Psychological Health Neurodiversity and Holistic Wellness Support/Sharing Circle

I openly made a bold claim in a thread recently–that I felt pretty sure the Insert Credit forums community is probably a very friendly, accepting, and supportive environment when it comes to mental health, neurodiversity, and, I guess, what I've called in the thread title, “holistic wellness,” which is, well, a nicer way of saying “etc.”

I'm personally a big proponent of the worth in talking about this sort of thing, sharing knowledge and experience, lending support and showing understanding, and for it being a good thing when this is something we can collectively do openly and proudly.

Hence, the thread--a place for people to talk about anything to do with anything to do with, basically, havin' a brain, consciousness, emotions, perception, anything like that. Diagnosed, self diagnosed, undiagnosed-but-curious, uncertain, curious, whatever. Sharing your personal experiences with a condition you've come to understand on a near expert level, or wanting to ask open questions about things you're curious about... basically assume if you feel like you want to post about it in here, it's welcome.

I'm not a mod, so I can't enforce these as "rules," but given the sensitivity of this vast spectrum (get it?) of topics, I am going to propose some guidelines for this thread in order to give us all the best chance of being respectful and helpful to each other:

  • - No Narcs
  • Summary

    We aren't the Munchausen Syndrome Police or hypochondria accusers, here. Implicitly trust what other people are saying about their life and experiences.

  • - Trigger and Content Warnings and Collective Safety
  • Summary

    This is a complex issue because I feel there is often a lot of confusion as to what a trigger or content warning should be used for, but, basically, the point is not to ask anyone to self censor, nor feel that talking about what they need to talk about could be harmful to someone else.

    I think the best practice would be to heavily encourage everyone to give trigger/content warnings at the top of posts, with as much consideration as one can, when speaking about sensitive or intense issues or events. The point of TWs/CWs is to allow people with a wide array of vulnerabilities to be able to not just opt out, but also opt in to talking about or reading descriptions of things they are sensitive to.

    Just something on the first line of the post that says "TW: such and such traumatic or intense experience/content/languge" should be plenty. Maybe use the Spoiler function (formatted by putting text between two tags like [ spoiler ] text [ /spoiler ] )

    Also starting a line with [ details=“Summary” ] text [ /details ] will give you the condensed and collapsible Details button. And, if you're unsure about what kind of content might be appropriate to offer a cw/tw for, I say, just be better safe than sorry.

    Ideally, over time, we will all get a sense if there is anything in particular that people want tagged with warnings. But, you know, there's lots of different levels of experience with this practice, so please try to be patient if not everyone uses them as deliberately as you would like.

    Oh, and if anyone asks you to add a trigger or content warning to something, no arguments. Just do it. They likely wouldn't ask if there wasn't a good reason, basically.

  • - Consent is Key
  • Summary

    I‘m a bit of a hypocrite about this, but try not to give unsolicited advice, or answer questions someone wasn’t asking, or ask questions carelessly lest they be felt as intrusive. “Ongoing, mutual, enthusiastic consent” is not just a frame of reference for sex education. Some people might want to use this thread to just vent and aren't looking to have a dialogue. As a compensatory guideline…

  • - Be Clear About How You Want To Interact And Be Interacted With
  • Summary

    If you do want advice, don‘t feel shy in soliciting it. You might not get a response, but, at least if people follow the above guideline the best they can, people are going to feel hesitant to give it if you don’t ask. As well, if you feel comfortable being asked questions, be sure to include the scope and context of that willingness.

    Basically, boundaries need to be communicated to be respected, but there are always going to be more general boundaries that one should be assumed to be there too. Of course it's complicated, so that's why I say communication is always the first step to expressing and respecting boundaries.

  • - What Happens In The Circle Stays In The Circle
  • Summary

    Even though this thread is public and openly viewable, I personally think it'd be best if what is shared in this thread stays compartmentalized in here.

  • - All That Being Said, No One Here Is A Doctor, Psychiatrist, Counsellor, Or Crisis Response Worker And You Are Ultimately The One Most Responsible For Your Own Safety And Wellness
  • Summary

    And, even if you are a doctor, psychiatrist, counsellor, or crisis response worker, and you do want to represent that in this thread, everyone should keep in mind anything they would be saying would be informally, without a confidentiality agreement, and with only the context you provide.

