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Neurodivergence & Substance Abuse

Deep breath as I know I may ruffle some feathers with this one - TW - drugs, alcohol, trauma

Not an exaggeration…suicide and substance abuse among high masking Autistics and ADHDers is unfathomably high. It's a big, big problem, and it's one that society created.

When we (now adult neurodivergents) were growing up we were not supported for our neurotype at all - just told we were wrong/broken/weird/faulty/dumb - input a whole heap of things that are actually not correct, but it took most of us our whole adult life to work that out, and usually only when we had our own neurodivergent children.

We didn't have IEP's, or the NDIS, or families & workplace that understood how to support our neurotype, or school accomodations or specific schools that tailored to our neurotype - we were literally traumatised each and every day of our lives... and I know that as a society that feels really uncomfortable, that we got it so wrong for so many children (and then adults) for so long.

Thankfully, we had some really brave, tenacious neurodivergent people that stood up and said, "no more". That cycle of trauma and abuse (don't get me started on ABA and the like) will stop with us, and those neurodivergents who come after us will have better... and as I raise my incredible son in a neurodivergent-affirming way, with all of the supports possible in a home where being neurodivergent is actually NOT a deficit, I am incredibly grateful.

But what about the many generations that were missed of this knowledge and understanding? The many neurodivergents who are still desperately masking, exhausted by a neurotypical world that tells them that everything about them is wrong, and have no idea about their own unique neurotype, sensory & nervous system needs... and we wonder why there is an epidemic of neurodivergent adults - identified and not yet identified - misusing drugs and alcohol and food and the list goes on - as trauma response coping mechanisms. Do we really wonder? Or can we be a whole lot smarter here?

Rehab does not work for neurodivergent adults - because the drugs / alcohol / food etc are not the problem - they are simply the result of their trauma and their not understanding how to support their own neurotype, sensory profile and nervous system in a neurotypical dominated world. Its the 'behaviour'... and if we have learned anything from our children its that we don't address the behaviour, we address the CAUSE of the behaviour.

Neurodivergents need to understand their own specific neurotype; how support their own specific sensory profile; how to understand their own specific nervous system needs... and have the ability to heal the trauma they have experienced to date.

{metaphor} We may have stopped (mostly) throwing neurodivergent children that can't swim into raging rapids and expecting them to swim to safety, but what about the ones that were already thrown in there who have been struggling to keep their head above water their whole life? Is there anyone else willing to dive in to get them out with me? Or are we going to continue to let them drown?

We can all do our part and the first part is real knowledge on why this is a problem.

... and exhale ...

Sending big love x

- WC 'T' ♡

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