I’m back to blogging, here’s why…

I’m back to blogging, here’s why…

I have finally reactivated my blog after a years’ hiatus. I think I exhausted myself by throwing myself into this project, too much, too soon. Like most things, I burned myself out and gave up. I find myself doing that all too much in life; I find a project that I am excited about and become consumed by it. It will be my entire focus, it’s all I live and breathe for weeks, maybe months. Then one day, I wake up finding myself completely sick and tired of it, so I throw it all away, usually never to return.

This time, I feel a renewed sense of purpose. I was contacted by a friend of a friend who’s daughter is 13, autistic and suicidal. She was hoping I could speak to the daughter, and perhaps mentor her through her difficulties. Of course I jumped at the opportunity, being a teenage girl on the spectrum was immensely difficult for me, and anytime I get the chance to help out a kindred spirit I welcome it.

But I started thinking… this is the second time I have been reached out to for this purpose, and I pretty much live in a bubble. I don’t really have many friends or much of a social life (by choice), so my reach is very limited. Even so, within my tiny bubble I have encountered two suicidal, teenage ASD girls who find the struggles of dealing with high school, teenagedom and the spectrum entirely too much, and would prefer to end it all. I started thinking how many more of you are out there, going through hell, all alone?

I wanted to end my life at 13. I endured years of bullying… I even received a death threat in my locker in Year 8. I had struggles at home, a stepfather I didn’t get along with. I was miserable at school and at home, and at night would lock myself in my room and dream of ways I could end it all. I was alone and scared, and felt it would have been easier to just not exist. Life was too hard, every day was pain, like I was crawling over shards of glass to reach the end, only to wake up the next day and do it all again.

But I did it. I somehow made it through and you know what? As soon as High School was over, I never saw any of those girls again. Years later, some of my bullies even added me on Facebook and chatted with me as if nothing happened. The more thoughtful ones even apologised for any pain they had caused. We all agreed that we were kids, too immature and careless to understand the pain we caused each other.

My home life changed. I grew up and moved out. As an adult I developed a closer relationship with my mum. Once I was out of the house and away from my stepfather, he was no longer putting a strain on our relationship and mum and I became best friends.

And life went on. I had some fantastic experiences, I fell in love, I had a career, I bought a home, I travelled. There were still struggles, life is filled with them. But with each struggle, I grew stronger, wiser. I learned how to better cope with situations. Things that once debilitated me, suddenly didn’t feel so overwhelming. I slowly learned how to create my own happiness.

Life is like a video game… you start off as a low level character, earning XP and levelling up by exploring and battling mobs. It’s a grind, and it’s hard… enemies hit you hard and you don’t have any gear to help you. But if you keep going, you level up and get better gear. Things become so much easier when you’re higher level, perks and talents that help you in the game are unlocked.

If you quit the game at level 5, all you’ve known is how hard it all is. Keep pushing. The levels you unlock later are worth it.

xo Catherine

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Sharing: The Invisible Women With Autism

Misdiagnosed and misunderstood, autistic women and girls frequently struggle to get the support they need. (Mandavilli, 2015)

An absolute must read for people affected by ASD and professionals alike. It should not take 10 years and 14 psychiatrists to get a diagnosis of ASD. More information and research is required to ensure more health professionals are aware of the vast differences within the Spectrum, so that people are correctly diagnosed and receive the support they need.

Article link: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/10/the-invisible-women-with-autism/410806/

Sharing: Autism in the Workplace

“Firstly, I regard autism as a set of neurological differences, not as something that makes me defective. I’m like an Apple Mac in PC World.  I may have been born missing an app or two, but I’ve developed some good workarounds plus I have a few add-ons that the other operating systems don’t.”

-Maura Campbell, “Autism in the Workplace”, 2016

What a fantastic analogy! Couldn’t have put it better myself. Click the link to read the full article by Maura; it’s a real inspiration for all you working Aspies/Autistic’s. X

Sharing: “Why I Wish I’d Been Diagnosed as a Child”

Sharing: “Why I Wish I’d Been Diagnosed as a Child”

I have come across this article by Rosemary Collins on The Establishment, which is well worth a read. It shares many insights on going undiagnosed as a child with Autism; one sentence stood out to me above all:

“I told him some things I can now recognize as outright lies: that a girl I barely spoke to was my best friend; that I “loved” Brownies, when in fact I found each meeting exhausting and overwhelming. Even at that young age I had learned to say these things, because they made adults happier than the truth did.”

As a girl on the Spectrum, how many of us repeated what we thought we were supposed to say? We didn’t believe these things, we just said them because everyone else said them; this was our culture. What is it about girls, and the boys that share our unique ASD characteristics (yes – they exist!), that makes us feel like we have to dissolve our individuality into the crowd?

I would love to read any thoughts about this, please feel free to leave a comment using the link below.

 

Featured image “Girl on a Bridge” courtesy of The Establishment site, 2016.