    We already aren't gonna be poo-pooing self diagnosis here if I have anything to say about it, and I'm sure we all know that access to mental health care is woefully inadequate, inaccessible for a wealth of reasons (especially wealth, and widely stigmatized against. However, we have to keep in mind our mental wellness as a collective community. I'm not gonna say to not ask for help if you're really struggling, but please be mindful of the nature of our community in terms of how we're all quite remote from each other and most of us are pretty private about what our real lives are actually like. So, be mindful about bringing more urgent or intense struggles, here (I mean, if that will even happen, but I figured I'd acknowledge the possibility). Basically, this is not exactly the best environment or platform to trust fall too haphazardly into, based on if nothing else the asynchronous nature of forums, the relatively intimate size of our community, and, like, time zones.

    That being said, no one is stopping anyone from having private or group conversations about stuff if they feel there's some shared experience or an agreed upon desire to support each other more directly like that. Just ensure you've got that ongoing, mutual, enthusiastic consent to do so.

    Anyway, while I‘m the one making this thread, idk, I am actually pretty chill with regards to my own Brain Cool stuff! I already kinda don’t hesitate to discuss it anywhere else lol.

    I have been clinically diagnosed with ADHD and take a daily medication for that, and that works well for me. I have in the past helped people identify some key characteristic symptoms, which in turn motivated them to seek a formal diagnosis (I can remember at least two people who I was correct about as well). I'm not an expert, but, I've learned how to recognize at least a handful of the telltale signs. I'd be open to helping anyone sus that out if they had questions about it.

    I did not meet criteria for a clinical diagnosis of autism at the level of, like, getting support services, but, like, I knew how to use a VCR before I knew how to walk, I'm _pretty sure_ I know what's up with that.

    And, I'm very vocally pro neurodiversity, in general. Keeping in mind I'm also of the opinion that "neurodiversity" is not just the autism spectrum, ADHD is definitely, like, a certain expression of neurodiversity. I know everyone's experiences and struggles are different, but when I think of my own neurodivergent traits I only see things I love and appreciate about myself, or ways in which I've related deeply to people I am closest to. And how I make friends on videogame forums too, I'm pretty sure >>

    There's something to be said in general about a more capitalist-critical view of psychological wellness, neurodivergence, and ability. I put a lot of stock into the ideological position that a lot of what makes something an "illness" or a "disability" is a product of the material conditions of society combined with social constructs. Being a full time wheelchair user is the archetypical disability in our society, so much so that a symbol representing a wheelchair user has become a universal symbol for disability, but what actually _causes_ disability? If a wheelchair user feels there are no actual meaningful/significant drawbacks to the day-to-day individual experience of being a wheelchair user (I mean, walking on legs has its own pros and cons too right?), and all of the difficulties and barriers and stigma are a product of the material conditions of society failing to adequately provide for or understand all of their individual needs, does that not say a lot about what the nature of "disability" is?

    Anyway, you know, I think I decided to make this post after identifying it might be something people would like, but I also like talking about this sort of thing. I also like being able to help and support others. I like to say that I've had, like, 20 years of informal experience as a counsellor or crisis response worker. I don't know what it is but I've had a lot of experiences Online of just somehow encouraging people without really trying to confide in me. That includes, like, family members who I've known all my life, to total strangers just spontaneously. And, I guess when it's possible to receive it, people do seem to think I am helpful in that regard. For complicated cultural reasons I guess I've come to accept that it's a gift I have, and I am trying to make a sustainable vocation out of it one way or another.

    Do with that information what you will! Like, I'm just saying, PMs of a sensitive sharing nature from anyone reading this would not be the strangest way I've done this sort of thing.

    Hmm, question to everyone, do we want to include disability here? Or if it going to exist, should that be its own thread?

    Wrote a bit about some of the ways my brain works in the Details. No warnings or anything; I just didn‘t want to take up a ton of space with my post. I don’t really have any names or words for any of it, so I just wrote it all out. I think this is a good thread to have, and I really appreciate @Gaagaagiins a lot as a forum poster, and I like his heart and the way he appreciates himself, and I am trying to do the same for myself. If anyone relates to what I wrote about in my post, I would love to hear about it, because I feel like I have remained willfully ignorant about mental health stuff for a long time in the hopes of making myself “normal,” or just giving myself an excuse to be mean to myself.

