Social Distancing and Strain2 min read

Regardless of neurotype, one thing that social distancing has done is generate a completely new set of patterns and behaviors that we all must begin to cope with. While both neurotypical and neurodivergent folks struggle with change, neurotypical folks generally are better at stopping the external demonstrations of frustration compared to neurodivergent folks.

Now, however, we find that neurotypical folks are experiencing the levels of strain where they too are lashing out and wearing volatile emotions as armor in this time of uncertainty.

The truth is that regardless of neurotype, that this is hard. Neurodivergent people just have far more experience in constantly dealing with these kinds of upsets. Our world is constantly upsetting: it changes unpredictably and people do not act in ways we would expect.

Yet, in times such as these, we see that any average person may find that the normal things that don’t bother them cause them to flip their lid, to become more angry, to become agitated at the little noises that their spouse makes now that they’re both stuck at home all the time.

The feeling of limitation and loss of control are familiar for many of us neurodivergent folks. We live in this state of unease and to watch the greater world finally begin to understand this can be both amusing and disconcerting to us. They say that times of hardship and tragedy bring people together and I think that, perhaps, this is one way we are all the same.

So, if you find that you are more agitated that your favorite foods are not in the grocery store; if you find that the little things your family does are more annoying than normal; if you find that your emotions float to the surface more easily than normal, give yourself a little bit of grace.

Give yourself a moment to reset. Perhaps some soothing weighted blankets, some sensory-intense movement, some exercise, some dancing around might help. Us neurodivergent folks know what it is like to need to self-soothe when the world is too much.

But, I hope that you can take with you the knowledge from this that we are not so far apart. You have your rituals, your comfort foods, your calming behaviors just as much as we do. Perhaps, the next time you encounter folks who are behaving differently than you would expect, you can give them a little more grace as well.

We are not so different in the end: We all need a little more comfort and a little more certainty in this world to help us get through it all.

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2 Comments

  1. “The feeling of limitation and loss of control are familiar for many of us neurodivergent folks. We live in this state of unease and to watch the greater world finally begin to understand this can be both amusing and disconcerting to us. They say that times of hardship and tragedy bring people together and I think that, perhaps, this is one way we are all the same.”

    This is how I felt in regard to trauma and vigilance during the 11 September 2001 attacks.

    Yes — times of hardship and adversity and tragedy do bring people together — as do the ways we deal with limitations and loss of control and unease.

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