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Why it feels like you are becoming 'more' Autistic as you get older when previously unidentified ...

I will be forever grateful to my Neurodivergent child, who I am sure must have had a soul contract to came into this world and refuse to go under the radar. His need to be raised in a neurodivergent-affirmative way was so evident, that it forced me to look at my conditioned beliefs as a parent on how to raise my child.


The other thing it did, was made me look at myself, and all of the ways that I was not living authentically... because let's face it, as great a relationship I have with my child he doesn't do what I say, he does what I do... which meant I had a whole heap of unmasking to do if I wanted him to own and love who he authentically is.

Image: Quote with Tan looking up with the Neurodivergent logo on it. Quote writing reads, "Unmasking as a neurodivergent adult is an empowering, yet terrifying, process.it's unveiling a whole heap of self-honesty that you kept hidden, both consciously, and unconsciously.it's also an incredibly liberating process to start to love the real you."


And what a process of radical self-awareness, self-honesty and self-love that has been.


When I was growing up, there was no representation of what healthy, thriving, neurodivergence looked like. In fact, back then, ADHD kids were just considered to be 'naughty kids', and you were only identified as Autistic if you met the out-dated stereotypical, deficit profile. It's why I believe that Representation matters. Even if I did see myself in those identified ADHD and Autists back then, I sure as hell wouldn't admit it, because that would mean something was wrong with me... the irony is that I did grow up wondering if something was actually wrong with me, but my friends I was an excellent 'masker', and flew right under the radar.


Neurodivergents "mask" as a conscious choice to fit in and please the people around them, but there is also an unconscious processing part of it too. Our brains are so freaking amazing, and does what it needs to to protect us. We all still have caveman brain, and during caveman times, if you were not accepted by the 'village' you were thrown out of it, and you died. So we grow up first wanting to please our parents and be loved and accepted by them, and if that means our brains make us act in ways that are not in line with what our sensory profile and neurology needs to not be rejected by them, it will do that to the best of it's ability. Mine did that well, but at massive consequences to myself... and I unravelled in my 20's big time... so much it's a wonder in some ways that I made it through that time.



Image is of a your Tanya dressed up as a bride in Kindergarten in front of a bridal cake, linked arms with a young boy who doesn't look interested to be there - lol


Which is why I am so grateful that my son did not follow in my footsteps. He had massive meltdowns when he was really young and I was forced to create a neurodivergent-affirming lifestyle for us both. The knock-on effect of that is that it created safety for me to start the unmasking and identifying process - both Autistic and ADD.


That process of self-honesty was not easy, though it enabled me to accept all parts of me. I now accept that I have a real sensitivity to noise. It explains why my sons' meltdowns were excruciating for me and why I would get really drunk when I went night clubbing as a young adult - to dull my senses enough to be able to participate.


I now accept that I work better on my own. I held dearly to the fact that I was a team player, and that I can sabotage my own needs for the betterment of the team, I was rewarded for that well during my career, but it is not how you get the best of me.


I now accept that I can take in what you are saying to me better if I am not looking in your eyes. So many years of saying, 'pardon' repeatedly while I am deadlocked into your gaze as that is what society said I had to do to not be rude or considered 'lying'. Neurodivergents don't have the same filters as Neurotypical's so our brains take in EVERYTHING. It's also why I have been considered a mentalist, which I am not, I just noticed every teeny facial change when I talk to you and can pick up subtleties others don't.


It's also why I accept that I need to close my eyes if I am trying to connect with my body, as I have interoception challenges, and I need to shut down an avenue of input into my brain if I have any chance of doing that. The other thing that I learned as a child was to have my eyes open but 'shut down' the input coming in so that I could try and pass my sensory overload undetected, and was unkindly referred to as having "the lights on but no-one is home", when literally the opposite as happening!


I also accept that night time events with lots of alcohol, crowds and noise are not for me. This was hard for me because before the 'Conscious' crowd turned up in my life, it meant that I didn't get to socialise. I gave up alcohol 2 years ago once I realised it was adding to my challenges and being used as a masking tool, and having events without it doesn't happen too often in our society.


There are SOOOOOO many other examples I can use, but the point is that I didn't get more Autistic or ADD as I got older - those different processing ways were always there. I just started removing my unhealthy coping mechanisms by chipping away at the triggers for them, and starting to getting really honest about what my needs actually were. Not looking at it from the old incorrect, deficit view, but from my authentic self - the same loving, caring, empathic, intelligent, accomplished woman that I am.


My wish for everyone regardless of their neurotype is that they do the same.


Sending big love


- 'WC' T ♡

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