I only got diagnosed a couple of years ago ; it came about as a result of a few issues happening at the same time. Firstly id been googling autism as I thought my Dad was displaying symptoms, then the more I read it, the more I thought oops this is actually me. This happened at the same time as I was really struggling to relate to a line manager; I was so intolerant, and so irritated by him. I couldn’t understand why none of my colleagues said anything – but me, well I could barely understand anything he said so I was always challenging.
I had also been struggling to parent my daughter since she started high school. We just cant talk to each other. Despite my efforts to be supportive, I have fixed views – my world is black and white with no shades of grey and I follow rules to the letter. When school doesnt stick to the rules that they have made- whether that is uniform standards or homework expectation, she tells me im “pecking her head”. In my mind Im just following the rules; but I accept I can sound obsessive. She is embarrassed by me, my hobbies and my obsessions which is a little sad – but one day I will explain my condition to her and Im sure we will get over this difficult period.
Getting a diagnosis slotted so many things into place – I used to think I was social phobic, I hate public occasions where I might have to do small talk and I can’t cope with spontaneity – a sudden change of plan creates anxiety and I have to break things down bit by bit to work out that I don’t need to be anxious ..
Ive been an Inspector a long time, and all my career Ive been told I was challenging, sometimes awkward and fixated but I now know thats why I’ve migrated to certain roles where I use my quirks to my advantage. Im very skilled at report writing, planning, doing detail. Im reliable because I take thing seriously. There are some many roles in the police – we absolutely can find roles that suit our skill set – there are even companies out there that specifically recruit autistic people because of our special talents.
Its all about understanding.