05/02/2016 12:17 GMT | Updated 04/02/2017 05:12 GMT

An Open Letter to the NHS - Why The Ridiculous Wait For an Autism Diagnosis?

Dear NHS,

I am a big fan, you've been there for me and my family lots over the years, helping me find the right medication to control my anxiety, you sped my son to hospital in an ambulance when he hit his head and passed out, and you've been there to set our broken bones.

But now I have a complaint.

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Ever since my first memories I have felt different, I struggle maintaining friendships, am baffled by small talk, fashion and how to end a conversation. I actively avoid talking on the phone, suffer with anxiety and find it painful to make eye contact with people.

I find it almost impossible to talk about how I am feeling other than the basic, happy, sad or angry, as though the language to describe my emotions simply isn't there.

After struggling along with these problems for over 35 years I decided that the stress they put on me and my family was enough and, after doing my research, I asked for a referral to see if I am on the autism spectrum.

I knew there'd be a wait but I didn't realise just how long that wait would be.

My referral was received on September 15th and now 142 days later I still don't have a date for my appointment.

The issue is that I struggle with unknown factors. I need facts and dates to help keep my anxiety in check, but when I phoned to see if you could give me a rough estimate when I might get my appointment all I could be told was, 'it will probably be this year'!

The not knowing is creating huge problems. I have panic attacks when I see the postman, does he have a letter in his bag for me? Is today the day I can finally relax?

I have mastered 'hiding my issues' but having them raked over by doctors. and questionnaires has left me feeling raw which is obviously affecting my parenting skills, confidence and my marriage.

The issues I suffer with suggest I am on the spectrum, yet I, and many others, are being forced to endure unacceptable waiting times for a diagnosis, this wait is exacerbating my problems and having a negative affect on my mental health and relationships with my husband and children.

Come on NHS, help me out, I'm not asking to be seen tomorrow, I just want a date, however far in the future it may be, help a Mama out?