[101] S8 E9: From psychiatric trauma to autistic joy: a journey of healing and self discovery
Topics in this episode: autism and trauma, mental health, misdiagnosis, sensory issues, things that have changed for the better since diagnosis

Laura Richmond is a writer and researcher from Southampton in the UK. Now 35, she was diagnosed autistic last year.

She had an extremely difficult road to diagnosis. Social and emotional struggles in childhood led to her being in and out of the psychiatric system for 15 years, misdiagnosed and spending time in various psychiatric hospitals.

The turning point came when her son was born: after a traumatic birth she developed PTSD and spent time in a psychiatric mother and baby unit. Her positive experience there, so unlike her previous time in hospital, led her to begin writing about her experiences and unravelling her own history, eventually leading to her autism diagnosis and a book about her experiences that will be published very soon.

Laura and I covered so many different things in this conversation! Although some of the topics we discuss are not easy, I believe it’s so important that these stories are told.

Some of the things we talk about are:

➡ Why she was initially cautious about getting an autism diagnosis

➡ Her mental health challenges, self harm, and her time in psychiatric services

➡ Hyperlexia, sensory issues and the double empathy problem

➡ Her journey of self discovery through writing her memoir and tapping into autistic joy



Please be aware that there is discussion of self harm, mental health difficulties, the psychiatric system and birth trauma from the start and at various points throughout this episode, so if you don’t wish to hear about these topics, you may want to skip this one.


Squarepeg is a podcast in which neurodivergent women, and trans and nonbinary people, explore navigating a neurotypical world and share their insights, challenges and successes.

I hope that these conversations will be inspiring and thought provoking, open you up to new ways of thinking about being neurodivergent, and help you feel more connected to a worldwide community of people with similar experiences.

I’m Amy Richards, and after being diagnosed autistic at the age of 37 I’m now on a mission to learn more about different perspectives and issues around being a neurodivergent adult in a world that feels like it doesn’t quite fit.



Laura’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cooksferryqueen/

Her Twitter – https://twitter.com/cooksferryqueen

Her Linktree – https://linktr.ee/cooksferryqueen

Pre-order/buy her book – https://unbound.com/books/all-my-worldly-joy/

Information on autism and self harm from the National Autistic Society: https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/topics/mental-health/self-harm


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