My personal guide to advocacy

Someone recently asked me how I do advocacy – this is how I operate these are not prescribed rules for others.

There are a lot of guides on more general self-advocacy usually for each and every mental health variance. I tried to read all these first. I made a lot of mistakes.

My advocacy rules based on the principle of harm [Everyone should be able to act freely unless doing so infringes on the rights of others]

1/ I don’t actually care what ‘diagnosis’ people have, as long as I don’t speak about one I don’t have. Taxonomy is pretty bad. I don’t do lateral ableism. If I don’t know, I don’t speak. “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer. I also don’t question people’s diagnoses.

2/ If I talk about a trait – I generally check to see if it overlaps with any other neurodivergence. If this information isn’t clear I usually indicate it might include more than my diagnoses.

3/ I never try to generalise my experience – although my experience is often quite generalised. The reason I use first person language is due to having a lot of issues with people feeling excluded. This is impossible if I talk about my subjective experience.

4/ I try to make sure that the stuff I say has some scientific basis, if that is not available, I try to state how I got that knowledge. Audio issues I discovered that a lot of us have are anecdotal evidence, but there is a consensus among that evidence.

5/ Self-identification is preferred for me as a term over self-diagnosis. In the same way I self-identified as bisexual, and non-binary – this is based on my subjective experience. There’s no hard science behind our experience of the world. If done with research – this is valid always. This is meant in the context of self-diagnosis, people should be able to access care more easily. I had to personally self-identify first. It was correct and I was misdiagnosed for years. It was months or years of research in some cases till I felt sure.

6/ I don’t try and pose anything that could be viewed as a false dichotomy, and it’s also unreasonable to expect myself to get this correct all the time. Sometimes I will use a term like “Autistic people are…” in these cases I always mean ‘some’ not ‘all’ – we vary a lot.

7/ Trauma is widely not understood, and a lot of us have a sensitivity to trauma – as we are reactive to emotions in an extreme way. Often when people attack they have triggered a fight response. I try to let it go, but I also respect my own boundaries for repeated offences.

8/ I understand it’s not my job to convince anyone of anything. If someone wants to start an argument over a position that I do not hold, I feel it’s better to let this go than to refute it, unless that person is clearly being malicious.

9/ I try never to take compliments too much – this is really hard to explain but I both appreciate and care about receiving positive reinforcement from time to time, and I am averse to it due to flimsy autonomy from a lifetime of people pleasing.

10/ If someone can point out I am wrong – I will correct that. I will sincerely apologise and make a note to correct my behaviour in future. Things that are based on grammar or lots of new terms I won’t understand easily due to how my brain works.

11/ I am not an authority. I am only an authority on my experience. I will often say things about certain elements to do with mental health – but these are based on part of a complex system that affects it all. If I ever talk about biology, it’s related to everything else also.

12/ I have bad days too. Some days my level of self-control when I am attacked is poor. I can default to my trauma responses – I will try to make amends but I also tend to delete the offending posts also – simply because no good comes from keeping harm up.

13/ I try to raise awareness of other advocates issues around their circumstances – especially BIPoC due to my privilege. I usually do this by directly boosting their content, and will do it if they ask. I may not do every post as there are limits to what I can see now.

14/ My DMs are open but I am very intermittent to respond to them unless they are super urgent. This is not a personal thing – it depends on how many things I am thinking about at the time. It’s never a personal slight if I ignore people – it’s an neurology thing.

15/ My goal with advocacy is to increase compassion and understanding. To always cooperate if possible, and to share everything I know. I am working on a book to compile this into a more central format. It’s going well and I should have sample chapters soon.

16/ I live by these rules – if you ever see me contradict them – please let me know as I do not like the incongruence of acting out of character.

17/ Trans rights are human rights. Black Lives Matter. White supremacy informs mental health. There is no equity without intersectional identities respected. I do not debate these positions with people, unless I think their minds can be changed. I have limited time.

18/ I am one person. I do not have a sense of superiority. I do not care about how much influence I have except if I can use that influence to affect positive change. I am not here for my own status – I abhor the concept.

Ted Lasso’s demonstration of unconditional positive regard is what I hope to role model. People get better when given a chance to grow. I try never to make ad hominem attacks and I abhor pile-on behaviour, please don’t ask me to join you in this ever. Respect my autonomy.

It’s bad business to get all up in everyone else’s business, ya know?

A society not built for us. A world not built for us. We’re blamed for it though.

