This week in ADHD apologists, autism acceptance vs. awareness and men behaving badly.
This Week in ADHD
I read this Oprah.com article and had a moment where I thought maybe I don’t have ADHD. It was a brief moment.
It’s been a rough week. I’ve been sick all week, or I thought I was until the end of the week when I considered the possibility that I was just very dehydrated. Yesterday I realized some basic over-the-counter pills I take to prevent dehydration were sitting in a place that caused me to overlook them all week. My whole week was off given the vague malaise. I couldn’t focus. I forgot to eat lunch a few days in a row and ended up eating food late in the day that was off the strict diet I need to follow to feel OK. I had several items shoved onto my to-do list by NT people who thought they were “no big deal.” Luckily the week is over and we start anew tomorrow.
The Oprah.com article made me realize that in addition to all the random physical challenges I have at this point in my life, there is a lot going on emotionally as well. I have a friend who asks me frequently if I really have ADHD, given the two kids and busy job. This week I tried saying to people expecting me to be able to handle their NT tasks that my brain doesn’t work the ways theirs does and I was going to have a hard time doing what they asked. It really hit home that not only do I have all these things going on in my life just given the phase (early parenthood), but I also have ADHD that makes everything more difficult beyond just this tough time.
This Week in Autism
I finished The Left Hand of Darkness and was really taken with the concept of shifgrethor in the book. This word is used to describe the imaginary alien society’s unspoken social rules and customs. I know that Le Quin wasn’t making a comment on neurodiversity, but I found it incredibly relatable that the protagonist had so many problems because he couldn’t understand these mysterious ways of the very beings he was supposed to charm. It made me think of the idea of “scripting” where kids with autism (or adults with ADHD like me) memorize what they are supposed to say in specific social situations in order to follow American shifgrethor.
As someone who only recently realized that not everyone had these sorts of things memorized in order to pass, I haven’t quite figured out how to feel about them. It is irritating to have to memorize a bunch of random crap, but not having to worry that I am doing something “wrong,” like flubbing a generic conversation about the weather, is a load off my mind. Easing anxiety seems positive. But this idea that one can be socially outcast for small talk inadequacies is infuriating. I don’t know how I will explain this to my sons when they are older. Surely like me they will need a significant amount of scripting. Who knows what the world will be like then. Getting these scripts down has allowed me to connect with people on a deeper level, dispensing with the small talk quickly and moving to more important conversations. But it’s also made me feel that these light, innocuous conversations are a complete waste of time. Why even bother with these niceties?!
This Week in Media: My list of media from last week.