At the age of 48, I was diagnosed with ASD2, ADHD, and OCD after a lifelong struggle to understand my unique perception of the world. Growing up in the 1970s, neurodiversity was often misunderstood and viewed as a condition to be "fixed" through early intervention. While this harmful mindset still exists, I'm grateful that the growing community of neurodivergent individuals like myself are sharing our experiences to help people understand our reality better.
I spent most of my time lost in my thoughts as a child, and rarely spoke until I was around ten years old. This allowed me to develop a vivid imagination and strong creative abilities. My mother, who was a singer, would sing every day, listen to musicals, and sing silly songs while doing chores. Her love for music sparked my interest and helped me discover my photographic memory and mimicking abilities.
At the time, I had no idea that these were part of my autism. I often felt like an alien, wondering why people around me couldn't remember things the same way I did. However, I later realized that my creativity came with a cost. When one "fader" on the "neurodivergent mixing board" went up, such as the creative fader, another fader, such as the social-emotional or bodily motor functionality fader, would often go down. So, while I excelled in areas such as art or music, I struggled with communication and basic writing skills.
As a child, I experienced many unique perceptions that no one else seemed to understand. For example, when I was around 9 or 10 years old, I began seeing a "quantum universe" with visible connections that resembled a network I could access. Unfortunately, no one listened to me, and this experience was exclusive to me. Nonetheless, I continued to draw what I saw until I could understand it. My drawings appeared as detailed abstract works to others, but they were a compulsion that needed to be completed for me.
As an autistic person, numbers, dots, and lines of imaginary metaphysical connections have become a permanent part of my perception of the world. Understanding how neuro-pathway functions work in our bodies, and that in the case of autism, some pathways lack shielding while others have too much, has helped me understand my unique perspectives. Sometimes the signals between the brain and the body are absorbed into the wrong path or get lost in a loop due to too much interference. These perceptions become the art that I create.
After 48 years, I feel liberated and on a path towards further study and understanding of myself and others like me. I create art with my visions, regardless of whether or not others understand them in the same way. Beauty is subjective, and I find beauty in most things, often from multiple angles and at different times of the day. I believe that each moment has something to offer, so I encourage others to explore and appreciate the beauty that surrounds them.