Emotions and Neurodivergence

Every now and then, I’ll hear some neurotypical person say that we shouldn’t be ashamed of showing what we’re feeling and that we shouldn’t judge others when they do. As someone who is neurodivergent, I have feelings about this. Unfortunately, I can’t say what they are because I have something called Alexithymia, aka issues understanding and expressing my emotions. And, when I say “issues”, I mean that I really don’t understand or express them. Hell, a lot of the time, I don’t even know that I have them. That lasts, of course, until my emotional dysregulation kicks in, and I completely fucking lose it. So, let’s talk about emotions and neurodivergence.

Am I Dead Inside?

The inability to understand and/or express my emotions is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a curse because I feel like I’m constantly groping around in the dark when it comes to this stuff. But it’s a blessing because, in white culture, a public show of emotion is… not good. But even then, there are problems. No one has told me to my face that I’m “dead inside” but I’m pretty sure they’ve thought it. While Chandler is the funniest Friend, I really don’t want to be him.

Goddamn Catch-22

The thing is, I hear this encouragement to “live out loud”, to “feel my feelings”, and put them out there for the world to see. And, it really gets to me because makes me feel invisible. Like, something is wrong with me because openly expressing emotion is, at best of times, difficult. And, I can’t really say anything because a) if I do, I’m the asshole yucking everyone else’s yum, and b) my emotional blindness usually keeps me from expressing how I feel anyway.

Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don’t

What never gets talked about with this “living out loud” shit is just how fucking privileged it is. You see, as great as being unrepentantly who we are sounds, it isn’t an option for all of us. Because that shit can cost you big time. NTs probably don’t realize this, but society conspires to force its members into their “proper place”. And those who don’t conform are punished. First for having the nerve to be different and second for giving in and conforming. Because when society finally beats you down and you say, “Fuck it. I give up. I’ll fucking conform,” well, then you’re weak or cowardly or just don’t have enough grit to do the goddamn thing. The bottom line is the shit is weaponized against people who don’t conform. Basically, We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. 

The “Right Way” to Conform

There’s more to why I don’t let my emotions out to play than the alexithymia, though: it’s because it never goes well if I do. You see, it isn’t just nonconformity that gets punished, conforming in the “wrong” way doesn’t fucking fly, either. Ask any neurodivergent person you know how many times they’ve been told to “express their emotions” or “live out loud” only to be met with, “No, not like that. God, why are you so weird?” If you’re neurotypical and this makes you uncomfortable, you might want to think why that is.

Welcome to My World, Fuckers

Does all of this sound kind of fucking bleak? Welcome to my world, fuckers. And while I probably shouldn’t make a blanket statement like this as I can’t speak for all neurodivergent folks, I’m betting most of us deal with shit like this on the fucking regular. Honestly, it’s just one more instance where I’m reminded that neurotypicals don’t have any idea of how ND brains work. And, I often question whether they even give a shit because the information is out there, it’s just a matter of a goddamn Google search to find it. Or, you could just ask us because we have no problem telling you all about it.

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