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Autism and Me

This is a tough one to write about. It's also the twentieth time I've deleted this first line and started again!

I decided to record a vlog about my autism after some of our YouTube viewers asked why we moved off our first boat back in 2004. Of course, at that time I hadn't been diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). That didn't happen until 2013, but many of the problems back in 2004 (and before that) were exacerbated by my autistic traits and the two main problems caused by them - Chronic anxiety and unimaginable, uncontrollable stress.

Undiagnosed and struggling to understand my stress and anxiety.

When I decided to talk about my autism I spent a good three or four weeks writing notes and scripts for the 'Autism and Me' vlog, and I must have gone out and recorded half a dozen attempts at it. None of them looked or sounded right when I watched them back. I couldn't put my finger on why, they just didn't seem genuine or relatable.

Then one day I grabbed my gimbal (not a euphemism!) and headed off to one of my favourite places for a walk. I got out of the car, switched on the camera and just started talking. The unedited version is about forty-minutes long. Twice as long as the published vlog. But when I watched it back it (mostly) came across as genuine and sincere.

2004 - Fresh faced but my head was in complete turmoil

I spent a good week or so editing it down - I wanted to get certain points across, cut out a lot of babbling, a few tears, and a lot of thoughtful silences. Eventually it was done, as you have (hopefully) watched. I'm still not 100% happy with it because I don't talk about a few things that are important, and I think I bodged a few things that didn't really come across as I wanted them to.

Overall the reaction was positive. I keep checking for thumbs downs on YouTube. Even if I get a hundred thumbs up and only one thumbs down it will still upset me. But then again I know there are people out there who just thumbs down every video just because they get a kick out of it (whatever floats your boat). I'm just too sensitive I guess!

One thing I've learned is that I need to take time out and do things I enjoy. Take my mind away from the things in life that cause me unbearable stress and anxiety. I'm lucky enough to have the BEST partner I could ever have wished for, and the BEST friend who I enjoy a lot of time with. Together they make my life a million percent better! Thank you Shaun and Jamie xxxx.

Me and my adopted son, Jamie, chilling, having fun on the river :)

I've had a lot of feedback already from the vlog. People recognising traits in themselves and wondering if they should look into a possible diagnosis of their own. Other people say I'm brave to talk about my autism and mental health in the way I do. Ha ha... I'm really not brave!

You can watch the vlog by Clicking Here

See you next time!

Watch the full vlog, and subscribe to see future videos for free!


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