At school I was that kid who was always playing with his hands, tapping on a desk, or a wall, or a lunchbox, or anything really.
There is an innate value in patterns and maps, as tools for exploration – of worlds simple or complex, imaginary or realisable, and the porous boundaries between.
I started to search for activities I could do outside that didn’t exert too much physical energy but kept me busy enough so I wouldn’t go stir crazy. We had one unused raised bed in the garden; I claimed it as my own.
Each evening I write makes easier to write the next night. This beginning is often where we get stalled. This is easier for me lately, as I have the silent night to hold this sacred space for me. I have nowhere else to be.
There are few things I find more soothing and energising than creating a problem to tangle my brain in. Sometimes when I feel utterly sapped of energy, and completely exhausted, I will spot an issue that needs solving and slowly wrap my mind around it.
I stim away, clicking my fingers, speaking my truth. It’s therapy and activism. It’s self-care and self-challenge.
Once I found out I was autistic my body started integrating more of these moves and so I started to realise that when I’m me, being my open self, it’s normal behaviour and this is a way to cope.
In 2019 I carried out a study to explore how late-diagnosed autistic women (like me) managed their health and wellbeing. This is the last of four blog posts describing the themes I identified when analysing the interviews
There’s a well-kept secret that no one tells you about being creative; you don’t have to be good at it, to get the benefit.
Despite my late discovery of being autistic, I am learning to flick on the switch of possibility and reinvention, instead of obsessing over lost time.