Also, as a programmer, I’ve solved countless problems by stepping away from it and sleeping on it, or going for a bike ride, etc.


I can’t explain how bad a consistent 40-work week is for neurodivergent people generally. My productivity has been magnitudes higher and better quality since I started working far less, and with breaks every day to do my own enjoyable stuff.

Nothing is worse than my job making me feel stressed and pressuring me or micromanaging me, or watching me or monitoring me, or just taking away autonomy and not being respectful enough to answer my 'stupid questions'. So many companies WASTED my talent.

I see it as a pressure and blow off valve thing – my mind works really well on tasks in short bursts with very high quality of work, the more I force myself past it either though medication or not realising just from hyperfocus – I end up with massive hyperfocus hangover.

It's brain fog unlike any other. In stress situations where people disrespect me – it's like someone has stuck a fork in a blender and then asked me to think. My sensory sensitivity is amplified and I end up getting Crohn's flares.

This absolutely makes sense too – so many of us are achievers with really bad procrastination issues. Draft copy ? I write a 1.5k opinion piece in 40 mins that is of high quality when I am not stressed. It needs minor edits by editors.

My biggest limiting factor in life has been how I learn, and how I was assessed about my knowledge. Not the extent of what I know, how you made me show you that.

The biggest limiting belief we have with procrastination is that we are taught it's a bad thing, and then because we don't get a perfect result (with usually bad parental reinforcement) this starts a cognitive pattern that we cant work in short bursts and be successful.

A tip I usually tell my clients is to stop focusing on the end result. Focus on a certain amount of time, and start small and build up, if you reach the limit and want to continue that's fine, record it though. If you are struggling to do it, just stop and come back later.

Procrastination TEACHES us that we can do high quality work in short time. Society TEACHES us that the end result is the only important thing – the amount of time was important too. That is vital information. Short bursts frequently = best results for me.

I never go in with a goal of having the task completed just the expectation that I will work for x amount of minutes – this is why the Pomodoro method works for us – the tangible goal is just a realistic amount of time worked.

"The journey is more important than the destination" is literally the main paradigm for my productivity. If I can make the journey important, I don't care about the destination, and consequently I get to the destination faster and with better results.

Which comes back to intrinsic motivation.
Autonomy – I am in control of how much time I spend on stuff
Competence – When I work on stuff consistently I feel better at it
Relatedness – As the work is higher quality, I am appreciated for it.

This one theory underpins so much success:

Body Doubling
Autonomy – I chose to do this because I want to work for an amount of time
Competence – The person next to me just likes I'm working and doesn't care about the result
Relatedness – I am not doing this alone.

Self-Determination is INNATELY tied to dopamine release also.

That is the thing I've discovered.

Self-determination and dopamine are linked a lot to our intrinsically motivated – social selves.

Talking about our special interests and working on them makes sense to us – because we meet our self-determination needs.

Autonomy – I am discussing stuff I like talking about
Competence – I know a lot about it because I am interested in it
Relatedness – I am sharing it

I have been skirting around self-determination for a while but I have realised it's basically the precursor for us to succeed – that's why when we are EXTRINSICALLY motivated we tend to struggle as we cannot generate dopamine. We have to have meaning in what we do.

A lot of ADHD/Autistic people are anti-capitalists – because we innately are averse to it's goals. I've always disagreed with it on a core level – at 16 I thought it was consumerism when I saw fight club, but I discovered the far more insidious depth when at university.

Others get conditioned out of it – they become focused or get hollowly rewarded for success – they still have relatedness and competence, but their autonomy has been undermined for external reasons.

Stoicism helped me ween myself off having stuff or needing stuff beyond basic needs. Now I focus on intrinsic goals and my life is good and I am happy all the time. I did it in weird ways but all the good times in my life I have had self-determination.

I am averse to rewards because if I start living for that I will not be able to sustain it. I do need to know that I am valuable to people – and I want to know how I can improve but I don't live for external feedback all the time as I was told to.

This is the central theme of my book on my life using science. Because this is a self-determined project I have no problem working on it in small bursts. I am making good progress. The lack of self-determination is also physically and mentally painful.

It took me 8 weeks to come up with half an autobiography outline. It took less than 3 hours to realise what I wanted to do for an autoethnography. I was trying to write two separate books because I thought I “should” – one on mental health, one autobiography. Should have thought about combining them sooner – it’s exactly how I tweet about science. I NEED TO RELATE INFORMATION I CANT TALK ABOUT IT IN ISOLATION.

Expanded Part 1.

Expanded Part 2.

