fire and water clashing on a black background
Mental Health, Neurodivergence, Positivity despite adversity, Thoughts

If You Are Autistic with ADHD, You Are a Living Contradiction 

Ever since I remember, I have always wanted two totally opposite things at the same time – both with equally great passion. To go out with friends and to be alone, to travel and to stay at the places I know, to attend various events, and to stay at home and read.

Whatever I decided, there was a part of me that was always unsettled. As an adult, I realized that other people around me aren’t such a mess of contradictory desires. But it was only after watching this video by Yo Samdy Sam that it dawned on me – this is happening to me because the “autistic part” of me and the “ADHD part” always want – or need – completely different things.

“The inner conflict is maddening”

It’s estimated that at least 30% of autistic people also have ADHD. It’s so common that the neurodivergent community began to create abbreviations for the combination of both conditions: AuDHD, AutDHD, and others. Yet there is so little information out there about people who are autistic and have ADHD – and it’s so necessary for us to understand our contradictory nature.

There are some traits that autism and ADHD share – like executive dysfunction. But there are a lot of traits that are complete opposites. The opposing traits can mask each other, so it can be a problem to get a diagnosis at all.

For example, ADHD demands constant stimulation. On the other hand, autism means you can get easily overstimulated, so you avoid it. You can even get overstimulated and understimulated at the same time.

The first comment on the video really resonates with me. And, apparently, with a lot of others. Vinnie S. wrote: 

“The inner conflict is maddening. All the things that make me feel most alive quickly burn me out. Yet, living a quiet little life that avoids burnout triggers depressive episodes through understimulation. When making major life decisions it’s like deciding which kind of breakdown I’d rather have. Heh.”

When one side is “satisfied”, the other becomes more visible

There is also an interesting thing that Yo Samdy Sam noticed. When she goes out and her ADHD needs are more fulfilled, her autistic traits become more prominent. But when she stays at home, where her autistic side can have what she needs, the ADHD traits become more prominent instead. When I thought about it, I noticed that the same thing is happening to me. 

Which side was winning was different throughout various periods of my life. As a child, I usually liked to stay in my room and read, as my autistic side preferred. As a teen, I almost always did what the ADHD side wanted. I hopped on any action that was happening around – be it a skiing trip, camping, or a summer camp spent planting trees or repairing an old castle. And as an adult, my mental strength to overcome the anxiety that being active triggers in me had run out and I had to return to my quiet ways – even if the passion for movement and action never ceased. I still yearn for it. I desperately miss it.

Which one I really am?

I have always identified more with my ADHD side, long before I knew I had these two diagnoses. I consider her desires the “right” ones, the ones that make me who I am. But I haven’t been who I feel I am – or should be – for more than 15 years. When I stopped being able to go on camping trips and summer camps, to simply take a backpack and head to nature for days, it felt like a part of me had gone missing. That I’m not really being myself. And I miss that part of me terribly. When I lost my ability to travel abroad, it only pronounced this loss. I’m always hoping that this will all come back to me, that I will feel whole again.


But when I’m writing these words, I realize that my autistic side and her desires – like reading for hours on end – are just as much “me” and as valuable as the part who is always ready to go on an adventure. I’m both. And that realization finally brings me some measure of inner peace.

A tiny green plant poking out of a cracked pavement
Personal development, Positivity despite adversity

Change One Moment, Change Your Life

I discovered that I change my whole outlook on life, moment by moment.

I started listening to the audiobook Atomic habits, recommended by a friend. And it seems like a game-changer to me! I needed this book at this particular moment in my life.

The premise of the book is that we build our life out of thousands of tiny habits every day, and the nature of the habits determines the quality of our future life because they accumulate over time with an interest.

I realized that for a long time, I continuously created little moments of feeling terrible and anxious, and now I want to consciously start creating moments where I feel good in the here and now. Moments that accumulate into a happy life in the here and now

I realized that there was a narrative running in my head all the time about how painful, horrible, and difficult my life was. Even when I have no reason to feel it at the moment, I hold on to that narrative, I see everything in its light.

I can’t put it away completely yet, but I can put it away for that single moment when nothing terrible is happening to me and, on the contrary, there might be a reason to be happy. I can even create joy for myself and rejoice at the moment.

