About a month ago, I came home from work at 10 pm to find a Facebook message from a former colleague of mine who now works in the field of psychology. The message said that, although I might be aware already, my personal blog is being used as a resource by her supervisor who refers people to it when they wish to learn more about autism and the impact of autism on mental health.
I was completely unaware of this and I was stunned to learn that the blog I started in August 2013 in my bedroom was now being used as an educational resource. My initial aim when I set up the blog was to get my thoughts and feelings about growing up with Aspergers Syndrome down in a written format with the added bonus of raising some awareness of the autistic spectrum and how it varies so widely between each individual. I thought it might reach my friends and relatives but had no idea that anybody else would be so interested in it. That first night, I was shocked to see the viewing figures. I thought to myself that it was probably just because it was a new blog. The site I blog on allows me to view how many countries my blog has reached-it now stands at over 100 countries.
That really made me feel proud as I know that living with an autism diagnosis can be extremely tough in certain cultures and countries where it is perhaps not so well understood. I like to think that reading of my experiences may help someone who is not as confident or assured about the way they think and experience life as I am. I have had 29 years of growing up with this condition, 20 of them with the diagnosis. Over the years, I have developed lots of coping strategies that enable me to perform to the best of my ability. A lot of people on the spectrum aren’t as fortunate and struggle to understand the way they think or become overly frustrated with aspects of the condition that they cannot change but would love to. Of course, there are aspects of my condition I would prefer to be without-the literal understanding and the oversensitivity to touch and textures, but I also know that becoming fixated on something you cannot change leads to a great deal of upset and frustration. I hope that people who have read my blog have taken that thought away with them. If I have helped just one person come to terms with and accept their diagnosis or realise they are not alone, then, in my mind, I have succeeded in what I set out to do.
However, there are aspects of blog writing that have been stressful at times. I often get very emotional responses from people who resonate with what I am writing about and open up to me. I respect this hugely and encourage people to be open about their feelings but sometimes becoming emotionally involved can lead to my own emotional balance, which is fragile at the best of times, becoming upset. I also sometimes feel I am letting people down when I cannot think of a topic to write about and so do not post for a few weeks. Around 18 months ago, I took a break from my weekly blogging as I felt I had exhausted most topics and needed time to think about more. My readers were very understanding but I still felt guilty. I hate the thought that people might see the gaps between blog posts and think I have lost interest in the blog when I definitely haven’t. This is symptomatic of my depressive thinking I can display at times, where I always assume that people are thinking the worst of me. It is something I am working on but it’s still all too easy for my thoughts to spiral in this way.
I have mentioned my personal blog several times in this post so I feel it is only right to link to it. The blog can be found at www.spectrumeye.wordpress.com
I would welcome more opinions on my blog and how you feel it could be made better. I blog primarily to raise awareness for other people on the spectrum so any topics you feel may be helpful, please let me know.
With that, I’m off to think of more topics I can blog about. I hope my blog posts continue to help other people for as long as I can maintain it.