Mental Health and Autism: Carrie’s Story

NB We received this story yesterday 7th June from Autistica autism research:

“As you may know, autism and mental health are closely linked. People in the autism community have told us it’s their main priority for autism research. Autistic people are over 3 times more likely to have a mental health problem, and 9 times more likely to commit suicide than non-autistic people. To show you what this means to people, I’d like to tell you a bit about Carrie, who recently shared her story with us.

Too often, in cases like Carrie’s, autism goes undiagnosed, and the mental health problems this causes go misunderstood. It took Carrie 35 years to get a diagnosis that helped her understand herself and the struggles she had faced all her life. She wanted to share her story to help other people in the same situation and to raise awareness of the link between autism and mental health problems.
Carrie waited years to get a diagnosis

For ten years psychiatrists struggled to pin down a label, admitting I didn’t fit into any box. Eventually they gave up and misdiagnosed me with bipolar disorder, mixed anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorder. My meltdowns were misdiagnosed as “non epileptic seizures” in my early twenties and my intermittent selective mutism was put down to depression… A neuropsychologist first mentioned autism in 2009.
Read Carrie’s Story: Why it took thirty-five years to get my diagnosis

Experiences like Carrie’s show the desperate need for more research into mental health and autism. Greater understanding and improved treatment and support will mean that autistic people are not left to cope alone.”