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  • Writer's pictureZoë Benham

Outer Space

Updated: May 9

For the first time, ever really, there was this weird sense of peace.

I’ve been practising mindfulness and sitting with angsty feelings with my therapist weekly now.

Unsure if I’ll ever conquer not attacking my own mind but this last week, I’ve sat, just with it, letting it be, till I worked out, exactly how I felt about it.

I felt like an alien growing up living on the wrong planet, I never really had a true best friend, they always had other best friends they favoured more than me. Mostly, I didn’t mind, I became my own best friend, and my own company was the best company, growing older, swapping scrapbooks for Pinterest, plastic bracelets for tattoos and hiding behind a camera, from the disposable to the DSLR’s, taking and editing photos is still my favourite way to relax. Socialising when I wanted to, on my terms and happy chasing cardio solo or cosy in a dark room watching crime thrillers.

As I got older and more confident to express myself however I wish, I saw fellow humans as Sims characters on this planet we had to share, they bothered me less and I didn’t mind that I was misunderstood. The few people that genuinely like me for me, all quirks included, never make me feel a certain way, for not wanting to eat in public, avoid social events if my mood changed, never pressured, or mind random requests or requirements and think my skull handbag is just as cool as me.

Woman holding photo

Which brings me to today, all three of my children are neurodiverse.

My heart is full and my brain might self-combust.

The NHS offered to assess me, it took 18 months from start to finish. From the first GP referral to the deepest dive into my childhood, medical history and mental health.

Many more forms, two psychologists interrogated my mum and then me with some intense neurological assessments and ADOS test.

It was two weeks from the final test that the psychologist phoned, and it’s been a while since then.

I what’s apped the outcome to people who I felt were important to me, they responded in cute ways.

Then I sat with it. Sat with it some more. My therapist would be proud.

I felt calm. At peace. I did wonder perhaps if others would have been kinder if they’d have known, what I would have done differently or how my life would have been had I grown up knowing.

Said to the husband, I think I need to wear a dress and go out on a date, to not celebrate it but to acknowledge it somehow. To then begin, my life again, as an autistic human, proud of who I am and unapologetically me.

For the first time, the little alien inside my brain is doing a funky dance, planning even more weird and wonderful adventures, with next-level reassurance.

Actually, I am positively emotional and so excited for the next chapter of my life. Bring. It. On.

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