Hi, and welcome. I made this site for you. Do you mind if I read your fortune? Does it look something like this?
You’ve spent much of your life feeling like an outsider. It always seemed, even in school, that the other kids must have already known each other or something, that they were all coordinating their behavior from some sort of script that nobody ever gave you. You haven’t necessarily struggled — we all have our strengths and weaknesses and you were probably able to get by, but you may have been bullied, abused, or neglected in ways that left some scars. To this day, you really struggle to trust people, to let your guard down even around loved ones, or to be your “authentic” self, whatever that even means.
You spend a lot of time anxious, and a lot of time depressed. You may think of yourself as a depressed and/or anxious person. You go to a lot of trouble to structure your life in ways that account for or mitigate the causes of your depression and anxiety.
You know you’re different, but you kind of assume everyone is different in their own ways and there’s nothing particularly special about you. You tend to either overwork yourself into a perfectionist mess, or give up before things get hard. Either way, you’re probably not particularly happy with the output of your efforts. You struggle to relate to people in general, but you’ve found friendships with kindred spirits that you chalk up to astrology or just people being different.
Watching world events is a slow motion train wreck for everyone, but at some point you noticed that even the people you consider political allies seem to be experiencing it differently than you are. They seem much more focused on rhetorical wins, much more swayed by framings, much less aware of the stakes than you are. You get the sense that they care more about being on the winning team than seeing their values made manifest in the world, and it confuses and upsets you.
Relationships are hard because somehow people always seem to misunderstand you and get upset at you for saying something you didn’t say, or doing something that made no sense to them. You’ve learned to hide those aspects of yourself that cause problems, but a part of you is starting to worry that hiding those parts of yourself may have a greater cost than you’d considered.
As you get older, things seem to be getting harder instead of easier. You spend so much time and energy accounting for the needs of the people around you, trying not to make them uncomfortable, but at some point you realize that nobody is expending equivalent energy on you. You wonder if this is really sustainable.
Someone, somewhere, used the word “neurodiversity” in your earshot and it hit you like a bolt of lightning. You didn’t know what it meant — and at the same time a part of you knew exactly what it meant, had always known.
And now you’re here to learn more.
This was a shot in the dark that’ll hit a lot of people, but not everyone. If you don’t see yourself reflected in the above it doesn’t mean you’re not neurodivergent — it just means I didn’t capture your particular flavor of neurodiversity in this description.
Which is inevitable, because neurodiversity is by its nature expansive and dynamic . Between the time I write this and you read this, our understanding may have shifted by a small amount or a large amount. All we can do is acknowledge that there are always going to be gaps in our ability to imagine and represent neurodivergent experiences. This is why it’s so important that the microphone be given to the people who are actually having them.
You’re here because you feel different, and you have a sense of the ways that you’re different but you don’t have words for it. Someone or something has turned you on to the idea that the neurodiversity movement may have space for you.
Welcome. I hope we do. Here’s my attempt to introduce you.
The Neurodiversity Syllabus
The first thing I recommend you do is visit the to get the lay of the land. We take language very seriously around here, and precise word choice is often the difference between someone feeling seen and included and someone feeling invisible and unwanted.
Then, read this one:
Then, go take a look at the page. You’ll see a lot of little stuff that may or may not resonate for you. If something does, check out the associated essays if they exist. Finally, take a scroll through the page and get up to speed on what all of these different conditions are. Note that not every page here is fleshed out — this site is still a work in progress — but I’ve done my best to at least provide a high level survey of each neurotype. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to dive into the page. You might be tempted to start here, but I promise the prior context will help. Now, I don’t know you or your journey specifically. You may be dyslexic or epileptic or OCD, or some other we don’t have a name for yet. I can tell you that the content on this site right now skews heavily towards Autism and ADHD, because those are the conditions I deal with most. There’s some good content on trauma, because I’ve never met an untraumatized neurodivergent person and most of us don’t even realize it. I’d recommend starting with , because odds are you don’t understand Autism, and in my experience a lot of ND people have Autism as one of their ND conditions. A good chaser here would be , which fills in a lot of gaps and answers a lot of questions people tend to have about how to reason with and talk about the condition. If you don’t see yourself reflected in those essays, that’s totally cool. Not all ND people are Autistic, but it’s worth learning about. You probably still mask (), you’re probably still dealing with Burnout (), you may be dealing with toxic shame () or Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria () nonetheless. To broaden the conversation a bit, here’s a great essay on and here’s one , both contributed by guest writers to this site.
Finally, if you decide that none of this relates to you, we still wish you the best and hope you find what you’re looking for.