I said I was able to keep up teeth brushing more frequently a while back… guess what – it's about self determination:
Autonomy – I want to do it because my dental team is nice to me
Competence – slowly improving I am getting better at it
Relatedness – my dental team is nice

Most of my teeth brushing issues are a mental barrier – when I think about the fact I need to do the task – I used to go straight to all the pain that is associated with the dentist, the social pain of shame, and my own self-blame over having bad teeth. No one gave me autonomy.

Being negatively reinforced ends up making us quit. ADHD people ARE EXTREMELY SENSITIVE TO SOCIAL PAIN.

I can't express how much negative feedback creates the problem. We are masters at hating ourselves from social conditioning. My job as coach is restoring self-determination.


If we could have just done stuff in our own way… what could we have done?

I think about this all the time. ALL THE TIME.

It's natural to WANT to stop yourself being in pain.

Needed Ted Lasso in my life. Got Dr Cox instead.


Originally tweeted by Rory – ADHD Autistic OCD (@roryreckons) on November 24, 2021.

On the way I learn…

Really, really want to figure out if there is anything on 'passive learning'. I feed my brain information, it may not understand it at the time, then a week later or so without having thought about it much I understand it in depth. As though my brain has been networking nodes.

Disconnected information is the hardest to integrate for me. I spent forever not understanding pointers in programming, and then my brain linked it to the postal system as an analogy. I instantly understood it. Raw technical terms need translation links.

This was inspired by another client who said the same thing. We have weird brains, we have an incredible 'unconscious' mind for complexity that helps us solve simplicity. This is why also I think we need to know everything rather than just tiny parts, because we need a network.

The problem is that we are often it was too hard for people to understand I wasn't trying to be obtuse when I asked seemingly 'stupid questions' I was trying to link that information together to other stuff I knew so that I could translate it into my Autistic understanding.

For understanding a lot of quantum physics I just had to read everything (I still can't do a lot of the math) but I joined all that information together once I knew a ton. Then I felt more comfortable with it.

Being taught in a linear fashion is the opposite of how my brain works and explains why I found school so impossible. I need the full picture to understand the fine details. It's a full picture detailed understanding, that also just takes time, and verbal processing speeds it up.

The more I can communicate it to someone else (either through text or through speaking) the better I understand that information, given how many parts of our brain are involved it makes sense that potential plasticity helps this work.

Also when I think about how all my neurons want to infodump on each other all the time:
eg. Rocks are minerals, mineral shampoo is not always natural, a concept of a synthetic material made out of natural components is weird, computers have components, I do a lot of processing.

The more I tried, the harder it was to actually encode information – the less effort involved or more enjoyable it is, the easier I can access that information and process it. Competition conditions or extreme timelines for content I didn't understand made it worse.

This was also why I knew someone didn't know a topic well, because if they couldn't explain it in it's simplest form and then build on it, they didn't really know that information except from a rote perspective, not an in depth one.

Regurgitating information and teaching are two different things. Anyone can do one of these, it takes a good teacher to do the other.

Most of the times I was called stupid now I am realising it's probably that they didn't know beyond what they had been taught and encoded from an imitation perspective I am now realising. Bad epistemic justification on their part.

Oh right, this is where ad hominem or appeal to authority was always used on me – "You think you are so smart", "I don't see your <subject> degree", "I don't have time to explain to an idiot".

I used to get so frustrated with people repeating the exact same thing but slower and thinking that helped. It wasn't that I didn't hear you, it's that you could not explain it to me in a simple form. Anyone can repeat jargon – listen to a lot of political theorists.

Just so sad when I know this stuff about my brain now. All this time spent thinking I was bad, when it was the delivery method that was bad, and the fact everything is a competition with knowledge. Why?

Originally tweeted by Rory – ADHD Autistic OCD (@roryreckons) on November 24, 2021.

Interest is required for memory encoding – it can be positive or negative

Memories are encoded with interest – when we are not interested in the thing we tend not to encode it. This is how exam info is forgotten really quickly for subjects we don't like. But we also do this for tasks we don't like doing, and we berate ourselves when we do them.

Instead of robbing ourselves of joy – as I am super guilty of, if we can take a moment and record that we did the task and remember the feeling of completion rather than saying: "OMG WHY DID I TAKE SO LONG TO DO THIS?"
We can actually encode success, not the perceived failure.

We do encode the interest in that situation – but it's the negative interest, not the positive one.

This leads to all or nothing thinking:

"I can NEVER do this easily, why do I ALWAYS struggle with this" etc.

