In the next of an irregular series, we would like to introduce our current treasurer, Graeme Thomson-Gold. Here, in his own words, he introduces himself and explains why he is involved in ARGH.
It’s been quite a ride, and today I want to share a bit of my journey – a journey that took an unexpected turn when, at the ripe age of 43 in 2021, I got diagnosed as autistic. Yep, life’s full of surprises!
Now, if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of that “congratulations, you’re autistic” moment, you probably know it’s often followed by a figurative pat on the back and a “now, off you go” vibe. It’s like being handed a computer game without a tutorial and being told, “Good luck, figure it out!” And so, armed with this newfound knowledge, I embarked on a mission to understand what it meant to be me, now armed with the label of “autistic.”
Honestly, it wasn’t a walk in the park. Understanding myself became a bit like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded. I grappled with questions about how I was still the same person I’d always been, just with this extra layer of information.
Enter stage left: the Autism Rights Group Highland, ARGH. My first real encounter with this fantastic group was through their “Welcome to the autistic community” courses. Picture this: a zoom call of people, all navigating the twists and turns of their neurodivergent minds, and a bunch of actually autistic folks leading the way.
Let me tell you, it was like someone turned the light on in a room I didn’t even know I was stumbling around in. The course was a game-changer, giving me a backstage pass to the inner workings of my brain and offering practical tips on how to rock this newfound identity. Suddenly, being autistic made a whole lot more sense, and living my life as a newly minted member of the gang became less daunting.
ARGH didn’t just hand me a diagnosis and send me on my way; they threw open the doors to a supportive community that felt like a warm embrace (with consent). It was more than just understanding myself; it was about celebrating the quirks and unique aspects of being me.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. The profound impact ARGH had on my life didn’t go unnoticed. It was a lightbulb moment – a realization that I had to pay it forward. So, I made a decision. I wasn’t just going to be a passive member; I wanted to be part of the force that helps others find their footing in this wild, wonderful world of neurodiversity.
And that is how I found myself not just on a journey of self-discovery but on a mission to help others navigate the same path. Joining ARGH wasn’t just about me; it became a commitment to being a guiding star for others finding their way through the maze of neurodivergence.
So, here’s to embracing the journey, celebrating the uniqueness that makes us who we are, and finding strength in community! 🌈✨