Emma, 22, is autistic. We recently spoke with her about her powerful video called The Invisible Antagonist and the story behind why she created it.

"I have created this film to illustrate the daily battle experienced by thousands of people like me who struggle with autism. Often the simple task of walking down the street can become a minefield where my brain feels like it is tuned in to 40 TV channels all at once. People who don’t have autism don’t understand. I hope this helps."

Emma is studying Graphic Design: Visual Communications BA course at the University of Creative Arts (UCA) in Canterbury. She received her autism diagnosis when she was 18 and also struggles with depression, anxiety and psychosis.

During her studies at UCA, Emma was given an assignment to create a film based on a poem. She decided to employ her everyday struggles into this project and to create a video that illustrates her experience with sensory overload. The poem Emma used for this assignment was written by her after a severe episode of depression. After the excellent feedback received from Emma’s tutors, the film has been submitted to the Zebra Film Festival - the world's largest international platform for poetry films.

"Am I really that different to anyone else?"

The film follows the difficulties Emma faced before receiving her diagnosis, when people often though she was odd. She wasn’t interested in the activities that other children her age were involved in. At school her classmates were often mean to her and she felt lonely and isolated most of the time. 

"A background noise can become so unbearable that I get distracted"

One of Emma’s biggest challenges as a result of her autism is experiencing sensory overload which makes communication and understating other people very difficult.

"Shopping centres and public places make me feel so sick that I need several days to recover. To help myself I wear earphones most of the time…Wearing earphones comes with a new set of problems as people often think I am listening to music and not paying attention. If they looked closer they will see that the earphones are not plugged into anything – they simply make me feel safe."

"Despite my daily struggles I started a new journey in further education."

In 2015 Emma won a place at Camberwell College of Arts on the BA Graphic Design Course. Unfortunately she found living in London by herself very difficult and had to go back home. Despite her tough experience in London, Emma did not give up on her dream to study art and at the moment she is about to finish her first year on the Graphic Design: Visual Communications BA course at the UCA in Canterbury. 

"Art is a way for me to visually communicate."

Emma shared that the power of art helped her "to survive and make sense of the world" around her. She also feels extremely positive about her passion for art: "Through creating artwork, I have been able to make a contribution and it helps me to feel accepted. It’s not easy but I am beginning to feel like a normal human being – whatever that is!"