    Summary

    >!

    I‘m one of those people where I don’t really know what my problem is, but there‘s certainly something there that makes it difficult for me to work in the way I’m supposed to. The only time I ever came close to seeing my mind-style described was in an ancient psychology book called “Neurosis & Human Growth,” where she described a type of “neurotic” person (I apologize for my terminology being all over the place; I really don‘t know the words) who reacts “irrationally” against any form of compulsion. It’s hard to describe but I become quite upset when I feel I am being compelled toward any sort of action; for example, if I am invited anywhere, my first response is a deep instinctive “no, never, absolutely not” even if it‘s as innocuous as my wife asking me to go out to a park next weekend or something, because I know it will mean that a certain portion of my time will be devoted to an activity that procludes Absolute Free Action, even if it’s an activity that is fun and I actually want to do!

    >

    It even expands to situations where I make a plan for myself. Like if I say to myself, “I think I'll go to the grocery store tomorrow,” I will wake up the next morning cursing myself for creating this “obligation” of going to the grocery store, even though no such obligation exists and I could easily not go or go some other time, or whatever! I don‘t know what exactly this sounds like, or if I just sound lazy or slovenly or w/e, but that’s how it is.

    >

    You can see how this would make it very difficult for me to work at a normal job; and in fact I came to despise the idea of a “job” so much that I intentionally lowered my standards of living to the point where I worked as little as humanly possible while still affording rent and basic food. Right now it‘s not so bad because my wife’s passion translated directly into a job she likes that pays her money, but when I lived on my own, I was kind of a weird mess when it came to obsessing about my expenses, all because I felt it necessary that I work as few hours as humanly possible.

    >

    It sounds like simple laziness, but the thing is, I do like working on certain things; I even liked organizing fruits and what-not at the produce store – a job that every other young person I ever worked with complained about viciously. The only problem I really had was my relationship to the structure – having to be at a certain place at a certain time. I was late a lot; thankfully, my boss was very nice about it. Really, in many ways it seeemd like the perfect “outside” job for me, as opposed to the more private “inside” job I have now. But for a lot of weird reasons, I ended up growing to dislike it more and more, and eventually I came to the conclusion that it was best for myself if I left.

    >

    I don‘t know. When I don’t like myself, I call it laziness or egotism or selfishness or all sorts of things. I don‘t know. There are a lot of ways for me to dislike myself, but they don’t do me much good.

    >

    I feel like it‘s not just laziness because working a full-time job, even a fairly innocuous one, or one that I actually liked, was pretty tortuous to me and drove me to some real darkness. I know friends who can strike a balance, and still enjoy their lives despite having to work. They hang out on the weekend and don’t think about working. I literally have no capacity for any sort of balance at all, and even part-time jobs eventually drive me to absolute despair. It‘s hard to describe… it really does just crush my brain. It’s like my brain is being crushed. It‘s not really the work itself, although I am also the sort of person where I wake up certain days and don’t really see the point of moving a muscle in my body for the next few centuries. (aka depression, but for whatever reason I stopped liking/using that word, so I describe it in a myriad different ways that I find amusing)

    >

    I don‘t really like to talk about it because I have a lot of internalized ill-feelings toward myself that stem from how I think people will/do perceive me when it comes to this stuff. I give myself a lot of guff and feel it perfectly reasonable for others to want to do so as well, to the point where I just invent things for them to say about me and then pretend they’re thinking it.

    >

    There‘s a lot about myself that I like, and I think that, when I direct myself properly, I am able to do good work that is beneficial and nice and of value to our world in some way. It’s just often frustrating that it doesn‘t seem to fit with the way people are expected to work, and it doesn’t help that my relationship with money is all weird and messed up from reading too many ancient Chinese sages.

    @“wickedcestus”#p95401 I'll be replying more in depth when I have some time to write a thoughtful response, but I can definitely say for sure that I relate to A LOT of this!

    Tw: some description of how the Healthcare system sucks- ablism and transphobia

    I'm at the beginning of a journey to get clinically diagnosed for ADHD. It's a road I've started before but abandoned because it's overwhelming, frustrating, and unfair. For someone like me receiving a diagnosis is an uphill battle. I've been told before that my symptoms were likely caused by HRT meds. The waiting list to see the necessary people is massive. How unfair is it that, to get treatment for a condition which manifests itself as executive dysfunction, I need to stay on top of a months long process?

