This video was shot at the end of June and released early to Patreon, Facebook, and YouTube channel members on June 28, 2021. This video will be released to the wider general public on July 28, 2021.
Hey humans, Lyric here. You may know me as the NeuroDivergent Rebel. I am a late discovered multiply-NeuroDivergent adult, meaning I was diagnosed Autistic at the age of 29 and I was diagnosed ADHD earlier this year.
I didn’t know, I was NeuroDivergent for a large chunk of my life. Although, when you don’t know you’re NeuroDivergent, you still know you’re different. That’s a whole nother can of worms, and a whole nother video.
This week I’m going to share some personal insight as to why, as an Autistic Person, I often, sometimes, frequently, find people to be overwhelming.
If you want to know why I find people overwhelming, please stay tuned.
Reflecting on myself, the number one reason I find people to be overwhelming, especially as an Autistic Person, would be that I struggle to read people I don’t know.
I have gotten a lot better at this since I found out I was Autistic, at the age of 29.
Before I learned I was Autistic, I didn’t look for information in people’s faces, or their body language, to see how they were feeling or even to see if they were interested in things I was saying. It just never really occurred to me that there was information there and at 29, I started to study what facial expressions and body language means.
That meant, for a very large portion of my life and even now, because, I can now after much study spot some obvious emotions, like if someone’s really mad or it’s really joyful, but a lot of neutral things are really confusing to me and I can’t sort out what a neutral or less intense face means.
I am getting better, but I still struggle. It’s like body language is like this secret decoder, you can use to figure out what other people are feeling.
That’s pretty powerful, because I didn’t have these tools for a large portion of my life.
That meant I was having really difficult interactions with other people, because I wouldn’t realize I was annoying them, or I wouldn’t read the situation well.
The person that comes in and does something completely inappropriate, for the tone of the room, and you’re like, “read the room”.
I’m the one that you would be yelling at to read the room, because I would come in and completely not read the room.
Now I pay attention much more actively. I may not know what something means, but I’ll notice something and continually gauge if this is maybe a good or a bad response to something. The gray and in-between is more complicated and harder for me to sort out.
Not being able to read people very well, for a large portion of my life meant I struggled, interpreting other people, and their intentions, and would sometimes misinterpret other people, their feelings, and their intentions, or overestimate the relationships with other people. I would think people would like me more than they really were, when they were just being nice.
All of that made me very wary of a lot of relationships with other people. That stems from not being able to read and interpret new people.
Though the fortunate thing is, I can get to know someone really well and their patterns, and their mannerisms, and even their facial expressions. For example, a partner, who I have been with for a really long time, I can get to know them, but new people are extremely hard for me to sort out and read.
Another problem with misinterpretations of others was that people often misinterpreted my intentions, and I didn’t understand why people were misunderstanding my intentions.
I also had problems where people over or underestimate my capabilities and abilities.
This is really hard too, because sometimes, if I know very clearly there’s something I struggle with or I’m not capable of, I would try to speak up, and would be dismissed and told “no, you know, you can do this you’re just not trying hard enough.” Things like that.
People would insist that I could do things I was confident I would be unable to do. Then when I wouldn’t be able to meet other people’s expectations for me, I would feel as if I was a failure, because obviously, for whatever reason, I was expected to be able to meet the expectation.
So I developed a lot of anxiety around the expectations that people have for me, that I am unable to meet other people’s expectations.
I also have a social anxiety diagnosis. When I was diagnosed Autistic at 29, I was also diagnosed with social anxiety, which sometimes I think it doesn’t bother me that much anymore.
I will be working on a project and have to deal with other people, and their expectations for me, and my own anxiety about being able to live up to, and meet, the other people’s expectations becomes this out of control monster and it’s it’s still very real. It’s still there.
This is a huge part of why, for the most part, I work by myself now.
I still continued to look for work, after I was laid off last fall, due to COVID, from my full-time job and I started working on my own, because there wasn’t a lot out there in the middle of all of that that was going on with the economy.
So I started working on my own while I was looking for work. This past spring I decided I was going to stop looking for work and keep working on my own, because my mental health is so much better when I deal with other people less.
Ooh. Yeah. I I’m much more calm, happy, and content when I have fewer people, and expectations from other people being placed upon me.
