You’ll likely find me doodling, or scribbling notes as fast as I can from the fragments of poems flowing through me. Gifts from the creative cosmos that love to strike at the most inconvenient times – “quick, get me a pen!”. Hopefully you’ll see me smile, pleased with my lyrical formation. But maybe not; I’m my own biggest critic. If I’m not creating, you may see the energy instead manifest as drumming on my knees, clicking my fingers, or giggles at the theatre inside my head. Once upon a time you may have seen me rocking or swaying, but years of masking have taken their toll and I’m still building up to the confidence let myself stim so freely.
My world is visual. My planner, a messy web of pictures to guide me through my day and to-do list. My menu, a collage of vegetables and meal components to shuffle as I fancy. For me, art is not simply a hobby or craft but a vital tool to function in a chaotic world.
I spent years asking, “what’s wrong with me?” and feeling sorry for my ‘deficits’. Discovering neurodiversity has been a blessing and a journey in itself. Sharing experiences with others, particularly with women who are likely to find their diagnoses in later life, has brought validation to my struggles and helped me to trust my own voice. This growing self-trust has given me the boost to publish my work, celebrating my voice and art. I hope to build on this by launching my own social enterprise supporting neurodiverse communities to thrive.
Many challenges come hand in hand with neurodiversity. For example, alexithymia is the way a psychiatrist might describe the phenomenon of struggling to recognise one’s own emotions. I just call it my normal. With research and shared stories, I’ve learned to recognise, name, and experience the physical sensations of feelings. It is vital for processing and releasing. For healing. Art offers me this much needed outlet, a channel for emotions that don’t flow through my body and connect with my brain in the same way they would for neurotypicals. If you read my poems you may notice a distinct emotional thread woven through them.
~ (Uh oh, did I make that face out loud!) ~
It was a long road to where I am now, a brutal uphill slog! Aged 18 I had to leave my residential children’s home specialising in challenging behaviour, where I also received an education in a referral unit. Following years of hostels and hospitals, I finally broke free from a pattern of institutionalisation in 2017. I was lucky enough to find a supported living placement where I felt seen and was supported to find my own narrative beyond psychiatry. Gaining a place at university, I was able to live independently for 3 years while I worked towards my degree. Now, an ambassador for neurodiversity, I take every day as it comes. There are challenges, of course! But I know I can creatively navigate the great unknown before me.
Get in touch or follow my journey:
Amazon Kindle: Link coming soon!