A story of someone's personal experience of Autism and mental health, gathered as part of the Oral Histories Project.

Hello, Andrea. Would you mind telling us a little bit about what brought you here today? Um, I'm just interested in telling stories and getting views and opinions and experiences out there. That's lovely. And would you like to share with us a little bit about your own mental health journey? Um, yes, yes, we're not

That's there. Mm. Yes

I don't know. I suppose I've had experience of anxiety and depression. Very common, Um, and then recently discovered that I'm not autistic

Um, so that's that's just all interesting. It's an interesting I thought we might all come into play and sort of Yeah, the frontiers of mental out because no one really knows where. Perhaps one starts and another one stops and that sort of thing

And how has it felt being on that kind of journey of discovery? Mm. Really strange lots to find out. Lots to lots to think about the polls and boss to reflect on

Yeah, and probably lots of no no nose as well. So So why not just bubbling on through life for you and a certain elements of the conditions that you're finding out about and explain for? There are certain elements that you're finding interesting or challenging in any way. Mm

I suppose it's interesting to know how my behaviour might be perceived by other people. Um, hard to think of an example, Really. It happens every single day

Yesterday I was volunteering and put it into a conversation that perhaps I shouldn't have because I don't know. Why don't I know what to put into? What? To keep my nose? I would talk. Yeah, someone give me a right evil look or what I perceived to be an evil look Not to be

Yeah, it's just yeah, just to me. I was joining in and making polite conversation to someone else. It was, Do you think you are very strange? So social interactions Often a bit of an unknown? Yeah, yeah, I would say so

It's probably always been the case, but it's weird now to have a different perspective on things and think, Oh, yeah, that's why I do that. It's just me trying to be friendly. But as I said to someone else's me being rude, unfriendly, it's interesting how everyone's got different characters and we're all modelling together

But how? Some things seem harder for people that potentially on different spectrums. I just in my own life, I can see how people are no struggle with some things more than others, but how way their brain functions in different ways, how it can enable really creative thoughts in ways that other people will be able to experience. Yeah, yeah, So it is a different, different way of brain working that's falls with the autism

It's the way your brain's always worked, and it's a bit of a revelation to think your brain doesn't work like that. Well, you're a weird of an idea, whereas I suppose if you have a period of mental ill health as well, it's you can remember how you were before and you had a different sort of life before rose with the autism who sad. But you'll never have a different life base

That is the way it is. It is just whatever it's going to be, and it's not necessarily not necessarily something bad. It's just just different

But as I say, it could be perceived as something about lots of autistic people are in there, the mental health system or the criminal justice system, and it's not really that they've committed no crime, just something artistic. And it's in somebody's tick. Boxes describe like, I don't know if people always get the support they need are in the right way

Do you feel that you get the support you need in a way, because I've gone out to look for it and I've done volunteering with various places. Um, so that's whatever glad that at least I got the strength to do that and the opportunities to do that as well do some voluntary because if you wait for the psychiatrists and the psychologists, you'll be waiting a long time. And remember all that

You've got to deal with your daily life whilst waiting and school or work. Or, um, listen, ageing parents, that sort of thing. So got to deal with it so well, what have you found particularly beneficial about volunteering? Meeting of the people in the same boat? Yeah, just like an accepting place

Yeah, you turn up, turn up late for something and you say I can't find the door. Couldn't find the car park. Well, that's all right

It's not doing as strange or weird. It's just part of life. It's not being able to find the door

So it's quite an accepting community. Yeah, resemble each other. Um, is there anything else you'd like to share about your journey so far? Oh, I can't think that's a big, open ended question

Definitely. Thank you very much. You're more than welcome


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