Neurodivergent is a nonmedical term that describes people whose brains develop or work differently for some reason. This means the person has different strengths and struggles from people whose brains develop or work more typically. While some people who are neurodivergent have medical conditions, it also happens to people where a medical condition or diagnosis hasn’t been identified. – Cleveland Clinic
In the past five years I’ve spent in therapy, one thing I’ve learned is I don’t do well around people. Therapists would recommend I get out and around people instead of isolating at home, but when I did, it usually ended badly. Like the time I tried a line dancing class and found it upsetting when men stared at me or when the creepy couple would stare at me and whisper to each other. When I tried the local Unitarian Universalist Church, the congregants gave me the “sideways stare” whenever I talked to them. Invariably the therapist I worked with at the time would become frustrated because they thought I wasn’t trying very hard.
In the past couple of months I’ve come to wonder if the problem isn’t that I don’t try, but that I don’t do people the same way others do. Could I fit under the umbrella of neurodivergence?
After all, I don’t understand small talk. I can fake it for a few minutes with someone who does it well, but after we’ve covered the weather or a local event, I’m done.
I don’t have a filter and tend to speak what’s on my mind. Surprisingly enough, most people don’t handle that well. Never believe anyone who says the thing they hate the most is a liar. It’s folks like me that challenge their comfort zone that they most hate.
I often find myself the subject of scorn and ridicule. In my shopping for Instacart I’ve experienced lots of it. In one store I’ve shopped, the manager was blatant in making fun of me right in front of me to his employees. In another, a meat department employee and a vendor both mocked my singing (I do that to calm myself). Yeah, I took alot of it, because I needed the money and saw no other good options, but boy, did they go nuts when I started hitting back. If you follow me on Twitter, you know what I mean.
My problems with others are so frequent that when someone is nice to me I am suspcious.
And yet, I have mad skills that more than compensate. I’m very good at listening to others, because I have learned that if you let someone talk long enough, they will tell you the truth. Like the time I listened to a woman talk for an hour about how perfect her little family was, then she revealed when her husband was angry with her, he’d refuse to talk to her, sometimes for weeks at a time.
I more than make up for my verbal awkwardness with my writing skills.
I pay attention to details, like my doctor always has a stack of folders on her desk even though she takes notes on a laptop. And when I see photos on social media, I often notice details others don’t. Many will see a cute little lion cub in a photo, while I also notice if the baby is with its’ mother and the location where the photo was taken (confined or free).
I’ve wondered if I should seek evaluation, or accept this is the way I am and move on. I’m leaning toward the latter. There are many positives in knowing, but with labels come discrimination. Besides, as I learned at The Neurodivergent Woman podcast, neurotypical people don’t wonder if they’re neurodivergent.
This has been a big truth about me to wrap my head around, and I’m still working on that. Thankfully there are resources available. If you identify as neurodivergent, I’d love to connect with you. My email address is listed on the blog’s All About Us page.
13 thoughts on “Am I a Neurodivergent?”
I’ve never heard of this before but it sure explains a lot.
Yeah, and all this time we all thought I was just weird.
Yes. What an excellent post. I love that you are a great listener. This is a particularly rare skill. I think you are not weird at all – just yourself. It must be wonderful to find a niche!
Yes, I am me. Take it or leave it.
We will definitely take you the way you are!!
I think people are too keen to attach labels but it doesn’t always help.
I find socialising and small talk exhausting. I need recovery time. Some people think that every passing thought they have needs communicating – I beg to disagree.
Our world is largely run by extroverts who like making a lot of noise, so they tell us that is “normal”.
Maybe they ought to listen to the rest of us once in awhile.
I actually think the people who would be considered “neurodivergent” just haven’t assimilated to the forced fake social norms that capitalism demands. People who would be considered neurodivergent by the examples you’ve explained excel in more intimate communities. You mentioned picking up on details, hating small talk, being truthful, these are all traits that would come in CLUTCH for a small close knit community where you know everybody and work closely together. Not this fresh hell of rugged individualism and isolation of America. I wonder how other communities and cultures consider neurodivergence a bad thing? In some of my internet readings I’ve seen commentary about how schizophrenia is like non existent in societies that are not capitalist. And in the blind community (I wanna say don’t quote me on details becuase I’m not that good with them) just some thoughts
If that were so, that would mean I and other like me deliberately refuse to assimilate and want to be isolated, discriminated against, and publicly mocked. What a load of crap.
Hmm. No. I was actually saying that society has deliberately created a system that excludes people who don’t fit the mold.
So who actually fits this mold, because I don’t see society, at least American society, giving anyone a break.
Middle aged white men who contrubute directly to capitalism.
Underscoring that im not condoning society’s bs just pointing out that it’s been setup to make them happy and content. And any changes that occur to make it more equitable has to be forced.
Also underscoring that my perspective is wholly American. America is all about rugged individualism with a 2 parent 2.5 kids household in a single family house in the suburbs. Men are expected to work in an office and women are expected to take care of the home.
The entire society is setup to support that format.
Anybody and anything that doesn’t aligned with it is punished at worst and forced to jump through Hella hoops at best.
For example, ethnic communities tend to have multi generational households. Good luck finding a single family house that comfortably accommodates that; not saying it can’t be done but it’s Hella uncomfortable and hard. That’s what I mean by the assumption comment. Instead of providing a variety of housing types that accommodates all types of family patterns American society said nope. You will get single family houses and that’s it. Deal with it.
Do you take care of children and want to walk to your locations (or have to walk) while pushing a stroller. Hahahaha you fool our sidewalk infrastructure is Definitely not set up for that and you’re competing with cars for the streets.
And so on.
Now, what does this have to do with neurodivergency? American society is dogmatic about supporting and accommodating the neurotypical and it doesn’t want to budge an inch. People have to FIGHT for accommodation and recognition. That’s what I mean by the assimilation comment. If you don’t fit the neurotypical mindset you’re punished by society because the default is not setup to cater to you. For example, look at the epic pushback that Lego land is experiencing with their decision to make all Legoland locations Austism friendly. People are losing their mind because Legoland made a conscious decision. As a matter of fact someone had to say hey wait a minute we are being exclusionary. They had to make a conscious intention. As previous unconsciously they did not make inclusive spaces.
You and other neurodivergents shouldn’t have to change. Society should accommodate all. But right now it doesn’t.
This won’t be changed without a massive force. Society is stubborn and people especially neurotyipicals don’t want to change.
Now this is an observation and not a condoning.
I did not Intend to insult but was trying to make an observation
That makes a lot of sense and I do not at all disagree with you. I have an Instacart side hustle and one thing I’ve noticed is the more affluent neighborhoods that cater to those families you describe have sidewalks and streets designed to slow traffic so people can use the streets for walking, playing, etc. Meanwhile kids who lived in the apartment communities a mile from their high school were walking on busy 4-lanes or in high grass to get to school for lack of sidewalks because they don’t have bus service to the high school. The city finally put some in sidewalks last year. Everything in the town I live in is catering to an influx of affluent white people, which is kinda stupid in a way because the US Senator that was raking in all those federal defense contracts that grew this area has retired. Sure, he hand-picked his successor, but she still has to fight her way to that contract money with no help from our pro-Trump buffoons who populate the other Senate and House seats.