Nothing like completing a task and then deciding to reinforce the ‘Wall of Awful’ with another failure brick and corresponding emotion.

Remember hyperfocus is stuff we are interested in:
That interest can be positive – hobbies, things we enjoy doing.
That interest can also be negative – repeated failures during rumination.

The curse of the super interested brain and a lot of negative reinforcement – endless invisible barriers built by other people that we use to stop ourselves.

Originally tweeted by Rory – ADHD Autistic OCD (@roryreckons) on November 24, 2021.

‘Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage’

TW / CW / The root of my identity crisis

When pattern recognition in the subconscious is embedded at a deep level – you lose your life. This is why all forms of ABA are toxic to Autistic people – it’s an exploitation of our brain’s need for order and it’s subconsciously ingrained as a default mode.

I may have had issues with sharing material possessions because I was poor and I wasn’t taught well. But I wanted to share anything I could that I could afford to. It was never related to being better, it was seen as a threat.

Rory Reckons

The messaging about this had devastating effects in my adult life. I often forwent things I needed or money I couldn’t afford to give because this was so deeply ingrained in me as being “selfish”. I have severe anxiety seeing charity collectors.

OCD + reinforcement about being a bad kid when not sharing = personal harm to ensure you are being 'moral'.

A kid with a natural predisposition to sharing, reinforcement about how holding onto things he cares about is selfish when this was often related to poverty and losing things and being berated is a cruel set of conditions to instill in a child.

I gave away my lunch money and food at school all the time… I thought my only value to people was when I was giving them things. Most of these people were not even 'friends'.

I thought the moral of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – that there was no limit on what you should give. That was the message I took from that book as a child with this reinforcement.

Understanding this is always so hard now.

'Why don't I have boundaries?'

In so many cases I was explicitly taught not to and I did make pattern recognition that was logically reinforced by results. People talked to me = give stuff away.

Knowledge = bad.
Self-sacrifice at the cost of my health = good.
Learning = not for me.

Some cool lessons I learned at school being an unidentified multiple neurodivergent kid with learning disabilities.

Behaviourism works – trust me when I had no intrinsic motivation left all I did was live using behaviourism to dictate appropriate behaviour.

I realise now why I was so repulsed to learn it in University psychology. Variable ratio of reinforcement for positive and negative outcomes had dictated my entire life. I was still too naive to understand the damage or how it was applicable to masking as I didn’t know I was ND.

You know how this is the most successful form of reinforcement for addiction behaviour. Apply this lesson to relationships and work out WTF happens then.

Nothing like discovering at 37 that you have been stuck in a cage pecking a key instead of flying outside like you wanted to.

I feel sick.

I feel so sick. My life has been dictated by endlessly Skinner Boxing myself because I thought that was the best idea.

Never crush a child's autonomy or they will find a logical paradigm to explain how to behave.

My god, this actually explains everything in my life and I just feel absolutely repulsed.

This was deeply embedded in my brain through constant reinforcement. I remember feeling so sorry for the pigeons and rats in the experiments.

I was looking at me.

This was in my subconscious. This was what I fell back on – all the time.

It took an adult at 34 believing my internal motivations to actually start fixing some of this damage.

I… this is it… I couldn’t live till I had autonomy because I was programmed to be a tourist in my own life.

You know when in Flowers for Algernon he realises people were mocking him, instead of being nice.

This is a fitting comparison, except I am also the people mocking him.

Smart but brainwashed. I get it now at least.

I know what to look for.

I understand my strong aversion to compliments and I know why I have a desperate need to never start living for extrinsic reasons. Because I will lose myself.

Originally tweeted by Rory – ADHD Autistic OCD (@roryreckons) on November 22, 2021.

The limits of empathy – on compassion

I talk about empathy a lot – but I think there's something I desperately need to say in regard to this.


A lot of ADHD or Autistic people have Alexithymia – which is an inability to recognise their own emotions or the emotions of others – but they are still incredibly compassionate people.

Compassion can be a logical emotion, not just an intuitively felt one.

Compassion requires nothing to do with emotion, and in fact in some ways feeling others emotions is a barrier to compassion.

Compassion is a logical look at all the circumstances that may have caused some behaviour and deciding to act with care toward someone.

Logic and emotions are not separate. Too much of either is usually always a bad result and can cause an issue with the ability to be compassionate.

Compassion relies on perspective taking – trying to put yourself in their shoes. That can easily be done logically or emotionally, or with a combination of both – just with "how can I be nice to this person – what more information do I need?"

