Label Me: Francesca Baird blogging about autism.

francesca

Having spent my entire life searching for answers (and being misdiagnosed along the way), I was finally diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder (high functioning autism / asperger’s) at the age of thirty-two.  Autism in females is not well understood: possibly because autistic traits manifest themselves differently in females than they do in males and females are better as masking their autistic traits. Therefore, it is of no surprise that many females go through their entire lives without a diagnosis.
With the hope of raising awareness of autism in females and removing some of the mental health stigmas and misconceptions attached to the label, I will use this platform to share my experience of living with autism.  I intend to post a small section from my book – Label Me – on a weekly basis, and with the hope of attracting a small audience over time. 
I feel that there is no better place to start than with the synopsis…

Label Me by Francesca Baird (unpublished)

From an early age, I felt different. I had no desire to take part in gender appropriate activities – I was obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and enjoyed playing football with the boys. At school, I observed from the corner of the classroom. Others saw me as a shy girl, who functioned very well, both in an outwith the school setting. However, internally I was consumed by anxieties particularly about my health – I constantly felt one step away from deaths’ door. A true master of masking, I did what I had to do to fit in in a neurotypical dominated world.

After many years of emotional suppression and social exhaustion, my life took a different and somewhat destructive path. I developed an infatuation with the ‘man of my thoughts’, dropped out of university, worked in nine different shops (all within the same shopping centre) and developed a thrilling gambling addiction. Through all of this I was constantly questioning and analysing my behaviour and my identity; only a diagnosis could provide the answers. In search of a label to help myself and others understand the workings of my mind, nothing and no one was going to stand in my way…

While there is an abundance of books targeted at individuals who have been diagnosed with autism and health professionals alike, there is little out there for those individuals who are searching for a label that explains their condition. Autism in females is not well understood: possibly because autistic traits manifest themselves differently in females than they do in males and females are better at masking their autistic traits. Therefore, it is of no surprise that many females go through their entire lives without a diagnosis. If my book prompts even just one person to seek a diagnosis to understand themselves better, then I will have succeeded in my goal as an author.

Moreover, autistic traits do not belong solely to people with autism. Indeed, we all share the same traits, but people with autism experience some of these traits to a greater extent that their neurotypical peers. My book is not just about autism. This is a book for anyone and everyone who has struggled with life and wants to understand themselves better.

See Francesca’s Autism Blog on Facebook

Francesca Baird Blogging about Autism: Psychiatric Assessment

R&Francesca

My Journey Towards an Autism Diagnosis The following is a short extract from my book ‘Label Me: My Journey Towards an Autism Diagnosis’: Meanwhile, I was contending with my initial psychiatric assessment. This included the usual checklist of questions. For example, “Have you ever thought about killing yourself?” Well who hasn’t? But that doesn’t mean […]

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Sunday, May 9, 2021 | Filed under: Label Me: Francesca Baird blogging about autism

Francesca Baird” Autism and Anxiety

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The following is a short extract from my book. Label Me: My Journey Towards an Autism Diagnosis Autism and Anxiety. Chapter 8: Searching for Answers On the night before my third-year exam, I can distinctly recall sitting at the living room table, papers everywhere, thinking that I had not done enough studying. It was 11pm […]

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Sunday, May 2, 2021 | Filed under: Label Me: Francesca Baird blogging about autism

Francesca Baird: blogging about autism and loss of identity

me pink scarf

The following is a short extract from my book. Label Me: My Journey Towards an Autism Diagnosis Label Me. Chapter 7: University Challenge – Autism and Loss of Identity I continued to be obsessed by Steve and it became increasingly difficult for me to regulate my emotions.  Alcohol and lack of sleep exacerbated the problem […]

Read the full article: Francesca Baird: blogging about autism and loss of identity

Sunday, April 25, 2021 | Filed under: Label Me: Francesca Baird blogging about autism

Francesca Baird: Blogging about Autism: First Date

francesca in red

Autism and Dating: Chapter 6. First Date The following is a short extract from my book. Label Me: My Journey Towards an Autism Diagnosis After the party at his place it didn’t take long for Steve, the security guard I fancied, to get in touch. He approached me on my next shift, claiming that he […]

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Monday, April 19, 2021 | Filed under: Label Me: Francesca Baird blogging about autism

