Heather Richmond

Partner & Daughter  

Company Director - Online Jewellery Supply Company    

Polymer Clay Artist

Knitwear Designer & Wool Obsessed

     

I may seem like I am a bit aloof & blunt sometimes, but I am very sensitive and often feel lonely and quite isolated from other people.  I don’t have a close family for support

so it is just myself, my partner and my pets.

Heather Richmond

When Autistic Women share their Diagnosis Stories, Clinical Psychologists discover that the various circumstances that can lead women to an autism diagnosis bring important insights into autism as it presents in females. AWE– Autistic Women Everywhere invites the non-autistic community, parents, and professionals alike, into the lives of adult females on the autism spectrum. Autism Stories by late-diagnosed autistic women reveal their lived experience of autism.

All my life I felt different from others around me and I found making friends difficult, never keeping friends for very long except for my intimate partners. As a child and teenager I felt alone and found finding and keeping friends very difficult, always preferring one on one friendships. I was terrible in groups and found & still do find parties, and group gatherings really uncomfortable, and I avoid them as much as I can. I preferred always to read, play with my dogs, make art or craft or watch movies.

 

I was academically very bright and succeeded in any studies I did but I didn’t succeed in feeling fulfilled and happy as a person due to social problems. I also had a short fuse and when under a lot of stress or if too much was happening I would withdraw or have a small melt down or occasionally even have a major meltdown which was really embarrassing.

 

My special interests all my life consumed me – serial obsessions which I was unable to explain to myself or others. These interests included various arts and crafts I learnt to do, reading and collecting cook-books (not cooking much though!!), collecting knitting wool, fabric, shoes and earrings. I prefer my own company even though I am in a long term happy same sex relationship prefer to sleep alone as I like my own space and feel I can amuse myself with my special interests without feeling like I am annoying my partner.

After reaching my 40’s and working in a professional role I learnt to mask my oddities so well that I now come across most of the time as a confident together person who is successful in her career and personal life however still somewhat distant from others. Beneath this veneer I still often feel very different, insecure and alone. I wish I had more close friends and I fear I will never be able to form these friendships.

 

I had no idea that I was Autistic until I saw a documentary on the ABC in 2019 about women with Aspergers. The stories in this program rang true and I was sure that I was on the spectrum as I saw myself in some of these stories. I then bought every book ever published on Aspergers in women and Autism in general devouring them all. I wasn’t sure I fitted into many of the profiles I read though but was reassured that everyone is very different and that I simply felt that I was Autistic. I sought out a female psychologist in Melbourne who specializes in diagnosing Autism in women and made an appointment for an assessment. Impatiently I waited months for this assessment and was very happy when I received a formal assessment of being Autistic. It explained so many things in my life and I felt like finally I understood the reason for my feelings and behaviour being so different from others.

 

Since this time my life hasn’t changed at all really, but I feel calmer and have a deeper understanding of myself. My partner also had answers for why my behaviour had been so challenging over the 29 years we have been together. I am not sure it has changed me as a person at all but I understand now why I behave, feel and react certain ways, to situations and have learnt to give myself space when I am feeling overwhelmed. My only hope is that I can meet others who share my interests and with whom I can develop deeper friendships. I am now 64 years of age but I feel and look much younger and I feel optimistic about the future. I plan to sell my business in the near future and hope to find a new creative challenge in life.

Heather Richmond

When Autistic Women share their Diagnosis Stories, Clinical Psychologists discover that the various circumstances that can lead women to an autism diagnosis bring important insights into autism as it presents in females. AWE– Autistic Women Everywhere invites the non-autistic community, parents, and professionals alike, into the lives of adult females on the autism spectrum. Autism Stories by late-diagnosed autistic women reveal their lived experience of autism.

Autistic Women Exploring our Diagnosis Stories

Autism Stories by Formally Diagnosed Autistic Women

A Free Autism Initiative & Resource For Women Diagnosed with Autism Late in Life.