with the flow

When I say
“I’m learning to go with the flow of my neurodivergent brains natural rhythms”
it sounds kind of cool and self awareness-y and stuff.

But the reality of letting your brain flow through weeks of minimal sleep at a time
when life is busy,
and the world expects things,
and kids need to be fed and safe,
and there are things you want to do on top of the things you need to do,
and your body is doing odd medical things you don’t understand
just to keep things interesting,
then it’s not so cool,
it’s more like frustrating and shit.
Because it’s ok to just let your brain do its thing of being super super busy
and not sleeping much if there is nothing else in life to consider,
but that’s not how it actually works.
And knowing that this is just part of a cycle
and that it will end when my brain is done processing all its busy thoughts
and my feelings will settle down when they have run their course
and I can go back to getting enough mental down time for my body to get into functioning in some sort of organised and productive way some time
is not comforting yet because I can’t sense the slow down beginning
so I don’t now how much longer it will be
and I’m tired.
This is what I mean when I say neurodivergence is a disability.
This is what I mean when I say being autistic doesn’t mean I am disordered,
but it does mean there are things I can’t do
because the world is not run in ways that best suit my operating style.
This is why I have to become comfortable identifying as a disabled person.
This cycle of minimal sleep I go through a few times a year
is a pattern I recognise now,
but it doesn’t make it any more possible to react to it any differently.
I have to ride it out.
I can’t stop it from happening by doing anything or by worrying about it.
I have learned not to fight it,
but it is not easy knowing that for the next while
I will not get household tasks done with any efficiency,
I will not be able to finish tasks I had on my to do list,
I won’t even be able to write much of use
because organising my thoughts is so hard-
ironic since the cause of the sleeplessness seems to be processing thoughts.
As a bonus when I don’t sleep well my sensory system is more easily overloaded.
I will respond more negatively to touch, light and sound than usual.
I will find it more difficult to process language to offer words to others.
I will find it more difficult to process language to receive meaning from others.
I will feel ashamed.
I will want to hide away.
There is no support for me in moving through this.
This is the part of disability that people want us to just deal with quietly and alone.
This is not just me, I know my experience to be true for others as well.
We smile when we see you and say “good thanks” and move on with our day.
But “good thanks” is a way to protect ourselves from
your criticism born of not understanding.
So, I am saying now:
I’m not good right now, but that’s not bad.
This is autism as a disability in someone who has been told
they are too high functioning to be officially diagnosed.
The world may not want to recognise me, but I know who I am.
I am myself, and my brain is doing its thing.
It’s not easy, but it’s not bad.
It’s not typical, but it’s not wrong.
It just is.
I am going with the flow.

4 thoughts on “with the flow

  1. I hear you. And its very interesting the phase you have described I think of/or feel is my slightly manic phase where my brain doesn’t want to sleep – it is just too busy. And if I didn’t have to be responsible and take the kids to school etc in the morning I would be sorely tempted to go find a dance club to dance at all night. Often a very long dance session reintegrates my brain and allows me to sleep. Watching a series on TV (something that has text titles on) that I am interested enough to watch but not compelled to stay awake to watch the end because I have seen it enough is my compromise to force myself to go to sleep.

    1. I relate to what you say here. My physical activity of choice is karate rather than dance, but I recognise that a good training session acts as a reset for me- both for anxiety and for thought processing (they are probably closely related, hey?). I also use tv watching as a strategy, but only when I know I can afford the time to binge watch a whole series…. 😉

      1. I try and avoid the binge by watching a series or movie that I have watched A LOT so that the compulsion to stay awake is low. But it must be one that has a high obsession rewatch level. I am about to try it right now!

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