Who is Alison Hale?!
Who am I?! If I am being very formal I might say, "I am Dr Alison Hale, with a doctorate in physics." However this obscures my colourful past (see timeline) and says little about what I get up to these days.
Throughout my formative years, prior to my late-twenties, among other things I struggled with poor literacy and social skills, along with significant mental health problems in the form of depression and anxiety. It was not immediately obvious that I was very bright, in fact many people considered me to be a misfit with lower than average intelligence. For example, during my mid-twenties when I wrote the first edition of my autobiography I was barely literate, could not socialise, and was consumed by depression. In stark contrast I am now a successful research scientist and enjoying life.
How was this transformation possible? In my late-twenties I finally managed, with a lot of support from a couple of very good friends, to take control of my life. First, I had to accept that my life would always be tough and physically painful. Secondly, to survive in the world I would need take full advantage of my abilities and find ways around many disabilities. Lastly, it would be necessary for me to learn to recognise the triggers that caused poor mental health and find ways to manage and/or circumvent them.
I dreamt of a better future and eventually become the master of my own destiny by, in the words of Vivian Greene, I learnt that: "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... It's about learning to dance in the rain."
So what went so horribly wrong? How did I turn my life around? Unsurprisingly the answer is the subject of my autobiography My World is not Your World(!). However in my timeline I give a very brief synopsis of how autism, dyslexia and Scotopic Sensitivity impacted my life.
When I am not thinking about science and have enough energy to do something other than hide beneath my soft furry throw watching a movie I enjoy doing creative activities such as...
In life there is always other stuff which needs doing - at home my diy/engineering skills enable me tackle most small jobs; plumbing, soldering, sawing, drilling, building... I love that my garden is a haven for birds, butterflies and flowers, but dislike pervasive weeds, big spiders and large slugs! In the winter I look forward to 'tree cleaning winds'; strong winds that knock dead branches out of trees. During the other seasons I hope that my stubs will outgrow the weeds, the birds eat will the spiders and the fogs will gobble up the slugs!
Recently I realised that I was greatly saddened by the fact that there are still so many children and adults who are still being failed by the education, medical and social care systems; too much distress and unfulfilled potential. This was my motivation to update my autobiography and publish the second edition. If just one person is helped by my story then all my efforts in writing it down have been worth it.