Emotional Compassion – I can feel this person is hurting, I will be kind.
Logical Compassion – In the past I have identified this as being related to this behaviour through study, I want to be kind which I know involves something I’ve studied
Emotional/Logical Compassion – I can feel this person is hurting, this behaviour might be related to this thing I’ve studied, I will be kind

Emotion = intuition
Logic = reasoning
Emotional Logic = intuitive reasoning

You can use both. Or one, or the other, and get the same result.

The double empathy problem is a failure of logical capacity in emotional reasoning – it demonstrates the limits of egocentric empathy.

The thing that undermines compassion is egocentric bias. Thinking that others are the same as ourselves.

Originally tweeted by Rory – ADHD Autistic OCD (@roryreckons) on November 22, 2021.

A brain that auto-solves

Finding out that other dyscalculic people also auto solve math without being able to tell you how they do it at least explains why I was able to do it in University when I didn’t have to show working most of the time.

I have intuition with math. I have absolutely no idea how it works. I cannot show you my working. I think it’s weird pattern recognition I do not understand. It caused me to suck at high school math.

I can’t do mental math. I can do math, new symbols or techniques take a lot longer to learn but at a certain point they are encoded in whatever background system my brain uses.

I was humiliated so many times in math classes for getting the right answer in school, then the teacher called me a cheater or liar and asked me to come up and show my working. I never could. I would make mistakes or get it wrong.

I have a software engineering degree.

My brain constantly impulsively solves problems when I’m doing other things.

“Intrusive solutions” are one of my most common features.

I think the second I stop stressing my brain often releases solutions to me. This explains why I solve a lot of problems in the shower or just as I am going to sleep. It’s a very frustrating thing as I have to get up and write it down or I will forget it. I have spent a lot of time late at night writing code that always works.

The higher my stress in a social situation = the worse my recall

The lower my stress alone = weird as hell super creative and usually correct answers I haven’t been thinking about.

My rants with insightful stuff on Twitter are most often background processing my brain is telling me to leak out. I don’t know where it’s going for a lot of stuff. It’s a “eureka” moment I have to write down.

This is so hard to explain. It’s like my brain lines up a perfect order of ideas that have been stewing and I just know to post them. It provides me with all the search terms to re-discover articles, and a general structure. Then my ADHD side fills in the chaotic parts.

I almost do not feel in control when this happens. It feels incredible. It’s like a web of disconnected meaning has been formed to finalise an argument I’ve been trying to express. I love it, but I don’t know how to explain how this works. I am a passive thinker for complex ideas

The best ways to bring these out for me, talk to me about an interest area or allow me to read a new book, some novelty starts a chain reaction in my brain that I feel absolutely compelled to express somehow.

Originally tweeted by Rory – ADHD Autistic OCD (@roryreckons) on November 22, 2021.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but names are trauma too

What if it’s all pain? All of it? Like the mental distress of anxiety and depression is just pain in the body unaddressed? I need to elaborate… but I think this is true.

Social pain causes the same receptors in the brain to light up as physical pain.

Anticipation of pain is more dread inducing than the experience of pain itself.

Psychological trauma causes chronic pain

Adverse childhood events end up manifesting in pain

Shame is one of the most extreme forms of social pain and causes anxiety and depression

Now in this context these things have been shown to cause depression and anxiety – a lot of these are directly tied to emotional or social pain:

1. Those with less autonomy in their jobs are more likely to die at a younger age.
2. Disconnection from other people is a form of isolation that is usually tied to aversion to pain which is more dreadful than the pain itself
3. When you value things other than connection it causes pain – most people who live for material reasons are deeply unhappy.
4. Childhood trauma I have covered.
5. Disconnection from status and respect is a form of social shame (or pain).
6. The natural world is an outlier.
7. The disconnection from a hopeful or secure future is a form of anxiety which is pain.
8. The brain changes in response to dealing with pain sometimes shutting itself off from shame and pain – reducing empathy, if not it increases empathy.
9. People have hypersensitivity.

The TLDR – our society is causing pain. If you think about life expectancy generally, more marginalised groups that are more prone to social pain have far shorter life expectancies.

The Role of Inflammation in Depression and Fatigue

When you take illegal drugs for depression – you are killing pain. Most of the drugs that you take are analgesics in some form or another, they help with pain suppression. People with addiction are often just trying to ease pain it would seem if this theory holds true.

