Alternative Reality – unknowingly living with Autism

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Part 2

  • In 2010 I was approached by a mining company in South Africa to work as a Crisis Manager in the Industry. I worked on 23 Shafts managing operations of their Cap-lamp Rooms where they kit underground Miners. I developed a supply chain strategy for them which they still use today. I also worked on their RFID tagging system of miners and equipment to identify when miners lose their equipment underground or do not exit the shaft at the end of a shift.
  • In 2012 we ended our mining contracts at Marikana when all the miners were shot by South African Police, it made global headlines.
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  • In 2013 I went back into the Construction Industry and started my own Project Management company. I developed a system to get building plans approved faster than the traditional method by walking them through at the local town councils.
  • I ended up helping a Lady to get her Building Plan approved. She was the private secretary of our former State President Mr. Nelson Mandela. I did not know it was her when meeting her and she pointed out how nice it was that I treated her as a normal person. I did however apologize when she revealed who she was!
  • In 2014 I had an opportunity to move down to the coast and live in the Western Cape province.
  • In 2015 I started working in Insurance in the Financial Services industry by being appointed as a Project Manager with an International Group of Companies.
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  • I was appointed to settle the Agile Project Management office in our local Software house. I facilitated and managed over 1000 releases to Production in 12 months. I developed a Change Control Release schedule which they still use today.
  • In 2016 I received the Personality of the Year Award as voted for by the Group Directors.
  • In 2015 I completed a Project Management course at the Nelson Mandela University Business School. This was my first qualification after finishing school 2 decades ago.
  • In 2017 I was promoted to Senior Project Manager and started working on Insurance Telematics. I reported directly to a Group Director.
  • I developed a Crash Detection prediction model with our tracking service provider.
  • I developed an online User Portal.
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  • I developed a Crash Recreation Tool for our Investigations department.
  • I developed our Driver Rewards Program.
  • I analyzed our big data with our Actuaries to improve our Risk Management strategies.
  • I studied human behavior to predict future behavior and probabilities.
  • In 2020 I woke up on a Saturday and spent the day with my teenage daughter. During the afternoon I felt depleted mentally, emotionally, and physically.
  • I said goodbye to my daughter, got in my car, drove out into the mountains, and tried to commit suicide.
  • I failed. I survived…
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  • I woke up the next morning and with all the blood loss managed to drive to the Emergency Room at the local Hospital where they stitched me up and booked me into the Psychiatric Ward.
  • I was as surprised as they were about what had happened! I was an eternal optimist and loved life! It was one big adventure!
  • When the Psychiatrist entered the consultation room and asked me what happened, I started telling him what I can remember.
  • After 5 minutes he asked: ‘Has anyone ever spoken to you about Autism?”.
  • This question changed my entire life…The Psychiatrist said that this is classic Autistic Burnout behavior, I am in good hands now and they will take care of me.
  • This man saved my Life. It was as if 4 decades of confusion and darkness and the unknown came into focus and fell into place. ALL of my questions were answered.

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Alternative Reality – Living with Autism without knowing it!

My alternative Life – Before my diagnosis Part 1

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To Neurotypical (Normal) People the definition is:

Alternative: Relating to activities that depart from or challenge traditional norms.”an alternative lifestyle”

Oxford Dictionary

To Neurodivergent People like me, it is the exact opposite – I only visit Normal; I don’t get to stay there…

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Part 1

  • I was born at a very young age on 19 August 1978. It was a Saturday.
  • I grew up in a small town. The bank in our town was only open on Fridays. We did not have a High-School, only a Primary School with a total of 127 scholars.
  • My father was a Dutch Reformed Church Minister, he passed away 15 years ago. We did not have a close relationship. My mother was a housewife, we did not have a close relationship.
  • I have 3 brothers and 1 sister, but I grew up alone. I entertained myself by reading Encyclopedias, this was before computers and the internet naturally.
  • My father purchased our first computer when I was in primary school and I would play Space Invaders. This would start my fantastic lifelong journey with PCs, Laptops, Tablets and Smartphones.
  • In 1991 I was selected to attend a Winter School program for Gifted Children at the University of Pretoria. I was 12 years old.
  • I went to High-School in 1992 in a neighboring town 60 kilometres (37 miles) away and had to stay in the Hostel. This was the beginning of living independently.
  • In 1994 I received Provincial Colors for playing the trumpet in our school band at the National Championships. I cannot read music and play by ear and memorizing the tunes.
  • In 1996 I was voted a Prefect at school and I was voted Head Boy of our Hostel.
  • In 1996 I received National Colors for placing first in Individual Performance in Drama in a National Acting competition.
  • In 1997 I studied Method Acting at the University of Pretoria. I did not finish due to an opportunity to travel to London, England.
  • In 2000 I traveled to London with a backpack and a little bit of cash to see ‘if I can make it’. I knew no-one there and did not have a job or a place to stay.
  • I lived and worked in London for a whole year at a 800 room Hotel next to Tower Bridge.
  • I served Sir Alex Ferguson without knowing who he was. He asked me when he settled his bill whether I knew who he was, I said No. He shook my hand and said that it was the best breakfast he had ever had.
  • To receive large tips at the hotel I would challenge tables to test my memory. They could order food and drinks and I would not write it down. I would only memorize it. If I could serve all their orders without double checking anything, they would double or triple my tip! I made zero errors, and a lot of money.
  • I developed a Shift Roster for the Hotel which they still use today.
  • In 2001 my visa expired, and I returned to South Africa and started working as a Project Manager with my cousins in the Construction Industry. I developed a Marketing Strategy for them to increase their sales and exposure. They still use this strategy today.
  • In 2004 my cousins left the group and started a family business and asked me to join them. We were successful until 2009 when the global credit crunch forced us to shut down operations.
  • In 2001 I started training in Shaolin Longfist Kung-Fu with Master Weng Jun-Yi in Pretoria, South Africa. I received 5 Black Belts and retired as a Kung Fu instructor and a Tai Chi instructor in 2019.
  • In 2006 I was voted Time Magazine Person of the Year!
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If only…

I wish I knew what Autism was back then, we didn’t have sites like:

Autism Speaks: Home

What Is Autism? | Autism Speaks

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We also did not have cool articles like:

3 Saints who may have had autism spectrum disorder

Genetic risk of autism spectrum disorder linked to evolutionary brain benefit

We did not have the convenience of expert advice:

Children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder show unique handwriting patterns: Integrative education system should consider this factor, say experts

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