I’ve been wondering this for a while now. My struggles with attending community events or even being in public in general. Never used to be this way. In my 20’s, I was a fairly social creature. I went to all the events I could afford or travel to. Now, I maybe go to five a year.
A conversation this morning online has me questioning it yet again. I also completed the Myers-Brigg personality test and scored the rarest score – INFP – highly introverted and intuitive. The discussion connected INFP types to neurodivergents and well, it got me thinking.
My therapist diagnosed me with generalized anxiety disorder last year at a DSM level 5. Symptoms were exasperated by my employer. One of the catalysts that sent me into disability life. One of many reasons. I’m getting used to it.
I’m a gen X’er. Which means, we didn’t talk about mental health issues when we were kids. My mother repeatedly threatened to send me to therapy because I spent so much time alone as a kid in my room reading. I couldn’t read enough. I’ve always been a recluse, a hermit and loner. Friendships are hard for me at times. The other excuse was that my siblings were buttheads and there was a lot of bullying in the household.
They still kind of are at times. I only engage with them about issues with my dad, or my brand new baby niece who I am in love with.
But the bullying was traumatizing both physical and emotional. Emotional damage for years that would even induce nightmares about haunted dolls, and clowns.
Anyway…shudder. I don’t need those dreams.
We didn’t talk about mental health issues. I’m only now just connecting the dots through shadow work and her detailed journals, that my mother struggled with high functioning anxiety and depression too. There was a lot of stress in the house. And I would grow up to later have cortisol issues which causes fight or flight mode. On a loop. It’s exhausting.
So, why do I think I might be neurodivergent?
Well, we didn’t have terms like this when I was involved in the scene many years ago. I’m learning new terms all the time. And more neuro type folks that I met and befriended, the more I went… Huh.
And then I had a lightbulb moment.
Am I neurodivergent?
Let’s see how many behaviors apply to me. My therapist would cringe at this. She hates when people self-diagnose themselves.
Struggling to read and write – no. But holding a pen or pencil is painful for me. Most written communication is on the computer for that reason.
Clumsiness? Shit yeah, you should see the bruises on my legs.
Hard to cope with crowds, bright lights, noise, physical sensations? Yes! Even the sound of crunching snow under my feet drives me crazy.
Difficulties focusing? Can’t sit still? I mean, there’s a reason I’m on fetlife a lot these days. Distraction.
No smiling? Or social responsiveness? To a point. I do better 1 to 1 or in really small group settings where I know the people well. I attended a group event this fall and sat there literally chewing my fingernails. The anxiety about saying the wrong thing was surreal. And it was a small and intimate group.
Personality traits: I am sometimes blunt but don’t meant to be rude or hurtful. People don’t like that much. I mask when needed but I hate doing it. I’ve always kind of done my own thing and often don’t fit into communities.
When it came to school, I was never a good student. Classes bored me. I learned way too late in life that I learned better by actually DOING things. Math and science – my brain couldn’t compute. But language, music, arts, crafts, were my jam. Areas where I could express myself freely.
ADHD is also linked to hypermobility which is the main cause behind my chronic pain and injuries. Same with anxiety. Constant fight or flight mode. Throw in insomnia and other issues too. Sometimes I’m not fun to be around.
So, am I neurodivergent or is it something else? I don’t know. But the more people I interact with who are – it seems, the better we tend to get along and make friends fast with. I guess time will only tell.
What’s your neurodivergent story? How did you get diagnosed?