End of year grousing about mental illness and autism assessments

I don’t often post personal updates these day; the blog has evolved over the last year. Of the last twenty posts, sixteen have been reviews, or blog tour related. The other four have been about my novels. I feel like I need to write a personal post today though.

Earlier in the year I was provisionally diagnosed as autistic, and I’ve been waiting for assessment appointments that haven’t happened yet. It’s been quite disheartening, because without the bit of paper that confirms the diagnosis I can’t get any of the extra support I need. I filled in a sensory self-assessment form months ago, and in April I got a sensory profile report back, with the information that I will be contacted later in the year for an initial appointment. Well, the year is nearly over and I still haven’t heard anything. I’ve sent an email, since the year is nearly over and I was supposed to have my initial appointment between late September and November. I shall wait until mid-January for a response and then try again.

I had hoped to have another appointment with the clinical psychologist I saw for my anxiety and depression, but that hasn’t happened either. I got three appointments with him, between January and July and then that was it, no support whatsoever, other than the usual ‘remember you can always call the crisis team’ spiel. I’d like to get help before it gets to crisis team level, thanks. I can’t even get any counselling because their budget has been cut and last time I spoke to the counsellor I had in 2015 she said it’s probably not suitable now we have an Asperger’s provisional diagnosis. With the new rating system it’ll probably be ASC level 1 or 2, a low-need case, when I finally get my assessment and diagnosis.

For years I’ve been trying to get help and getting nowhere. GPs who wouldn’t refer me or get me any proper help and medication that actually works, actively sending me back to work despite my explaining that the work environment made things worse, people ignoring or dismissing my distress in overwhelming situations, and all the rest of it. It felt like I was finally making progress in 2017 but now it’s come to a complete halt again. This stop-start-stop isn’t helping me at all. It’s very discombobulating when I’ve been told ‘this will happen at this time’ and then it doesn’t. I know the ASC assessment team are stretched but a letter saying ‘sorry we’re too busy with higher-need cases to assess you this year’ would have been nice.

My mental health hasn’t been great recently. After moving in July it took a few months to recover but by October I was physically and mentally back up to snuff, and then December came around and I started worrying about money. I had been receiving a discretionary housing payment from the county council to help me pay my rent but it ended in early December. Even with it, things have been tough, though my family and friends have been trying to help. I’ve applied for another DHP and a budgeting loan, but my timing (mid-December) wasn’t great, I probably caught them when everyone was winding down for two weeks off and I haven’t heard back yet.

It doesn’t help that even with so much book blogging and dissertation research, I haven’t had a big project to get my teeth into since April, other than editing and publishing my books. I tend to do that in a month of concerted effort so it takes up all my time, but only for a month. That was May and November. I tried keeping busy by doing an WEA course about forensics to help me with my dissertation, but that only lasted 7 weeks, and I haven’t been able to go to craft club as regularly as I was because I can’t afford the bus fare and subs very often. It’ll be better when I can get started on my final module assessment piece and then my dissertation. I’ll have something to focus on.

It’s something to look forward too, that and going to see Hamilton in London on 1st March with two of my closest friends. I haven’t had a trip away anywhere in almost a year and a half. I need a change of scene. The ticket are paid for, I just have to work out how to pay for train fare and the hostel for two nights. I have a plan, involving a budgeting loan and my student loan, but I need to see how it all pans out first.

Going to bed now, sleep sometimes helps.

Let’s hope 2018 is better than 2017, for everyone.

Published by

R Cawkwell

Hi I'm Rosemarie and I like to write. I write short stories and longer fiction, poetry and occasionally articles. I'm working on quite a few things at the minute and wouldn't mind one day actually getting published in print.


  1. You have probably already though about this but just in case there are organisation who can help advocate on your behalf. Despite both my wife and I working in special needs we needed help with my sons PiP claim.

  2. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through all that. It’s really unfair that they make it so complicated to get the help you need.

    I hope you have fun at Hamilton. I’m kind of jealous. I’m also kind of curious how an English audience reacts to that play. I hope you’ll do a review for us!

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