UK – In light of #Movember month and raising awareness to mental health issues men face; we interviewed “S”. Here’s how “S” answered about questions. Please share this article, we need to raise more autism and mental health awareness.
What’s your personal experience with mental health?
I’ve lived with a lot of mental health difficulties since I graduated and even during my university years from 2010. I often felt depressed. And, I find myself being surrounded by people who don’t really understand how certain issues affect young men in the UK.
The attitude I get from people around me is to man up or laugh at me. Other men in my life simply don’t care that I’m asking for help to better myself. Only for them to further frustrate my work in changing my situation.
What are some of the daily issues you go through?
The daily issues I face are people being really unsympathetic or dismissive of my feelings and mental health issues. I don’t think women in my country understand how hard it is to be a young man with autism; living with mental health difficulties and how their behavior can be traumatizing to me.
Like the way they either speak to me or sound aggressive to me due to the traumas of bullying throughout my life. I don’t feel like
engaging with most women as even seeing them traumatizes me sometimes. This is due to the worst excesses of bullying and rudeness online.
I don’t have any romantic relationship with women as I feel too afraid to engage with them in that way. That’s due to the often scary way they talk about these issues within my presence. It’s not that I hate anyone but I demand change and a culture of respect for people living with mental health difficulties.
How would you advise society?
If you feel like the world is too unpredictable or things don’t seem to be going well; why not take a break from things? Pursue something that offers you your own voice like filmmaking does for me.
Find something that makes you and others feel better.
Once you inspire yourself then you will inspire others to do better. That’s the best advice I can give.
What’s your ideal situation?
An ideal situation for someone like me is to be surrounded by people who are sympathetic; non judgmental and as friendly or helpful as possible.
It is time to create a better world for other people through positive action regarding mental health.
Even something as simple as someone just taking the time to listen to you and sympathize with you. That can achieve amazing things for people like us.
What is Autism?
Autism is a disability that can affect how one perceives and interacts with the world. This mainly affects me with socializing or relating to my peers. As well as communication issues.
My feature film covers this in more detail.
Here’s a guide that explains it better than I can but I live with its many challenges. 🙂👇
Where can we find your film?
It’s not yet released but a short film should be released before the end of the year. There are 2 autism film projects in the making. My feature film is aimed at the public. While the short film is aimed at politicians, journalists and other campaigners. With this approach I can achieve multiple goals by reaching different audiences at once.
Does the autism affect your day-to-day life; Work and personal relationships?
Yeah it affects me in a lot of ways. In all areas to do with accessing support, accessibility of communities, social issues, communication issues and even seeking employment. Due to societal attitudes that exclude us from key areas of society.
It’s a huge challenge for me. I went to university even though my grades weren’t great due to lack of proper support. I’m still trying to get work in TV as that’s my dream.
People don’t always perceive me very well as they’ll see that I’m ‘different’ or ‘not like them’. When I try to communicate with people they just don’t understand me, sometimes I even face bullying due to it even now.
Their lack of knowledge on how to talk and interact with me in a positive manner is really holding me back. When I apply for jobs they don’t give me an interview. They don’t treat me the same way as someone else with the same skills like me would get an interview or a paid job.
In the UK roughly 16% of all people with autism have full time employment. Compared to over half that for all other disabilities and even higher for those without any kind of disability. I’ve noticed people who think they understand me. They think they know better than autistic people themselves. And that applies to people with mental health issues as well.
The biggest problem is people right? How they perceive you and their lack of knowledge on how to co-exist with people with mental health issues?
That’s a good question that I don’t know how to answer. 🙂
Biggest issue is stigma and poor attitudes from society toward people like me.
Looking at “S” openly sharing his thoughts and feelings is a wake up call to all of us. We must be more understanding, informed and compassionate. This could be you, your child or someone you love.