The hardest thing about writing this blog, is that I’m ‘coming out’ to friends. Telling people you have been close to for years, that there’s a massive part of your life they don’t know about is a pretty difficult task. How will they react? Will they be hurt that I haven’t told them? Will it change what they think of me?
And it’s not just close friends. Work colleagues, people you play sport with, casual acquaintances, social media friends, will all be finding out something new about me. Without wishing to be melodramatic, I’m redefining myself in many ways. The aim is that it’s for the better, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about what people think.
So, to help everyone who knows me. Here are the answers to the questions you may have:
You don’t seem autistic?
Maybe not, but do you really know what autism is? It’s called a spectrum for a reason. If you know one autistic person, you know one autistic person.
But you seem to be doing OK?
It’s not a terminal illness! It just means that my brain has a unique way of working. I’m neurodiverse, so I struggle with certain things (read the blog!), I struggle to cope with some situations and because of this I suffer from depression and anxiety. But, now I’m getting help and a diagnosis, I can see it as a positive.
Seriously, are you sure you’re autistic?
Yup – well I’m awaiting formal diagnosis, but to all intents and purposes I am. Move on. By the way, that is the most annoying question you can ever ask an autistic person…apart from ‘are you like Rainman?’ (I’m not like Rainman…I’m taller)
You didn’t used to be autistic?
Yes I did. It’s just that as life has progressed it’s got harder to function. And my autism symptoms have ‘come out’ more. Plus, I can now get a diagnosis, previously that wasn’t the case for potentially autistic adults.
Ah, that’s a shame.
Shut up. Yes, it’s a big deal, but it’s not cancer or anything like that. It’s a challenge, but it can be a positve one. And it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to you talking to me. I’m still a wonderful raconteur.
And you also have depression and anxiety?
Yup. It varies in severity. Ranging from times when it’s pretty much a non-factor, to times when it’s all encompassing and I don’t want to function. I see a counsellor weekly and that’s a great help.
Why haven’t you told me?
Because it was more helpful having friends/colleagues who didn’t know. Being able to just relax is a godsend. I made a conscious decision when I first had depression, and I’ve stuck to it…until now! It’s no reflection on you as a friend (assuming I knew you at the time!). I bet there are things about you that I don’t know about?
After my last bout of depression, I had an epiphany and decided to check out if I was autistic. I’m currently awaiting diagnosis, but it’s a bit of a game changer.
Can we talk about it?
Yeah, although not all the time. I’m still the same person you can talk to about any old nonsense. But it’s not something I’m embarrassed or ashamed about. It’s actually a really interesting topic.
Can I help?
You are already. But if you want to give me lots of money and treat me as a charity case then be my guest.
Will you get better?
Not as such, but my coping mechanisms will hopefully improve.
Can I take the piss?
You’ve probably been taking the piss out of me for as long as I’ve known you, so why stop now? As long as it’s a two way thing!
So you’re a charity case now?
Absolutely. Please give generously.
I think that pretty much covers off any questions people may have, but please feel free to ask more