I know what you’re all thinking. I’m about to tell a story of my Britain’s Got Talent act for this year. Sorry to disappoint you.
When it comes to neurodiversity, I don’t think that even at this point we are far enough into a time where people with hidden disabilities are given the platform to thrive. And that could be in any environment at all.
Nobody should have to conform to “the expected”. Us neurodiverse breed should be able to achieve what we need to achieve without having someone else dictate how we do that.
I often have a very difficult time (with regards to my mental health) understanding who I am and understanding how I work. But even though I find it difficult to attach to a particular identity all the time because I feel like I have to very quickly shut down at times… I know how I work better than anyone else! And so would anyone else in my shoes. If it works for us… That should be ok.
The reason I talk about jumping through hoops of fire is this. I don’t have a high level of confidence by default. I have recently been through a very tiring period of anxiety and depression. I am essentially finding a way to achieve all I set out to do while feeling very limited. So rather than actually “jumping through hoops of fire”, I feel more like I’m finding my trademark slow and methodical way of clambering carefully through the hoops of fire so that I don’t get burnt.
That’s the thing though. I feel like the fire follows to a lot of environments. What I mean by this is that I often feel under intense pressure and scrutiny to please others and make sure they view me in a positive way. That’s by no means any easy feat when you have Dyspraxia as well as the mental health challenges.
It’s the classic “sink or swim” scenario to me. I feel like many neuro-diverse people are pretty much set up to fail. And those people will probably feel exactly like me. Perhaps the sort of situation where you feel like you’re sinking in quicksand and are just feeling helpless to try and lift yourself out of it. That, or feeling like you’ve been pushed into the deep end of a pool and you have no armbands. So you’ll essentially be teaching yourself how to manage in these situations because you’re not given the tools to be able to overcome such tricky situations.
To give credit where credit is due, I do believe that some people do go out of their way to try and help. But there’s always the issue of clarity and then again being forced into a situation that’s been problematic so many times before so you’re pretty much destined to fail yet again due to no fault of your own.
Something else that’s the subject of a lot of mental strain for me is feeling within my rights to ask for reasonable adjustments and to basically try to negotiate and “drive a hard bargain” in order to create an environment where I can thrive. It’s difficult for the lot of us! I’m pretty certain everyone within the neuro-diverse community would say the same that they constantly feel on edge when it comes to discussing reasonable adjustments because they don’t want to make those “above them” feel uncomfortable or that they’re putting themselves out in order to help us thrive in any situation.
Sometimes, I just think, do what you can. Because at this point I don’t have the trust or belief that things will drastically change and that we won’t have to conform to “the expected” anymore. So I will continue to do this and will always do the maximum within my capabilities to show what I can do. Then the ball is in the other person or people’s court. That’s the situation that I want to remain. So the onus is on the typical world… To provide answers!