Why the Neurodiversity Movement Matters

I was a reasonably young child when I was diagnosed with ADHD. I wasn’t one of those cases where the diagnosis was just being tossed around and applied to kids behaving as kids always have…in my case (as with many others back in the 1980s), it was a legitimate diagnosis. I was prescribed Ritalin at that time, and it did seem to do the trick–when I was in school. By the time I’d been home for a little while, I was twice as difficult to deal with as I’d been before the diagnosis and prescription. Before that, I’d been a handful–no surprise to anyone who knows me as even an acquaintance, even as an adult–after that, I was a holy fucking terror.
It didn’t take long before my mother stopped me taking the Ritalin, because it was ultimately a bit of an issue. If it had been a few years later, they probably could have found some sort of scheduled dosage that might not have produced the same negative side-effects. Whatever the case may be, life goes on.
Years later I was further diagnosed with passive-aggressive personality disorder, not to be mistaken with someone behaving in a passive-aggressive manner. They are two distinctly different things, though there are some commonalities in the manifestation of passive-aggressive personality disorder and an individual being a passive-aggressive asshole–but there’s no sense in going into that here. As with other personality disorders, there is no drug treatment associated with the passive-aggressive disorder–it’s a wiring issue rather than a chemical one.
Passive-aggressive personality disorder frequently goes hand-in-hand with anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder (MDD), suicidal ideation, and substance abuse. You might have guessed it if you figured there’s a reason I mention all of those things in particular.
You win the prize!
There is no prize.
Get used to disappointment.
In addition to these things I’ve already mentioned, there have been strong signs of PTSD related to assorted experiences from my childhood (both as a young child and in my teen years). With all of those factors combined, I like to think I’ve turned out to be a reasonably functional adult and a productive member of society. I definitely have my issues here and there, and I can certainly still be quite difficult to deal with in even small doses (depending on the day)…but, all-in-all I’m keeping it together rather well if I do say so myself–and I do, so don’t argue with me.
I wish there had been something like the neurodiversity movement when I was younger, or that it had been more well-established and well-known at that time. I spent most of my life feeling like there were things wrong with me as if I were broken or damaged in some way–and perhaps I was to some extent. I still frequently refer to myself as being precisely that. I laugh and joke about how I’m broken or damaged, dysfunctional and maladjusted…but there’s that kernel deep inside that curls up into a little fetal shape whenever I do it.
It’s ok, though, I’m a bit of a masochist.
The neurodiversity movement is focused on treating these (mostly high functioning) people as being nothing more than a natural (and sometimes valuable) thread of the overall tapestry of human diversity. It’s refreshing and more than a little bit liberating to be treated as if I fall into a spectrum of what can simply be called a person with a normal human brain–as preconditioned as I might be to consider it anything but normal.
There are a lot of us out here.
Some of us are more high functioning than and some less so, but there’s no cause to pretend that we’re somehow less than other people, regardless of where we fall on that spectrum. It takes some degree of patience to deal with some of us, myself included. Personally, I recognize how challenging I can be on a normal basis and I make concessions for that. I’m not exclusive in doing so. Most of us who fall into the neurodivergent categorization are well aware of these things and we’ve learned to cope (as best we can) and to provide a bit of leeway for others in our lives. This isn’t true for everyone, of course, as there are extreme cases, but a large number of us are just like everyone else, just with a little bit more psychological/emotional/mental baggage in tow.

For some additional reading on the Neurodiversity Movement, I’m including the following link:

https://www.understood.org/en/friends-feelings/empowering-your-child/building-on-strengths/neurodiversity-what-you-need-to-know

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