Neurodivergent StoriesARLAINA ASH Albuquerque, United States
Making Strides Towards My Goals
I was diagnosed with autism and attention deficit disorder five years ago. I’m diagnosed with mental health disorders and have been on disability for the past ten years. My sensory issues as a neurodivergent person made many work environments, such as fast food, retail, and call centers difficult for me to be in. I would do better in a quiet office environment, though I also enjoy working with other people.
I’m currently volunteering at a psychiatric hospital where I co-facilitate groups as a peer, or someone with lived experience with mental illness. Recently, I became certified as a peer support worker, which is the next step in applying for jobs in the mental health field. However, my work history has been a barrier to employment. I need to find an employer who will take a chance on my abilities to help others, even though I don’t have recent work experience. My volunteering, which I have done for several years, shows that I am dedicated and persistent.
Besides peer support, my talents are writing and visual arts. I have a bachelors degree in professional writing. I participate regularly in writing groups and poetry readings. I consider myself a self-taught artist. I’ve been involved in various community arts projects and my artwork has been shown in galleries. My creativity in art and writing have helped my mental health recovery, and I’ve even been able to use it to help others, such as by teaching an art class at a psychosocial rehabilitation facility as a volunteer.