Friday, December 2, 2016

There Is Hope for Us

There is hope for our species, the Neurodivergent.

The world has imposed upon us a standard which many of us cannot meet, leaving us scarred in the process of trying to get there.

Stigma, a badge of shame attached to diagnosis, hurts us. Mental illness is not a character flaw, it’s what happens when society’s demands are incompatible with our natural abilities. It’s the pain we feel at being forced in line when we need the freedom to be ourselves. It makes us hate who we are when we can’t control it.

But there is hope for us… our voices are getting LOUDER. Tools like the Internet are giving us a platform to speak and connect with others like us. There is such overwhelming support, we just have to look for it.

We have to be willing to look at ourselves and others with fresh eyes, not through the dirty goggles the world has pulled over our faces. To be accepted, we must accept ourselves and others, and avoid judging each other and buying into damaging stereotypes the way others have done to us.

Keep in mind that many of us Neurodivergents have experienced unspeakable pain, and it is absolutely valid even if Neurotypicals assume we are overreacting.
Overreacting is a myth.
We react based on the intensity of our experience: so we are reacting just right. We should not laugh at each others’ complaints or struggles, whether it comes from a Neurotypical or Neurodivergent. Everyone should be respected.

Anyway… let me tell you what sparked this.

I have been mentally “away” on and off, swinging between self-hatred and love for our kind. 
In my everyday life, I struggle a lot due to the weaknesses that come with ASD and OCDThey just don’t seem compatible with some necessary aspects of adulthood, and I find myself overwhelmed by too many tasks and demands. So I swing back and forth between happiness and misery (thanks especially to ASD extreme moods) depending my tasks for that day, or whether my days off are for “recovery,” or if I actually have enough energy to enjoy myself.

When I’m in school, these problems are x10 (times ten) since the college life leads to persistent information overload for me. The exhaustion so physically and emotionally painful that simply describing my issues as articulately as the last paragraph is near impossible in that state. It ends out coming out in a rant of details rather than a summary--my more natural form of talking.

With every screaming demand and anxiety trigger, my mind stacks another intrusive thought or painful memory over my normally happy self, darkening my vision, and silencing my voice. I hide away because I can’t be socially graceful with all that junk. And after every college semester, I’m left with a hardened shell I must chip away at until I can see myself again. Last time, it took me nearly a year to break free from it.

I’ve been sick, depressed, anxious, and trapped inside my shell for a long time this semester. I scream from the inside, but it comes out in barely a squeak. Sometimes I see a crack in the shell, and find some comfort or inspiration in a ribbon of light before it closes up again. So, I do still have good days, but I have to cling to them for dear life.

It was another ribbon of light that sparked this post. My misery was my only company, so it felt better to shout words of hope to others also stuck in a shell. I know what it’s like to feel trapped, exhausted, and misunderstood.
So keep chipping away. There is light outside waiting.