So this week has been National Inclusion Week and one of the main things that I have learned from this week is that we need to start empowering people to talk about their disabilities, their differences as well as things that make them unique. More needs to be done to support those both inside and outside the workplace who have a story to tell but are too scared that they will be judged.
When I was first diagnosed as Autistic I wondered how on earth I would describe it to people at work. For me it made me understand some of my behaviors from my childhood however as an adult I wondered how people would take it. Luckily I had a wonderful line manager who listened and helped me out with my understand what I was going through.
Through telling my line manager I was able to identify some of the things like my issues with volume control in my voice. Every time I am anxious I was able to speak to my line manager. Through her support, when I joined a new team, I felt confident telling them I was diagnosed as Autistic. The main thing I tell them is that if you notice something to please tell me. If I am told constructively I am able to take it however if someone has a go at me when I struggle.
With the autism, I have come to understand some of my strange behaviors. An example is that I have gotten hooked on “A Discovery of Witches” to the point where I have watched the first 3 episodes again and again and am desperate for next week to come so I can watch all 4 episodes. Before people would tell me I am strange and odd for it but I have come to understand that there are things that I love, for instance, mystical folklore, crime, and cartoons. This is just something which is my specialty areas. Because of the Autism, I tend to fixate on them which is good to know. This is helping me learn more about me and helping me to grow. I am still working out how it all works with me and I am trying very hard to grow into a more confident me but honestly, it is a challenge.
As a dyslexic, I always knew I was struggling with school. I was often told that there was no problem with me, it was just that I was not applying myself. It knocked my confidence in everything and I honestly did not even believe I would get A-levels. It took one school to really take an interest which helps. One teacher I had in particular who helped me out was Mr. Phillips. He would go through my bad homework and give me the chance to redo them. He would not change my grade but it helped me get the work up to standard. Because of him, during my A-levels, I was able to get a B in sociology. This was a very big accomplishment for me as it is a pure essay writing qualification. Mr. Phillips helped me out so much. I honestly wish I knew where he was now so that I could thank him.
Depression is a hard one for me especially as I live with it every day. It is hard to put into words but there are just days that I do not even want to get out of bed. I want to hide under my duvet and let the world pass me by. The problem is is that I know how bad I used to get when I was first diagnosed. I took a penknife to my hand. I do not ever want to get to that state again. I try and be open about it, however, it can be hard as you wonder how people will react when you do. I know that there are people out there who will treat you like glass and they will amend the way they interact with you which is not very good. For me when people are around me being themselves it is when I almost feel alright.
Now honestly, being 32 with spinal problems is a terrible thing. It honestly makes me think I did something bad in a past life but honestly, I am hoping that I will be able to get myself to a stage when I feel confident about it. I just hope that it would do a lot better sooner rather than later so that when I am older I won’t have extra problems.
Yet, with all I have to deal with, I do my best to get the most out of every day. I try and live my life in a way that when I look back at it I can be proud of everything that I have done. There is still so much that I want to do with my life and hope, of all hope, that I will get it done.