Follow your own stream when mainstream doesn’t fit

As a neurodiverse person, your very existence is a challenge to the status quo.
 
Many will be frightened by your differences, threatened by any disruption to their own comfort.
 
Some will try to help you be normal, to fit in. To please others so you’re more likely to be accepted.
 
Then there are those who realize there’s more than one way to be human.
 
That mainstream means there’s also sidestream or crossstream or splitstream.
 
Your path is your own and the surest way for you to make your unique difference in this world.
 
The key is to learn the confidence and have the support you need to be who you are.
 
As you explore yourstream the livestream of the mainstream can get really extreme. Know what I mean?
 
It’s tougher to try and do it along. So don’t do it that way. You don’t have to do it that way.
 
It’s easier and more safe to grow among friends committed to each other’s growth than among people fighting to protect their comfort zones. Am I right?
 
There are openings for my Inner Circle. Now streaming.

I’m afraid to tell you I’m confused

What will others think if I tell them I’m actually confused when they all seem to know what’s going on?

We can be hanging out together like always and suddenly I feel disoriented and nothing makes sense. It can even be a little scary.

This, or something like it, happening is a common fear of people with neurodiversity. Sometimes there are many conversations happening at once. Some folks talk fast.

Any number of things can overload your brain circuits and cause a temporary short circuit.

Sometimes my brain can keep up but sometimes it doesn’t kick in. Your brain can be like that unreliable car you have to push to get it started.

If only you knew when those times were going to be. Alas, they’re unpredictable. You may fear others discovering your vulnerability.

If you have this fear often one thing to consider is your social circle.

Nit picky, teasing, trash talking types may be less likely to express empathy and extend you grace during these moments.

People who themselves are more accepting of their own mistakes. Those who handle disappointment with flexibility instead of anger. These are the people you want around you.

There’s a reason swimmers choose water instead of oil. The environment you put yourself in to try and be your best matters.

It’s difficult to meet your needs and be at your best when hanging with people you don’t feel safe enough with to ask for what you need.

A few things to consider. Your current circle may have no idea of your struggles and may surprise you.

You could take a chance and speak up to see if they step up.

If they don’t, you take the necessary steps to bring new people into your life to add more water to your pool.

The answer should never be a life of keeping your needs to yourself because of a lack of those who understand.

When good news frightens me

When I’m presented with a positive opportunity my first response is fear.

My self-talk begins generating a list of reasons why my health won’t allow it, why I couldn’t possibly make the time for it and blahdy, blah, blah!

Yes! There’s a part of me that still feels like an imposter, is afraid to be seen and is afraid of failing with an audience.

The key is to keep that voice in the peanut gallery instead of as Chairman of the Board.

I help you step by step (as I’ve learned to do) to gain power over that voice so it’s smaller and easier to brush aside.

Part of the process is countering the fear with compassionate self-talk.

I remind myself I offer nothing more than my best at any given moment.

That I will be human throughout and make no promises beyond what I’m confident I can deliver.

I will not accept responsibility for something someone needs from me unless it is communicated directly to me. Telepathy is not a gift of mine.

Though I enjoy travel I’m not available for any guilt trips.

I will decline all efforts to compel me to feel shame.

I declare now that I am good enough and no human has the power to deem it otherwise.

Once I’m grounded and empowered in my values and my humanity, I can respond from that place instead of fear.

Let’s work on your empowering voice.

I’ll try to enjoy my birthday for once

My birthday has been a source of hurt and resentment for my entire life.

I was born on December 25. For as long as I can remember, the fact it was my birthday was something that got in the way of everyone’s Christmas.

I felt invisible in my family and a birthday is one day you hope everyone notices you.

It was tradition to go to my grandparents house to meet up with aunts, uncles and cousins.

My mother did her best to encourage family and even my siblings to take notice.

The fact they needed to be reminded year after year added to my already feeling like an outsider.

