Happy New Year to all my wonderful supporters. I hope you had a good break and that we can see some return to normality and an end the COVID crisis in 2020-TOO.
I started my new year with my head in the toilet – no, I didn't overindulge – I had food poisoning. Lucky me! Literally two hours into the new year. Not a great start, when I had been feeling full of enthusiasm to launch into my writing from Monday the 3rd. Instead, still feeling queasy and weak I spent a few more days recuperating and finishing my 1,500-piece jigsaw puzzle (my new Christmas holiday tradition) while watching my newly-discovered and latest absolute favourite TV show, The Good Doctor.
It's rare that I find a show that truly moves me the way The Good Doctor does. It is so heartfelt, so touching, so inspiring and so full of hope. It sends such a powerful message about how people who are different, who have limitations can achieve incredible things if the people around them support them and treat them with kindness, patience and an open mind. As Shaun's mentor says in the first episode, which puts it perfectly:
"We [can] give hope to those people with limitations that those limitations are not what they think they are, that they DO have a shot."
The show resonated so much with me as I can relate so well with the character and it got me curious to find out about autism. Up until now, I had assumed it was the modern term for what my parents used to call being "retarded", but from watching the show it was obvious it had nothing to do with intellectual impairment, but rather communication and sensory issues. I had always put my sensory overload issues down to high sensitivity and my difficulty with communication down to being an introvert, but the more I got to know Shaun, the more I began to wonder. So, I did an autism test online and was gobsmacked by the result. In fact, I did several more tests to confirm and they all said the same thing, I have autism.
This has been a profound discovery for me and has made so much sense of my childhood and my difficult relationship with my father, who I realise now, also had autism. And as I worked through all the memories, repressed resentment and bitterness I poured it all out into my latest article, I Forgive You, Dad.
If only I had known sooner, while he was alive, we could have had the relationship we both longed for but didn't know how to achieve.
This is why shows like The Good Doctor are so important. Not only to they help to normalise things that were previously taboo and never spoken about, by doing so they help to spread awareness. Awareness that could change or save a life. This is the incredible power of storytelling whether it be real life experience or fiction.
As I worked on my this article it dawned on me how living with a chronic condition is like carrying a huge weight, which made me think of medieval knights fighting while wearing incredibly heavy armour. I developed this further into a new analogy of what it is like to live with chronic illness, Why having chronic illness is like being a knight in armour.
All this recent soul-searching has been very draining and has now put me back almost a month. Hopefully, now that it's behind me I can get back to working on my novel. I really want to finish it this year. I fear if I don't, then I'll never finish it. So, fingers crossed there are no more distractions ahead so that I can finally get it done!
Posted: Fri 21 Jan 2022