Faster doesn’t equal smarter

May be an image of 1 person and textWhy use speed as a measure of intelligence?
A client and I were swapping stories earlier, about the importance of giving our neurodivergent (ND) kids the time they need to process.
That goes for their ND parents as well.
Her daughter (homeschooled) can be playing in the proximity of a lesson/teacher and be paying attention. My client knows this because she’ll see her daughter apply the lesson later when she’s ready.
Good luck finding a school that supports this learning style. This intelligent, sensitive child whose nervous system relates to and processes information differently. She just needs more time.
I work with many bright ND kids who believe they’re stupid. Simply because other students answer questions more quickly or finish tests sooner.
A house built quickly isn’t a better house.
I have difficulty processing in real time and appear forgetful, have difficulty finding words and such. Give me the time I need to process and I can speak eloquently and intelligently.
The urgency and impatience inherent in our culture has us believing pausing is indicative of lying.
It could also indicate a person trying to think before they speak.
You have a right to pause and allow your brain to work at whatever speed it needs to for you to think clearly.
We could all do with more opportunities to pause, reflect and respond more mindfully. Don’t you think?

Keep going…

keep going written on a green post it noteI was accepted to Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Clown College when I was 18.
I was diagnosed with cancer two weeks later so I couldn’t go.
Life goes the way you want, or it goes different.
It took me two years to start feeling like I had my strength back. I was in a radically different headspace.
I didn’t want to show up in that way anymore. I didn’t pursue Clown College.
That was one of many instances when the door of opportunity was opened only for life to have other plans.
The more these things happen in my life the more I noticed a pattern.
If I at minimum believed I was going to be okay and things were going to get better, they always did.
So I keep going.
Because I’m going to be okay.
Even when things go different.

Thanks for making me feel like my needs don’t matter

May be an image of one or more people, bicycle, indoor and textHey DeKalb IL Wal-Mart,

Thanks for making me feel like my needs don’t matter.
I didn’t choose to be disabled and have so much trouble walking.
In spite of my best efforts I haven’t been able to earn the thousands needed to buy my own scooter etc.
I rely on the availability of scooters at grocery stores to make them accessible.
I avoid shopping alone because if there’s no scooter I risk injury from walking or falling.
Today there was a scooter, with 100% charge. But when you pulled the lever nothing happened.
A staff member walked past me and I asked if she could help. She simply said, “I don’t know”, and kept walking.
I impatiently raised my voice, “Is there anyone who would know?”
She stopped and pointed at a co-worker who proceeded to come over and test the lever on the scooter, no go.
She said, “I don’t know why its not working”.
So she wandered around as though she was looking for someone else then casual returned to her station without saying another word to me.
This is how I was valued by your staff today.
I had to walk with a cart, fight to keep my balance and walk out with terrible foot and leg pain that impacts what I’m able to do the rest of the day.
The able bodied world has no idea how ridiculously expensive it is to be disabled.
You either have to be broke to get government help or making 6 figures to get what you need.
If you’re in the middle you’re screwed.
Welcome to the win-lose world of Capitalism.
I’m just trying to participate in the world and do my part to support my family.
Things like this make it so frickin’ hard and it doesn’t have to be like this.

I am enough

May be an image of text
What am I without a college degree?
I am enough.
What am I without a 6 figure income?
I am enough.
What am I without a lot of friends?
I am enough.
What am I if I can’t fit in?
I am enough.
What am I if I still have a lot to learn?
I am enough.
What if you understood nothing outside you changes the value of what’s inside you?
You could lose it all and still be enough.
Fortunately, you’ll never have to test that because everything is connected.
Just sit with the feeling, the knowing.
That who you are is the one experiencing it all, without any of it mattering in the least in terms of how you feel about yourself.

Why do so many folks with Neurodivergence downplay their successes but emphasize mistakes?

Why do so many folks with Neurodivergence downplay their successes but emphasize mistakes?
One reason is the interplay of emotion and all-or-nothing thinking.
When you experience anxiety and/or depression as your primary feeling, you may come to believe you ALWAYS feel that way.
If feelings are an ALWAYS instead of a SOMETIMES, then you want successes to provide happiness that lasts. You want to feel happy ALWAYS not SOMETIMES.
We know emotions are temporary, but the above thinking makes it difficult to see this.
The good news is there’s a way to break free of this pattern, for you and your child.
To learn even your anxiety or depression is temporary.
That even temporary happiness can be worthwhile.
I began teaching the women in my Inner Circle how to make this shift this morning.

How many of your thoughts do you actually choose?

There’s an outright falsehood perpetuated by many in the self-help industry that needs to be addressed.
Its the notion that you choose every one of your thoughts. So if you have a single negative thought its your fault and your mind isn’t disciplined enough.
You have between 60,000-70,000 thoughts a day. About 90% of those thoughts are the same ones you had yesterday and support your habits. They’re conditioned and automatic.
Another 8% may be reactions to sensory stimuli, “What’s that smell?” or “Oh that’s nice.”
You didn’t choose these. They popped up.
For the 1% or less of the thoughts that are anywhere within your realm of influence. The choice you actually have is which ones to believe and act upon.
So don’t spend so much time trying to rid your mind of every thought when only a handful are the ones that will ultimately move the needle.

