Taking back the Misnomers

A lot of people are skeptical of the practice of ‘labeling’ that comes with our current view on deficit-based diagnoses of neurodivergent humans. It’s understandable that one would reject a label that describes one personality type when it is described in relation to another personality type, listing what the former lacks in relation to the latter. Fundamentally, this is not respectful of the beautiful diversity that exists – and always has existed – among humans.

The neurodiversity paradigm is an alternative to the medical model of understanding that has been the dominant thinking and largely still is. This alternative view offers a way to talk about the fact that we as humans do function differently from one another – and therefore we need labels that are accurate descriptions of the reality we experience – including how these can be disabling for us in certain situations, while not in others. What it doesn’t say though, is that neurodivergent humans are therefore flawed, broken or somehow out of order.

We are all created differently by Divine design. God doesn’t make any mistakes. I don’t know what your beliefs are, but this is where I am coming from. As well as being autistic – an invisible disability (sometimes, but not always, also a superpower) – I was also born without a left hand. We may interpret this as a mistake, as an unfortunate malformation, and indeed if we look at it from a purely scientific, biologistic perspective – it certainly is! It’s not something I wished for my own kids (it isn’t a genetic thing though) or anyone else, but I believe this is an experience that my soul chose for me in this life journey, as it would strengthen my ability to overcome difficulty. It was the perfect playground for a path towards life mastery, if you will. Other people on a similar life path may be given other types of hardship to overcome, it doesn’t really matter to the soul, the point is to set us up for growth.

I have been working with new labels for us that aren’t coming from the medical model – hence the title “taking back the misnomers”. These are viewed as a theoretical construct, or as archetypes that one can work with, so please don’t come to me asking for any scientific evidence. This doesn’t work like that, and I am not interested in disputing science in any way. I am simply offering a new lens with which we can look upon the world, should we want to. Also, one person can embody more than one of these at the same time, so they aren’t mutually exclusive categories. Although, you’re not going to be all of them, that wouldn’t make any sense. But please understand that this is a theoretical construct that you can use to identify with if it is helpful to you, not a label that I ascribe you with and that you are obliged to be carrying around with you, as if it were a mandatory primary school uniform – ok?

Here we go. The four types are The Farmer, The Fairy, The Hunter and The Shaman.

The Farmer is the typical, neurotypical person. Most people fall under this category. Because most people do, there is naturally a huge variation within this population. This is the type of person who is able to function relatively well in our current society. Even if it may not be the optimal life style for this category of human, a life that is governed by an imposed schedule to follow and hard work in a top down system, it is still manageable. This personality type is able to notice and conform to most social codes in the particular social system they are finding themselves in, whatever that may be.

The Fairy is the highly sensitive, neurotypical person. This is a person who is highly empathic and is able to sense other people, rendering them vulnerable to social situations. They often struggle with the expectations of our current system as it makes them depleted, but they are able to understand most other people’s thinking and ways of being in the world.

The Hunter is the ADHDer who is on a constant discovery of what is behind the next corner of the horizon. They are looking for change, stimulation and excitement and are very reactive to the environment so as to be able to catch the next object of their current interest. This type of person is struggling with making sense of time and is somewhat more prone to addictions compared to the neurotypicals due to having less access to dopamine – by design.

The Shaman is the autistic or bipolar type of human. The have a different sense of space and time and aren’t entirely in this world, but are visiting others spaces as well. This is often experienced as confusing for the person, who has to compensate for their rich – and sometimes chaotic – inner life by striving for control in the outer world. This type of person typically has some kind of disability or something unusual about them that also makes them access something other. This type of person is wired for autonomy and isn’t therefore designed to conform to the ways of the masses, however a society can be set up in ways that are more accommodating of this type of person as well as having a greater appreciation and understanding for the gifts that they bring.

Again – this is just something to play with. I can personally see myself in both the Shaman, Hunter and the Fairy – but not in the Farmer. Others will see themselves in another combination of the types. Take what resonates, and if nothing does, just forgive it and move on with your life.

Devotion of self instead of self-devotion

Devotion of self might sound a little narcissistic in our culture. We are taught that sacrificing ourselves for others is the noble thing to do, right? I am going to suggest a modification here. I do think it is noble and right to sacrifice ourselves for something larger than ourselves, only if we understand that we are also part of that Thing – that which is larger than ourselves.

A few years back I was working with the theme Motherhood & Codependency, deeply frustrated with both my own private situation in regard to these phenomena but also collective norms on Motherhood and love that – I will say boldly now – ain’t real love. We are still sold the idea of sacrificial love – I mean the kind that is at our own expense and to our own detriment – and that this is essentially what it means to be a good person. I want to challenge this view. I am not talking about temporarily putting your own needs aside to care for another, like a mother does when she has a small baby who needs constant care.

