As mentioned in previous articles, liberating one’s Ego is like peeling an onion. You may repeat a lesson hundreds of times before the “light” of understanding is ignited and the full meaning of a truth is realized. You may think you have arrived at the destination of your liberation and even celebrate, only to realize that your Ego is still firmly in the driver’s seat and holding you back from your manifest destiny. And you will wonder, no matter how many times you taste Freedom, “will I ever be free from doubt, fear, fantasy, illusion and be able to enjoy a life of security, confidence and abundance?” The answer, of course, is “Yes” provided you don’t give up.
My latest “onion peel” is that of being addicted to chaos. As a non- neurotypical, chaos, stress, disorder and uncertainty are more the norm than not. In fact, I find myself thriving in these situations. For me, boredom is more in the neighborhood of distress than aggravation is.
When I was working on my graduate degree decades ago, I did some research on Stress for a paper i had to write. I discovered that there are two types of stress; Distress and Eustress. I understood the concept of distress and its various applications; however, Eustress was an unfamiliar term. It relates to the kind of stress that is actually energizing and motivating. For most people, fighting a fire would be considered distress, even trauma, but for a firefighter, it is actually stimulating. In other words, Distress is Negative, while Eustress is actually Positive stress.
Imagine if the firefighter were to start questioning his attraction to saving lives as something “abnormal” and began fighting his desires. What if he started thinking, “I really shouldn’t feel that way, I need to focus on safety instead of danger”. Not only would the community be without a hero, but this individual would be unhappy and unfulfilled.
For the Neurodivergent, this is often what happens. They feel forced to conform to the expectations and actions of those around them when they are clearly put together differently. That is not to say that they should simply give in to their Egos and do whatever they wish, but it does mean that they may need to adapt to their short attention spans, impulsivity and risk taking.
All my life I have tried to conform; from the time I “got saved” from all my sins at around 5 years of age until my world crashed just over 3 years ago. I realized some time in my 30’s that I was living someone else’s life but I thought there was nothing I could do about it. My Ego had become my story and I was bound to complete it. Sure, I had Free Will, but what good is Free Will to someone who is bound by Ignorance? What I needed was Enlightenment, and not enlightenment regarding ADHD but enlightenment regarding my Ego. I needed to see that I was not the story my mind had written, that I was neither “disabled” nor a “failure” nor unworthy. Enlightenment began with the crashing of The Tower and my world.
I am seeing now that becoming my Authentic Self requires acceptance of my Neuro-divergence rather than trying to hide it or even to “conform” it. So much of my life was spent evaluating myself through a “normal” lens only to find flaws and shortcomings. “I am genetically incapable of sitting down, shutting up and being quiet” but I tried desperately hard to do so for the major portion of my life.
The most difficult part of this journey has been “letting go”. The thing that has been so hard to let go has been that image of the good, compliant, successful person I tried so hard to be. I have been trying to get away from my “evil” nature and become someone who is righteous. I have tried to “focus”, to stay within the lines, to be orderly and disciplined. Mostly, I’ve done all of these things to please everyone else and make everyone happy. I think it’s time for me to just BE happy.