Tuesday 5 June 2018

Finding Myself

Ben shares his experiences before and after being diagnosed with Autism and how he coped with it. 
- Ben

To introduce myself; I am Ben Tipton. I live in Shrewsbury, England and I’m a primary education student who’s aspiring to be a teacher, and I have Autism. My journey before and after being diagnosed with Autism was far from easy, or what I would have wanted. So, this post will explain my journey up until my diagnosis and what has changed since then.

From the age of about 5 or 6, my parents knew I was different in how I thought and behaved. I was naughtier than what was expected and a lot more hyper your standard 6-year-old child. Throughout my primary school I was bullied for acting differently and I was incredibly sensitive to little comments other kids made.
Numerous doctors appointments followed this, and I remember not really knowing what was going on. 
When I turned 11 suddenly my sleeping changed. I had constant nightmares and I developed insomnia. I was also bullied in secondary school and this got severely worse too. However, despite the counselling, both in and out of school, a diagnosis never ever came. 

At the age of 16, I had a huge panic attack before an AS level exam and ended up having a week off from college. This resulted in a psychiatric assessment and it was then that I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety. There was more counselling yet again, but I never ever improved, and this made life at home severely difficult as my family didn’t think I was trying to get better! However, I can assure you all, I really was! 

Finally, after further years of counselling with no improvement in my mental health plus a suicide attempt, I reached out for support. I spoke to my best friend, my grandad, who is my hero, and my sister and they recommended that I got tested for Autism! I was 19 years old at the time and my sister accompanied me to the doctors on July 17th 2014 (I will always remember that day). At that visit I was told that it could take up to a year to be diagnosed! A YEAR TO BE DIAGNOSED WAS, AND STILL IS A DISGRACE!! So as a result, my parents went private and I was finally diagnosed on the 16th of August! 

That was the day that my life changed for the good! I became me, the man who had aspirations and no longer had to worry about things when he wasn’t making improvements in the way he acted!

I became happier over night, I became more confident after a few months and began to accept who I was, and ultimately why being Autistic makes me different in so many positive ways! I can confidently say that I am proud to be Autistic! 
In addition to this, I am proud to be studying to be a teacher while also working as a teaching assistant at a primary school. I truly do love my job which is the dream job for this stage of my career. 

I can only thank everyone for the support in my journey up until this point and I genuinely look forward to blogging for this brilliant charity, Student Minds! I also have my own blog which is called The Autistic Referee so if you get a chance, check it out too! 

Until next time,

I am an aspiring Primary School Teacher based in Shropshire, England. I was diagnosed with Autism in 2014 at 19 years of age and since then my journey to being a teacher started. I am a huge sports fan and a firm believer in exercise helping mental health and improving self esteem. I am passionate about everyone recognising their own individual talents.

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