Today was the testing. The psychiatrist who was appointed to my case by Mass Health seemed like he knew his stuff and he hit me with the battery of tests. I even got to do the famous Rorschach test, which was fun. I knew the names of most of the tests he was giving me, which impressed him along with my ability to keep a conversation going on a variety of topics. Of course, he noted my articulation and that I was obviously an intelligent person. I can also say with no ego that I was probably his favorite evaluation, as I made the testing go smoothly for him.
While he didn’t put this down on paper yet, he did ask me if anyone brought up the possibility of ADD. Sweet mother fucker, that’s all I need. Because the Asperger’s diagnosis didn’t give me enough trouble. Keep in mind that he hadn’t seen me for more than an hour and the reason he asked me that, is because I had some difficulty with a sheet of math problems.
The math problems were simple at first and then there was long division, calculus, algebra and fractions. I had enough problems with this in high school and I sure as hell haven’t used any of it since then. Given the option of a pencil and paper, I might have figured out the more complex problems, but there was only a limit to what I could do in my head in the time frame required for the testing. This is when he suggested the ADD. Because there was a limit to the math problems I could do.
Come on. You and I probably know people with ADD. If difficulty with math was a symptom of ADD than not only would 99% of the world be qualified for the diagnosis, but it would be a hell of a lot easier to manage, don’t you think? Yet obviously there is more to it than a difficulty solving a fucking calculus problem in your head.
I bet, without looking at Google, that you could not recite all of the nation capitols of the African continent. I bet you could not recite entire passages from Hamlet at the drop of a hat. Does that mean that if these things were a requirement for a test that you were taking, that you would have ADD? Of course not. It would simply mean that you have not found a reason to store these factoids in your long term memory and similarly, I have difficulty with math problems beyond what I need to manage my limited funds.
Fortunately, this was not a diagnosis. The psychiatrist simply asked me if the diagnosis had been proposed. The trouble is that ideas are very hard to restrain. Of course he has to actually work up the tests and go with the results, but suppose he doesn’t want to let the idea of ADD go?
Suppose the results present him with a number of options to choose from and I, being the bright eyed kid who popped fifty cents into the vending machine in hopes of getting the miniature hand cuffs, wind up with the ADD diagnosis.
How do you think people will respond when they hear such things? Oh, are you taking any medication? There are medications that help with ADD. At least with the Asperger’s diagnosis, there is still some ambiguity about the range of characteristics that I can safely be more knowledgable about it than the average ignoramus. But ADD was the “in” diagnosis when Asperger’s was just finding it’s legs in America. ADD and ADHD respectively are ostensibly responsible for the “My Pill Will Solve All” mentality that I hate so much and pretty soon the average moron who read the back of a book in the psychology aisle of their local Barnes n Noble is going to flood my comments section with their personal journey that was made so much easier when the label was tattooed on their foreheads.
The other thing to remember is that this guy is not a long term therapist. He is the appointed psychiatrist for the Mass Health office who is helping me to get an updated diagnosis. Furthermore, his goal is to give the career counselor assigned to my case something to work with as she tries to help me find suitable employment. But since this person has been in my life for even less time than the psychiatrist, all I can see is more frustration at yet another person who will be more inclined to read the words that this man puts to paper than to listen to me.
This is all speculation of course, based entirely on my experiences so far. Maybe I’ll get lucky and the psychiatrist will not try to slap me with an easy label and maybe the Mass Health counselor will actually work with me as opposed to against me. I only offer that possibility so that I can at least end on a halfway positive thought.