Image by Pexels from Pixabay
I’ve been on a journey discovering my neurodiversity all 37 years of my life, and while I can’t say the journey has been easy, during the last two years, I’ve really started to understand what it means to be neurodivergent. For better or for worse, I am and always will be. And while on difficult days I wish things were different, I am learning the strength in my differences. And in myself.
Thanks to the sharing of the neurodivergent community on social media, to those who continue conducting research and publishing books and resources, and to working with my occupational therapist (OT), here are 30 things I learned:
To follow a sensory diet and to engage my senses every hour. The more the better. And the more at the same time, the better.
To connect to what is happening to me through my body. To do check-ins and body scans. To engage my interoceptive sense.
To see my OT and my psychotherapist once a week. Especially when I don’t want to.
To exercise and to engage my muscles at least three times a day. Especially before interacting socially.
To move when I’m starting to feel overwhelmed. Whether it’s jumping on the trampoline, rocking in my chair or emptying the dishwasher.
To use my weighted blanket.
To eat protein and carbs every two to three hours. To maintain my glucose levels and to avoid forgetting to eat.
To take a magnesium supplement twice a day and magnesium (Epsom salt) baths at least twice a week.
To not skip taking any of my supplements or medications. Ever.
To drink at least 64-ounces of water every day.
To take breaks.
To make my home a sensory sanctuary.
To cry when I feel angry instead of finding another way to take out my aggression.
To let my husband hug me tightly when I’m having a hard time instead of backing away. To ask for a hug when I need one. To let myself receive a hug when I feel the need to sell harm.
To stick to a routine and to have a plan in place for when I can’t.
To limit my social interactions so I can be fully present when I do interact.
To tell people when I’m starting to feel overwhelmed and to leave the room.
To wear sunglasses and earplugs or headphones when I’m in public.
To sit with my back to walls and other immobile spaces.
To continue to be a sensory warrior. Dodging triggers like Wonder Woman.
To try to not act on my thoughts starting 14 days into my menstrual cycle. Because I know that they will be distorted. Unhealthy. And possibly destructive.
To forgive myself my differences and my limitations.
To embrace my gifts instead of focusing on my differences.
To find strength in my differences.
To find others like me.
To take the mask off when I can and to be myself without caring what others think.
To stop caring about what others think in general.
To educate others on what it means to be neurodivergent. To share who I am and what my experiences are with others. And hopefully, to help them learn about themselves through what I share.
To continue to fight for neurodivergent rights and understanding.
To recognize when someone else is struggling with their mental health and to help in any way I can.