Francesca Baird: Blogging about Autism – Fantasy World continues

francesca baird

Autism and Relationships: Chapter 5. A Fantasy World. The BIG Night Out The following is a short extract from my book. Label Me: My Journey Towards an Autism Diagnosis On my next shift at The Natural World my colleague dropped something significant into the conversation – we had all been invited to a party at […]

Read the full article: Francesca Baird: Blogging about Autism – Fantasy World continues

Sunday, April 11, 2021 | Filed under: Label Me: Francesca Baird blogging about autism

Francesca Baird: Blogging about Autism: Work and My Fantasy World

shopping centre 2

The following is a short extract from my book: Label Me: My Journey Towards an Autism Diagnosis Autism and Relationships: Chapter 5. A Fantasy World.  My first actual conversation with the security guard I fancied occurred when I was standing behind the desk in the shop, counting the day’s takings. I looked up and…oh my […]

Read the full article: Francesca Baird: Blogging about Autism: Work and My Fantasy World

Sunday, April 4, 2021 | Filed under: Label Me: Francesca Baird blogging about autism, Writing

Francesca Baird: Autism and relationship’s part two

The following is a short extract from my book. Label Me: My Journey Towards an Autism Diagnosis) A Fantasy World Label Me: Chapter 5: A Fantasy World. (2) For almost six months, I failed to acknowledge Steve (the unsuitable object of my affections) overtly. I had of course spotted him from afar – using my […]

Read the full article: Francesca Baird: Autism and relationship’s part two

Sunday, March 21, 2021 | Filed under: Label Me: Francesca Baird blogging about autism

Francesca Baird: Autism and relationships. Chapter 5: A Fantasy World

francesca image for campaign

The following is a short extract from my book. Label Me: My Journey Towards an Autism Diagnosis) A Fantasy World My time working at The Natural World signified a new stage in my life. Not only had I established a sense of self, but I also developed an intense attraction to a security guard who […]

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Sunday, March 14, 2021 | Filed under: Label Me: Francesca Baird blogging about autism

Francesca Baird: Blogging about Autism. Autism and Work (2)

My second job – Autism: Dealing with Social and Communication Difficulties (Autism in females is not well understood: possibly because autistic traits manifest themselves differently in girls than they do in males and girls are better as masking their autistic traits. Therefore, it is of no surprise that many females go through their entire lives […]

Read the full article: Francesca Baird: Blogging about Autism. Autism and Work (2)

Sunday, March 7, 2021 | Filed under: Label Me: Francesca Baird blogging about autism, Writing

Francesca Baird – on autism – The World of Work

francesca white t shirt

Autism in females is not well understood: possibly because autistic traits manifest themselves differently in girls than they do in males and girls are better as masking their autistic traits. Therefore, it is of no surprise that many females go through their entire lives without a diagnosis. Through the story of my life (and my […]

Read the full article: Francesca Baird – on autism – The World of Work

Sunday, February 28, 2021 | Filed under: Label Me: Francesca Baird blogging about autism

Francesca Baird: School Days and Autism

francesca cage

Autism in females is not well understood: possibly because autistic traits manifest themselves differently in girls than they do in males and girls are better as masking their autistic traits. Therefore, it is of no surprise that many females go through their entire lives without a diagnosis. Through the story of my life (and my […]

Read the full article: Francesca Baird: School Days and Autism

Sunday, February 21, 2021 | Filed under: Label Me: Francesca Baird blogging about autism

Francesca Baird – Blogging About Autism: School Days (2)

art class. francesca

Autism in females is not well understood: possibly because autistic traits manifest themselves differently in girls than they do in males and girls are better as masking their autistic traits. Therefore, it is of no surprise that many females go through their entire lives without a diagnosis. Through the story of my life (and my […]

Read the full article: Francesca Baird – Blogging About Autism: School Days (2)

Saturday, February 13, 2021 | Filed under: Label Me: Francesca Baird blogging about autism

Francesca Baird: blogging about autism – School Days

francesca with mum and sister. sm

Autism in females is not well understood: possibly because autistic traits manifest themselves differently in girls than they do in males and girls are better as masking their autistic traits. Therefore, it is of no surprise that many females go through their entire lives without a diagnosis. Through the story of my life (and my […]

Read the full article: Francesca Baird: blogging about autism – School Days

francesca with mum and sister. sm

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