    I used to self medicate with caffeine, which would _kinda_ work, but my sleep was horrible. When my sleep is bad I don't function well anyway, so it ended up being self defeating. Not even to get into how caffeine can also trigger my anxiety. It was a delicate balance that wasn't manageable long term, so I've spent the last six months tapering down my caffeine consumption. I'm on green tea now, and only in the morning.

    I've spent half my life in therapy, which I'm grateful for. I have knowledge of and practice with a wide range of tools to deal with my mental health. But my capacity to use them is greatly impacted by an inability to focus, and the anxiety that stems from it. My mental well-being feels so fragile because of it. Two days ago I had a serious and intense panic attack. When I had "come to," I traced the events to try and find an inciting incident- something there usually is for me, but not always. This one started because _I went to bed too early the night before_. I'm ready to try something else.

    I'll take advice on my journey, although I feel like I know what to do. I'm glad this thread exists because I want to use it as a place to vent along the way.

    @“wickedcestus”#p95401 I sure do relate to this.

    Just a thought I wanted to share re: feelings around working a job. I don't say this to dismiss or minimize any neurocool possibilities, please read this more in a vain of solidarity: working under capitalism is a drain. It steals our energy and our time and puts it to evil use in all but the rarest of arrangements. Even in the best situations, we're being taken advantage of in some way.

    This is all to say, I have lived my life in such a way as you describe here, and I understand feeling a lot of mixed feelings about it. You're definitely not alone.

    Howdy. I have been diagnosed with ADHD. I don't really consider it a problem or a disorder myself but more so incompatible with working in a rigid industrialized and capitalist society. As soon as a I got a cushy desk job where I was in charge of my own time and treated with respect I was 100% a okay. Before that I worked like 25 different jobs and they were all mostly terrible.

    Pandemic and my job changing and some stresses with personal relationships have made me pretty depressed and that does make my ADHD more of a problem and a lot harder to function. It's a bummer! I'd like to get back to where I was a few years ago.

    I like hearing other people's perspectives and seeing their experiences and differences from mine. I recently discovered many ADHD people have time blindness and I was super surprised because I've never experienced that. I guess it makes sense! Maybe I've had an easier time than some because I dont experience it.

    Anyway I might write more in depth about this or other things later but for now im happy the thread is here!

    @“RubySunrise”#p95542 Thank you. You definitely have a point, here. I have always been reticent to blame capitalism for various reasons (partially because I love blaming myself), but certainly the mechanization of labour does not help. When I worked at the produce store, even though I loved many aspects, one thing I definitely did not love was that many customers saw me as a checkout machine, rather than a person. I put way too much emotion into each interaction, trying to be nice and smile and all reach people as a human person, and when people were just trying to rush right through me I took it very personally. This isn‘t really related to the first point, but yeah, I found it super hard to “roboticize” myself in the way I’ve noticed a lot of other cashiers/customer service people do, and I think to a certain extent, that is totally necessary for working a full-time customer-facing job.

    I don't know why I've always considered myself alone in my problems. I guess I don't talk to people much. It's nice to hear that a few of you can relate. I wish you all the best on your journey, too. I can relate to that frustrating feeling of trying to find "inciting incidents," and I can't imagine how hard it is to have to chase after the healthcare system while dealing with everything.

    @“RubySunrise”#p95483 I don’t have good advice but wanted to mention I can relate to much of this, especially the life-ruining effects of extreme executive dysfunction (which as @“DavidNoo”#p95575 alludes to often comes from multiple conditions or circumstances working in tandem). Beyond potentially getting an Adderall prescription though I’m not totally sure what an official diagnosis for ADHD does for you as an adult - not that I have any better solutions. Personally (due partly to experience) I’m wary of being labeled or pigeonholed with diagnoses and “handled” accordingly, though it’s not like I’m functioning so well anyway lol.

