Lucy Beaumont tells how her mum was diagnosed with several neurodivergent conditions during lockdown, but the time allowed her to figure out why she had found certain things so challenging
Image: © Ashley Maile)
With all the talk of Partygate and the Sue Gray report this week, it feels a bit like time to reflect on the past two years and how Covid, lockdown and the return to a new normal have affected each of us differently.
There’s no question what went on in No10 in that hardest of times was wrong.
But as I look back at the pandemic, for the first time now I’m able to see what me and my family have gained from it.
During lockdown my mum, at the age of 65, was diagnosed with high-functioning female Aspergers, ADHD and alexithymia.
You might never have heard of the last condition, which affects how you express and process emotion, but one in 10 people are reported to have it.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The diagnosis only came about because the world slowed down.
Lockdown allowed me and my mum to reflect on how she struggles in certain situations – and excels in others.
More and more women in particular are being diagnosed with neurodiversities later in life, with celebrities such as Christine McGuinness and Melanie Sykes talking openly about it in recent months.
And sometimes just having a diagnosis is enough to start making sense of yourself.
For Mum, the feelings of guilt, of not fitting in, being sometimes seen as rude or badly behaved, means life has been a roller coaster.
Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
These feelings have been replaced with a sense of living beyond survival mode.
I instantly took to the internet to find guidance and support for myself, being an adult child of an autistic parent.
My mum is extremely caring and protective over me, if anything she’s overly empathetic.
It must have been hard for her as a single parent.
We have gone through a lot, the past is in the past, but the diagnosis triggered a lot of emotional feelings for me.
I feel I had more advantages than disadvantages as the child of a mum with Asperger’s but kids can feel overlooked or have to act like the parent.
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There may be “no filter” comments and a parent might need “vices” as a crutch to ease their pain.
Our story is unique to us and is not a comment on others and their abilities to be neurodiverse and a parent.
But it would be great to see radical change in this area and support for children, alongside a reduction in NHS waiting times for diagnosis.
If only someone could have sat down my eight-year-old self to explain to me why my mum found life so difficult and that it wasn’t my fault.
Gosh, I hope the support improves.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.