"I have quite early memories of thinking there were parts of myself that I should keep hidden. Over the years, this seed grew into the narrative that told me I was a bad person, I was broken, that who I was wasn't ok. I learnt there was safety in going unnoticed, and so over the years I stopped trying to be visible and learnt to make myself small, to stay safe."

Oh, I relate to this so much, Louise. I have distinct memories of watching people in order to know how to act and what to say. And sometimes the mask would slip and people would say "Becky that wasn't like you!" Except it was! I, too, spent a long time thinking I was a bad person and that this was why bad things happened to me - because the people doing the bad things could see the real me.

I want to be more visible and open about my needs but I find it hard because I am still awaiting on my "official" autism diagnosis. I feel like until I get it, I'm being a fraud but I'm having to do it on the NHS and it's a 3-year wait. 3 years seems like a long time to go without my needs being met...

Thank you so much for writing, Louise. 🖤

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