Treating the mind and body as separate things and overly complicating things by reducing them down through atomisation of science just seems to have made this way harder to solve than looking at it from a systems view of the body.

When we say drugs are a health problem, we mean it.

People are in pain – that pain is just as real as physical pain. Shaming people into not being addicts is absolutely counterintuitive.

I sometimes wonder if those who don’t feel shame don’t realise how much shame actually hurts if you do. They seem resistant to ever experiencing it too. Like they are above it.

Others convince themselves, then they experience it, it often ends with terrible results.

I talk about why I tried to shed shame – because that stuff was painful to have someone tell me they had experienced it too and I didn’t need to feel shame took away so much of my own personal struggling. I am happy and in less pain now I have got rid of it.

I shed so much shame I don’t have Crohn’s disease (this might just be an effect for me). I had reached my limit of experiencing shame when it developed. I never stopped the feeling stuff I couldn’t turn it off, so it just developed internally for me. Now I have shed it, gone.

Think about how long Stephen Hawking lived when he had ALS vs the average life expectancy – he was never disconnected from other people, he had full social integration. He was respected, his work was meaningful. He had so many ways to limit the social pain of ALS.

The disease progression of Alzheimer’s has a lot of links to social disconnection. My Dad lost meaningful work, he disconnected from his values, he wasn’t respected, he had no status, he was in a home. His disease progression was rapid. I feel terrible about this all the time.

We are wired to connect to other people – when that is cut off – we get sick. We need each other.

Our society is more fragmented than ever socially, we don’t talk to our neighbours generally, we don’t get time to socialise, if our work sucks we are exhausted at weekends. We need more time with one another, and less judgement.

We turned being together into a competition, this is the core root of toxicity of social media. It’s about trying to prove we are better than one another for so many people. When I used it this way it sucked. I changed to make it about connecting – my life improved.

The high school years generally suck more than college because nowhere is the popularity paradigm more prevalent than at high school. Once a lot of us went to university we established less but more meaningful friendships, but school was about being the best always.

No one is honest – when I talk honestly about the struggles of my life people feel connected. Honestly when I saw someone being real about their actual pain on here my life changed. I didn’t feel like garbage as much – I realised I could have bad days. Being authentic helped me.

Everyone is so ashamed of hurting, but so many of us are, and expressing that pain has a solidarity effect and actually brings us closer, if you see people for everything they are you feel less awful and stop trying to hold up a fake version of yourself for image reasons.

Because if you read before – anticipation of pain is worse than the pain itself. When I finally admitted all this stuff about my life I realised it wasn’t as terrifying. So much of my pain was based on the fear of having anyone know who I really was, and that actually hurt me.

It’s ok not to be ok needs role modelling. And it can’t be celebrities all the time – we need to see each other for who we are and not judge them. People want to feel connected, but we live in a society that actively tries to disconnect them

It was absolutely terrifying the first time I ever was honest publicly about my life. Some threads early on I deleted. I get called things like brave. I am not brave, everyone is – they have just been made to feel like their struggles aren’t important. Minimised. Invalidated.

“Be the worst version of yourself and try and improve.” That was literally what I told myself. I had no self-esteem I was like nothing else has worked – hiding who I was didn’t work. When I came out as bi, I couldn’t believe how good I felt about starting being me finally.

That became the first thing I needed to realise that shedding shame about my identity had a detoxifying effect for me. Every time I was more honest about my life, I felt better. I had a lot that makes me a marginalised person. I had a lot of internalised ableism. All of it made me hate myself.

I have lost nearly all of my friends so many times. I lost a lot of friends being who I am, but the ones I have now are far more meaningful I get to be authentic – how many people can truly say that about themselves.

Simply put:

Originally tweeted by Rory – ADHD Autistic OCD (@roryreckons) on November 20, 2021.

Possibly my most important pattern seeking moment

Why do people please? They are in pain.

I keep thinking about the effects of being “healthy” and how some of those people tend to be the worst people. Social pain lights up the same receptors in the brain as physical pain. The only people who tend to be the most callous, don’t feel pain or shame.

You spend time around the disabled or mental health communities and you get to see how much empathy these people have for the world.

A healthy society is society where disabled people are respected, and this explains a lot about why we have such uphill battles getting our needs taken seriously. A better world is possible.

I’d like to point out the mistreatment of disabled people is largely a result of colonial mindset, conquering the world. Winning at the expense of connection. Indigenous people celebrate differences.

I think this is why I hated the one anti-depressant that seemed to take the edge of depression, I was numb. Numb. As in not in pain. I felt unable to feel anything.