I wouldn’t have been able to do something like that before, I guess it takes time to come to this mindset. I hope that I will gradually be able to put the whole story about how life is so terrible to live completely aside.

I hope one day not far away I will have a completely different story. And creating it starts right now.

A photo of two people from behind - a man gently hugging a woman around her shoulders.
Life, Mental Health, Personal development, Thoughts

Have Compassion for Those Who Are Suffering

A lot of people who overcame horrible things gained a great empathy from their ordeal.

But a lot of people who overcame horrible things lack a bit of empathy. They believe that if they did it, everyone can (and often, that they should it do their way). They may even look down on people who didn’t overcome their obstacles.

But while I believe everything is overcomable, not everyone can overcome everything at this very moment. It may require years of work. It may seem like too much. Not everyone has the right tools and someone to show them a clear path. Not everyone can find that clear path out of the pain by themselves.

Please, have compassion for suffering. It is real. All people try their best. Sometimes it simply isn’t not their time yet.

An image of a tree that has heart for leaves and in its roots, a big red heart is hiding.
Life, Mental Health, Personal development

A Month of Doing Only What I Love

In November, I’m going to do only things that bring me joy. No obligations, no work, just joy. Sounds almost outrageous, right? But the journey to this decision wasn’t a pleasant one. 

It happened like this: I burnt out. I burnt out badly. I currently sleep over 18 hours a day, and just 15 minutes of (barely) concentrating on work means several hours when I have to lie down and don’t even have the strength to listen to an audiobook. 

I have just started getting my life together after a bad breakup recently. We were together for almost 11 years. I still love him. But I’m beginning to see how our dynamic – dependent/codependent – was extremely unhealthy and how much my thinking changed for the better after the breakup. It still hurts, though. Knowing it’s good for my mental health doesn’t stop the pain

My first burnout several years ago left me unable to work at all, so I was financially dependent on him. I hate to write these words down, I hate that I feel so useless. 

And after the breakup, I had to start working, no matter how unwell I was. He promised he would continue to support me until I found my feet. So I began searching for clients, writing texts… and having impostor syndrome the size of a small planet. Because how can I be a professional, how can I be of any use to someone, when I’m in this state? 

My already bad anxiety had extremely worsened. The first thing I felt upon waking every day was intense mental pain, and fear of the day ahead. When I thought about work, my head started spinning and I felt like I would faint. Sometimes I had to lie down even when I was outside on a walk, in order not to collapse.

I vomited. My therapist had sent me to bed from an online session that I tried to have in between bouts of barfing. And the next time, when I was falling asleep from exhaustion. And the next time. 

You probably get the picture. And after three months of this, my body apparently decided it had had enough, and just shut down. 

Just as I was beginning to feel less fearful about my writing, just when I landed a great part-time job as a writer for a magazine that I was so proud of, just when I started to overcome my social phobia and venture among people on a regular basis – everything fell apart. 

I felt so betrayed by life. I had put so much effort in, just to have everything I achieved yanked from me. 

But I had to figure out what to do. And the answer became obvious: I need to stop working. At least for a little while. I negotiated a month off with my clients, including the amazing, shiny new job at a magazine. Yes, I recognize that this is a privilege. But so is being healthy enough to work.

I knew I had to rest, rest and rest. “Rest until you are bored to tears,” one person from a late-diagnosed autistic Facebook group where I asked for burnout advice wrote to me. “And then rest some more.”

Of course, I have to fight an immense urge to jump on my other projects. I want to start an online business, it has been my dream for a long time. And now I have a whole mont… no! No, no, no. Just rest.

And I realized that a part of resting is this: doing what makes me happy. Even if it was just for the 15 minutes a day during the time when I can stay functioning. So I do it. 

Yesterday, I edited a short story I wrote a while ago. Today, I translated it from English to Czech. (Yes, I had to translate it into my native language.) I changed my job position on Facebook to positivity blogger, and then once more, to authenticity blogger. And now I’m writing this post.

I decided to change the way I write on this blog to be more authentic. And I changed the motto of this blog to “Positivity despite adversity“. I wanted to keep this space focused solely on positivity, but I realized that it had felt forced. I had to force myself to write. It wasn’t the right way for me.

