What do you need to know?
The Short Bit
I’m 50, divorced with three daughters, one of whom is an adult and off living her own independent life, yay! My younger daughters are 13 and 9, one has ADHD and the other is autistic. I am also autistic and have ADHD, we are all bilingual English/French. I am obsessed with the colour green. I love the fibrearts and board games. I will not tolerate bigotry in any form, I am an intersectional trans-supporting feminist, an atheist but will respect your right to believe as long you respect my right to not believe. My politics basically come down to socialism based on a foundation of compassion and I am a pragmatic pacifist who believes in punching nazis. My pronouns are she/her and I think that the use of the ‘singular they’ is perfectly fine.
The Longer Bit
I grew up in South Wales where I really, really didn’t fit in, I was bullied severely for having red hair (auburn not ginger, thank you very much!). I studied four languages at school: Latin, Italian, Welsh and French and no sciences. I was in the last year of O Levels so you could still get away with it then!
I went to uni in Bangor and started a degree in French and Welsh but didn’t finish it. I got distracted by joining the Stage Crew, Roleplaying and Wargames Soc and Rock Soc where I made life long friends and spending too much time in the computer lab on these things called BBSes and MUDs.
A few years later, I ended up in Nottingham, got a proper job and settled down, sort of. I worked in IT in the energy industry. I also studied with the Open University and finally got my degree in Computing.
In late 2005, my ex-husband and I moved our family to Brittany, following my Mum who had already relocated after the death of my Dad. We came for two reasons: the one we told everyone was that life here was better, calmer, people cared about each other more, we were sick of the rat race; the other reason we didn’t talk about so much…
I was seriously ill. You couldn’t tell by looking at me but if I had stayed in the UK, I would probably not have survived, certainly not under the current political regime. I had suffered from untreated depression and anxiety all my life and a few years before I had essentially had a breakdown at work. I had continued working, sort of, but I was really just showing up. At home, I was also barely functional.
We left because we needed to start again. My ex needed help. I needed help. When I arrived, it became clear to my Mum, I think for the first time, just how severe it was. My new GP referred me immediately to a psychiatrist and so I began a very long road to where I am today. This included spending several years with a bipolar 2 diagnosis and taking medications corresponding to that diagnosis including anti-psychotics, I also had electroshock treatment, all completely unnecessarily as it was a misdiagnosis!
Four year years ago, I finally started taking an anti-depressant that worked for the first time ever. This cleared the wool from my eyes allowing me to break free from my emotionally abusive ex-husband. Then just over a year ago, I was finally diagnosed with ADHD and this year with autism, answering so many questions about my life.
Autism is different for everyone. For me, it means that I am hyper-empathic, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I am easily hurt. I try and see good in people, I will always be kind when I can. I care about others, sometimes too much.
It also means that I have poly-math tendencies, I am fascinated by almost everything, I know that I have very high intelligence but my ADHD can be very frustrating as it means that I am too easily distracted. It also prevents me from holding long, complicated logical paths in my head, especially as I have aphantasia – the inability to visualise things in my mind’s eye – and so I can’t always achieve the things that I want.
I get obsessed by things, ideas and tangible objects. I have sensory issues, mainly with noise, food and odours but I also seek out some of those things as well, I love rock and metal and most live music. I love trying new foods.
For me having both autism and ADHD can make life a contradiction. I love order and planning yet I can be very untidy and love to be spontaneous. Sometimes. If I’m in control.