Competition, the just world fallacy, all these tools that people who are not hurting use to avoid the reality of the world as it exists. Minimising the uncomfortable feeling that we live in an unjust world. They use a fictional view of the world to avoid having to feel.

Our fear of discomfort as a society is making us more distant maybe the things we’ve been taught are unhelpful due to their effects on productivity are the things we need to unify us…

This is why I think ‘Lost Connections’ by Johann Hari spoke to my soul. It reframed depression and anxiety in terms as essential parts of the human experience. I think a lot about the paradox of trauma.

Maybe my life was awful to allow me to reason. I am not saying that it should be for everyone, but my pain and suffering seemed to rein me in when I started trying to live for things other than the goals of self-determination (autonomy, competence, relatedness). A hypersensitivity to living a life of connection.

My Crohn’s disease pain largely went away at the same time as I dedicated most of my time to sharing and alleviating pain, living with true authenticity and by the Stoic virtues. Wisdom, Courage, Temperance & Virtue.

I spent so long trying to work on me alone. Trying to be the ideal version of me at the neglect of the person I was. When I destroyed my ego, gave into the things I was “shameful” over and expressed them honestly it was like all the baggage I had had it’s contents poured out.

I carry my experiences with me, but they are no longer heavy. I like leaning into the pain of my past, it gives me hope for the future, and being honest, it makes me feel human.

If you think about how “PC”, “Woke”, “Cancel Culture” are used by people who use them maliciously you can see it’s a way of never having to feel connected to others because they are terrified of being in pain. Cowards. Actually cowards. The strength is leaning into discomfort.

This is why anti-racist work is so hard. It hurts to know we perpetuate an unfair society by being afforded privilege. Being wrong and realising how systems uphold the things we don’t want is painful. Also why justice sensitivity is high in populations that are stigmatised.

“And it's strange, all the things that I've run from
Are the things that completeness could come from“

This lyric is one of the most important ones in my life.

If you think about passion in love maybe people use the vulnerability of feeling like the other person could leave at any moment as a way to ensure there is passion. The start of a relationship tends to be the most passionate because we live with the fear of pain if we are left.

“Don’t let your disability define you” this message sucked because it denied the pain of being disabled. When I tried to hide my pain or pretend it doesn’t exist. I “hurt” myself the most.

I was so scared of being honest about hurting.

Empathy involves pain implicitly. Empathy requires you to feel discomfort of others and share in it. This explains why people minimise the pain of others, they are scared of pain themselves.

‘Crazy but good in bed’. Empathetic. You mean empathetic.

Non-judgement also requires you to be ok with people hurting other people and understanding that it’s not always a sign of people being awful, the people who hurt me most had “good intentions”.

This is why I’m an abolitionist, why it made sense to me at my core. Isolation and ostracism can push people past the limit of pain till they take steps to limit interoception, it can make the shame of mistakes so powerful they stop interocepting that too. Callousness = a lack of shame and pain.

The dichotomy of thinking there is good and bad people is something people rely on as broken distortion of the truth in order to believe that the world is just, then when we create the circumstances that ensure that is true we say “look we were right”.

The worst atrocities are usually caused by people who had such shame or pain they stopped the interoception of feeling those things. You can develop empathy, it’s been shown in brain scans consistently, but you must believe you can change.

Once you see pain and shame as enemies or unfair, you start literally thinking in ways that bypass the brain mechanisms that are developed specifically for this purpose. Hate leads to suffering.

Think now about how toxic masculinity works – pain or shame is seen as weakness, the misrepresentation of being “stoic” as denying the feelings you have is one of the distortions that makes me livid. Now I know why.

Entitlement comes from a lack of shame.

Suicide rates are high in the men who realise they can’t actually turn off the things they’ve been gaslight into believing. This mask is one that too many wear.

When we mock people who appear to feel pain for the first time, what are we doing? How can we allow people to get better unless we allow them to hurt too?

The society we have built is so utterly toxic for progress. We need to see everything as a spectrum as it actually is. Binaries never allow nuance. There is black and white, but there is always more gray. 99.99% is more ambiguous than we believe.

I can quite easily see now I’ve some self-esteem, self-worth how the idea of “not being around people who bring you down” is encouraged. A core of badly delivered CBT is to never allow yourself to stop believing in a just world. It does have a protective effect but it makes you a worse person.

When we protect ourselves from objective truth through self-gaslighting we give up our humanity in the process.

