Neurodiversity isn’t something you grow out of, autistic children grow up to be autistic adults, kids with ADHD and other neurodiverse labels also grow up as adults with ADHD, dyslexia, sensory processing difficulties, OCD and the list goes on. While neurodiversity is often spotted at a very young age in boys, this is rarely the case for women, who tend to reach adulthood before their struggles start to get the better of them. That’s not to say that adolescence was a walk in the park, the fairy like mannerisms and staring out of the windows daydreaming during school outgrew their cuteness, and gained titles like lazy, unmotivated, stupid, unwilling to apply themselves and being told that you just need to try harder. Over the years when there was a behavioural problem, it was seen as something to grow out of, a phase, or simply “girls being girls”, what wasn’t taken into consideration, was the ability to mask, to put on a brave face and try harder to fit into a culture that has little compassion towards anyone who is different, and they say that it’s neurodiverse people who lack empathy or compassion.
Labels like ADHD have been easier to give to boys, who tend to whiz around at the speed of light, displaying the hyperactive side of the ‘disorder’, where as girls tend to display the more subdued and inattentive side of ADHD, which is why they often slip under the radar. Female diagnosis is becoming very common in females with children, this is often because they notice their own struggles mirrored in their kids and with our ever growing access to the infinite wisdom of the internet, we’ve been able to gain understanding of our children and ourselves. Armed with printouts of quizzes and online test results, diagnosis is becoming easier to obtain, not as easy as it could be, it very much depends on the area in which you live, whether you’re going down the private or NHS route and whether you want to give medication a try.
Here are some of the common symptoms that present themselves in neurodiverse women.
Leaving things to the last minute
High levels of stress and anxiety leading to overwhelm.
Struggling to communicate your own needs and putting yourself last.
Talking without thinking.
Feeling different to other people.
Problems with boundaries and saying no, which leads to a feeling of overwhelm and shutting down and ignoring the world and everyone in it.
Being impatient – that impatience rises after having a child due to sleep deprivation an excess of demands and simply having the responsibility of having to care for someone other than yourself, husbands and wives can also be included in this.
Distracted by sounds that other people don’t respond to or even hear.
Losing stuff – Constantly losing stuff, especially when you’re about to head out of the door, or are in a state of fluster, like scan and shop… Now where did I put those keys.
Having weird obsessions and not understanding why other people don’t share your enthusiasm.
Weird aversions, things that you can’t bear to be around or even associated with and not understanding how other people can accept it.
Wandering mind, even if you’re trying to focus.
Reading the same section of text over and over, whilst still not managing to keep it inside your head.
Losing track of a conversation and not being able to repeat what was just said but remembering it for the next 5 years.
Being hyper aware of personal space and feeling hemmed in when someone stands too close, elevators really aren’t a comfortable place to be and tend to provoke high levels of anxiety.
Not on top of chores around the house…. Ever… No matter how hard you try.
Wanting to be alone, but not wanting to be lonely.
Fabrics and labels in clothing are a sensory nightmare.
Stumbling over words or feeling like your brain has been drained of everything you’ve ever known, until you walk away and it all comes flooding back, which is when you mentally beat yourself up for not being quick enough, not being on the ball etc…
This list doesn’t cover all aspects of neurodiversity, there are so many different challenges that we are faced with and it would be impossible to include them all here. Just remember if you are neurodiverse, you’re not weird or defective, you’re simply operating a different nervous system, a different operating system, the world would be so boring if we were all the same, neurodiverse minds are the thinkers, the dreamers and they are the people who think outside of the box, coming up with ideas and solutions that neurotypicals would likely never be able to fathom.
If you would like a comprehensive source of quizzes and tests that are printable, I have found additude to be a brilliant resource, they cover children, teens, adults and different tests for male and females, you can visit them via the following link. Please do note that these tests are to help you to gain an understanding of your inner workings and are not a substitute for a medical diagnosis.