If you are a Christian, you tend to believe that a man crucified between two thieves by the Romans is your saviour. It is your right to believe that, and I'm not going to judge you, but you also need to look at who and what are your saviours now, should you want to believe that you have more time left before you meet your heavenly saviour, and I don't mean in church.

For me, those saviours have been four. My first is my wonderful GP, with whom I could share the fact that I was struggling. She has now asked me if I wanted to deal with a mental health worker, too, and I said that I would need one who understood autism as CBT and other horrors are not applicable to us. It's like pouring petrol into a car that runs on diesel and wondering why it won't go.

The second is my neuro tribe. After twelve years of not fitting in at school, faux pas regarding groups where I thought I belonged and numerous other things, I became isolated. It was not until I moved to a small town that I met a social worker with a psychology degree who suspected, and tested me, for Asperger's and I was diagnosed. I have found others in my neuro-tribe who understand me in a way that neuro-typical folk can't. One such friend has a motorbike with a human name, and I have a car that has a Japanese name.

The third is Shigemi, my car. Since I started learning Japanese, and my father bought a car that was made in Japan, I found that Japanese went from just being a subject to being something that influenced my tastes and choices. Growing up in Australia, I experienced the Holden and Ford division, and for a while, I was on the Ford side of the divide, not for any other reason than that the kids I went to school with on the Holden side (their parents had Holden cars) were quite cruel to me, so I tended to associate the person with the car. With my last car, which I had for twenty years, I knew, at one point that I needed new shock absorbers. That car was built in Australia by a Japanese company, and I found myself wanting Japanese shock absorbers, if I could find them. A place a called and asked if they had such a thing, said, Yeah, KYB's Japanese, so I asked my mechanic for KYB shock absorbers. For all of our disagreements, I know when my mother suggested Shigemi for me that she asked my father to ensure that she had KYB shock absorbers as they were all I would drive a car fitted with. Sure enough, they were.

My fourth, but by no means, the least significant, is a long-haired domestic cat by the name of Nutsy. If Nutsy had been my cat, I would have called him Yu-Gi-Oh, or Satoshi (after Satoshi Tajiri). He was given to my brother by his ex-fiance as a means of manipulation, but after their relationship broke down, my brother brought him back to my parents place with him, and he has now moved in with his new partner and they are expecting a baby soon. Nutsy has become the family cat, and since I have moved back, he has attached himself to me. I missed him when I was living elsewhere and staying with my parents for a few days at a time, when I went to the hospital for treatment. Now, Nutsy comes and lies on the floor in my room and sleeps, or just keeps me company. He has had to learn to trust again (my brother's ex was cruel to him) but now, he jumps up onto the computer table, puts his front paws onto my lap and moves his hind legs over and puts his nose against my neck. If I'm seeking to close the door to my room, he runs in before the door closes. Just stroking him calms me down. My father even said the other night that Nutsy and I are each other's regulators.

Above all, mental health concerns don't just need medications, or, as one preposterous doctor I once saw, said, a balance-of-self model, but for a person to find their passion and be able to spend time doing it. Passion does not mean someone to love, as that can be a recipe for disaster, it is something you enjoy, be it cooking, sewing, restoring an old car, reading, your neuro-tribe, art, music, and if you are lonely, and can't find a human to love, well, there are plenty of cats, dogs, birds and other animals sitting in rescue shelters looking for someone to love them, and you might just be able to rescue one another. Nutsy has rescued me, as has Shigemi, and another vital rescue that cannot be under-rated for me is writing.

As Elvis Costello sang, Everyday I Write The Book, I may not write a book, but I write my feelings and thoughts on this site regularly, and the benefits cannot be downplayed.



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Peter Wynn

Peter Wynn


Diagnosed with autism at 35. Explained a lifetime of difference.