Sitting at the end of a table at a family function I managing to keep the tics to an unnoticed minimum, even hearing every voice in the room at the same time isn’t driving me as mad as it usually would.
Every now and then I try to join in with one of the conversations but with little success.
After all I am the only one like me in this room and I can feel it, but this is a family get together and I’m here out of duty rather than choice, so I’ll just have to stick it out luckily, I’m not feeling too sensory or overwhelmed.
Some time passed, I pick up on someone mentioning ADHD which gets me focused on that conversation, partly because I wonder if they are mentioning me and also having ADHD you want to hear what the conversation is about out of interest.
Then a comment is made
“Everyone has it, it’s just a matter of how much you have it”
I’m dying to speak up and tell them they are wrong and how offensive this comment is on so many levels, but I don’t, I know I am the only one here like me, the only one with ADHD, ASD and tourettes I’m outnumbered and these people will never know what it feels like to have any of these conditions even on a small scale but they think they do.
The old me would have spoken up and caused a scene but the new me the one that has tried to reason with ignorant neurotypicals who think they know what it’s like for people like me and think we are all Autistic or ADHD and they also think that because they swear they have tourettes, these are also the same type of people who think I don’t have these conditions because I mask and suppress them when I am around them.
So, no I don’t speak up because I won’t win and they won’t accept the truth, I just sit feeling even more different and isolated, wishing I was with my own kind like the people from my support group who are like me, and they don’t judge people and understand what it’s like in our world.
So, I have the conversation in my head instead.
Do they realise how offensive they are and how someone like me feels sitting listening to this, I am the only one here who really lives with these conditions, and they don’t care that I am in earshot.
It is not so much that I am offended but more that I am angered by their ignorance and disregard for my presence.
These people all know about my diagnosis, they also know the work I do helping to educate university students about neurodiversity as well as the support and advocacy I give to people like me, yet they sit as self-proclaimed experts with no experience or real knowledge and spout their offensive opinions.
There is a good chance that one of these people will read this and still have the same opinion, they will probably be angry or offended by what I have written and have no care for how they made me feel.