I decided instead to write about my mental health experiences, alongside the small joys. People say that they see my posts about mental health as positive. I usually get the best reactions when I don’t just gloss over mental illness and other hardships of life. When I write from my heart, the words come easily. They flow out of me like a river.

I feel fulfilled. Yes, I’m terrified about what is happening to me, when it will end, how long it will last, and how I will be able to take care of myself in the long run if it doesn’t go away… 

But when I allowed myself to just do what makes me happy, I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I didn’t give myself permission to do things that just bring me joy for a very long time. Everything was planned, everything had to serve some purpose. Now I just feel… and do. And rest.

I don’t know what exactly I want to do for my online business anyways. I jump from idea to idea and I’m not completely happy with any of them. (Even if I have a little something that I’m slowly building now.) Maybe this time will allow me to discover what truly makes me feel fulfilled. To find my direction. And if not… Well, at least I will have a good time.

Yes, it’s apparently possible to have a good time even when I’m in burnout. I need to learn to respect the needs of my body… and to respect the needs of my soul.

Yes, I’m terrified. And elated. I’m curious about what this month will bring. How it will change me. 

~~~

P.S. I just realized the night after writing this post that most people call a month when they can do their active hobbies for 15 minutes a day just “life”. But whatever, I’m happy regardless. 🙂

An image of a person covering their face by a smiley face drawn on a red sheet of paper
Personal development

What Is Toxic Positivity And Why You Won’t Find It Here

I’m trying to spread positivity, but not the toxic kind.

Imagine the proverbial glass of water. 🥛 You can look at it and see it as half empty, or half full. But no matter how you look at it, you won’t magically change it into a full glass. It’s impossible.

✔️ Healthy positivity is trying to make the best of bad situations while recognizing that it’s hard, and enjoying the good ones. It is drinking the half-glass of water and enjoying it.

❌ Toxic positivity is convincing yourself that the glass is always completely full. But no matter how full you imagine it, you still won’t be able to drink more than a half-glass of water.

If you are making plans that depend on the full glass, you will go thirsty at some point. And you will be wondering why.

My small joys

From My Diary Of Joy – Week 42

This is a selection of my small joys that I wrote down in my journal this week. Enjoy the reading! I hope it will inspire you, at least a little bit.

~~~

I was able to pet my white mousey Daisy – and she held still! Which she almost never does. She is always in motion.

I also petted a white poodle that was waiting in front of the post office. He had super-fluffy fur! Poodles are my absolute favorite, I had one and definitely plan to have a poodle again in the future. 🐩

Walking through a shower of golden falling leaves.

Rereading the Scholomance series by Naomi Novik. It’s pretty dark, but so, so good!

Finally scanning the positive affirmations coloring pages I have created 🙂

A massage (bliss.)

Several sunny days. I’m solar-powered so my mood went up a lot.

A small piranha of a stafbul puppy – she has bitten me quite ferociously, like puppies do, but she was so cute that I just couldn’t mind! And her human was wery friendly, we had a nice talk.

Starting an audiobook Atomic Habits – and a giant realization how to create a happy life I had while listening. (I will write about it later.)

