There is almost no information on being both autistic and ADHD and it’s time we changed it.
When I got my autistic and ADHD diagnosis, I went to search for information about both of them. It inevitably led me to a question — what happens when autism and ADHD coexist in the same brain? How do they influence each other? Do they enhance some traits? Do they mask some traits? I learned that AuDHD people often don’t identify with the experiences of just autistic people, or people with just ADHD. We are different, but how?
Being the bookworm I am, I turned to Amazon. But I was disappointed. To the date of writing this article, there doesn’t exist any single book about AuDHD that I could find. I hope some neuropsychologist will see this lack of relevant information and rectifies the situation soon. But in the meanwhile, we have only each other to learn from. To compare our experiences and try to work out what makes us tick. Find solutions to our specific problems. Find out what those problems even are.
We often suffer without even knowing that we have stressors in our life that we could mitigate or remove completely, that we can adapt our life to suit our needs and not the other way around, because we look at neurotypical people and try to be like them. And when we get our diagnosis, we look at autistic people and try to be like them. And the same with people who have ADHD. We can learn something from both of these groups, but we don’t fit among them. We are something slightly different. And nobody helps us understand ourselves as we are.
Nobody helps us to understand how to make our lives easier for us. What helps with autism can go against our ADHD needs and vice versa. ADHD medication can bring out the autistic traits. Autism can mask ADHD, or ADHD can mask autism. How to find some sense in this puzzle that is our neurotype? And yet I believe that if we understood our brains more, we would find the way.
The biggest problem for me is that we don’t understand ourselves enough. Especially those of us who are late diagnosed. There is no one to tell us how being autistic and having ADHD at the same time work. Autism can pull us in one direction, and ADHD in the exactly opposite one. The autistic side of us gets overstimulated, while the ADHD side is understimulated. They fight each other inside our brains.
We don’t fit in the autistic box. We don’t fit in the ADHD box. We barely have psychiatrists that are educated in one of those conditions, but both? No chance.
So we look for information on autism. We look for information on ADHD. We experiment and try and discard solutions and find new ones. We record our experiences to help others like us make sense of their brain. And we try, try, try.
Did you know that there is only one Facebook group for people who are autistic and have ADHD? A single one in the sea of all the neurodivergent groups that crop out like mushrooms after rain. And don’t take me wrong, those groups are useful. I visit a lot of them. But there is only ONE group for AuDHD people. And one with very strict rules about what could be posted there.
I learn about myself by seeking information. But every single question I asked in that group was declined. “Research” questions are not allowed, even if that is the only way how I can understand myself better. I don’t want to talk badly about this group, I’m glad that it exists. But it isn’t one I can feel at home at. So I decided to create another one. Yes, now they are two AuDHD groups in the whole wide Facebook lands! 😀
You can find it here: Exploring AuDHD.
All AuDHDers are welcome in this group! Please, join only if you are BOTH autistic and have ADHD. I apologize to all autistic and ADHD and other neurodivergent people — but we need a space where we can connect with people like us, so we don’t have to search for the lonely voices amidst the sea of neurodivergent people.
The group is meant primarily for education, so feel free to share your blog posts, Facebook pages, Youtube videos, and any other forms of information about AuDHD and life with it. But even if education is the focus of the group, seeking support is allowed too. You can come here to talk about every aspect of life with AuDHD. Come, and make yourself at home!
I will be waiting for you there.