Living with ASD

My name is Richard Fey I'm now 58 years old and for me, life was full of struggles and confusion, during my early year's I was so clearly different and most definitely not thought of by my mother as being as good as my brother.

You see I was the second born and my brother was bright high IQ passed the eleven plus and got himself a free place in an independent private school was near on impossible for me to live up to this.

In fact, there were many tell-tales signs in my younger year's like when I would wander off because either I just get bored with what mum, dad and my brother were doing but I found my way back to the hotel although we hadn't been there too long I remembered landmarks near to our hotel the colours and found my way, meanwhile, my family and police were looking for me .There was I playing happily with other children talking strange languages.

In fact, every day after the initial few days my mum followed stops and thinks I don't know she followed of course I knew eventually she trusted me to walk to school and back home, I would come in every school day from junior school say to mother look what's the point of me at this school I don't fit in and I don't belong I'm not like all the other's, mum would say you go and that's that.

This carried on into senior school unless it was athletics or art I really was not interested the teachers had no idea how to teach me in the way I would learn best because they had NO IDEA how to teach people with learning disabilities CLUELESS IN SCHOOL.

so my time was completely a waste of time my school report b+ effort and noted poor concentration and focus could do with improvement, and I would try to hide the school report delay the inevitable disappointment of my mothers with the inevitable much-hated words why can't you be more like your brother ??.

At school in breaks, I would find somewhere to hide away till lessons and then out like a bolt of lightning on the bell of the end of the day often I come in straight to my room come down for tea then I watch maybe 2 programmes with family then up to my room as much as possible.

At 16 I noticed girls and friends paired off it hurt at this moment I made an executive decision not to be an introvert any longer I changed to an extrovert even though be getting anxiety slow bit by bit I would enter social situations at first not long but gradually till more until I coped much better with this.

So I left school at 16 1980 with just art c.s.e grade 4 English ungraded and weren't any jobs I did community programme for 3 years conservation lots of what I did still is the same as when I did it in 1988 I passed pcv bus training and was a bus driver in Bristol for 3 years then went on agency and I worked for 4 employers 19 year's before I resigned to recover and work on my mental health at that time I was diagnosed with depression anxiety and panic disorders in 2006 ,

My mom would say you can never follow a simple instruction you never hold down a job yet for nearly 20 year's I had held down jobs made some 1 man job instead of 2 left alone as long as I got everything done.

My mum in 1986 started reading articles about various parts of the asd spectrum/Asperger's and say read this is you and yet she would not push for me to be assessed and diagnosed which I consider abusive because she had her favourite my brother NEVER EVER SET YOUR SONS UP AGAINST EACH OTHER, not in the name of competitiveness it often has the reverse consequence than intended.

I always felt like a square peg trying to fit a round hole as an outsider, so in 2007 dad had prostate cancer treated in remission diagnosed with chronic asthma and Parkinson's and I became his 24/7 365 carer I had domicile carers 3x a day because I could cope with that, nearly 9 year's his carer and in 2015 mother diagnosed with Alzheimer's devastating to watch in slow motion.

All this with 3 mental health disorders and somehow with support from a neighbour and great friend, I coped my brother became PA of their estate I did shopping I did some bill payments I drove my mum and dad around especially after mums license was revoked and sold her car .

I had been wrapped up and protected for 49 year's and then I had to learn run household finance pretty much what most knew by age of 22 to 25.

Then comes September 2015 and I had new Doctor I pressed for them to refer me for an autism assessment she said if anything your mild or high functioning autism at last getting somewhere , 1st part then 2nd part then conclusion never forget the 3rd time psychologist Rhain said good to see you Richard I said that depends she looks at me says why ? depends what news you got for me.

the conclusion was after Rhian and team consulted diagnosed asd high function, going back to the car voicing yes yes yes at last at last, then I started going to b.a.s.s autism drop in every Friday became my safe zone I helped redesign the problem solving group almost a unofficial greeter for newbies.

Then I did 6 week post diagnosis group first week many tangents Jessica one of team say Richard tangent tangent but so so many lightbulb moments it was electric felt blooming awesome and by week 6 Jessica said Richard great session I said oh really why? Richard only one tangent!!

Finally I was me i knew myself I knew I was comfortable in my own skin finally instead of lights on no one home it was lights on I'm in.

Richard Fey


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