    If late capitalism is to blame for a generational mental health catastrophe (and it may well be, though rates of alcoholism and suicide in the Soviet bloc suggest it may be postindustrialism more generally) I don’t think it’s just the expectation of menial labor that does it but the alienation from community, family and sense of collective purpose. Labor should actually be a source of pride and fulfillment; but doing a job that benefits only faceless cash-counters and vampire CEOs, or prostituting yourself to a consumer mob to “be your own boss” in a Silicon Valley-enforced social infrastructure that quantifies and judges every individual against all others… that’s pretty different.

    God Hand

    I'm painfully afraid to post here, but want to terribly.

    One thing I feel comfortable writing: since I've been here, I've realized I suffer from misophonia.

    I can't stand listening to people drink or chew, including myself. The eating habits of various family members have made me physically ill. I broke up with the most beautiful person because of how she'd eaten popcorn. I don't eat lunch in the staff room, and if I eat with coworkers, I have to sit far away from them with their backs turned to me. Other sounds trigger nauseousness and I have other peculiar mannerisms, but the people here discussing misophonia have eased a lot of stress.

    Well, the assessment I was referred to is well outside of what I can afford. It‘s one of those “your insurance might partially reimburse you” situations. This one was referred to me on the basis of being affordable and someone who takes my insurance, too. I’ll probably start drinking coffee again while I try and set aside the money.

    >

    @“2501”#p95688 Beyond potentially getting an Adderall prescription though I’m not totally sure what an official diagnosis for ADHD does for you as an adult - not that I have any better solutions.

    Possibly more than the medication I started way back when I was diagnosed around 10 years ago, the biggest thing was the actual diagnosis itself. Just knowing that you're not alone, other people have gone through similar issues and you don't have to re-invent the wheel when it comes to coping mechanisms etc. can be more valuable than one might think.

    I’ve had very bad experiences being categorized by a diagnostic label, so I guess it confuses me how many people these days seem eager to obtain one and publicize it. I get that it’s a useful starting point for understanding what the hell’s going on in your head, but… idk.

    Anyway, if I start talking about myself here I’m only going to spiral but suffice to say I’m not doing great either and have semi-seriously weighed the option of ending it all in the recent past. I can’t even tell what’s mental illness and what’s just me making bad lazy choices anymore. If you manage to find some ironclad method to improve executive functioning that isn’t just drugs, please do share.

    Well, in my case I want a diagnosis so I can get prescription medication. I want prescription meds for the reasons I outlined above.

    I suppose I don't really believe in a method for improving executive dysfunction that always works. Not for myself anyway. That's just not how I've observed myself or my reality working. No silver bullets. I use a lot of different methods and tools that "work," in the sense that I've practiced them and incorporated them into my life to the point that when I do things I do them using these methods.

    I write a lot of lists. Mostly to-do lists. Before I start anything, I'll try and write a to-do list for it. Even if it's simple and I feel like I understand exactly what I need to do. Why not write it down? It helps me 10 minutes later, when I've gone completely off-track or hit a dead end and have that nagging feeling, "what was I doing again?"/"what now?"

    I've practiced a lot of narrative therapy, which I know as learning to recognize, interrupt, and supplant the "stories" of negative self-talk I give myself. I've mostly done this in a cognitive behavioral therapy context, and some self-help contexts, but my understanding is this is a modality present in other therapeutic approaches, too. There are a lot of different ways to practice this. I like free writing, going back over what I wrote to pull out the negative self-talk parts, and literally rewriting them to be more supportive.

    Within the last couple years I've gotten familiar with an Inner Family Systems approach. I like it because it's given a bit more form and direction to the narrative re-telling I had been doing. It's been a trip wrapping my head around it, but it can be sweet and loving, which I like.

    All these things, and more, work in tandem or seemingly not at all, depending on the day and what's going on with me. I have real trouble with having perspective on myself, though, and I know I've been wrong a lot. So I choose to believe that they do work, even if the progress isn't linear, and that chasing some kind of perfect ideal for my executive functioning is going to be a soul sucking wild goose chase.

    >

    @“RubySunrise”#p95736 I write a lot of lists. Mostly to-do lists. Before I start anything, I’ll try and write a to-do list for it. Even if it’s simple and I feel like I understand exactly what I need to do. Why not write it down? It helps me 10 minutes later, when I’ve gone completely off-track or hit a dead end and have that nagging feeling, “what was I doing again?”/“what now?”