I am talking about that toxic, codependent energy that sucks the life out of you. That guilt and shame-ridden bad conscience arising within when I do not cater to another person’s request, even if I don’t have any time and energy to spare. Do you know the one I am talking about? Not everyone knows this feeling, but many of us do. And I do think this is embedded in our collective understanding of the meaning of Motherhood, sadly.

We can change this, if we choose to not agree to previously agreed upon norms. If we challenge it in our own life, we become the agents of change.

A good friend called me yesterday, and we were talking about this topic. She knows I have been working very hard with codependency, people-pleasing and boundaries in my life for many years, and is just embarking on her own journey in this area. For some of us, we have a lot of work to do, while others will find other areas of their lives to be more challenging. But this particular friend of mine is on a similar path to my own, and she described this pain of wanting to be there for this other person in need, but not finding the strength for it due to her own circumstances. And I can so relate to this feeling.

But there is a fallacy here, that I haven’t been able to spot before. The false assumption one makes, is to believe there are just the two of us in this equation, when this isn’t true. It is true – it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy so to speak – to the extent that we believe that it is so. “I am in need and you are the only person in the world who can help me”. This ‘truth’ becomes very toxic when the person who is on the receiving end needs to go into self-betrayal and stretch themselves further than they have the capacity for. The reason why a person does this is usually because they themselves need something, unconsciously. They need to be liked and that voice of guilt within is screaming louder than the voice that says you cannot be of service at the moment.

The real truth is, that we live in an abundant universe. There aren’t just the two of us in this equation, but there are always going to be some component out there, another person perhaps, who is a better match. Someone who is available and willing to give from an overflowing cup.

If we devote ourselves to give to ourselves and to each other from this Wellspring – not from an empty reserve – we need to say NO sometimes and we will say YES at other times. We need to remember that we ourselves are part of that larger thing we want to give our devotion to, otherwise we don’t fully honour it.

A container for my texts

I am already a writer in that I am someone who writes, and someone who needs to write to stay sane in this world. I have had a job for the past seven years in which writing has been the main job description and I have the automatic urge to express myself in writing on my pages on social media. But now I want to do this differently.

I am not going to lie to you. I want to become a published author. I received a title for my book about a year ago (I am not going to reveal it to you now), and as soon as I finished my dissertation last year I opened a new document on my computer and started writing on it. It’s just that it doesn’t seem to work very well for me. I need an immediate audience for my text, I need that instant reward when I have finished a text. I was never officially diagnosed ADHD (only autistic) but I sure have many of the traits. I read a post this morning in one of the neurodiversity forums online where I hang out, that it is so difficult for people with ADHD to do things for what feels like a delayed reward, it has to feel instantly rewarding. When I write shorter posts that I get to publish instantaneously, I get that reward. The dopamine floods my system and I can get on with my day.

Another thing that dawned upon me yesterday – when I decided to start this blog – was that I am already writing this book. All the time. The (secret) title for my book is like a code, or an instruction. But I already operate within the book, and the messages that the spirit of this unborn book wants me to birth into the world are already pouring out of me. The majority of my posts revolve around the central them, and many of the things that I do in my lived life are embodied practices of the same message.

I am still not going to tell you the title of the book, but I will tell you roughly what it is about. It is to make us Sacred (again). To honor ourselves as living beings, not resources or empty vessels, and to make sense of our nature as both expansive and finite. I want to write about this using my own life as an example (micro) as well as looking at the bigger picture (macro) and how these two levels relate to each other. Does how I view and treat myself have a bearing on how we treat Mother Earth? Yes it does, will be part of my message.

How will this work then? Well, the idea is that I will write anything that comes through this code here on this blog, in this container. And when the timing is right, I hope to be able to weave the posts together into a coherent book.

Welcome to the Course

https://youtu.be/SKEDDRb41nU

Highly Sensitive & Neurodivergent Life: Infinite possibilities with limited resources

I am so excited to welcome you onboard on this journey that we will embark upon together on Sunday the 30th of January.

Every Sunday I will send you an email with the recorded teaching introducing the theme for the week. You will then have the chance to reflect upon it in the Facebook-group ‘Highly Sensitive & Neurodivergent Life’.

We will journey together for 9 weeks. I do hope that towards the end of this course, you will feel confident in your boundary-setting – whether in relation to yourself or towards others in your life – and that you will continue your life spending your energy wisely, where you truly want to put your focus. Only you know what is precious to you.

I can’t wait to start! See you soon.

With love, Ellinor