Originally tweeted by Rory – ADHD Autistic OCD (@roryreckons) on November 18, 2021.

To Parents Who Home-School their ADHD or Autistic Children, and those that cannot.

To parents who pulled their ADHD and/or Autistic child from school (and could afford to do so, were able to):

You did the right thing. I know you probably question this a lot. But all the well-being stuff I’ve seen indicates this was correct.

To those who can’t, we are trying to fix it.

Just if you can't, and your kid is really aggressive and defiant at home. That child is hurting usually.

Don't be mean about how everyone has to do it. School can do a lot of damage, but a stable home and support can help.

Kids also coke can/bottle as described here. You need to know about this. It’s not personal even if directed at you, I know this seems like it is, but I swear it’s misdirected anger if you are respectful.

Don't make home punitive. Don't let the school enlist you in homework battles. That is between the child and the school, and homework should not exist. It does not increase learning, especially for ADHD or Autistic children. It does ruin home, and cause your child to run away.

A lot of positive feedback loops (as in increasing not good) occur during the school years. You can circuit breaker these. Let the kid do what they want after school as much as possible. I wish my parents had tried to take an interest in the stuff I liked, rather than ignoring it

If your kid is like me. Most of my learning happened after school. Playing a range of video games, reading fiction, writing bad poetry, spending time on the internet, playing outside.

Tell your kid you love them unconditionally. Yes unconditionally. Conditional love, means they believe they are conditionally worthwhile. Celebrate the stuff they are proud of, centre their feelings during this. Respect autonomy. Presume competence always.

Also pay attention to what they say, like if you can celebrate the effort, more than the result. I swear this is the best you can do.

"I got an A on that assignment I worked on"
"See your effort paid off"

This is a subtle thing, but you celebrate the doing, not the receiving.

Please if a kid tells you they can't do something in school work and you say "yes you can" because they are smart at some area.

They are usually telling the truth. They also probably need some help, if you can help them, be inquisitive and non-judgmental.

Spiky intelligence, multiple undiganosed learning disabilities, and untreated myopia (short sightedness) defined a lot of my ability to succeed. I punished myself for not being better for 30+ years. I nearly didn't make it. Listen to your child, trust them.

Give your child a comprehensive sexual education. Let them know it's ok to say no, even to you occasionally. Model healthy boundaries. Don't be mean about your friends or backstab them. I misread that for a while as ok to do.

If you lose your stuff at your kid. Admit you did the wrong thing. This will usually always happen. No parent is perfect!

Apologizing correctly – show remorse, admit fault, ask what you can do to make it right, promise to make your best efforts to prevent it happening again.

Don't promise it will never happen again if it will potentially.

Be compassionate to yourself. Parenting is hard. You are doing the best you can if you are trying to love the kid and not hurting them.

If you keep lashing out, seek therapy, you might have unresolved trauma.

Your kid might have issues task switching, bake in reminders before the switch from something fun to chores.

If you can don't complain about doing chores instead make it a fun family team effort. If you model something sucks, they will hate it.

If your kid laughs or goes blank during times of stress. That is due to losing control.

In these cases: Listen to their words, not their facial expressions.

I didn't have control of mine till age 14.

Drama and music were pivotal in my development, as were pets. If you can afford these I recommend them, if your kid doesn't like doing something new, find out why, if they still hate it after a few lessons stop. Forcing it won't help.

If your kid meltdown or gets super aggressive when loud stuff happens. Get some sort of noise dampening aid. They likely have hyperacusis and/or misophonia.
You cannot reduce the effect through discipline, you can reduce awareness in the child. This will lead to unknown anxiety.

Test anxiety is common. If your child has it, an exam focused school is the worst choice. If your kid has learning disabilities, they will be vastly exacerbated during exams.
Let your kid teach you what they learn, it will help with memorization.
Love your kid. It's worth it.❤

If you have a child who has periods, periods are more extreme in ADHD/Autistic people as a trend. It also plays havoc with medication efficacy. This isn't well known.

Be graceful and compassionate during the mood swings.

A loss of control isn't the child's fault.

Follow #ActuallyAutistic, #TeamADHD, #NeurodiverseSquad, on Twitter listen to more than just me, I am not an authority. There is also #AutisticWhileBlack for Black Autistic issues.

If you have questions you can use #AskingAutistics and #AskADHD

We want to help. We want you to have a healthy, happy life with your child, and them to thrive.


Originally tweeted by Rory – ADHD Autistic OCD (@roryreckons) on November 17, 2021.