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Hi there,

🧠 Autistic ADHDer || 🎨 creative activist || 🌎 social change campaigner || 🎭 performing arts
 

I am Hannah, an autistic adhder with a love of jellycats and all things creative. I am currently doing a foundation in musical theatre, I love to act, sing, dance, and play instruments. I am an avid bullet journaller who is also now dabbling my toe in junk and art journalling. For me creativity gives me a voice, a way to express myself my way and an escape from the world around me.


I am a passionate advocate for social change, neurodivergence, mental health, young people, true inclusivity amount other things. I have been lucky enough to work alongside some amazing charities including EmotionDysreguautism, The Mighty Creatives and Mind.

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My Story

Creativity quite honestly saved my life. As much as that is such a cringey and cliché thing to say, the power of creativity is one we too often underestimate. My journey through life so far has been one of many trials and tribulations. In some ways I found my calling in creativity later on but it has been the tool I have used to discover the real me, navigate my challenges and now my weapon of choice in the battle for social change and justice. 

 

My path to this point in my life has been a difficult one, but one that drives my want to use creativity to empower social change. I grew up undiagnosed neurodivergent (I am autistic with a Pathological Demand Avoidance profile (PDA) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), this meant the mainstream system didn’t work for me, however being female, no one picked up on the struggles I worked so perfectly to hide.

. I also suffered abuse in my childhood and had a number of other traumatic events. My brain did not learn or work in the same way as my peers, I couldn’t really make friends and the very few I bumbled alongside never lasted very long. At 9 years old I developed an eating disorder and began having suicidal thoughts. For me the world was a confusing and scary place. I struggled to fit in and understand the world- I felt I was not given the handbook everyone else had to society and the rules to exist. I thought I was broken, damaged and fundamentally not good enough. I had been anxious my whole life and just after my GCSE exams it all crumbled around me. My mental health deteriorated, the years of masking and trauma had led to burnout and a full breakdown. I was suicidal. I was done. I felt I had nothing left to give this world.

 

I then spent the next 4/5 years in and out of hospitals. I ended up in PICU (Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit) on constant observations (when some has to be with you at all times) due to the level of distress I was in- I was a revolving door patient, labelled difficult and too complex. I was told there was no hope and I would never change. It wasn’t until 2020, at 19 years old I was told I was autistic. The world of neurodivergence was opened and an explanation that I wasn’t a strange broken horse but a normal zebra (a section from one of my favourite quotes about labels). Of course, this wasn’t an overnight transformation but slowly over the next few years I educated myself, I learnt about autism, neurodivergence and I went on a journey of self-discovery.

. I did this through different forms of creativity. I began to use this as a way to express myself, a way to get lost, away from the noises of my own head. I used it to understand and investigate what neurodivergence meant to me. It allowed me to work through my own internalised ableism, my fear of being different and to cope with the constant discrimination and poor treatment by others. Unfortunately, during my time in hospitals, I suffered significant abuse which led to even more complex trauma and deep issues with trust. During my hospital stays I was subjected to neglect, abuse and mistreatment- this combined with my childhood trauma has resulted in C-PTSD (complex-post traumatic stress disorder). I was made to feel so broken, like a problem and a burden. I was repeatedly told I would never succeed. I had such a narrow idea of what success was from society and our school system. I believed success was this linear model. I forced myself to start 4 A levels in biology, chemistry, maths and psychology with the idea of doing medicine (to clarify there is nothing wrong with this, for some this is their success but success will look different for everyone!), something I never even finished the first year of. As the years went on, as I watch my peers continue to squeeze through the sausage factory which is our education system, learning to embrace the new freedoms of adult life- I looked on locked behind the doors of a psychiatric hospital and locked within the demons in my mind. Believing there was no way out or hope of a future. 

 

In the end I had a choice- the way I was going was only going to end up one way. I was scared but I quite literally had nothing to lose. For so long I felt unsure of my purpose, of what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t know who I was, I had spent so long hiding and masking I truly had no idea about the real me. This journey of self-discovery took many years, it started in 2020 and is still continues to this day. In truth the largest part of this work occurred for me only last month. I discovered that I have two massive passions in life, two things which drive everything I do. One being a love of performing and expressing myself creatively- this is something that massively helped in my journey to discovering who I am and the other which is the drive that gets me up each day, social change. Throughout the next few years, I joined many charities in various lived experience/youth voice roles. I also created my own blog, and here we are on my blog- Legally Detained. A strange name I know but one that I came up with alongside another patient while on a PICU. It seemed fitting and although luckily now I am no longer legally detained and haven't been for some time the name has kind of stuck. A reminder of how far I have come and also the battle we have to stop autistic people being locked away. 

I am excited for the future of this blog- I have no idea where it is going but for me that just adds to the potential and wonder <3333

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