The past three days The Chase’s Anne ‘The Governess’ Hegerty has been miles out of her comfort zone. Camp mates and viewers may be feeling admiration and empathy for her but I’m pretty sure very few can truly understand what she is experiencing.
As a fellow female with ASD I must say I am in pure awe of what Anne is currently achieving. The amount of unknowns and the level of sensory overload she must be experiencing is indescribable. Even more amazing, however, is the size of the door Anne has opened by simply declaring that she has ASD.
Over the years I’ve spent hours upon hours ranting about the lack of media representation of people like myself. Recently there has been a drastic rise in autism themed shows (Atypical, The A Word and The Good Doctor to name a few), however, the main character in all of these shows is male. People don’t realise just how differently ASD affects women. By admitting that she has the condition and not hiding the way it affects her Anne has made the public aware of just how women with ASD feel on a daily basis.
I have not been thrown into a jungle and surrounded by strangers with no idea what awaits me but on Monday I did begin a new internship. I spent my entire weekend in full meltdown mode. Unable to breath, hearing and feeling everything, constantly stimming. Now when people see me in that state they may just be able to put two and two together and process the kind of experience I am having.
The response Anne Hegerty’s declaration has received is amazing but this is very much just a small step in the right direction. So much is still unknown about female autism let alone passed on to the broad public. Anne Hegerty is a brilliant advocate for women with ASD and I hope she continues spreading awareness as Queen of the Jungle or not.