This world Mental Health Day, we’re sharing a personal story from author, and owner of Eregendal – Maggie Shaw. Maggie shares her struggle of having to live with her undiagnosed Autistic Spectrum Disorder for many years in hope of helping others.
Maggie recently wrote a song called “The Load”, about her experiences. Read more about what influenced her to create this piece, below…
I was a 15 year old runaway in 1970s London when I wrote this song.
I had made my first suicide attempt at 8. There were to be many more. I started self-harming in other ways at 9. And I suffered recurring clinical depression from 14, which I self-medicated by abusing alcohol.
That’s what undiagnosed autism led me to. Years of suffering, of failure to achieve my potential, of damaging others as I damaged myself.
Then there was a god reason for a lack of diagnosis. Female autism was not commonly recognised or diagnosed until this century.
But now there is no excuse.
So when I hear that funding is being refused for diagnosing young children with autism today, I feel very angry.
Because those undiagnosed autistic children are being condemned to the same awful childhoods that I lived through, for no good reason. More lives will be wrecked, more potential will be lost, more people will struggle and be hurt; and that damage will cost far more to repair – if indeed it can be repaired.
Please don’t let that happen to any more autistic children. Start diagnosing them and giving them the support they really need, now.
With the right help, Maggie managed to put that past behind her. She really loves her new life now as a writer and musician.
Remember that no matter what you are going through, there are people who can listen and help. If you need support today, or any day, please contact the Samaritans on 116 123.