When I became a parent the attention naturally shifted to my boys.

I began noticing myself feeling angry each year as my birthday got closer. Feeling guarded and wanting to be left alone.

For many Christmas’s I agreed to a cake Cath was generous enough to bake but I was left with a feeling of guilt.

Like I was in the way and burdening her on my own birthday. Gee, wonder where that came from.

Now comes this week. Cath and the boys had the idea of doing Christmas on Christmas Eve and just Christmas being for my birthday.

In my almost 51 years of life I’ve never had that offer.

I went through feelings of confusion, anger, resistance, sadness and finally today I cried.

I realized I didn’t know how to enjoy my birthday. I also realized I was sick of having them ruined every year.

This year we’re going to start a new tradition. I’m eager to see how it feels for once.

The wisdom of monotony

“Same shit different day!” is an unfortunate mantra.
 
One finding greater usefulness during COVID where its harder to tell one day from the next.
 
There’s actually a bit of wisdom in there that shows you a way out of the monotony you may otherwise be feeling.
 
The wisdom is the idea of same, but different. You may be doing things that seem the same. But today is a different day. You haven’t done them today yet.
 
In fact, the you in this moment isn’t the you of yesterday.
You have been refined by the lessons of yesterday and show up differently now.
 
Even if it’s the same shit, it isn’t the same you doing the same shit. It’s a wiser you.
 
I’ve had experiences where I emerged with greater appreciation for nature, people, what I already have. None of those things changed as much as I did.
 
I find more often than not, that when things around me seem “stuck”, in a rut, so to speak. The issue isn’t somewhere on the outside.
 
It’s in my forgetting to appreciate how much newness is blooming in this moment.

Here’s the thing about the idea of “overcoming” your disability…

When raising a child with a chronic condition, disability, whatever you want to call it.
 
It’s my position that “acceptance” is the goal NOT “overcoming”.
 
Overcoming puts you at odds with the challenges you’re experiencing. What emotions bubble up when you try to show your disability who’s boss (e.g. anger, anxiety, frustration)?
 
Acceptance requires a more compassionate approach toward yourself. One where you learn to be happy even while living a life that doesn’t match the one your friends live.
 
Acceptance is in part, the confidence that no longer looks to compare yourself to anyone else.
 
Acceptance isn’t the enemy of growth or skill building either. It doesn’t mean you “give up” or “let the diagnosis win”. 
That’s win-lose thinking driven by our competitive minded culture.
 
We’ve become such dopamine junkies these days. It’s easy to forget how much having to work through hard things has to teach you.
 
The more at odds you are with the teacher that is your chronic condition, the more you will have to stay in class.
 
I won’t belabor the point. Sometimes the condition is here to stay and with it, you must create a meaningful life for yourself.
 
It can mean whatever you want it to.

So you want to do everything yourself

You want to do everything yourself, I understand.

The thing is, you’re not good at everything and that’s okay. Neither is anyone else.

Not everyone is born to be the quarterback or prima ballerina.

You have gifts and gaps. Your gifts make you an asset for those with a gap in that area and vice versa.

One of the most authentic ways for us to connect with each other is in that vulnerable moment when you ask another soul to lend you their gift to make your life a little better.

You deny yourself that amazing experience when you refuse to ask for help.

Whether it’s to help you fix something, walk you through a recipe, give advice or just listen.

The energy you receive from a supportive relationship is empowering as though belief in yourself was given a RedBull.

It’s also a great reminder someone has your back.

Being a solo act is no bueno. It’s a lonely existence when you believe success only counts when it’s you alone.

It may not be a motivation problem

As someone living with ADHD, what looks like a lack of motivation may be resistance to the pain of progress.

Our failure rate is much higher than for the average person because of our executive functioning glitches.

We also receive significantly more criticism as a result.

So if you decide to set and pursue goals it can often feel like you’re choosing to be a glutton for failure and criticism.

