Thursday, May 5, 2011

Think Outside the Box!

I am a diagnostic challenge, to say the least.

Currently, I carry an Asperger's diagnosis from my neuropsych (who is probably the most knowledgeable but hardly knows me); one of autistic disorder from my psychologist (who is probably the most well-read and knows me best); and, one of the all-encompassing-yet-generic "ASD" or "PDD" from various other tests I've had done.

And the ultimate diagnostician? The one who really knows me? That'd be my mom, and she says that she can see both, or maybe either, that it depends on the day.

And that's just the autism! Forget about the anxiety disorders, the likely personality disorder, the mood disorder, the eating disorder... yeah, lots of -NOS flying around these parts.

But I'm excited for two reasons. Well, one reason, two consequences.

The DSM-V is well underway. That's the reason.

The first consequence of that reason is that a new eating disorder will be added that fits me to a T: avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder. Basically, I cannot stand the texture of and thus refuse to eat entire food groups worth of food, such as fruits and all vegetables. I was never much for meat and recently went vegetarian. Oh, but I don't eat seafood either. Yes, I get enough protein; yes, I take a vitamin; yes, I find ways to sneak in the healthy stuff (such as V8 Fusion and peanut-butter-banana-protein-shake-enhanced-sugar-free-low-fat-ice-cream). Still, I'm quite limited and generally can't go out to eat unless it's for breakfast (eggs and a pancake, please) and basically can't do any sort of dinner party on any terms. So, I take consolation in that there is at least a descriptor for someone like me... other than "weirdo."

Secondly, part of the diagnostic confusion that is me will be reduced due to the elimination of Asperger's in the new DSM. Look here for the new criteria. I hear that a lot of people will lose their diagnoses under these criteria, and that worries me. For me, well, I had a hunch and confirmed with Mom... if you look at the severity criteria, I'm not mild but I'm not moderate. Again, it depends on the day, and yet again, I see diagnostic wars going on with my team. There are days, even weeks, where by no stretch of the imagination would you call me mild anything... then there are bits of time where I'm like, "What autism?"

(For the record. when asked if the autism is ever invisible, Leigh says, "Yeah, when you're trying to hide it on a good day." Fair enough).

Part of me wonders when the criteria are going to start to reflect real people living real lives, you know? Oh well. We're partway there.

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