Depression and Autism

Today I went through many letters and poems from my childhood. I came across a few poignant pieces that signify how I related to my world during my youth.

I find these old writings telling of my journey.

The words validate a young girl who didn’t understand why she seemed so different from many of her peers. I was able to mask well. Very well. I was a cheerleader (even the homecoming princess at one point). But I was extremely isolated and depressed; crying most days. My small world seemed empty and void of hope. We can’t judge a book by its cover. We need look out for our neurodivergent kin and for all children and adults feeling alone.

Age 15

Hello Children.

Why are you laughing?

Why are you whispering?

So, I don’t see as you do, or look as you.

Perhaps my hair is wrong or face too square.

Children, children, why do you stare?

You have a heart, maybe so far behind.

You’ve forgotten or lost it.

But mine is kept here.

I may not be who you think I should be.

But I have something none of you have.

I am me.

When you start talking, behind each other’s backs.

Start lying from jealousy, or making up facts.

I’ll be here waiting, for I’m not a mirror.

My friends are people.

My friends don’t crawl or fear to speak freely.

For I am myself.

You may say, “Nonsense. You are a fool.”

I may say, “Darling. It’s time you were you.”

~ Marcelle Ciampi, age 15 (aka Samantha Craft of Everyday Aspergers)


The last line reads: A tear for you A tear for me A tear to wash Away–so freeAge 16

What type of people do you want to be around?

People who understand what I’m feeling.

People who care about others and don’t hurt each other.

People who are happy with themselves…

People I can trust.

age 16
age 16

Age 16

Outside the birds are singing,

Outside the world is yours,

Yours to laugh, yours to play,

Inside the babe is crying,

Inside the babe is you,

Yours to be,

Yours to see,

The way the babe does grow,

Inside the babe is crying,

Inside the babe does weep,

Outside the children laughing,

Smile as they sleep,

Wind sweep by and take me,

Leave my shell to die,

Send my wings to soar,

Through the world outside,

The birds are singing, call us there,

Calling urging love to spare,

Lift me up around the sea, above the clouds,

For me to be,

Above, beyond, outside to all,

Babes crying,

World’s laughing,

World dying,

Let’s go.


1982 age 13

Bio:  Marcelle Ciampi, M.Ed. (aka Samantha Craft)

Marcelle Ciampi (aka Samatha Craft) is a respected autistic author and community advocate, is best known for her writings found in the well-received book Everyday Aspergers. A professional educator, she has been featured in various literature, including peer-reviewed journals, Autism Parenting Magazine, The Mighty, Project Aspie, Art of Autism, and Different Brains. Marcelle works as the Recruitment Manager and Outreach Specialist at Ultranauts Inc., an engineering firm with a neurodiversity-hiring initiative, and is a consultant for Uptimize and Spectrum Fusion. A contributing author of Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, Marcelle speaks globally on the topic of neurodiversity. She also serves as the founder of Spectrum Suite LLC, the co-founder of the Spectrum Lights Inclusion Summit, co-executive of LifeGuides for Autistics (, and a contributor and advisor to autism organizations and conferences internationally. Some of her works, especially The Ten Traits, have been translated into multiple languages and been shared in counseling offices around the world. She resides in the Pacific Northwest U.S.A. with her sons and life partner.

“Everyday Aspergers is an unusual and powerful exploration of one woman’s marvelously lived life. Reminiscent of the best of Anne Lamott, Everyday Aspergers jumps back and forth in time through a series of interlocking vignettes that give insight and context to her lived experience as an autistic woman. The humor and light touch is disarming, because underneath light observations and quirky moments are buried deep truths about the human experience and about her own work as an autistic woman discerning how to live her best life. From learning how to make eye contact to finding ways to communicate her needs to being a dyslexic cheerleader and a fraught mother of also-autistic son, Samantha Craft gives us a marvelous spectrum of experiences. Highly recommended for everyone to read — especially those who love people who are just a little different.”

~ Ned Hayes, bestselling author of The Eagle Tree

21 thoughts on “Depression and Autism

  1. I have SPD (sensory processing disorder) and used to write poetry a lot in my teens and early 20s. Yours is very poignant. Mine was often an outlet for my depression and feelings of being a social outcast but I am not nearly brave enough to post any of them. Thank you for sharing your poetry.


