While I was putting together my Patreon Page for my Books, I included a short piece about how our family discovered that we were Autistic.
I won’t put it here, I’ve already told you about my family… but if you want to take a look at my Patreon page it’s HERE. (Just click on the bold word to go through to it.)
Writing it made me think about my personal Autism Journey.
Then this morning, I read an article on The Mighty about another person’s struggle to get a diagnosis – https://themighty.com/2016/08/getting-an-autism-diagnosis-as-an-adult/
…and I realised that I’d never really thought about all the things that happened to me when I was growing up through the aspect of Autism.
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My mum always used to laugh about the way she could put me in my pram or on a blanket on the floor and as long as I had some toys or books, I’d never move. I got this feeling that it took a lot of pressure off her – she never was a natural housewife and looking after the house was something difficult for her.
As far back as I can remember (and that’s back to being a toddler) I never had many friends. When we lived on the USAF base, I put it down to the hassle that it took to get clearance for people to visit me, or the fact that my mum couldn’t drive and my dad was always working. I can remember going to exactly one birthday party while we lived there, and I only had one party myself (when I was 7).
When I went to Middle School, I encountered my first bully – they took exception to the fact that I liked to read a lot, spent time talking to teachers and always did my homework. I had a brief respite from this when we moved to Melton (I was 10) and because of the catchment area rules, I had to go back to Primary School, but I still didn’t make many friends – I was far too different to the other children in the year.
My one friend was Bethany, a lone American whose parents worked on the base but wanted her to go to a British school. So we had sleepovers and adventures in the countryside around her cottage.
The bullying started back up when I went to the second Middle School. By then, though, I had more than one friend and we’d haunt the library at lunch times. High School arrived and we were fairly inseparable. Naively, I thought we’d be BBF’s…
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Looking back at those years, I must have been showing so many signs of High Functioning Autism, but because Aspergers was considered only a boy thing and because I had good grades and didn’t shy away from being sociable or joining things like Guides, the local AmDram Group or ATC Unit, I suspect I was just written off as being weird.
The thing is, I can remember sitting on the edge of the classroom, often alone with a book, and watching the other girls getting excited about parties they were going to or planning. Watching them flirt with the boys and have relationships.
I wanted to do all those things, but if I asked the boys out, they’d laugh and say “I don’t like you that way.”
I could never figure out what they meant or what I had to do to be liked enough to get a boyfriend! I got one eventually, a very gentle young man who didn’t seem to mind that I was so very intense and serious about him… well at first. I think I scared him away after a little while.
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The experiences I had, I am hoping that PT won’t suffer too badly through. I can tell her what I experienced and help her when she has the nasty ones, but she has to experience them to learn; both about other people and herself. I don’t want to wrap her in cotton wool…