I thought I might let you know some of my background. For those of you who are interested in that kind of thing. It’s kind of a bit sad so I have interlaced some pictures to cheer you up.
My mother’s family seem like a sane bunch, except for a few issues of left/right dominance, backwards writing and other harmless unusual stuff.
On Dad’s side there was a grandmother who lived locked (by herself) in a penthouse room only allowing family in, and a suicide. Dad was very erratic but apparently was made irretrievably worse by EST and a cocktail of drugs legal and otherwise. Wonderful man, charming and loveable but deeply troubled, with lots of high risk behaviour.
I was first sent to a neurologist at 6 mths by a small country town doctor and when nothing was diagnosed taught my mother a lot of things that they now do for early intervention, that ‘seemed to work on patients like me’.
Between my father being in and out of psychiatric hospitals, his friends that he met there, and my own psychosomatic illnesses I have probably spent my life to a greater or lesser extent under the shadow of the mental health therapy brigade.
Diagnoses of Bipolar, like my father, Borderline and Dissociative Identity Disorders, followed as I turned 17 and a flood of prescriptions followed.
My valiant mother and rock of a step father (Dad) saved me and got me off the prescription nightmare. I got better but not ‘normal’.
I married and given I had been haunted by a fear of early sterility we consulted my psychiatrist whether I could safely have a child. He said I was cured, the problems were only partially genetic and there would probably be a cure before the end of the decade. I should go ahead under supervision for relapse of course.
With my background I was watched very carefully pre and post partum for any ‘inappropriate behaviour’. I am one of those rare mothers that felt a whole lot of instinctive understanding, I felt that looking after a baby felt natural and right. 6 months of remedial parenting classes and clinic sisters disabused me of this notion. I was told I was not normal and I was not doing things right, although every new person had opposing views on what was wrong.
When my daughter was 6 months, an eerie echo of what happened when I was about 6 months my husband had a ‘breakdown’. Lots of intervention ensued. He had a bad reaction to Prozac and we avoided drug intervention but bobbed about trying to find therapy that worked. We spent about 15 years hiding away in our home avoiding people, every so often we would try a new therapist, then hide again when it didn’t work.
I got diagnosed with Munchausen’s by proxy, making the kids sick to get attention, and Child Abuse. It was actually the Child Protection Agency being called in that saved us all. The senior woman identified there was no abuse but that we were being abused by the system. She organised our autism diagnoses and gave us a safety net so that we wouldn’t be sidelined into another search for ‘Abuse’.
When I was diagnosed with Autism I was 38 years old.
This is a very hasty covering of my life. But I think my lack of contact with the world and the lifelong influence of ever changing experts, even more than my autism has effected my social behaviour and my confidence.
In my defence, I haven’t edited this post because I just can’t read through what I’ve written.