As yesterday, I had this idea to make a post to record that I’m in a good mood. If I only post when I feel miserable, people could come to a conclusion that I always feel miserable and it’s to do with me being autistic. It’s really not like that at all, although, I guess, I may get into a bad mood for different reasons that neurotypical people would (like being in noisy environment or, even worse – socialising for too long, who would have thought?).
As yesterday, I have absolutely no idea why I’m in a good mood. Possibly it’s the side effect of SAD lamp? In that case I’d recommend it to everyone, because I really do feel like I won a lottery, even though my bank statement shows less that I would expect to have this time a month ago (where’s my DBS???). It will be really interesting to see if this mood will stay with me for longer, fingers crossed.
I was thinking recently about my ‘work personalities’ and I summed up myself as having 3 of them: researcher, practical/focused on processes and an activist. When I worked in care neither of those personalities could really shine. I used the practical one to deliver the service and, as I already mentioned here, that was not always appreciated (a resident’s bath chair looks like it’s getting broken? Magda is looking for problems again, instead of focusing on people, that’s what it is).
When I said researcher, I mean I am someone constantly looking for patterns. I used that ability to do complex maths and to study IT, which was a great fun, yet I never had an opportunity to actually use that in my career, which is a bit sad. I really do think autistic people need more career advice and not something that is overly simplified because we oversimplify things ourselves already, so we don’t need neurotypicals to do that for us, seriously. I have a blog about autism but I don’t think I’d like to be autism researcher. Firstly, I wouldn’t then be able to be an autism activist, as that would be conflict of interest; secondly, I’d need to then work with other researchers, possibly neurotypical, who could try to research me during our lunch breaks and that wouldn’t be fun. As much as I want autism research to progress, being seen as full time research object is not what I want from life.
I’d like to be researcher in medicine, possibly working on creating new drugs. That would however require going back to university, without and guarantees that I’d get where I want to be at the end. Maybe I’d just end up in a local pharmacy instead? It’s also possible that, even if I got a job in research, I’d have to be against politics, that would have nothing to do with patients best interests and everything to do with company profit. Never working in that area and having limited social imagination puts me in a situation where I am unable to weight pros and cons of this route, therefore I’d rather not take it. I do hope that people who read this won’t think that I’m lazy and lacking ambition, I’m just trying to be practical in situation where my access to information is very limited.
So that brings me to my third work personality: an activist. I suppose having a blog makes me an activist already and complaining about Professor Baron-Cohen even more so. As much as I feel that sacking me from my job in care was a step too far, I am grateful to my life circumstances for that as I really used it as an opportunity. I mean, I don’t have many readers for now, but things may change with time, and I know that I have to keep blogging to get there. Possibly one day my views on the state of autistic research and support available for us will matter. I’d never start a blog when I was employed. One problem was, I was constantly fed up so there would be nothing to write about, the other thing was, my work colleagues didn’t know me as a blogger and I was afraid to upset the status quo. Although I didn’t disclose to my prospective employers that I have a blog or that I’m autistic, the blog is available online and possible to find and I am who I am.
Thinking about all the above, it took me years of trial and error to understand my strengths and weaknesses. I probably still don’t fully get them now, and this is, unfortunately, part of being autistic. While in secondary school I was constantly being told how smart I was and no one ever realised that there are things I am unable to do. That’s why there really needs to be more support and quality research – something that doesn’t include ‘autistic mice’ but focuses on autistic people instead.