Anything I say and do will be used against me, so I am really scared of giving “them” more ammunition with labels.
There wasn't a lot of information available about neurodivergence growing up, or trauma for that matter. Some of us may have been "blamed" for being too much, or not enough, or both. We may also have adults in the present time projecting on us. But here is what I know - you are not broken, your brain works in all sorts of amazing ways that a neurotypical brain does not and it is possible to lead a fulfilling life more in line with harnessing it's power. Also, you do not owe anyone this information.
I am finding things hard because of dysfunctional people around me, it is not fair that I need to work on myself and they get to go Scott-free.
Yes, and this is why our approach is fully attachment and neuroscience-based. Because there is very rarely, the presence of neurodivergence exists without the other things that go with it - undiagnosed neurodivergence in parents, history of going up in a chaotic home, history of mental illness at home, shame, patriarchy, and abuse. We are probably also with partners, who were raised in similar, unforgiving environments where toxic shame was used to get children to comply, so with the best will in the world, they may find themselves lacking the emotional mirroring and empathy. While I see your point, I also know that taking ownership of your own life, choices, and brain will change your life, whether or not people around you will ever acknowledge the harm they caused or offer the acknowledgment you need. This is why we have the community - that is your safe space to be seen, heard and mirrored in empathy, even if people in your life do not offer that.
Do I need a diagnosis now? What if Meds fuck up my brain? I am scared.
Diagnosis depends on what part of the world you are in. As an adult who is "high functioning," the process is hard. In some countries, like India, there is a high chance of misdiagnosis, unless it is co-morbid with clinical anxiety or clinical depression. The DSM manual is old, outdated, and does not take into account race, or gender differences, but that is a rant for another day.
And the sad but much-needed-to-hear truth is - Meds may work for some, Meds may not work for others. Also, Meds are a trial-and-error process - so it's not like a one-pill-fits-all, so if you go in that direction, you will need to be prepared for a lot of trial and error, and the short-term impact of these trials, including making symptoms worse.
There is no way around this. That said, there are people who manage their brains without medication because medications were tried and did not work. A community of fellow people who are on this journey has a wealth of lived experiences-based resources that have helped them, for you to try, in a non-shaming manner.
I have somehow figured out a way to “hide” my disorganization in the workplace to exist and survive, why shake all that up now?
Are you someone who postpones things until the very last possible moment, then has a stress-induced "hyperfocus" phase where the brain does its thing and then gets things done? If that is you, that is probably your lifesaver, so it makes sense that you do not want to shake that pattern or critically analyze it at all, because your life depends on it, and you have all your high functioning achievements to prove it.
However, you are probably also finding or close to finding out, that it takes an enormous toll on the body, when you equate "stress-induced, anxiety-induced meeting of deadlines" to productivity, even if you do not know any other way just yet.
The cost to the body of living in that state of heightened stress is enormous. It takes a toll on your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, and has a long-term impact on sleep, digestion, weight, immunity, metabolism, gut health, and more, leading to burnout and exhaustion. This has an impact on keeping careers and relationships in the medium to long term.
Oh no not one more thing that's wrong, broken, or “my fault” !!!
Your nervous system state is NOT your fault - our nervous systems develop in-utero, and we biologically need a supportive, nurturing consistent environment that is relatively free from big, long term stressors for your neurons to function optimally, and many times, due to no one else's fault, we may not have received what the nervous system needed back then. Your brain is not broken, in fact, I am yet to encounter a neurodivergent brain that wasn’t brilliant at something! You are not broken, with the right support, you can lean into your superpower.
It is too overwhelming, tiring and exhausting and shame triggering, I have no energy left for any more “work”
Yes, adrenal fatigue from chronic stress is very real. Whether it is because of the constant toxic shame for being neurodivergent or is it the very real impact of a nervous system bombarded by trauma events over a period of time, your nervous system is shot. This is why seeking a community for co-regulation, where you can take space, and feel seen and heard is the very first step. Less doing and more "being" in a place where you are not shamed for it.
That would mean my teachers and parents were right, I am just lazy/unmotivated going to amount to nothing, and feel like I am making up excuses.
Sorry that your harsh inner critic is so loud, this is a whole lifetime of being misunderstood/mismanaged. There is no healing without meeting the chronic, critical shaming voice. Shame dies in safe spaces. Also with some knowledge sharing here.
Did you also know that ADHD and Entrepreneurship are correlated? It makes sense, doesn't it?
Risk-taking. Impulsivity. Sensation seeking. Hyperfocus. Curiosity. We associate these traits and qualities with some of the most successful, trailblazing entrepreneurs of our time. Micheal Phelps, Richard Branson, Emma Watson, Serena Williams - the list of successful people with ADHD is never-ending. YOU ARE NOT BROKEN!
My husband, parents, siblings, in-laws, and work people will judge me and make fun of me and call me mental, I will receive no understanding or empathy.
I am sorry to hear this. This is why it is so important to educate and understand your own brain - the intersection of these different layers - neurodivergence, early attachment, patriarchy, and trauma so you can effectively advocate for yourself. Wouldn't it be amazing if you could build a manual, of how your brain is wired, uniquely for yourself? How much less confusing would that be!
I will lose relationships
That fear is real, and it is very sad that we live in a world where everything is stigmatized. But for every relationship that gets lost due to a lack of empathy and understanding, as scary as this sounds, people find and make so many deeper and long-lasting connections. I am guessing you may not be a "small talk" person but a "deep talk" person? Finding a community of people just like you is so important! We are round pegs in square holes, find a fellow misfit, and you have made a friend for life!
People will treat me like a “patient” and smother me.
Ah, who likes being engulfed, taken over, and infantilized. Not you, not me. This is why it is so very important that you take ownership of this discovery process and are in the driver's seat. You do not owe anyone a first-row seat or constant updates about this process, the sooner you can get started on this journey, the more in charge of it you can be.
I will lose my job/promotion.
Jobs in many countries are protected - but managers, senior managers, and people who lead decision-making are not equipped to handle neurodivergence because there is simply no knowledge of it or at best a very inadequate superficial learning. So it is all the more important that you develop skills to manage your own work, and more importantly to draw boundaries and "manage up" - which is to set expectations clearly and consistently through the fogginess and advocate for what you need clearly, once you know it.
I will be alone and friendless/partnerless.
The biggest toll that trauma/stress takes away from us is connection and attachment. The world feels largely unsafe, the connection is fraught with fear and it is a very isolating experience knowing deep within that something is missing, and yet hoping you never get "found out". How amazing would it then be to find a partner who can meet you exactly where you need to be met? This inner journey of self-discovery takes you much closer with your own self, so you know who you want and why.
What does all this mean? Am I a lost cause? Do I have hope?
No , you are not. Learning to manage your life around how you are wired will take you on a path to deeper authenticity and empathy. Yes, refer to the list of neurodivergent superstars - Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Serena Williams, Emma Watson, the list is bigger. Your brain is brilliant, I hope you find the right framework to get started on this journey. Join the BrownGram Club, trust the framework, it works.