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Post - 24 May 2024

It has been an emotional week for me. On Monday, I was assessed as being both autistic and having ADHD. To say that discovering this after 46 years of life was a shock would be an immense understatement. And yet, in an instant, my life made sense in a way that it hasn’t for a long time (perhaps ever). 

Now I knew why life seemed so difficult. Why I cared deeply about others and at the same time sometimes found social interactions to be stressful and confusing. Why I earned a living with words as a barrister and yet found that at times words failed me in regards to my own emotional experiences. And perhaps most significantly, why I failed to see the sinister intentions of others - a vulnerability that previously resulted in me becoming the victim of serious abuse. Professionally, I can think forensically and analyse and weigh evidence, and yet in personal situations I can sometimes fail to see the evil behind the smile. However, even if my autism makes me too trusting, I'm okay with that. Seeing the best in people is a virtue I don't want to lose. But I have learnt that I must protect myself against those who would betray my trust and take advantage of my good nature.

While it is a lot to take in, life is good. I have a wonderful wife who accepts and loves me for who I am. I have been buoyed up by the kindness of others. My mother, one of the strongest people that I know, helped me put back the pieces of my life after I fled abuse. I love my work as an immigration law barrister - an area of law that I have now practiced in for eighteen years. I carry my children in my heart, and I feel so blessed to have my baby boy in my life as well - my baby fills my life with joy and makes everything in the world seem right again.

For 46 years, my neurodivergence lay hidden because I was so good at masking, camouflaging and internalising my autism, but with this further knowledge, I am ready to embrace my true self. While having a neurodivergent brain is not easy, I love the creativity, the out-of-the-box thinking, and the unique perspectives it gives me. Although my beliefs may be somewhat socially naive, I want to believe that we can all strive for a more just and compassionate world. Despite the stigma of being autistic and having ADHD, I know that I am intelligent and capable and so I will move forward trusting my brain and embracing my unique way of processing the world.

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I hear ya, Sean. I hear ya. Because only about three or four years ago I discovered just the same stuff as you mentioned, except PTSD and Aspergers is in my orbit also. That combo sunk my attempt to do law in Canberra. Mind you, the three lawyers I spent time with couldn't get rid of me fast enough! I guess they didn't want to go against the trend.

And it's one of the reasons Mormons hated me so much, and literally refused to speak to me. I had home teachers once in five years. Speaks volumes, doesn't it.

No matter, I cured that problem.

Having survived the horrendous abuse I got for the first twelve years of my life,…

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Very kind, Sean. I wish you and I could have done a whole lot of stuff together!

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