I'm still processing the two episode of Inside our Autistic Minds, shown on BBC2 and iPlayer on the 14th and 21st of February. There was a lot to take in, varied thoughts and emotions have surfaced since and continue to do so. It has been a major talking point among my family, from age 6 to 42!
One story stood our for me on a personal level however. This was Anton's experience with time and routine. His story has brought yet another revelation about my own way of being. These new found bits of knowledge are still occurring four years in on my journey.
I get inexplicably (or I thought it was inexplicable!) stressed when people state they will phone/arrive/email at a certain time and they don't show up. I can't focus on anything else and get anxious and distressed. This is not the same as Anton's experience, but his story prompted me to think about my fraught relationship with time. Thanks to this I will be trying to implement strategies to help me cope better with other people's time keeping! *
In episode two, Chris Packham as a heartwarming, but challenging conversation with Anton about their experiences. Anton states 'You don't realise how much this means to me that this goes on in other people's worlds as well'.
The rapport between them is tangible. Anton was given an opportunity to openly discuss his life experience with another person who just understood and did not criticise or judge. I am lucky enough to see this kind of magic occurring each week at Aupeer's peer support groups, it is soul healing to witness.
When we tell our stories as autistic people someone else somewhere will gain some deeper understanding about themselves. How wonderful is that? Upholding and empowering another human being just by recounting honestly and authentically our own experiences.
This is the knowledge that drives me everyday here at Aupeer.
We often seek solutions that are complicated, this one is simple - meeting people like yourself can have positive impacts on wellbeing, self esteem and mental health. Aupeer offer connectedness, mutuality and empowerment, just through providing a platform to give voice to lived experience. We exist to try to ameliorate the problem Chris articulated, one of isolation and disconnectedness.
And the work goes on. This year has been exceptionally busy so far. I hope to give an update on some exciting developments next month!
Thank you again to Flo, Murray, Ethan and Anton. To Chris Packham and the team for creating such an impactful, thought provoking and validating programme.
*It is important to note this is not just for me to cope with or for any other autistic person to take on themselves. Please think about the huge impact you could have on another person's wellbeing through not being considerate of their time.