I must apologise for my lack of blog posts recently I have had to take some time to step back and breathe after the incredible response to my husband’s social media rant. If you missed it you can catch it here …….
The fallout from his spectacular f-bomb laden rant has been tremendously positive. Heartbreaking to hear so many stories of exclusion from all over the world, promising to hear people admit they acknowledge a lack of empathy and their need to change.
That post was not meant to go viral.
When it did, although I embraced it and ran with turning it into a positive from a negative, in reality it actually terrified me. I am and have been for the last 15 years a sufferer of depression, anxiety and OCD and to be thrust under the spotlight like we were was extremely daunting. Parenting criticised, by idiots granted but still hurtful nonetheless. Trolled, not as much as I imagined but they still came out from under their trip trap bridges to throw the odd insult. This behaviour is difficult to manage by most. I however am not most. It has given me many more sleepless nights if that is even possible. I have analysed every post and comment, dissected it and gone back to look at it a bit more. Thats what anxiety does. It’s relentless. I stopped reading at your son is a window licker. The positive posts were amazing and we’ve been thanked a million times over for having the voice to say things that others haven’t been able to say.
When I was asked recently if I would like to appear on the radio show Mentally Sound on Spice FM I jumped at it. Another F”#k you to my anxiety that I will not be kept down, I can do these things. I love talking about mental health and it really frustrates me that people still feel uncomfortable talking about it. I understand why – stigma, stereotypes, etc have a lot to answer for. After all it’s not often you see mental health painted with a lovely picture it’s often accompanied by a horror story in the media. I have to speak for Reilly while he has no voice or finds new ways to project it and I will do the best that I can to advocate for him. I see posts on social media all the time about parents worrying for their kids, thats what we do as parents, worry but multiply that by a million and you may be getting close to my struggle.
The lads Ricky & Steve made me extremely welcome and it’s great to sit and talk to others who are unafraid to bare their souls on the subject. It affects all of us in one way or another.
Link to Mentally Sound Podcast I’m first guest on about 15 mins in.
Speaking of mental health recently there was a debate in the Houses of Commons about autism and suicide attended by approximately 10 MP’s. Now a recent study shows that autistic people are 9 times more likely to kill themselves than NT’s and will die on average 16 years earlier. A handful of MP’s to debate this isn’t good enough. I’ve been on to my MP to find out why she wasn’t there. You should do the same. You can find your MP and how to contact them here. Mental health services are an absolute shambles, people who want to help can’t and people who can help are stretched to the limit. Waiting lists are too long and people are suffering horrifically. It has to change.
Top points from talking at Mentally Sound were:
Let “talk more, judge less” be your mantra and we can’t go far wrong. Talking helps.
Use the #askingautistics hashtag on twitter. As I said in the interview I am an expert at being Reilly’s mam thats where my expertise ends. Get solid advice from actually autistic people. There is no better guidance whether you are a parent, a fellow autistic person, an employer, a friend. I talked for 2 hours with an autistic adult last week and he blew my mind with his concept of how Reilly’s thought process works.
ps want to help us tell it how it really is? Then please donate to our crowdfunder if you can for The Life of Reilly pilot with offline donations we are headed for 3k. This is our chance to educate a wider audience. The play has done exceptionally well and returns to the Northern Stage on March 16th. Tickets for The Life of Reilly available, it will sell out.