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  • The Neurodivergent Therapy Space

Different Ways Emotions are Processed and Expressed as a Neurodivergent Person

Neurodivergence refers to a concept that recognises and celebrates the natural variations in human neurology and cognitive functioning. It acknowledges that people's brains and minds can function differently from what society considers typical or "neurotypical."

Feelings are a fundamental aspect of human experience and are not limited to any particular neurodivergent or neurotypical group. All individuals, regardless of their neurodivergent or neurotypical status, have emotions and experience feelings.

However, the way neurodivergent individuals process and express their emotions may differ from the general population due to their cognitive profiles and sensory sensitivities.

Some neurodivergent individuals may experience heightened sensitivity to external stimuli, leading to intense emotional responses. For example, an autistic person may feel overwhelmed by loud noises or crowded environments, which can trigger feelings of anxiety or distress. Over the course of a day, things can gradually add to the anxiety and distress which then becomes too much to bare and can lead to the individual shutting down or experiencing a "meltdown" which is an overwhelming and intense experience for ND individuals. This can also carry a lot of shame and embarrassment if the people around them do not understand how to support or help them during this time. Equally, if a neurotypical person doesn't understand the way neurodivergent people process and express emotions, then they can perceive their emotions and responses as unreasonable or overreacting - this is an ableist perception and it is important to do your research to understand the difficulties and challenges that neurodivergent people experience on a daily basis.

Additionally, an Autistic or ADHD individual may struggle with social interactions, which can impact their emotional well-being and interpersonal relationships. They may have a rich emotional inner life; for example, individuals with ADHD may experience intense bursts of enthusiasm or frustration.

Some ND folk have a delayed process, so they may not have a feeling or response to a situation for a few hours/days or even weeks after an event.

It is important to recognize that each neurodivergent individual is unique, and their experiences with emotions and feelings can vary greatly from person to person. You've heard the saying - "if you've met one autistic person, you've met one autistic person"

And that is exactly right. We all experience the world differently and so generalisations should be avoided, and it's essential to approach each individual as unique, with their own specific experiences and emotions.

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