For the past few weeks, I’ve been on an epic GP-assisted meds change. That’s me, the autistic adult coming off anti-depressants and mood stabilizers and having a sweaty, anxious, angry and sometimes scary time of it. So why the share? The last few days I’ve read of yet more parents desperately trying to access CAMHS support for their young kids as they seek an autism assessment. I never got one of those until I was in my late 40s and I’ve spent the past 30 years on meds I really didn’t need. Mis-diagnosed, locked in a chemical straight jacket at times, and always expected to just get on with it, never knowing depression could be a result of masking and those mood swings of mine were in fact autistic overloaded meltdowns.
If I had been diagnosed correctly and supported I could have possibly managed without the meds (and yes there’s been many over the years including lithium and anti-psychotics. Don’t ask – it wasn’t pretty). I sit here grateful for my autism diagnosis, late as it was, but mindful of the years lost because of it. We cannot sit by and let young kids and their families go through years on waiting lists with all the anxiety and loneliness that goes with that. You try secondary school as an undiagnosed autistic kid and get back to me. It’s hard, it’s bloody hard.
Every mind matters – young or old but if we don’t hold the Tory CAMHS cuts to account and demand equal treatment for all our children then who are we? Back in the 70s and 80s when I grew up autism was hardly heard of, especially in girls. Diagnosis and support were nonexistent. There is no excuse today. Support our kids, support their families, support CAMHS, and demand government fund it. Autism is a gift – let’s make sure every child knows that and lives the best life they can. Don’t make them wait.