My Story - Autism, bullying and the love of retro gaming!

I've been meaning to do this now for a very very long time, but have always felt doing something like this might bore many of you and even turn some of you away. But considering how many years Indie Retro News has been going, and how many great friends I've made along the way now is the time I feel to tell a small part of my story. A story that wont be pages and pages in length, but will be just enough for you to understand doing all of this wasn't an easy road.

Way back when I was but a very young age I always found it difficult to fit in, to find friends and to find my place in life even at such a young age. Don't get me wrong my parents were great, but bullying towards myself always took hold from others, even by the very teachers themselves! Being pulled out of a room by a teacher pulling my ear to the point of bleeding was one such awful memory.

At the age of 7 my mum got me an Amstrad 464 green screen computer with a ton of games and it was at that stage of my life which started me down the route of retro gaming. Even though I was still being bullied at school and sometimes harshly to the point of suicidal thoughts, I came back to my computer and hours and hours dissapeared without a care in the world, without any worries about walking out of the front door, only to be that lonely child and threatened by the local kids of the area. - One of the reasons out of the 100's of Amstrad games I still have, I still love Dizzy, Green Beret, Tombstowne and Dragons Lair still to this day.

Towards my teen years the bullying got much much worse, I would always be the child/teen who sat on his own in a playground, not be picked at sports or threatened to have my face punched in if I dare looked at certain people just by accident. Weight was mentioned a lot, but I was never overweight, my parents were insulted, but my mum was caring and never did no wrong in my eyes. Yet I was always the outcast. Memories of being punched in my arm over and over again at one such PE lesson every day of the week still hold hard.  Sure I did stand up for myself on the odd occasion, you have to, but to do that all the time, at every school I was ever at. I almost but gave up on life again!

I had a few friends at my Senior school, but I didn't get to see them as much as I'd like because for me, at that time I always wanted to share my Amiga. The outside world was still frightening enough, taunts at my window at night put me off going out much. I spent entire summers on the Amiga 500, playing Dragons Breath or Deuteros, never wanting to go out, that was most of my childhood.

Through the later years, multiple home moves, and through many home struggles as well ( another story ), I became someone who would never leave the house, I would pretty much spend days and nights on the computer because that was what I was used to, the mental torture of OTHER people kept me in. Mum did try, she was and still is a very caring person.

All things changed from my early 20's, as it was time to find out what was going on in my head and why I was struggling, why I never felt like I fit in, why I was having argument after argument online with other people, arguments that had nothing to do with me did, enemies made, and why couldn't I read emotions the list was endless. Through a specialist however, I finally was diagnosed with Autism(Aspergers), have negative OCD, and PTSD at the age of 22.

That Autistic trait had been with me since birth. It was never a reason to give people the excuse to bully. Bullying isn't on in any form. But atleast it was an answer to my ways, why I didn't always fit in and why when it came to certain people even worse online I didn't understand them.

So have things got better since then? Well thanks to a huge part of the family around me, I was able to meet people even do things I'd never have done before. The biggest social outcome was this site Indie Retro News and the collection of my childhood games Amstrad, C64, ZX Spectrum, Mega Drive, SNES, NES! Through this I've been able to talk to people from around the world from all walks of life online, about my love of retro gaming, to share the latest news and to yes even feed my Autistic ways without being bullied for doing so.

Sure I get lots of moments in life where my Autustic ways cause a clash with others, or really bad down turns of depression and suicidal thoughts start to take hold. Or I struggle to do everything that others do in the outside world. But unlike before, when I was a child, I don't just have my family, but my other half, my clan friends and all of you who read my site every damn day of the week. It's difficult, but through this it's been worth it.

Thanks everyone

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