The artist for the above image is @Kayas_Kosmos.
My name is Rory. I am Autistic. I am proud of being Autistic. I prefer Autistic Pride Month, but I understand not everyone feels this way – so I try to aim for acceptance first.
I had and do have significant challenges of living each day as an Autistic person, and I have strengths also. I am altruistic, empathetic, a systems thinker, intelligent, and kind.
I live by core values – Ako (reciprocal learning), Empathy, Ethics, Inclusion, and Versitility.
I live just outside a small country town called Waipu, Whangārei District, Te Tai Tokerau (Northland), Aotearoa (New Zealand).
I am a staunch anti-racist. I am an intersectional feminist. I am a practicing Stoic philosopher.
I am a married non-binary bisexual masc with they/them pronouns. I am 37 years old.
I have co-occurring ADHD, OCD (Moral Scrupulosity), dysgraphia (issues with writing – handwriting is extremely difficult and often illegible, and typing is prone to grammatical/syntax errors/generalizing when I don’t mean to and formatting language incorrectly), dyscalculia (inability to do mental math), and aphantasia (no mind’s eye – I am not a visual thinker). I also have anxiety and depression – although mine are from the over stimulation due to sensory sensitivity and an unaccommodating world.
I have Crohn’s disease – an autoimmune condition that affects my intestines and often causes chronic pain. I have lost some of my bowel already due to this.
I ‘work’ (I am unemployed) as an independent researcher, advocate, and writer to speak about mental health issues, abolition, poverty, and other social issues. I am also training to become an ADHD coach because support for ADHD in New Zealand is almost non-existent for adults. You can support my efforts here (I have had to take out a loan to pay for my course – as there is no government support to do this).
I have a Bachelor of Software Engineering (Game Development Major), Diploma in Film and Television (Production Management Major), and nearly a full Bachelor of Arts (Psychology, Criminology Major) – I had to withdraw due to Crohn’s Disease flares from stress and a lack of accommodations. I got all of these without realising I was an Autistic, dysgraphic, dyscalculic, OCD, and ADHD person (although I had it diagnosed but untreated during the last half of my software engineering degree).
I have worked consistently since I was sixteen, and this is the first year that I have not been working or studying in my life (EDIT: except I just realised I am studying because of Coaching course – I can never see myself truly). I have worked in retail, as a barista, telesales, telecommunications, IT support, and game development. I have been a programmer on six game titles for PC and mobile – including two for autistic children (before I even realised I had it).
I have had substance use problems in the past, but they were a result of self-medicating for many of my conditions, and I feel no shame in having done this to survive. I wouldn’t recommend it for others, but I know why I did this.
My life has been hard, often so hard that people cannot believe I am still here and before my Autism diagnosis – I thought maybe they might be correct. I have had a gauntlet of trauma from every facet of my life – a lot of it was of my own making due to not understanding myself – and acting immorally to fit in. I have Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result.
I am here to talk to you so that you can accept me, and I’ll show you extensively how bad assumptions about Autism prevented me from being diagnosed, or believing I could have Autism for 37 years of my life. I discovered I have Autism in the worst way possible – through intense Autistic burnout.
Daily blog challenge
April is here usually known as ‘Autism Awareness Month’ – but we Autistic people want more than that – we want acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward Autistic Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of having Autism, because the alternative is shame.
For the next 30 days I will be writing every day on being Autistic using this list of prompts:
Alt-Text Format – Autistic Acceptance Month – 30 Days of Acceptance and appreciation:
- Day 1 – Introduction
- Day 2 – What I love about being Autistic is…
- Day 3 – My diagnosis/discovery story
- Day 4 – Reactions to “coming out
- Day 5 – Special Interests
- Day 6 – Supports and Appreciation
- Day 7 – The Autistic Community
- Day 8 – Favorite Autistic Blog
- Day 9 – Favourite Autistic-owned Business
- Day 10 – Sensory Life
- Day 11 – Stims
- Day 12 – Favorite Autism-charity
- Day 13 – Family
- Day 14 – Routine
- Day 15 – Everyone should know…
- Day 16 – Work/School
- Day 17 – Accommodations
- Day 18 – Someday…
- Day 19 – I hate it when…
- Day 20 – Communication
- Day 21 – One thing other people don’t understand
- Day 22 – Dispel a myth
- Day 23 – Can’t live without…
- Day 24 – Political Issue
- Day 25 – Symbols!
- Day 26 – Favorite Autism book
- Day 27 – Identity Language
- Day 28 – Dealing with meltdowns
- Day 29 – Famous Autistics
- Day 30 – Acceptance means…