emiip98 totally agree, it's not worth it self-diagnosing---though it's okay to be aware. But do talk with mental health professionals, just in case~ ;3
    Wild Hearts Never Die~ >:3
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    JJLemon18JJLemon18 Community Champion Posts: 1,955 Extreme Poster
    Maisy wrote: »
    Would it be possible for you to get a second opinion or see a different doctor for a referral?
    Yes that would be possible. But I think I just need to be more confident about it, I have to go there and say "I want a diagnosis" then maybe they will refer me for one.
    Maisy wrote: »
    Equally, and depending on your parents, whether they are also neurodivergent and their own life experiences, they could potentially be in denial (if they are neurodivergent) about themselves, seeing as it's likely you share traits with them which they may relate to. To have you diagnose with autism, may make them question themselves, and sometimes it's easier to shut it down by going into denial instead.
    Really? Thats interesting to know. I never thought of my parents as being autistic, and I still don't tbh. Is autism often something that gets passed on to your children?

    Thank you so much for all the insightful advice @Maisy, I found it super helpful! I don't know what else I could say. Thank you :)
    Believe in me - who believes in you
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    MaisyMaisy Moderator Posts: 672 Incredible Poster
    edited October 2023
    JJLemon18 wrote: »
    Really? Thats interesting to know. I never thought of my parents as being autistic, and I still don't tbh. Is autism often something that gets passed on to your children?

    Autism/ADHD can run in families. It's entirely possible to be the only one in your family, but I believe that this often isn't the case. So it's possible that your parents and other family members may have traits of autism and/or ADHD but it's also possible that might not be the case. It's not really known for sure how genetic neurodivergence is. At the very least, I've heard other people not knowing they might be autistic until a younger relative got diagnosed.

    You're very welcome- I'm glad I could help :)

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