Underneath my yellow skin

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.

There was a thread in the open work thread at Ask A Manager. A woman asked if other neurospicy people had a harder time masking when they were stressed. It was an interesting thread and one thing prodded a memory was involuntary mutism. There were times when I was so stressed, I just could not talk. It was usually when I was arguing with my mother. She would demand an answer, and I literally could not answer. It wasn’t that I was trying to be a jerk and give her the silent treatment, though I could see how that would appear that way from the outside. But I literally could not talk. My bbrain had melted down to the point where it wasn’t functioning.

I have to control my environment to the point that I feel really jittery if I can’t. This is partly because of my sensory issues–which are vast and numerous. It’s also because having videos playing constanntly are like a white noise machine that blur out the thoughts in my head.

The video I included nearly made me cry. Three Asian women talking about their discovery of their ADHD was life-affirming. Even though I no longer identify as a woman, I deifnitely feel more kinship with women than with men.

It’s hard to say if I would get an acutal diagnosis of ADHD because I fit some of the criteria, but not others. I don’t have issues with time. At all. Except with getting to Taiji on time because apparently, the more I drive somewhere, the less time I think it takes. That is a common factor in ADHD, though. I know from reading about it. The wishful thinking about time. “Oh, it’ll take me five minutes” when that’s true only under the most ideal of circumstances.

The thing I actually do is say it’ll take 20 minutes no matter where I’m going. The thing is that most places I go will take roughly 20 minutes so it’s stuck in my head that everything is 20 minutes from me.

I have talked in the past about how I work to the back end of a deadline, which might fall under the ADHD umbrella as well. I guess it’s a workaround rather than a ‘normal’ way of doing things, but I mean, a deadline is a deadline. As long as you meet it, I don’t think it’s a problem. Back when I used to obsess about the assignment for the entire time, it was bad. But now I can set it aside until I actually work on it, so it’s not really a bad thing?

I have the hyperfocus thing down. That’s what led me to believe that I could not have ADHD for ages, though. Because what is the one thing that most people know about ADHD? The inability to focus. I had a social media friend, though, explain it to me that he had scatteredd focus until he found one thing that he was interested in. Then, he would focus on it for hours.

I do have sensory issues, which has been cited as being mistaken for ADHD. Also, oppositional defiance disorder. Which, let’s face it, I at least have a trace of it in my mind. I may not act on it, but I immediately distrust authority. Here’s the thing. Our systems are set up to benefit the elite at the cost to the masses. Questioning authority is one way of keeping that in check.

I don’t have time issues, but mostly because I don’t have to do anything at a certain time. I do have sleep issues, but not as much as I used to. I am getting a tight eight every night now, well, almost every night. That is a positive ramification of being in the hospital. I was so exhausted and so hammered with drugs, I slept almost all the time. When I got home, I went to bed at 10 p.m. and got up at 6 a.m. for months. I’ve slowly pushed it back to 12 a.m./1 a.m. and get up between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Before that, I didn’t sleep more than 6 1/2 hours. I just read that sleeping problems can be a part of ADHD–the racing thoughts get in the way of sleep.

I think about getting diagnosed, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. If I deal with the issues, do I really need to be diagnosed? On the other hand, I knew what a relief it was to get a diagnosis of depression and PTSD. Something about a diagnosis made it valid. It’s like when I got walking non-COVID-related pneumonia, it was terrible, yes, but it was like, “OK, I wasn’t imaginng my bronchial issues.”

To be honest, I have enough things to ponder at the moment. It may have to take a backseat for now.


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