I have been writing about my own Autism journey for a few months, in between the demands of life, juggling studying with the needs of my children. Up until now I have only told a few people I have received a diagnosis, a few relatives, a few carefully chosen friends and only one or two verbally face to face, which was incredibly hard to do.
In my mind I see me with sticking plasters accross my mouth and all the words exploding out of my head!
Today I shared this blog, the first post I wrote with some friends, whom I consider to be non judgmental by inviting them to like my linked Facebook page. It is world Autism awareness day and it felt the right time to let others into my world. I don’t fit what would be considered a stereotypical view of ASD and hope by sharing the fact I am neurodiverse it may challenge a few misconceived perceptions that others hold about Autism.
Now I see the faces of friends with lightbulbs switched on above their heads, “ahh suddenly our quirky friend makes so much sense!”
It is so much easier to write than it is to talk, so much easier to just send someone a link to this blog than to come out and say it even in a message or email. How do I begin that conversation? The few people I did tell face to face got the news all jumbled up, back to front and pretty much upside down!
Yes in my mind I am standing on my head, arms and legs tied in noughts and a string of words all in the wrong order are escaping from my mouth!
So far no one has said anything negative. The world didn’t end!!!
You can’t imagine the relief I am feeling. I have worried for so long how to actually come out and tell people, I am telling them not because I want to have a long chat on the subject in fact I would rather not, though questions are welcome, but because since officially finding out I feel better able to understand myself and by sharing this information maybe others will understand me better too.
Having Autism in my case what would formally be considered an Asperger profile has its good points, I see things others miss, I am amazing at spotting wildlife one of my great passions, my husband often comes accross a photo online of some unusual creature and hand on heart it is very rare that I can’t name the creature and tell you what it eats and where in the world you will find it, why and how I learned and retained this knowledge, I don’t know.
I am amazing at organising parties, events, holidays etc because of my attention to detail.
When out and about I always spot things of interest before anyone else, one of my children finds it fascinating. Give my a ‘Where’s Wally’ type puzzle and I will find him in seconds.
When it comes to whales and dolphins I can identify most simply by looking at a photo of a dorsal fin, it bugs the life out of me when people post in nature or Cetacean groups full of excitement at their spot with the wrong species type! Seriously people if you don’t know look it up! It takes a lot of restraint not to rudely correct them.
I am sitting face palming in my mind!
I can do the same with music, give me a song line from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s or 00’s and I am pretty good at naming artists and song titles on the spot. Another totally useless talent, friends refuse to play pop music app with me because I always win and if I don’t they know it is because I let them win!
There is an old fashion jukebox in my mind full,of beautiful vinal records.
I see and think in pictures, I realise not everyone else does, it only took me thirty years to work that one out, I know other people can conjure up images in their minds if they try, I don’t try and I can’t switch it off. I also remember everything in pictures, I like that for the happier events in my life but despise it for the harder times, we all have things we would rather forget.
Despite what you may think you know about ASD like many others on the spectrum I don’t lack empathy, if anything I have far too much of it. I can literally soak up how others are feeling it is intuitive, but yet I struggle to read the body language of others. I am deeply compassionate and care very much about those around me and the things I believe in, I have strong principles. It is not uncommon for me to be told “get down off your high horse!”
You guessed it I am climbing off a horse in my mind.
I like company, I just need timeout because it takes me a while to process information and I get overwhelmed and need time to recharge.
It has taken me a long time to find my way in life, I have had to develop strategies that get me through each day and allow me to purse my studies and hopefully one day a job, my main strategy is to keep telling myself “I can…” no matter how big the challenge, no matter how big the butterflies in my stomach, I can try… things don’t always turn out as I hoped but then I just have to keep trying and perhaps try harder.
Today I took a huge deep breath and decided I can share my diagnosis.