Well, hello there. My name’s Anna, and I’ve been grappling for quite some time with the decision over whether to start a blog or not. I love writing, and am pretty darned wordy, being a graduate of both English Lang/Lit and Information Management an’ all. You could say that language is one of my special interests.
But I’ve been wrestling with issues of authenticity and legitimacy. I have suffered a lifetime of ‘impostor syndrome’ – never quite knowing why I’ve felt like I’m always pretending to be something I’m not. I’ve done this academically, professionally, and socially. All. My. Life. Only now, I feel a bit of an impostor wanting to write about autism when as yet, I’m not formally diagnosed with it. I mean, I wrote an extensive essay matching up my traits with the DSM-V criteria to give to my GP in support of a referral, but I kind of like being ‘bona fide’.
But recently it all got a little bit too much.
It was the bloody referendum that did it. Now, UK politics is not a subject I intend delving into much on here. It saps too much of my energy to even consider it, and whilst I like being reasonably informed, the political structure of my country is not a subject I enjoy spending hours delving into, poring over articles, columns, blogs, academic papers, and so on. Unlike, say, feminism, or words and language. Or (my most recent obsession), neurology.
Because of the EU referendum, however, I’ve been unable to escape it. And only last weekend, the whole damned shebang left me so upset that I couldn’t stop crying. And then I realised, that the referendum result was merely a manifestation of a deeper feeling of complete, erm, overwhelmed-ness. Being the sole breadwinner for my family, with a beautiful, intelligent, brilliant four-year-old daughter struggling to negotiate the world as a (probably) autistic child; a very mobile almost-ten-month-old-boy getting everywhere and keeping me up at night; the financial worries of supporting a family of four on one income; a job I love that nevertheless exhausts me mentally and emotionally at times (and recently one which as had me surrounded by earsplitting, nerve-jangling construction noise); no bloody down-time. My poor, exhausted brain could no longer cope. Last weekend I burnt myself out. I saw my GP, got signed off work for a fortnight, and am now doing by best to rest. But my mind is not still.
For a long time, I’ve used Facebook as an outlet to express my feelings, and also to call for peace, love and understanding amongst my online friends. Many people tell me they enjoy reading my status updates and shares or worthy pictures, articles and stories. But the vitriol on both sides of the EU referendum debate, particularly that which I see on Facebook, has left me feeling downhearted and depressed, and I can’t take any more of it.
But I still need my outlet.
And now I feel ready to write about my autistic experiences; however legitimate – or not – I feel about them. I can’t ignore the overload any longer. I need to get it out there. Who knows, perhaps this might help me sleep better at night?
And so I jump in.
Who knows, with time, this blog might become a source of information, insight, even comfort to others. I hope one day to advocate openly for myself, my daughter and other autistic people. But right now, I’m just getting stuff down.
We’ll see where this takes me…