Nicholas Ryan Purcell is a thirty two year old filmmaker from Tipperary. He has produced two documentaries, the latter about his own experiences with Autism, which screened in twenty eight Irish cinemas and two mainland U.K. Cinemas. During lockdown it was suggested to him that he write about his Autism.
Nicholas says, “Writing the book was a tremendous healer for myself. Revisiting past traumatic and sometimes not so heavy events helped release and clear away past baggage. I learned how past experiences had shaped me. I learned that depression stopped my brain from growing, whilst my body grew. That is why I am much more immature than others my own age and why I appear very young. The brain fog in my mind began to clear during the writing, which allowed me to think much clearer and finally start figuring things out for myself. I was clearing out this old baggage, old emotions resurfaced.”
Nicholas and his sister grew up in Emly village County Tipperary. He moved to Cloughjordan in County Tipperary in 2006 at the age of sixteen. Nicholas recounts he was always miles behind others in learning how to socialise with peers because he only ever mixed with those in his parents’ age group who understood him more than peers. He moved out of home in 2018 as his Mum said he would not grow if they continued to live under the same roof. It was very emotional for him, seeing her waving goodbye in the rear view mirror of his car. Intense focus on projects is an Autism trait which he felt enabled him to complete two documentary film projects. His Mum always found a Plan B around everything, such as insisting he learn to drive an automatic car because he found a manual car very difficult to drive. She helped him get through the Leaving Certificate by drawing a tunnel to show there was light at the end of the tunnel. At one end of the tunnel was college and at the other end was Nicholas. In the middle was the obstacle which was the Leaving Certificate and all he needed to do was to hop over that obstacle and he would have a free run to college. Nicholas studied film and TV for three years in Dublin. His Mum has stood with him through thick and thin, and most recently with his book to ensure the story flows and always wanting the best for him and his sister Joanna, who was like a best friend for him growing up and looking out for him always. HIs Dad is a lawyer and works hard in the office while his Mum always tried her best to help him fit into society and insisted he go to parties and events where there would be other people in attendance to help build his social skills. Without his family’s unending support, he says he would not be where he is today. The book is dedicated to his Mum, Dorothy.
The book ‘Anything Is Possible – Learning To Live With My Autism’ went on the market just in time for Christmas in bookshops around the country and in Bookstór Kinsale.