Business and professional settings, make things a bit easier, because they tend to have very concrete and clear rules.
I do struggle a lot with, for example, expectations and demands on social media. Instant messages- it’s like a social demand that I find overwhelming, or instant messenger on Facebook and Twitter. There’s so many instant messages everywhere.
I have email all in one place, so that I don’t have to go everywhere and and read all of the messages everywhere, that I can’t even organize because social messenger platforms don’t have folders and organization and any of those things, that I need, as a person who has executive functioning problems, to organize myself.
It’s very hard to organize yourself in a social situation. Executive functioning tools are often geared towards the workplace and professional settings and not towards social settings. It’s an area I need help.
I am doing very well right now because I am playing entirely to my strengths. This is why a lot of autistic people will go under the radar, or go undiagnosed, because they do what I’m doing.
I’m avoiding doing things I am bad at and things that make me feel like an incapable human being. I am specifically sticking to doing the things I am very good at and I’m doing very well, because I have tailored my life to my strengths.
When I was in the corporate world, working for other people, and didn’t know I was Autistic, I would push myself to those neuro-typical standards, because I thought I was just some kind of lazy neuro-typical that, for some reason, even though I was trying so hard, I was literally making myself sick, just thought I wasn’t trying hard enough. I needed to try harder. I was killing myself, was horrible.
That was because of the unspoken and, and spoken, expectations of other people.
I’m playing to my strengths, and it is allowing me to be much more successful in life, now that I have kind of dropped from corporate America, although I’m still working alongside corporate America and my consulting and education work.
I am an independent consultant, which allows me to do everything on my terms, and I set a lot of the expectations, and I have right of refusal on things, if the expectations don’t align with how I need to work.
My life has gotten so much better. I would say, I am mentally and physically not struggling as much, as I was when I had the corporate job.
Financially, there is less stability, but I have decided that my health has to come before financial stability, because I cannot continue to work if I am unhealthy, because of other coexisting health problems I have, in addition to being Autistic, if those flare up, because I am not taking proper care of my mental or physical health, I am unable to do much of anything.
So I have to make that a priority above other things and getting burned out and sick, and then being diagnosed Autistic, at the age of 29, was a catalyst, for me, that woke me up to all of that and said, “something’s got to give” and “I’ve got to change things” and “my life cannot be built on fulfilling the expectations of other people”.
I started asking myself, what the heck is it that I actually want.
Okay, humans. I hope you enjoyed this video.
I tried to do a less scripted, though, I’ve still been thinking about this video for awhile, so it’s somewhat scripted, but I didn’t put my bullet points in front of me, because I wanted it to be more natural to my authentic NeuroDivergent Autistic communication style.
Because of the highly edited videos, that I script out, very carefully, some of that authenticity, I think I read them back wirh the script.
When I’ve been going live, I realized, there’s parts of my NeuroDivergence that’s hidden, when I do those pre-prepared presentations. I’m trying to preserve some of that in these YouTube videos as well.
Let me know if you found that helpful and tolerable, because I know when I go loose like this, without a bunch of bullet points, it is a bit rambly.
If you’ve enjoyed my NeuroDivergent Ramblings, and you’re still here, please, don’t forget to subscribe, because I put out new videos each and every Wednesday. If you turn on notifications, you’ll never miss an update.
Also thank you to everyone who comments, shares, and engages, especially thanks to those who give video ideas and feedback.
I am so grateful, because I don’t do these views for me. I do them to help educate, and I hope that the videos and content I am creating brings some value to your day.
I want to just say thanks to while we’re here as always to the Patreon subscribers, YouTube channel members, and Facebook supporters, who do a little bit of a monetary the subscription, and, as a thanks, get access to videos like this one, usually about a month in advance.
It’s just a very small way for me to say thank you for the support you give to help me put out high quality videos on a fairly regular – once a week. That’s pretty regular.
Maybe someday I’ll get the studio, putting out more videos more quickly, but right now I’m the one transcribing them still, even though I have software, thanks to the subscribers.
Thanks for that, because I have audio processing problems and it was really difficult for me to do this without a software.
So, yay. This blog is made possible by viewers like you.
All right. I’ll talk to you Humans next week. Bye .
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