To the mom who thinks its insensitive to share my child’s successes

I read a post from a mom. It requested greater sensitivity from parents when posting about there child’s successes.
She was appealing on behalf of parents in the special needs community whose children may not be as successful.
Clearly I took issue with this. I don’t believe she thought this request through.
Is she suggesting we not celebrate our children’s progress on the off chance someone else is comparing their children to ours, and might feel bad?
Does she want us to feel guilty about our child’s successes because their are other children suffering?
Listen! The progress my boys have experienced is because of those who have gone before them.
I’ve learned from countless parents and professionals in the pursuit of helping prepare my Neurodivergent boys for the world.
Its the stories of other parents that have clued me into books, strategies, professionals, etc. What works and what’s a waste.
If they hadn’t discussed their successes I wouldn’t know about any of this.
PLEASE, PLEASE, keep shouting your successes from the rooftops.
Keeping your wins to yourself IS NOT an act of compassion in response to someone else’s feelings of discouragement, its an act of contrition.

Making society more accepting for us starts within us too

Many Neurodivergent folks believe it’s society and lack of accommodation that causes our suffering.

I agree that’s a big part of it, though not the whole story.

I don’t think it explains why certain light touches make me feel hostile.

Why I find most things in pop culture confusing and frustrating.

The fact I spend more time feeling confused than people will ever know.

That I work myself to exhaustion sometimes just trying to keep my thoughts straight long enough to accomplish something.

There’s more, but changes in society won’t solve these problems. These are problems of both the condition and my emotional reaction to it.

Not just one emotional reaction, possibly thousands over time.
This accumulation of unresolved emotional conflict can become toxic and traumatic to your nervous system. 

When you can’t trust your own mind to come through for you consistently it’s difficult to be confident in your ability to keep yourself safe in the world.

That can cause an intense chronic anxiety that manifests as hyperactivity.
Society can’t change this.

This work is yours and yours alone. But you don’t have to go through it alone.
Feeling alone in it is a primary reason people stuff these feelings down and spend their lives trying to distract themselves from these feelings. 

I’m grateful to have unlearned a great deal of the resentment and guilt I felt toward my disabilities. I did it with the help of professionals and talking with other people living with disabilities. 

People who were already doing what I wanted to do. Living with peace, acceptance and joy while also living with challenges.

I’ve become more calm and had steadier emotions than at any time in my life.

All without meds. Mind you, I still experience some anxiety and depression, but it doesn’t have the vote it once did.

You’ll see the greatest decrease in your suffering when you prioritize the inside work.

Who knows, your healing may be the thing that helps improve society for all of us.
The Inner Work is the focus of the Inner Circle. A community of women, sharing the journey together and healing together. Learning to let go of the belief that they aren’t good enough. 

In fact! I just promoted two of the members to “Mentors”, because they’ve come so far they’ve become leaders in the group and I’m encouraging their growth in that direction. The Inner Circle has a spot available for you

Your plans won’t be smooth sailing

Your plans and goals aren’t owed because you want them. They are intentions.

You don’t make demands of the sea when you sail. You intend to sail and adjust as you go, depending on what the sea wants.

The sea isn’t working for or against you, it’s being the sea.

It’s your understanding of that, your allowing of that, that creates the conditions for you to succeed.

Working in cooperation with the breakthroughs and the breakdowns. From crest to trough.

You don’t force; you flow.
Instead of anxious, you’re curious.
You don’t feel stuck, you feel progress.

Learning to hold your expectations more lightly makes you less invested in them should they not work out.

This is an important step in keeping feelings of frustration and rejection at bay.

You aren’t broken, you need new shoes

You aren’t broken. I suspect you may walk around in shoes that don’t fit.

By shoes, I mean beliefs.

Beliefs about whom you should be, what you should do with your life.

You work to live up to the expectations of the shoulds to maintain the approval of others.

You may believe their approval is the source of your worth in some way.

Those beliefs come to us from the part of our survival instinct that knows if others don’t want us around, we won’t be safe.

Though correct, there’s more than an all-or-nothing, accepted or rejected way to perceive how you’re doing in life.

You aren’t in a race or a competition of any kind. You’re a living process of growth and discovery.

With a Neurodivergent mind, you have a unique lens that can shed new light on old problems.

The challenge is learning to find the beliefs that don’t fit and replacing with ones that do.

Ones that allow you to be who you are, get what you need and make a difference in your way.

Then what you bring to the world can reduce suffering, versus adding to it.

I wish more people would consider that. Meanwhile, I’ll keep supporting the ones that do.