If the successes don’t feel big enough for you to counter balance the negativity it may not seem worth it to you.

A few ideas.

It’s important to take on things where you can set the pace for yourself. Keep your frustration level low and do your best to enjoy the process. Slow and steady is your motto.

Find a mentor who can be a voice of reason and encouragement. You’ll need someone to help keep you from sabotaging yourself. To keep you grounded in the present.

Learn not to place as much attention on the time and effort between successes. Learn to enjoy the process as well as the success.

When you no longer fear the discomfort of the work involved in getting from A-Z the resistance subsides.

Then it’s easier to see yourself taking action and your motivation stirs.

Just remember, motivation requires a daily recommitment to doing the work to making what you desire a reality.

That focus creates your motivation to keep going.

When your child tells you, “NO!”

When your child tells you, “NO!”
Give em a little credit.
 
It’s their first foray into setting boundaries.
 
I meet too many adults who are overwhelmed because they learned at a young age that they had no right to say, “NO!”
 
It was considered, talking back, disrespectful, selfish, etc.
 
The result is you take on too much, try to please everyone, have horrible self-care and have difficulty meeting your own needs.
 
You were instructed to do what you were told or to play nice.
 
“NO,” “STOP,” “ENOUGH,” are essential for regulating the quantity and intensity of the energy you allow into your lives.
 
As someone living with ADHD or ASD (Autism Spectrum Differences), you need to be able to ask for clarification, feedback, accomodations and set boundaries. You need to be able to do this with confidence. (I can help you with this).
 
As parents we don’t have license to steamroll over our children “because I said so.” They can’t learn self-discipline and self-control if they aren’t allowed to say “WHEN!”
 
Put your ego in check and see what’s behind the, “NO.”
 
If your child’s, “NO” is never respected, they’ll stop saying it and it sets them up to be mistreated in relationships.
 
The healthiest relationships have articulated and respected boundaries. Help your child speak up for themselves. Including with you.

I just don’t feel motivated

Sound familiar? Common experience for many with ADHD or ASD.
 
In our all or nothing nervous system we like it or we don’t. We’re good at it or we aren’t.
 
We can hyperfocus on certain things for hours because they’re the things we’re good at. They place few demands on our executive functions and provide loads of dopamine and serotonin.
 
The other stuff is much harder with a higher failure rate. Gee, which activities am I going to lean toward?!
 
Also, motivation isn’t one thing such as will-power. It’s a combination of focused attention on a goal, emotional enthusiasm about attainment of the goal, belief the goal can be attained, for example.
 
There’s also the question, “Motivation to do what?” Maybe I’m more motivated to avoid the risks involved in what’s being asked of me. Will I feel stupid, look stupid, be reminded I need more help than other people, you name it.
 
I could also be reminded that it’s great I have people to call on when I need them. That I’ve learned clever workarounds for everyday problems and live in a digital world where I can likely find a solution online.
 
Becoming more motivated requires you to change your relationship with failure. From adversarial to advisory, it has so much to teach you about humility, curiosity and resilience.
 
It requires you to begin experiencing discomfort as the butterflies in your stomach right before your first kiss. It’s exhilarating, a little dangerous, an unknown, it won’t kill you, you’re going to be okay when it’s over, you may just be changed by it.
 
You may have more reasons for inaction than anything. You’re sick of feeling defeated. I get it. I spend much of my day bringing my attention back to what I was focusing on. I probably only spend a few hours of actual focused activity. That isn’t laziness that’s ADHD.
 
I’m highly motivated but I’m poorly focused and highly distractible. But I digress.
 
Bottom line. Motivation isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. You often need to dig a little deeper to see what bubbles up when the idea of taking action occurs to you.
 
What do you expect the result to be?
How do you expect to feel about that result?
How do you expect to feel about yourself?
How often are these your answers when faced with this situation?
 
Will you allow me to help you break free from this pattern?