Update: this book is now out of print due to personal reasons, but you can still find out about it below. A revised edition will be released by 2023.
In the book, I want to focus on mostly things which I can now relate to my Asperger's, and hopefully, along the way I'll be able to help other people on the spectrum and their parents, to understand a little more, either about themselves or about how a person with AS might be feeling.
I settled on this title because I’ve only just recently felt it was the right time to write all of this down (even though I’ve had drafts of it for several years) because I was diagnosed after I'd already overcome a lot of the issues I was having.
Now I’ve got the diagnosis, I can look back on my, slightly train-wreck-esque, life and piece things together, realising now that a lot of what happened was related to having Asperger's. I’m not saying I blame the things that have gone wrong on the Asperger's, but it’s easier to look back and realise that my reaction to things was the way it was because of it.
I wanted to split the book into parts which defined a segment of my life, as well as chapters obviously. I ended up with 10 parts, and here is some more information about each part:
Obviously, I want to start at the start, so the first part will be my early years before school properly started and my parents’ divorce. There’s not a huge amount of things which I remember about this time, and there are parts I don’t want to include because I don’t know how much of it is from memory and how much has been tainted by what people have told me. It felt like a fairly bitter divorce and I feel like maybe each parent told me things about the other that may have been worse than it really was. So instead of make either of them sound like horrible people (which they’re not) I’d rather focus on more positive things from this time – oh, and I broke my arm, which isn’t positive...but I remember it!
Getting used to life after my parents split up was hard, and to top it off I was starting school around this time as well. I was going through a lot really and I think it probably affected me more than I realise. I didn’t have very much luck when it came to making friends either, as the two I did manage to make ended up leaving my school within the first year.
My junior school was in a different building and location to my infant school, so it meant my first big change as far as school goes. I ended up getting bullied for the first time, I dislocated my knee and I made a really stupid choice about my future.
Secondary school didn’t start out great for me, and it only got a little bit better before I completely crashed and burned in a ball of social suicide fire. I got bullied a lot and I had my first lot of therapy, and second lot. But I did meet Chris, so it wasn’t all bad. Well, we didn’t get along brilliantly at this point, but even so!
A lot happened after I left my first high school. I lived with my Dad, pretty much, for a while and I made some friends, who can’t have been that good as they didn’t last longer than a summer holiday. I tried really hard to build my confidence and throw myself into new situations, but even with the new school, things still weren’t working out and I ended up leaving school before I got any qualifications.
Even though I had a nervous breakdown and didn’t really ever fully recover from it, it was still a good thing in the end I think. It made me stronger in a lot of ways, and less bothered about what people thought of me. It also allowed me to look at things with more clarity, and make better plans – so I ended up seeing a lot of people who eventually diagnosed me with ASD and dyspraxia, and I went back to school. Unfortunately it still didn’t work out, probably partly because I’d just had a breakdown, but I did end up making YouTube videos!
After some legal stuff to do with school and me not being able to attend, I gave up on it completely. This is where Chris comes back into my life, because he’d learnt how to drive and kept showing up every day to see me. He moved in with my at my Mum’s house, after a bit of a shaky start, and he ended up with his diagnosis of Asperger's. We were trying to figure out what to do with our lives, and ended up going back to school, starting our own business and it ended up with Chris getting a job.
When my Mum got engaged, me and Chris moved out and went to live at his parents’ house so that my Mum’s husband would be able to move in after their wedding. This meant I had to spend a lot of time on my own because no one was at our house in the day, whereas, at my Mum’s house, I spend time with her in the day. I did some work at home, but I had quite a few meltdowns because I couldn’t get used to our new living arrangements.
Once things had settled down a bit I was able to start focussing properly on my videos and blogs etc. and built my WillowHope and Koby and Friends brands up, as well as releasing my first book and launching my forum Asperclick.
Dealing with all of my work is overwhelming at times and I don’t know how to balance it all with necessary things like housework and cooking but also, I struggle to keep in touch with everyone I know without leaving it too long, whilst still managing to reply to work emails etc. I also want to talk about my plans for the future in this final section.
Here are the chapter titles (after each chapter is a help and advice chapter, which I've not listed):
1. Jigsaw Puzzles
2. Orange Box
6. Two Versions of Myself
7. Fitting In
8. Top of the Class
10. Bundle of Joy
12. Disney Tears
13. Wrong Decision
15. My Place
16. Worlds Divide
19. Right Place, Wrong Time
20. All Change
21. Daddy’s Girl
25. Giving Up
Part 6 26. Breakdown 27. Light at the End 28. Turning Back Time 29. Fiasco
Part 7 30. A New Focus 31. First 32. End of an Era 33. Uphill Battle 34. Realisation 35. Helping 36. One Last Time 37. A Fresh Start 38. All Grown Up
Part 8 39. Leaving Home 40. Alone 41. Following My Passion 42. Strangers 43. Daily Life
Part 9 44. True Calling 45. Building Foundations 46. The Girl In The Panda Hat 47. Bringing Friends Together
Part 10 48. Overwhelmed 49. American Dream 50. Entrepreneurial Postscript
Appendices Obsessions Music and Gigs Caffeine Makeup