I didn’t expect to live to my 30th birthday... and as a thriving Autistic, chronically ill and disabled autism and mental health advocate, I have loved my life and my work so much; and yet I always felt like I didn't have time left on this earth to pursuit my dreams as I wish to, the closer I got to 30.
Now that I have survived, I am so grateful that a series of small miracles and major surgeries enabling doctors to save my life so many times.
This insight from my past is relevant because it is infinitely woven into my identity and my biography but also details why I wrote my upcoming new Autism resource book ' My Autistic Wings'. Unrelated to my Autism, I have a few rare diseases that make me super ill (or maybe just super, I hope?!) and with the sickness, it gifted me a host of unexplained complex symptoms. One reason I write – and why I wrote this book - is because when advocates discuss autism hardships and traits, many leave out the very real experience autistic people have with pain and sickness and correlating conditions. I do not, and I think this is because I have learnt so much about what it means to be alive, to be disabled, to be autistic, to be independent, to be free, to flourish, as much as we can, no matter what. While my disease is currently unrelated to Autism (although a link is woefully under researched), autistic people experiencing unexplained and pained symptoms is incredibly common, making my insights, although rare, very relatable and inspiring. Testament to this, is the multiple message I receive on a monthly basis, from people, just like me, telling me how much I have helped them, face their chronic illnesses, struggles and pain head on, with improved mindset and mental health. It was with my hands and legs attached to a series of drip infusions, drifting in an out of consciousness to a sorrowful symphony of beeping, buzzing and whirling machines, my calcium seriously high, oxygen low, blue curtained ghosts whipping all around me as I lay in a resus bed in hospital, was where I had a moment of agonised positivity, and my wish upon a shooting star, was born:
Finding hope, where all is hopeless, is possible, because hope can shimmer on the surface of huge pain and hardship. It can teach you to grow. To be grateful. To appreciate. To really love and to really live, on a cellular level – even if you’re ill, even if you’re disabled, even if you’re autistic… It just takes time, the power of ‘yet’ and a good intention to be mindful of your efforts.
I had thought to myself 'if I get out of here, I have to help more people, see the future I see for them and I have to challenge mindsets to enable us to grow past hardships to learn true autism or disability acceptance - because it's not, what people think it is' - and it’s with this clarity that empowered me to write this book, especially the realistic mindfulness chapter that sums up the books journey to healthy autism appreciation and pride.
I believe everyone deserves a second chance at life, a second chance at self-love and a second chance for social change. Even society. Even you. Even me. In this way, everyone with a good intention to try and improve can and will change lives, because we are a team, and together, everyone achieves more.
These experiences are what taught me to pursuit mindfulness, to challenge what it means to succeed in your 20s and establish what can really help autistic teens transitioning into a thriving adult, or adults to become more mindful and learn to fly in a way that works for them- the milestones expected for adults in their 20s aren't helpful for us, and together social change is inevitable. To say these experiences changed and also saved my life is an understatement. I may be a disabled women, I may be often bed bound, I may often be unable to communicate, and plagued by agonising pain and sickness - but there is one thing you can be certain of - I am no less happy, no less accepting, no less thriving, and because of these hardships I am never giving up. It’s with this 'can-do' attitude that helped me write this book. By not hiding from the reality of life’s hardships and horrors, and not resulting in toxic positivity, inspiration porn or ableism that is so common in many popular books, but instead using the hardships and horrors, in a way that can be accessible to nearly everyone - simply if they have good intentions to try.
It was with this wish upon a star that my book was written with mindful mindsets and hidden pain in mind, to change lives - and change lives - it absolutely will. https://www.myautisticwings.co.uk/my-autistic-wings-new-book
x <3 x