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  • Saskia Müller

AuDHD Diagnosis Story

6 years ago today, April 17th 2018, I was diagnosed with autism and ADHD, after years of struggling with my mental health and finding myself in a special education school.

Most of my issues occurred in secondary school. I didn't have many friends and I was very anxious most of the time.

I dropped out of secondary school in year 8 after having a violent meltdown on the bus. I don't remember much of it, but I had been anxious for months. In year 7 I had struggled with the transition into a new school and found myself bullied by popular kids. I found it difficult to fit in and ended up becoming suicidal because of it.

Year 8 was arguably worse because after finally getting used to everything, everything had changed. My form-room was different and I had a new form-tutor. My classes were different, my timetable changed, and there were about 300 new kids in the year below me. I hated it. I stopped attending school for 4 months, but my mum got a letter saying she was going to be fined if I didn't go back to school. So I tried one more time. Tried being the keyword here. I got on the bus like I usually would, but this time my stepdad came with me. I got halfway to school and felt so overwhelmed I started to rock in my seat and cry. I then started to hit my head and scratch at my arms with my nails until they bled. I was having a meltdown and hit anyone who came close to me. My stepdad didn't really understand what was happening and the bus driver had to stop the bus because I was scaring people.

When I eventually got to school late morning, I still hadn't fully calmed down. I went straight to pastoral care where they told me they were not equipped to help "people like me" and they'd be referring me to a pupil referral unit. The pupil referral unit was a special education school for children and young people with complex medical needs. I didn't really understand why I was being sent there as I was only diagnosed with anxiety and depression at the time, but I was glad I was getting out of there.

The special education school was the best thing that's ever happened to me, but I didn't think so at the time. I was very stressed during my secondary school years and thought I'd do better in the real world, but it turns out I was wrong. I hadn't realised how privileged I was and how accommodated I was in that place. It wasn't until I moved out of home and started working full-time that I realised that this world wasn't made for people like me.

It wasn't until year 11 that I'd get diagnosed though.

I think my teachers were sick and tired of me disrupting the lessons all the time and wanted answers. I don't know how, but they fast-tracked me, and I was seen within 6 months.

When we got to the clinic, where they conducted the assessment, they read all my school reports from nursery to year 11. The actual assessment took half a day, which exhausted me. They wanted to know everything about me. They did activities with me, like having me read a picture book and tell them what was happening. I enjoyed doing that because it was a book about a frog and frogs were my special interest at the time. There were lots of questions. In the end, they said a lot of things about how long I had struggled with my mental health, and about being diagnosed with ADHD, and they said that they thought one thing described the reasons for everything - 'Autism'.

I left that appointment feeling so relieved.

Finding out that I am autistic gave me a deep understanding of myself that I would never have found elsewhere. I realised that feeling how I did wasn’t my fault. And that was the start of me trying to put the broken pieces of my life back together again.

So today, I am celebrating my diagnosis with some lemon cake.

Happy autism diagnosis day to me :D


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