Growing up Undiagnosed - My Internal Chaos
Growing up undiagnosed, I was always the odd one out. Whether it was my weird quirks, my executive functioning challenges, my daydreaming or simply the fact how I perceived and did everything differently - achieving the same result but choosing the route most people wouldn’t consider and no, my routes usually weren’t shortcuts.
My brain needs logic. My brain needs answers. My brain can’t move on if I don’t have logic or answers. Ironically, at the same time – my brain is hyperactive. It can’t stop working. It jumps from one thing to another, not being able to stop. That is the beauty and sometimes a curse of having ADHD and Autism together. At times, it’s like having two forces working against each other.
On many occasions I remember thinking to myself or sharing with my mother that I wasn’t made for this world. Not that the world was cruel to me. I have been blessed in more ways than I can count but I felt the odd one out. Always. In every situation.
Such a beautiful blue sky. Is it looking blue to everyone? Or is my perception of blue different than others? - My communication differences in terms of interpretations were so stark that I began second guessing everything I was seeing.
Then there was eye contact.
Eye contact was and I guess still is the standard for respectful communication. On the surface, I never had trouble making eye contact. Inside my mind though, I had trouble tracking the conversations because I was forcefully focused on maintaining the eye contact and then the stress of making sure that my non-verbal communication was appropriate. Am I smiling enough? Oh no – my lips are quivering? And then my eye would start blinking rapidly.
I thought I was weird. I started acting like an extrovert to hide my quirks and my challenges with executive functioning. In many cultures, executive functioning challenges of a person who has no visible disability are deemed as laziness or are assigned other such labels.
Now that I know about my neurodivergence – I have extended some grace to myself. I no longer call myself lazy or assign labels to myself that the world once assigned to me.
I understand why I struggle to maintain consistency.
I understand why I forget things.
I understand that sometimes I eat for stimulation – just to keep my brain excited.
I understand why I am unable to do routine tasks that come naturally to most people.
I extend myself grace when my house is messy, or when the sink is full of dirty dishes.
I understand and accept that it’s okay to need help and it’s okay to need support and accommodations.
I know now that my brain works differently and instead of forcing it to be more like other people’s brain, I now want it to be the best version of itself.
Not better or worse than others because it’s not a comparison.
Just the best it can be.
I don’t know whether this post makes sense or not – there are many things I haven’t shared and want to but articulating my personal experiences into words for others to understand is probably one of the hardest things I have done.
Until next time.
Picture ID: Photo of a multi-colored beautiful brain representing neurological variants and brain diversity.