Anne Hegerty: Autism in the Media

As some of you may be aware, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is back on the air! Whilst many of you may despise the show, it has always been a family tradition of mine to tune in everyday during the run. There’s something so alluring about millionaires camping out and eating ostrich anus for meals. Along with that, you may have seen the name ‘Anne Hegerty’ around online news pages recently. This is because she is the first openly autistic participant on the show. As a person who has only recently found out their diagnosis, it has been a massive confidence boost. Whilst trying to come to terms with it, I can look at people like Anne and say ‘If she can do it, I sure bloody can too.’ Many traits I see in her I see in myself too, and it is so nice to relate to someone in the media like that.

However there is the other side to this. Whilst many are supportive of the publicity of autism, it’s not hard to find the negative ones calling her ‘pathetic’, her having and ‘easy 3 week holiday’ and her getting better treatment. What people need to understand is that as an autistic person, putting yourself on a show like that is already like a trial. All your rituals are destroyed, your privacy gone and all your senses are put into overdrive. Not to mention the sensory effects of bugs on autistic people (I almost vomit just at the trials). Everyday there can be a challenge for people with autism, and I applaud her for her bravery. As a person in a drama school, not many people are aware of the effects, but to watch her every night gives me hope to carry on and push through.

Sorry if this has been over the top, but I still feel very turbulent about the issue. It’s about time we talk about it.

Hope you’re enjoying the show!

Gabby

Revelations

This week was definitely an interesting one. Beginning with having a cough from all the standing in the cold was not wanted, but for the experience made it worth it. Additionally I decided to move out of my old flat and move downstairs to another room. This was big for me as I had just begun to feel settled in my room, but I could not live there anymore.

After the 5th day if constant parties, loud music, drinking and strangers I had had enough. The amount of panic attacks I was having was excessive, so I decided on the day to move, pack up my stuff and get out. It feels good to be somewhere else, more calming, and I’m proud of myself for getting out. When you see your environment becoming toxic for you, make a change and or get out as fast as you can. It’s better in the long run.

Today I also found out my diagnosis, and I have been formally diagnosed with High functioning Autism (Aspergers). It was kind of hard hitting, but also a relief. The intense feelings in my flat and all the noise were now justified in my mind, so many instances finally made sense. It’s a shame it took this long to recognise but I’m glad I did. A weight has been lifted and I finally know why I act so differently.

Living with this makes not much change however. I am still me, the same person but now with a diagnostic label. This means I can also make this blog about being anxious as an actor, but also how to act when you have autism and how it can’t stop you from achieving your goals.

Thank you for reading, will be back.

Gabby