Annnnd a not-so-small joy: I got a part-time job writing for a real paper magazine! And I can select most of my own topics. They had multiple candidates and picked me based on the quality of my writing! I’m so proud and grateful.

~~~

What are your latest joys? Share them in the comments! 🙂

A black and white drawing of an astronaut smiling happily with closed eyes, with his scafander connected to a book by cable.
My small joys

Book joys

I have just finished an “infinite book” and it has been one hell of a ride!

Zorian Kazinsky isn’t the chosen one with enormous power. This role has already been taken. He gets into a time loop that wasn’t designed for his sake by absolute accident, his reserves of innate magical energy to draw from are sub-par, and he solves problems mostly through training and intelligence. But he also has a trick up his sleeve, though he doesn’t know it yet…

If you want a long, really long, yet all the while entertaining fantasy with interesting character development and psychology, funny moments, an elaborate world and magic system, and a logical plot, this is for you. Not once did I feel like putting it down, or that it was too much of the same. As the heroes’ abilities increase, so does the complexity of the obstacles they have to overcome. And they engage their brains in the process.

Mother of Learning by Domagoj Kurmaic is simply amazing and I have spent many pleasant evenings reading it. I like my books LONG so that I can return to the characters I know like they are old friends.

You can read it for free on the Royalroad, or buy it for Kindle from Amazon.

A silhouette of a person sitting cros legger with hands spread, filled with stars
My small joys

Small Joys For The Body

I was just listening to a Czech song titled “What does my body want”. The singer was listing simple things like immersing yourself in water, walking barefoot in the grass and touching it, running at the top of a hill, and shouting… And I realized a lot of simple pleasures like this are connected with summer.

It’s important to be mindful of this and create a similar experience even in winter.

Enjoying a bath from time to time. Standing on a massage mat. Moving your body. I’ll try not to forget about the small joys for my body in the cold season of the year.

Life, My small joys

My New Friend

I rescued a white mouse. Someone left her in the wild, probably not realizing she will not survive.

So I went for my daily walk and suddenly I see a white mouse sitting on the edge of the road, calmly eating. I stared at her for a while and she clearly wasn’t afraid of me. I realized I can’t leave her there, so I caught her, carried her home in my bag, and put her in a pot, along with some paper tissues, oatmeal, and water. I was improvising with what I had at hand.

I named her Daisy. (In my language, Czech, that’s “Kopretina”.)

Later I went shopping for a terrarium and all things a mouse might need. She has been living with me for several weeks and she seems to be acclimating well. I tried to get her used to my hand by putting treats in my palm and offering them to her – she started taking them very quickly.

That’s when I discovered she bites. Not aggressively, not out of fear, but exploratively, just nipping, like she is thinking “What do I have here? I better taste it!” That can be the reason someone threw her out. She always starts by biting the nail on my thumb and continues to my fingers.

I had learned to move the tip of my thumb to prevent further biting. I have started to offer her my hand as a bridge to climb of that cage, and she runs up and down the length of my arm, on the top of her terrarium, and back. She doesn’t seem to be afraid of my hand anymore. I’m very happy that she recognizes it as safe. 🙂

I have never had a mouse before, so have to learn how to care for her properly. But even though she lives mostly at night and I see her only in the evenings, I’m glad to have another living being with me in the apartment.

I had her in a pot before I bought her a proper terarium. Girl gotta learn how to improvise 😀

A black and white letters saying "Create Small Joys" filled with black doodles in the form of a coloring page
Create Small Joys

Be Happier Every Day – Create Small Joys In Your Life

I did it.

I have decided to share something that helped me heal with the world, something that I believe will help other people to heal as well, do something creative I love, and hopefully try to make a living of it.

I had mental health problems all of my life, ever since I can remember. I still do. Anxiety, depression, seasonal depression, social phobia… And I’m neurodivergent as well. I have been in therapy for more than 15 years, and I hope I have learned something in that time.

I learned that using positive language and positive affirmations helped to ease my self-consciousness and anxiety, especially when I extended them to my inner child.

I learned that sitting down every evening and listing the positive things that happened that day, the things that made me happy, however small, helped change my attitude towards my life for the better. This was the idea from which this blog, Create Small Joys, was born.

Tangentially related to this, when I was nervous or bored, I was always doodling. And when I was among people, I was nervous a lot. Every blank surface (including the back of my hands) was inevitably quickly covered by small ornaments.

“You should do something with that,” commented one of my friends, looking at a page in my notebook.

Now I finally found a way to do that “something”.

I combined adult coloring pages created by my unique drawing style with positive affirmations and the Journal of Joy and Success into a membership. Each month, a package of positive coloring pages will land in your inbox, creating an activity that will help you to work on your positive thinking, and ease your self-consciousness and anxieties.

You will also have access to a community of like-minded people and connect with them in a Facebook group designed for sharing your small joys, exchanging helpful resources, and answering positive thinking prompts.

I’m working now on a year’s worth of coloring pages so I will be always able to deliver on my promises. Once I have that, the membership will go live.

Do you want to heal while doing something fun? Sign up for my waitlist.