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Rubens’ Blog: A Diagnosis May Help Access Support But It Does Not Define You

Published on: 22 Oct, 2021
Updated on: 21 Dec, 2021

Rubens King works for Surrey Choices as an employment support specialist, helping people find work experience, volunteering and paid work. He also writes giving advice on mental health issues to tackle stigma and make conversations about mental health normal. In his third article for The Guildford Dragon NEWS, he continues the theme of waiting for a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and autism.

To summarise my previous piece, I believe everyone deserves all the support they need to flourish and more.

I craved a diagnosis for the clarity and benefits to do with self-confidence and identity. If you find yourself awaiting a diagnosis, consider that the diagnosis may help you access specific support but does not define you.

Stay compassionate. To yourself.

My placement year gave me a crash course in managing disability at work. It was a complex balance of self-monitoring and trying to communicate.

I say ‘try to communicate’ because how could I explain what support I needed when I was awaiting that information myself?

Three months into my role I was deflated when my boss asked if I wanted to opt-out of the placement and go back to university, defer my final year, or choose something else like focus on my swimming.

Thanks to an extended probation period I was working at my hardest daily, just to keep my job. It may be unrealistic to compare someone who has a hidden disability to someone who does not. What compounds the issue is internalising these unrealistic work standards.

The only one you should ever compare yourself to is yourself. That should include consideration of current life events, personal circumstances and how involved the support network is.

Click here for free talking therapies locally.

Another challenge was my final year of university. I had concluded that my strategic HR course was engaging but also required years of experience to be able to be involved with the strategic components we discussed.

This was difficult to process. I often debated with lecturers and sometimes even walked out of seminars.

Thanks, unresolved conflict, I owe you nothing. What I did to ‘fix’ this state of uncertainty, confusion and disappointment was volunteer. As much as possible. I loved it. I discovered what I liked, did not like, enjoyed, and did not enjoy within an extremely quick period (five months). Volunteer. Please.

Click here for information about Oakleaf Enterprises, a mental health charity in Guildford that provides a range of services.

In summary, if you find yourself in this pre-diagnosis limbo speak up. It is not weak to speak.

Ask for help. Talk to someone. Anything. If you do not get the support you need after that, and I am referring to a resolution not just an opportunity to vent, it is not weak to leave it for a bit and revisit it later. You deserve support. There are always options. Be an advocate. For yourself.

Rubens King also has his own blog site, Stay Fruity.

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