Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: neurodivergent

Neurospicy is the new neurodiverse

Neurospicy is the new word for neurodivergent. I’m not sure how I  feel about it, and I say this as someone who is pondering whether or not I am–neurodivergent, I mean. In the last few years, I have heard it being called neurodivergent, neuroatypical, and neurodiverse. Neurospicy is a newer one, and I think I like it in a casual setting, but not for something like an office. Just like I wouldn’t use queer in a more formal setting, but I would with my friends.

I only started thinking about this issue seriously in terms of myself a few years ago. Why? In part because I did not present in the typical way, which I learned was more based on male behavior than female behavior (as are most medical diagnoses, sadly). I learned about a decade ago that the hyperactive thing was a drastic simplification of the matter. There was also a hyperfocus aspect that people overlooked when they talked about the inability to focus. Those two things (not being hyperactive and being able to focus with a laserlike precision) made me dismiss the idea that I had ADHD for a long time.

I kept getting drawn back to it, though. Things like being repeatedly told you’re lazy because you wouldn’t (couldn’t, actually, but it looked like wouldn’t) do simple things like check the mail or recycle empty boxes (the ones my cat, Shadow, doesn’t want). I would castigate myself for being lazy, which didn’t help, of course. I didn’t even learn of the term ‘executive function’ until about five years ago.

I did hear about hyperfocus before then, but I still didn’t think it was me. Until I read more and more about it. How it presents it women, I mean. I no longer identify as a woman, but I definitely grew up being treated as one. Oh, and it’s often talked about as a kid’s thing, when it’s definitely not.

The other complication is that I have trained myself from a young age to overcome some of the symptoms without even knowing it. I have, er, had a phenomonal memory. So I can overcome the shortcomings like being bad with details by brute force. I was also trained to take care of other people’s emotions so I was forced to pay attention to other people to an unnatural degree. I also have an off-the-charts EQ and can read people like books to an extent that makes them uncomfortable.


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I’m such a freak

I’m a freak. I know that. I’ve known it since I was in my twenties. I just didn’t realize to what extent until, well, now. And I’m still realizing it. I wish I had known the extent when I was younger because then maybe i wouldn’t have wasted so many years feeling like there was something wrong with me. And being deeply depressed about it.

One thing I’m still coming to terms with or realizing is…well, it’s more of a question. How much of my weirdness is an actual disability. I’m some flavor of neurodivergent, but I have never been tested because I can mask it well enough for government work. This actually took me until I was in my thirties to fully grasp that people do not think the way I do. Not just in opinions, but in the actual way of thinking.

I have a very high EQ, which is how I can make myself look like a normal person. Something I have difficulties with, though, is very dry humor. Since I use facial and body cues to read someone, it’s hard when they mask that–or make a joke in writing that is very sardonic. My brother does this all the time, which makes it difficult for me. I can usually know when he’s making a joke, though, because I know him well.

Back when I was younger, I was numb all the time. I had to suppress my emotions to the point where I no longer felt them. There was a time when someone could tell me the best news in the world, and I would feel nothing inside. Same with the worst news in the world. “I’m getting married!” Nothing. “My mother died.” Nothing. “I got a promotion at work!” Nothing.

Part of that was because you can’t always tell good news from bad. “I’m pregnant!” is usually good news, but not always. Not if the baby is not wanted or an unpleasant surprise. Or, god forbid, the result of forced sex. “I’m getting divorced!” looks negative on the surface, but for some people, it’s the best thing to happen to them.

Back when I was completely divorced from my emotions, I would have to follow a very elaborate system so I could display the proper emotions. So. Let’s say someone told me they were pregnant. My first step would be to scrutinize their face to see if there were any signs whether they were happy or not about it. If I got the news by text/email, I would pore over the rest of the email/text for clues. Exclamation points? That meant something. Exuberant words? Good. That helped as well. Then I could match their emotions with simulated emotions of my own.

This took less than ten seconds on the average, and I was able to make it seem as if my reactions were natural. With practice, I got it down to two or three seconds. It appeared like an organic reaction, but it wasn’t. With the help of Taiji, I’ve been able to inhabit my body and feel comfortable in it. Dying twice has cemented my love for my body.

I’m still shaky on emotions, but I’m able to feel them more than I ever have. I still go through the process I mentioned above, but it’s at lighnting speed now, rather than several seconds. It’s as if I have a Rolodex (I’m old) of emotions in my head that i rapidly flip through until I find the right one.  So it’s still not organic, but I’m not bothered by it.

It’s interesting. Even knowing that I’m different, a freak, and a weirdo, it’s astounding how far out of the norm I am. And, this is something I have a hard time discussing, that I might actually have disabilities. Believe me. It’s not something my family would have accepted. My father cannot handle the idea of women who actually work outside the home (even though he saw plenty of them when he was the VP of TIER, the Taiwanese Institute for Economic Research) let alone whatever the fuck I am.


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Conflicting health issues

i have suffered from migraines for quite some time. Let me backtrack a minute. I’ve had a low-level headache pretty much all my life. It’s always been there whenever I really think about it. For decades, it’s been something I’ve lived with and just dealt with as need be. I took ibuprofen when it got bad, and that did jack and shit. I will confess something that I rarely talk about. When the migraines hit in the old days, they were fucking awful. Two ibuprofen did nothing to them. My migraine just laughed at that pitiful attempt to block it. Three? Ha! Not a chance. It took six in order for the ibuprofen to have any effect on the migraine. Which, by the way, I didn’t recognize as a migraine at the time because I don’t get auras.

Side note: This is one of the reasons that it’s important to not have a fixed idea as to the symptoms of a health issue. They don’t manifest in the same way for different people.

Side note to the side note: It’s similar to how most medical studies are done on white dudes. Well, that holds true for a lot of things, but the medical part is especially pertinent here. I was in my thirties when I discovered that Asian people needed much less of most medications than do white people. It was around the same time when I also realized that as a woman, my ‘normal’ dose would be much less than a man’s. This had disastrous results when I tried to find a solution to my sleep issues. Hm. Was it in my late twenties? Maybe. That or my early thirties.

I was desperate. I had tried a bunch of things that didn’t work. Hot milk before bed. Hot chamomile tea. Lavender in the bath (how I found out I was allergic to lavender). Ambient music. White noise machine. Which, I will say, did help, but didn’t eliminate the core problem. Same with earplugs and an eye mask, but those didn’t come until later. At some point, I tried melatonin, valerian, St. John’s Wort (more for depression than for sleep, but didn’t work). The valerian actually made me suicidal because it slowed my brain down so much, I couldn’t make a coherent sentence.


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