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Aspernaut

Don’t even think of revealing your diagnosis

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Aspernaut

I usually come here when I’m hurt or angry and want someone to help me feel better but as I never get an instant answer and do not use this site regularly ( I always intend to) I have concluded that it is not the advice that helps me it is the acknowledgement I gain from writing my gripe down. But anyway...

 I moved into this flat 15 months ago and upstairs above me is a couple. Being how I am I never thought we would be friends but last summer they invited me to join them outside in this suntrap Court yard for a glass of wine. It became a regular thing when the sun was out. Later she would knock on the door and invite me up  to join them. I began to open up. Today my shrink encouraged me to open up to people so when the conversation earlier today turned to mental health I asked whether they meant mental health or a condition, to which the reply was , “what’s the difference “As I explained, and off guard, he asked what I had. When I started to talk about AS he interrupted with a rhetoric about money being spent on people who should be able to help themselves and how he never got handouts. This killed me inside. He was the only person I have allowed myself to open up to for well over 10 years and BOOM, there it is just waiting. Next week I will question my Psychologist. What I will do about this is irrelevant but my message is Do not tell anyone you are Autistic. They are NOT going to get a deeper understanding and it will definitely NOT enrich your life. 

I would dearly love to hear of someone’s life getting better from disclosure. 

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HalfFull

I know it seems discouraging that the very first person you told said something like this but honestly in the UK most people wouldn't react like that. His reaction was unreasonable and its his problem if he is this ignorant. Disclosure helped me a lot in the workplace and I stayed with the same organisation for 12 years. I've never really had a bad experience from anyone knowing. Before that job, I did have one manager accuse me of being 'unwell', but he was a very militaristic thinker, and during a period of unemployment I disclosed to an acquaintance and she said "well when my friend gets back don't tell her that because she'll moan that we have to pay your taxes". Frankly, people who react in those ways are just brainwashed. They assume that people are 'playing the system' and do not see how cruel and heartless their responses sound. I truly believe that the media needs to get its act together and support neurological disorders instead of sensationalising it the same way as everything else!

I think in jobs and relationships its strongly advised to disclose but otherwise I'd say choose very wisely and if someone reacts badly, its because they are clueless!

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Willow

I'm sorry about your experience, but as @HalfFull said, most people wouldn't react this way - this is a minority response and not a majority response. 

I can understand the point of view when people get annoyed that they have to work tirelessly to make ends meet and they see people who don't work, who don't look physically disabled, getting money 'for free'. But it's still not a fair judgement to make, especially when they know you.

I actually have benefited a lot in the past from telling people about my mental health difficulties. I was open about things at one of the schools I went to (still a normal, run of the mill secondary school),  and everyone - teachers and students, were all very accommodating and thoughtful. Though it did end badly, that was again, a minority not majority situation.

I've found that, after many years of struggling socially, I just no longer care what people think - and if they're toxic and bringing me down, I just don't include them in my life anymore, I don't have time or energy for drama or bulls**t.

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Aspernaut
2 hours ago, HalfFull said:

I know it seems discouraging that the very first person you told said something like this but honestly in the UK most people wouldn't react like that. His reaction was unreasonable and its his problem if he is this ignorant. Disclosure helped me a lot in the workplace and I stayed with the same organisation for 12 years. I've never really had a bad experience from anyone knowing. Before that job, I did have one manager accuse me of being 'unwell', but he was a very militaristic thinker, and during a period of unemployment I disclosed to an acquaintance and she said "well when my friend gets back don't tell her that because she'll moan that we have to pay your taxes". Frankly, people who react in those ways are just brainwashed. They assume that people are 'playing the system' and do not see how cruel and heartless their responses sound. I truly believe that the media needs to get its act together and support neurological disorders instead of sensationalising it the same way as everything else!

I think in jobs and relationships its strongly advised to disclose but otherwise I'd say choose very wisely and if someone reacts badly, its because they are clueless!

Thank you for that.

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Aspernaut
2 hours ago, Willow said:

I'm sorry about your experience, but as @HalfFull said, most people wouldn't react this way - this is a minority response and not a majority response. 

I can understand the point of view when people get annoyed that they have to work tirelessly to make ends meet and they see people who don't work, who don't look physically disabled, getting money 'for free'. But it's still not a fair judgement to make, especially when they know you.

I actually have benefited a lot in the past from telling people about my mental health difficulties. I was open about things at one of the schools I went to (still a normal, run of the mill secondary school),  and everyone - teachers and students, were all very accommodating and thoughtful. Though it did end badly, that was again, a minority not majority situation.

I've found that, after many years of struggling socially, I just no longer care what people think - and if they're toxic and bringing me down, I just don't include them in my life anymore, I don't have time or energy for drama or bulls**t.

Thank you too.

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Nesf

It's a shame that those 'friends' of yours had such superficial thinking, as if your friendship and knowing you as a person meant nothing at all to them :( I don't think that all people are like that, but I am very wary of revealing my diagnosis for that very reason, that people are ignorant of the very real problems we face and misjudge, or prejudge. I tell people on a need to know basis, and that doesn't usually include friends (not that I have many of those), but doctors and close family members. My diagnosis is private and I keep it to myself.

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Sanctuary

I am pleased to hear that some people have had positive experiences of sharing their AS status with others. However I feel this still needs to be done with caution as there are still many people who have misleading, often negative views about AS. Many still have no idea what it is. Others would recognise the existence of non-verbal, low-functioning autism but take a cynical view that AS is an invented or exaggerated condition by those who are seeking "special treatment" or benefits. There will be others who are more sympathetic but see AS as very disabling - the kind of condition that makes someone struggle cope with basic tasks and is largely unemployable. There is probably better understanding among those who work in education, health and social services but even there pockets of ignorance, indifference and even hostility will remain. The safest policy is probably to ascertain someone's view on AS before revealing any more.

I'm not clear about whether someone who has been officially diagnosed with AS is legally required to declare it to employers or other agencies. These organisations might argue it is a relevant fact for them to be aware of although of course they are supposed to be making due allowances for someone with AS, not use the diagnosis against them although there is the fear they will do the latter.

As regards anyone who is self-diagnosed rather than officially diagnosed I'd be interested to hear thoughts on what - if anything - they should disclose. Employers and official agencies in particular may take the view that someone who is self-diagnosed is not in a position to say they have AS or indeed any condition but as we know there can be formidable barriers to getting a diagnosis. A condition has real effects on someone's life, whether diagnosed or not.

Edited by Sanctuary
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Sofi

I agree that this response you had was quite rare. Some people think like that who don't know much about mental health or ASD. 
I've never really been in a position where I've had to say about my ASD or mental health, because most people in my life already know or have met at a club specifically for ASD or mental health conditions so it's known. But if I had to, I'm sure I would tell them (I feel it's for my safety if nothing else) and I don't really care what other people think if it's a negative response. I am what I am...  lol. 

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Dr-David-Banner

I learned for the most part to say nothing unless there arises some serious issue. Especially as I self diagnosed ages ago which would not be accepted by many as on a par with an official diagnosis. I once made the mistake of telling a friend who then scoffed and told me to get a proper diagnosis. Even worse it was suspected I was looking for a way to cheat the system. So the only people who know are on this site and don't know me in person. 

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