AJ's User Manual

Medicine, Masks, and Meltdowns

Depending on your own neurospicy flavor, this week’s episode may be a must listen. We’re talking all about how medicines eff with our ability to mask, the different ways people in the neurodivergent community view masking, and all the overloads/meltdowns—and even this word is a controversy in the community—that come as a result of life with AND without meds. 

On (and off) medication

We are open and honest about our diagnoses and supports that work – or don’t – for us. Molly share her new psychiatrists reaction to previous diagnoses and proposed treatments: “…there was a giant pause and big eyeballs…” (2:19). She goes on to explain how starting a new medication has felt like “I was masking more than I knew and the medication has ripped the mask off” (2:59). And Angela talks about their chronic discontinuation of medication in the past because of the different sensory profile that is created by medication which they say, “we have to address those sensory changes…because of the our brain is processing input [differently] and, therefore, our output is going to be different as well (7:42).

Parent guilt, medication, early intervention, and accessibility

Molly says, “it’s hard because there’s still some of that parent guilt that I struggle with…Did we do everything?…It still felt insignificant” (16:44) which leads into a conversation about the privilege of knowledge so that more families had access to early intervention services. Angela adds “it shouldn’t matter, like socio economic status shouldn’t matter. No, the color of your skin shouldn’t matter, your gender shouldn’t matter. But it does all of these things play into accessibility” (21:22).

Ultimately, “What’s the point of having information if you’re not willing to share it with others?” (Angela, 24:50).

Meltdowns on TikTok

We respond to Jeremy Andrew Davis’ TikTok where he says that the term “meltdown” should be replaced with “overload.” We love Jeremy, don’t get us wrong, but it doesn’t mean that we agree with everything. This is one of those times. Molly says, “I get overloaded. That is what happens. But after the overload comes the meltdown” (24:51) and Angela admits that the constant thinking about the appropriate word is exhausting, leads to overload, and eventually contributes to meltdowns of her own. She says, “I am so fucking tired of the arguing and the bickering and the bitching and the shoulding about words. Because I can’t keep up” (27:24). That’s some real 💩 right there!

To mask or not to mask…

That really is the question. They were on a role with controversial topics today, so why not keep at it, right? Some in our community say, “drop all the masks.” Others say, “no, that’s not in our best interest.” There is no right answer here and each of us must choose for ourselves what works for us in the environments that we are in. Like Molly at the grocery store, as much as she wanted to wear a mask to help support her, it just wasn’t happening this time (44:37). The energy wasn’t there. No mask, buh bye! And other times, they divert energy in order to minimize tics, but they know there are consequences for doing so (45:57). Angela adds, “that’s the thing that I think is missing from the conversation, is it’s not an either, or there’s this whole middle ground” (46:46).