Wednesday, 15 February 2023

Autism and the Gaming Community.

There's a few things I want to touch upon here. I've recently realised I'm Autistic, this is my own self diagnosis. For anyone reading this who is themselves a diagnosed Autistic, please don't get annoyed at me for self diagnosing, I have numerous reasons for doing so. My son was diagnosed with Autism and I saw that for all the reasons he is, I am too. (It's really self evident to me, now)

It's quite an eye opener! Certain things that didn't make sense to me over my life now do. It's made me quite introspective, I've reanalyzed various events over my life and I see many now with a new light.

I read an article recently (I'll link it later) and so much struck a cord. Like in the article I was bullied at school. I would get upset, cry and always struggle with my emotions, some things just wouldn't make sense to me, and I took other things at face value that I probably shouldn't have. I often felt lonely and yes I considered suicide. Thankfully family and friends helped me through the tough times. Work later was also difficult, I would sometimes be ostracized, and not quite understand why.

The same with hobbies, I played Warhammer on the tournament scene for a while but many of the people never quite felt like friends, some would act oddly towards me, and rampant cheating and nonsense put me off. (some not all, I still have a core of awesome friends from those days.)

I played D&D most weekends for a few years, but again issues arose through misunderstandings. I recall the owner of the shop getting irate with me because I was trying to be efficient. (he felt I was taking away his ability to shine) I didn't mean any harm, I was just trying to defeat the encounter! (I saw us as a team that would work the most efficient way possible)

Being Autistic means I see things differently, I'm not always good at understanding others emotions and motivations and I can cause upset unintentionally. (Aeronauts...) The thought of upsetting others really upsets me. What I'm hoping is now I know I'm not Neurotypical it may help me to understand others more, and vice versa!

If I have offended any people out there please know that I may not be aware of it, and am always happy to have a chat about anything over a beer. I really hate conflict, I suck at it, and would much rather be friends with everyone if I can be!

King's of War now has been my main hobby since first edition. I can say without doubt it's the friendliest community I've been part of. I was always made to feel welcome, and despite the odd misunderstanding, people feel accepting to a much greater level than I have known previously.

Now they do say that like calls to like, it may well be that our hobby attracts the Neurodiverse. I certainly accept seeing as we play with toy soldiers, we're all a bunch of nerds!

I'll note here my inner thought process, I hope that my joke about toy soldiers and nerds will amuse people but I also worry that I may offend someone. (I worry far too much) Being Autistic means I constantly have to second guess myself, I try to make everyone happy, I don't like to make waves. It's not easy.

Seriously though, I love our community. I have been made to feel welcome and loved by people worldwide. (being invited to America time after time and being made so welcome was a dream come true for me) Being RC for many years was a fantastic experience too. (You're awesome Mantic)

The gist of the article is this. I feel I'm accepted for who I am, even if quite what that is hasn't been defined. Considering that many people with Autism struggle, I think myself very lucky. It took a while but I found my people. Thank you.

Note the photo's show some of the many awesome people on the scene. I love all you guys out there though, photo of you shown or not!