I was diagnosed in 2017 – it was a huge weight off my shoulders as previously I had been diagnosed with a mix of PTSD (meltdowns!) Anxiety and Depression. None of that ever sat well with me and to finally be told that I was Autistic finally felt right. My Mum had been told when I was 12 that I was displaying traits back then, but as I was already accepted as the “odd child” it was never pursued.
I have learnt a LOT about myself, and I have also learnt that I am not alone in the way I feel and do things. I had previously met Autistic people and never really thought about it much to be honest, and initially it hit me for six, but now, I am relaxed and finally at ease with myself like I have never been before!
I just say to people I meet that my brain is wired opposite to theirs which means I am going to see and feel things differently to them. Fortunately, my circle of friends and family have always embraced my weirdness (something I am now very aware doesn’t happen very often for many people). I also point out that we are all different, so deal with it! It is a part of my core being, the reason I do what I do, how I act and everything about me.
Throughout my career I have always had very good attention to detail, and my black and white thinking is critical in my field of employment. I am also told how refreshing I am as a person who is a “straight talker” and my ability to just laugh at myself regardless of what others are thinking.
In my spare time, I ride mountain bikes, I used to race MTB until a couple of years ago (thank you older age!) I draw, watch anime (especially mecha based), skydiver, play Nintendo Switch, and a myriad of other things. I tend to be the person who does what I think looks like fun rather than saying “oh I wouldn’t mind trying that”, this resulted in my travels to the United States a few years ago to watch the last of the Space Shuttle launches, and eventually meeting astronauts, seeing the Space Shuttle up close, and many of the things I had dreamed about as a kid. I don’t know many people that can say they made their childhood dream of being an astronaut near reality except for real astronauts! My favourite character is Luke Skywalker – my Dad took me with him to the drive in to see Star Wars back in 1977 and Star Wars has been a total obsession ever since. How a kid who had no idea about what power he could wield in the future, from an average background ended up adventuring all over the galaxy. Plus he had a lightsaber!
My obsessions include: Star Wars, space (as in NASA etc), all things aviation, riding mountain bikes and cycling in general, and my cat! As previously mentioned, I draw as well and I think now that ability has been a neat little thing I can do thanks to Autism. I also love comic books, anime, Dr Who, Cartoon Network (too many shows to list!!) making things and restoring things found on hard rubbish, op-shopping, the internet and smartphones.
My I CAN network is my Mum, first and foremost as she has always let me be myself, and not once tried to change me; my best friend – he is my rock, and he is the one person who really understands and just gets me quirks and all; my extended friends circle, who have always loved me regardless of being the odd one out; my mentor, my boss who has seen my potential be something I am really good at now and make it even more.