  2. I wrote poetry as a teen in the 1990’s. I can identify with the themes of loneliness and isolation. I was undiagnosed until age 19, and I was so relieved to get a diagnosis that explained my symptoms. God does hear us when we cry out in pain. He doesn’t always answer in the time we’d like, but if we wait and pray (and even cry and scream in the meantime), he will answer, unconditionally love and sustain us. I don’t write much poetry anymore, but I do take lots of pictures now that digital photography is available at an affordable price. I have found, as a visual thinker, that documenting my thoughts with pictures helps others see my emotions and experiences. I encourage you to check out Broken Light Photography Collective, a WordPress blog for those affected by mental illness and autism/ADHD. If you are a picture taker, you might consider submission, which if free.


  3. This post ties into a great deal of what I have been thinking about for a while. I, too, grew up as a teenager with Asperger’s in the 1980’s, completely unrecognized as such by those around me. My challenges and difficulties (which were sometimes severe) were often just brushed off by family, teachers, etc., because I was at the top of my class academically, and that was enough for them. But, the experiences that people like us had, especially in that decade, contrast SO much with the experiences of people who have been diagnosed as young people with Asperger’s during the last 10-15 years. I’m not saying that our experiences were necessarily harder or easier than those of people in their teens or twenties today who know that they’re on the spectrum, but I do believe that there is a lot to be learned about the Asperger’s mind by looking at the experiences and “coping” mechanisms of those who grew up not so long ago, but during a time when there was no chance of us being properly diagnosed and recognized. I do wonder if there could be some sort of forum, etc, for discussion and exchange among those of us who grew up in the 10-15 years before Asperger’s was even officially recognized as something here in the U.S. Just a random thought. 🙂


    1. Hi Peter, I am Brigid in Australia and think I can probably relate a great deal, and the same time frame. My autistic niece just arrived home with a couple of grand and great awards, everyone so pleased. This doesn’t make her life solved though. I would be happy to read your experiences. Maybe you too could begin a blog.


      1. Hi, Brigid. My wife has told me that I should start a blog, and we have, once or twice, attempted to start one together. I just never seem to find the time to build one, and I worry that I would not have the time to maintain it properly, post frequently enough, etc. I’m a teacher with seven children (eighth on the way), most of whom are on the spectrum in one place or another. If a forum were to be started for discussion among those of us in the 80’s generation who grew up with undiagnosed Asperger’s, I would guess that it would have to be in a place with plenty of space for postings over time, since I would guess that there are a lot of people like us out there who have plenty of interesting experiences to convey. I’m not sure that a Facebook post would work well for that purpose, but I don’t really know what the ideal forum is, either.


      2. Wow Peter, you are indeed blessed to have such a fantastic family with similar interests. Your expression will find it’s space at your own pace.


    2. “My challenges and difficulties (which were sometimes severe) were often just brushed off by family, teachers, etc., because I was at the top of my class academically, and that was enough for them.” That describes me as well. I too was a teen in the 1980s, diagnosed with AS in 2007 at the age of 42. I love the idea of a place for people like us to discuss our experiences. We are never too old to learn from each other. I don’t do Facebook, but it’s great to know that our generation is beginning to band together.


      1. I would love to be part of a forum of 80’s generation Aspies, though I’m not sure where that forum would best be situated. I tend to think that Facebook isn’t the place, given that a post on Facebook would rapidly be shoved down the page as the days go on and given how hard it can be for others to find such a post if they didn’t see it in their news feeds. But, the more I look back on my life back in that decade, the more I am absolutely shocked, amazed, saddened, and amused by my life then. There were so many BIG flashing signs indicating that I was autistic – but nobody figured it out at the time.


  4. I understand that Facebook is not everyone’s cup of tea. I was thinking today, while not trying to undermine the intensity of emotion behind anyone’s personal journey, mine would make your hair curl, the root of discomfort stems from a desire to be totally autonomous with, as it has been termed, ‘neurotypical’ individuals. If the majority of those surrounding us were autistic, aspergerian then things may not seem so askew. Forget about fitting in, which is just a code and be true to your own heart. Definitely strive to throw off ‘learned behaviour’ that has been a coping mechanism because lying to yourself is the worst killer of spirit. ‘If you can’t trust yourself you can’t trust your soul’, a cool compilation album from the late 1980’s.


  5. Actually, I made a mistake. It is, ‘If you can’t please yourself you can’t please your soul’, although I like the other slant. People can see through the learned behaviour. I would be called an actress, which mortified me hoping so much to be seen as ‘normal’ and being touted a hoax.


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