    >
    >

    I’ve practiced a lot of narrative therapy, which I know as learning to recognize, interrupt, and supplant the “stories” of negative self-talk I give myself. I’ve mostly done this in a cognitive behavioral therapy context, and some self-help contexts, but my understanding is this is a modality present in other therapeutic approaches, too. There are a lot of different ways to practice this. I like free writing, going back over what I wrote to pull out the negative self-talk parts, and literally rewriting them to be more supportive.

    Interesting. This is already a good deal more structure than I find myself able (or willing - it’s genuinely hard to tell) to commit to. Even in the process of writing a list, if I don’t get distracted in the process of opening up the notepad to write the list, I interrupt myself to criticize my framing of the list and chastise myself for potentially excluding tasks or important details, or when it comes time to follow through on the list actions I simply get distracted or self-sabotage out of fear/spite. But I recognize a lot of this “losing track of yourself” and being adrift without structure stuff. I guess I need to trust myself more to actually follow through on self-imposed structures instead of feeling like everything is futile because I’m not in control of my own brain.

    @“2501”#p95743 Totally! Yeah, I may have made it sound more structured and refined than it is. I don‘t make a list 100% of the time, and I do it different each time. I’ve noticed some “better practices” pop up for me over the years - I use pen and paper instead of anything digital, for example. That is something that‘s nearly 100% consistent. It’s taken literally years of doing it, at whatever level I‘m doing it at, for me to have found some of these “best practices.” And I still don’t do them every time! That‘s ok. It is what it is. One of those narratives I’m working against is striving for maximum efficiency. It‘s actually totally ok if I don’t do that.

    I listened to the audio book/seminars 7 Habits of Highly Effective People a few years ago and I found that very helpful - much more helpful than any time-management book I‘d ever tried. The book itself, I don’t know, it's very preachy.

    There's a four-box activity I like a lot - it goes beyond writing lists.

    I don‘t know if this would be helpful or not - it’s a book for teachers to directly teach executive functioning skills.

    Edit: I tried to upload it but it wouldn't take. It's titled Executive Functioning Training by Carolyn Gottschall and Constance Rozendaal. It's for elementary students, but you could possibly figure out a way to use it to benefit yourself. If you're interested, send me a PM and I'll email it to you.

    This will be a good place for people having a rough time, so I figured I‘ll add a positive outcome before things get started. I’m not gonna go after anybody or check this thread really. Just putting here that I completely overcame a life of severe depression on my own without meds!

    I overcame that stuff in a major way, I feel great, (but not too great!) like I'm right where I'm supposed to be in life, and I had a heck of a time getting here!
    First half of my 20's was *the worst*, my childhood was also really bad, I was highly stunted as a youth by "parents" who illegally "adopted" me. I had some wild and cool experiences as a teenager, then after high school fell back into being cripplingly depressed, practically for eight straight years.

    It wasn't until I was 26 that something clicked, I started cutting ties and stopped *reaching*
    Now I'm about to be 30, and I *love life*

    If anyone needs to reach out, I give good pep talks.

    A random old internet friend from wayyy back in the day (like 2008) reached out to me randomly last week, and they're about to call me on the phone in a couple hours for a pep talk. I like helping people.

    I did all the drugs in my late teens & early 20's. First time taking LSD, ecstasy, K, was with my own father. He was a big raver in 1999. But now, *he can't even **get** me to take drugs*. I just don't need any of that where I am in life, I like having my brain function normally, I worked very hard to regulate my mental chemistry, and I'm super proud that I can be happy and satisfied in life. Altering my brain just disrupts that.

    I never really liked weed, but I was smoking a lot more regularly from age 16-25. I only had a good experience like 1 out of 10 times. I think I need to have my brain working, without that I'm nothing, lol.
    Now I have a healthy relationship with alcohol, I'll drink socially like, once every few months. I can still get down and party hard, but everything is kinda "been there, done that" for me. At this point it's just grind time, working hard and saving. There's absolutely no FOMO and YOLO, it's all NOMO, cause I don't do that stuff NOMO! Now I want for nothin.

    and don't get the wrong idea, I was still a good and nice person before, but I just leveled up and healed my mental health in a major way the past couple years. It doesn't happen overnight, it's all about slowly building healthy habits!