Welcome to the latest installment of my interview series!
Who are some of your favorite bloggers? I try to follow as many as I can because they have so much wisdom to pass on. (Including bloggers like Dave!)
That’s what gave me the idea for this interview series. I wanted to glean as much knowledge as I could from those much wiser than me.
This is our twenty-eighth installment of my interview series, Meet the Blogger, all about Dave, a fellow blogger. (You can read our previous installment about Mackenzie here.)
Meet the Blogger: Introducing Dave
First of all, tell me a little about yourself.
I was diagnosed autistic in December 2018 at the age of 31. I’ve been married for 7 years and have 2 kids (ages 3 and 2), 2 rats and a cat. I work from home in the evenings, which leaves my days free to look after the kids while my wife is at work or university – technically making me a stay at home dad!
What is your connection to the blogging and/or mental health community?
After I was diagnosed I wanted to take part in the next World Autism Awareness Week and raise money for the National Autistic Society. So I started a Just Giving page and an online campaign accompanied by a weekly autism blog that I still run, even months after World Autism Awareness Week.
What is the hardest part about having a successful blog?
I did run a previous blog about 10 years ago which I didn’t take seriously at all, it was just me writing down whatever I had on my mind at the time. I didn’t promote it or look to achieve anything with it as such, so now that I’m doing a serious blog that I want to make successful I still need to learn a lot about blog promotion that I probably should have learned a decade ago. But I’m getting there slowly, always reading hints and tips and working out bits of how Blogger works.
What is the biggest challenge the mental heath community faces?
I’d say it’s the stigma, which comes from a lack of understanding from the general public. I can’t speak from anything but an autistic point of view, but having grown up as an outsider and having faced bullying just for being who I am, I’m still very conscious of whether I’m doing something the “right” (read: neurotypical) way, and whether it might draw attention to me. Logically I know I’m free to do what I want and how I want, but there’s still that effect from my early years, and in a lot of cases with mental health the stigma from others carries on into adulthood as well.
What are 5 things many people do not know about you?
– I once applied to go on UK dating show Take Me Out when I was single
– I’ve had a lesson in professional wrestling
– I met David Gest randomly on a night out
– I can count to 10 in English, German, Japanese and Finnish
– The very fact that I’m autistic is something that was never considered until adulthood, so most people I knew at school and college probably don’t know
What is your favorite book and why?
I’m not much of a reader as I get bored with it easily, but I really enjoyed The Hobbit when we read that at school, and I loved the films!
What do you do when you are having a really hard day to lift your spirits?
Being a working dad of 2 I don’t have a lot of time to do the things for myself, but when I’m having a tough time I try to take some time to myself when I can, or I just look forward to when the kids are next at nursery so that I can have a chill out day. I’ll usually spend the day watching some wrestling and playing some video games before I start work in the evening.
What makes a person brave?
I’m a firm believer that being brave isn’t not being scared when other people would be. Being brave is facing a situation that you’re scared of and handling it anyway. And needing help to face a situation doesn’t make you any less brave, it’s just what you need to do to get through it.
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself and why?
Loyal is the main one. I think this is a trait that most autistics share. We find it difficult to build and maintain relationships, but once we have then we’ll feel very strongly about those relationships.
Unique because everybody is unique in their own way, but we autistics can be so different in our uniqueness. I don’t know many other people in the offline world who rely on a chew toy for sensory stimulation and regulation, or who have such intense passions like I’ve got about wrestling.
Private because I don’t like people. Interactions make me nervous, especially when it’s one on one so all of the other person’s attention is on me. I also find it much, much easier to communicate in writing than verbally, which is why I blog. I wouldn’t mind accompanying my blog with a YouTube channel, but it’s the verbal difficulty that stops me.
What is your biggest flaw?
There are a lot of situations that I don’t understand unless I’ve experienced them myself. This causes me to show a lack of empathy because I don’t know how the other person might be feeling, or sometimes I don’t even know if their situation is good or bad. I also really struggle to understand politics, which is something I think is more important to understand than it’s ever been (at least within my lifetime) with the way things are at the moment – particularly with Brexit.
What is your greatest strength?
My dedication. Nothing is more important to me than my wife and kids, so I do absolutely everything in my power to provide for and look after them. It’s not always easy since I’ve got 2 kids who I look after during the day and work over night, but it’s a case of whatever it takes. Autism also means that when I get into something or start a project I need to see it through and finish it.
What is your best childhood memory?
I can’t remember much of my childhood to be honest. I had an English teacher in year 10 who was absolutely hilarious so I always used to look forward to my English lessons at school. English was actually the subject that I did best in at my GCSE’s so it just goes to show what it can do when you enjoy what you’re doing.
Where do you envision your blog in 5 years?
Ideally I’d like to be earning some form of income from my blog. I’ve been told by several people that I’ve got a talent for writing so I hope that by blogging I’m putting it to good use, as well as contributing to the education and acceptance of autism. It’s an area that needs such a big focus on to help improve people’s wellbeing. Whether I get paid or not though, I hope that my blog helps both autistics and neurotypicals alike to understand the autistic experience.
Where do you see the mental health community in 5 years?
Mental health is a subject that’s been steadily growing traction for a while now. While I don’t think 5 years is long enough to see any major difference in society I think we will have taken plenty of steps toward the ideal of understanding, acceptance, and the will to help those who need it.
Who do you follow to stay updated on all things blogging and/or mental health? Share their links below!
On YouTube I follow Neurodivergent Rebel and Invisible I (@NeuroRebel and @Invisible_I on Twitter) for their autism videos, although Invisible I has stopped YouTubing for the time being. I hope she comes back to it soon! I spend a lot of time on Twitter when I can where I follow lots of different autism accounts. Just to name a few there’s @AutisticFitChic, @AusomeCharlie, @Hawrth and I follow some blog share accounts such as @BloggersTribe and @GingerBloggersRT.
About the Author
I’m a dad of 2 eternally trying to balance work, life and blogging. I was diagnosed autistic 1 year ago yesterday at the age of 31. Following my diagnosis I started blogging as my way of advocating for autism and to raise money for the National Autistic Society as part of World Autism Awareness Week. I carried on blogging after that with the aim of continually raising autism awareness and most importantly acceptance.
Follow Dave at:
Thanks, Dave, for participating in my interview series, Meet the Blogger! I loved your responses, and I truly appreciate you taking the time out to answer my questions. Best wishes on all your blogging endeavors!
You can check another Meet the Blogger post here: Nyxie’s Nook
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