[92] S7, Ep12: Fern Brady: Compassion for my autistic self: gender expectations, troubleshooting traits, and unmasking on TV
Topics in this episode: Alexithymia, bullying, burnout, family, feminism, gender, health, masking, meltdowns, relationships, religion, sensory issues, sexuality, things that have changed for the better since diagnosis

Fern Brady is a comedian and writer born and raised in Bathgate in Scotland. Now in her 30s, she lives in London with her partner. 

Fern was a guest on the podcast back in the spring of 2021, soon after she was diagnosed autistic. Since then, she taken a deep dive into learning more about autism, toured her standup show Autistic Bikini Queen, been a contestant on Channel 4’s TaskMaster… and written a book, Strong Female Character, which comes out in February 2023. 

I was lucky enough to get a proof copy to read before the interview. I loved this book! Written in Fern’s characteristic down-to-earth and straightforward style, it manages to cover some really quite dark chapters in her life with a lightness of touch and humour that make it effortlessly readable and entertaining, while still exploring important issues around being an autistic woman in our society.

It was great to catch up with Fern and find out how things have changed since she was first diagnosed. It feels like we talked about everything in this conversation – but some of the highlights are:

➡ Trying to break the burnout cycle
➡ Her struggle with meltdowns – and how she’s worked to manage and reduce them
➡ Being female and autistic: sensory issues, hormones, sex, sexuality and fitting into accepted gender expectations
➡ Alexithymia and how underlying, unprocessed emotions can manifest physically
➡ How it felt to unmask in a very visible way on Taskmaster

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.



Fern’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fernfrombathgate/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FernBrady
Tour dates and mailing list: https://fernbradycomedian.com/ 

Preorder Strong Female Character (out 16 Feb 2023): 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1914240448/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_D5S44JY3RRRVP7N0F7W4
Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/strong-female-character/fern-brady/9781914240447
Blackwell’s (delivers to USA): https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Strong-Female-Character-by-Fern-Brady/9781914240447 

Fern’s previous SquarePeg episode: https://squarepeg.community/32-s3-ep1-fern-brady-autistic-meltdowns-understanding-emotions-and-being-the-black-sheep/ 

Fern mentioned the excellent book, Unmasking Autism by Dr Devon Price: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Unmasking-Autism-Incredible-Hidden-Neurodiversity/dp/1800960549/
Fern mentioned Alexis Quinn’s book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41164820-unbroken
Alexis was on SquarePeg earlier in this season: https://squarepeg.community/86-s7-ep6-narrative-therapy-reflections-on-an-autistic-experience-of-mental-health-inpatient-services/ 


If you’d like to connect or get in touch with Squarepeg, you can find me on:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/squarepeg.community/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/squarepegautism
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/squarepegautism/
Or on my website: https://squarepeg.community/ 



A HUGE thank you to my amazing patrons, who support my work on the podcast:

Abi Hunter, Abigail J Moore, Adam Klager, Amy Adler, Amy-Beth Mellor, Anika Lacerte, Annette, Ben Davies, Caroline, Cat Preston, Catrin Green, Cindy Bailey, Clare Holmes, Corinne Cariad, Danielle Warby, Dawn Trevellion, Elizabeth Vezina, Elizabeth Williams, Galina, Gwyneth, Hannah Breslin, Jackie Allen, JF, Jayne Hutchinson, Jeff Goldman, Jen Bartlett, JE, Katarzyna Tomaszewska, Kate and Kathryn, Kate Faust, Katharine Richards, Katherine Lynch, Kenneth Knowles, Laurencia Saenz Benavides, Lea Li, Leo Ricketts, Lilli Simmons, Lyb, Mandy Allen, Meredith L. Freyre, MN, Pete Burke, Rebecca Biegel, Rebecca Kemp, Sarah Cottrell, Sarah Jeffery, Sarah Ivinson, Sarah Swanton, Sioned Wynn, Stephanie Murray, Suzanna Chen, Suzanne, Tammie Fabien, Tegan Bailey, Tessa Valyou, Tree Hall, Una Walkenhorst, Vic Wiener, Vicki Temple, Victoria Chang, Victoria Routledge, Wendy Walker, Zephyrine Craster and Zoe Lee.

If you’re enjoying the Squarepeg podcast and would like to help me carry on making new episodes, you can become a member of the Squarepeg community on Patreon from £3 per month: https://www.patreon.com/squarepegpodcast 

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