The Mighty Logo

What It Was Like When My Therapist Told Me I Exist on a ‘Different Plane’

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

A few months into working with a new therapist, she said, “You just exist on a different plane.” At that point in time, I brushed it off and changed subjects; however, those words kept showing up. She explained it a little bit more… a different plane, or neurodivergent. Sensory processing disorder? Autistic tendencies? Empath? Highly sensitive?

These were words she started using a while ago that I couldn’t even say out loud. This conversation sent me into a tailspin for weeks. I couldn’t be neurodivergent. That word felt made up and I definitely wasn’t autistic because of what I know about autism and that’s not me. But… could it be?

I entered into the Google world and learned all about women who were diagnosed with autism as an adult or women diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at a later age. I learned what sensory processing disorder was and what it meant to be highly sensitive. It’s a rabbit hole I could have gone down forever.

I had to pause, and just be. If this was me, so be it; if not, so be it. I’m still me and I needed to breathe for a second.

Months later, I still can’t say neurodivergent because if I say it, then the other things must be true. Maybe I’m an empath and highly sensitive, but what does that have to do with anything? Sensory processing disorder? Autistic? Please, give me another diagnosis to add to my list. But one thing I did start to notice was the anxiety and depression symptoms didn’t add up to what I experience each day, that there is something else.

So, maybe I do exist on a different plane. Now what? If I exist on a different plane, what are things people like me would be doing to find a little more compassion for themselves? What are things they would do to decrease symptoms? I learned how to decrease anxiety and depression symptoms, these aren’t symptoms though… these things are just me. This is turning my world upside down, or is it actually turning it right-side up?

Do I seek a formal diagnosis? Would that make my life any better?

Maybe it would and maybe it wouldn’t. Maybe with the people I’m working with now, I can learn about how being neurodivergent shows up each day and how to make life a little bit easier inside of that.

Fluorescent lights at work caused me to be less productive. I got some lamps. Game changer.

I hate doing dishes because of all the stuff on them. I put them in the dishwasher followed by practicing a little self-compassion because who “says” I should be able to hand wash dishes. Game changer.

Different textures of clothes can make my skin crawl. I won’t be able to think about anything else. I will wear clothes that won’t make me think about every waking moment, no matter what people think. I will continue searching for ones that are work casual. Game changer.

My body aches all the time. Got to a chiropractor and get a massage every month a few times a month. What if my body is always in a trauma response? My body lives on an inhale. I tried something new, massage with energy healing and if there was ever anything to get me to believe I exist on a different plane, that’s it. My body exhaled. Game changer.

I’m focusing on the little things that might make my life a whole lot easier right now, as a neurodivergent, if I am one.

I’m a work in progress. More writing and learnings to come. I’m learning I exist on a different plane, that it’s OK, and that maybe, just maybe, I’m one of the lucky ones.

Getty image by primipil

Originally published: February 1, 2022
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home