Dangers of Neurotypical Diagnosis of Neurodivergent Labels by Keshav Porwal

The soul of the below conversation lies in the phenomenon described below. As we shall discuss, the connection would be made to the context.

The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, otherwise known as the frequency illusion or recency bias, is a situation where something you recently learned about suddenly seems to appear everywhere. There are two reasons for this phenomenon - first, selective attention, which means your brain is subconsciously seeking out more information on the subject. Second, confirmation bias, which means every time you see something related to the subject, your brain tells you that it's proof the subject has gained popularity overnight.

All those who are reading this blog post have most likely been introduced to labels like Autism and ADHD. These labels have helped us a lot in self-awareness, acknowledging our challenges, and also finding our strengths. But, all of this comes with a big neurological cost. Let me explain that.

The label is biased to only enable a conversation which is heavily inclined to talk about the traits that are uncomfortable for neurotypicals. Hence, as we get to know that we have the stated traits, this gives rise to huge amount of stereotypical behavior.

I believe that we have a lot more in common with neurotypicals than we can imagine, but since the narrative of the label is biased to support the traits unfavourable to those who created the label in the first place (society), we often relate to the “alien” or the “misfit” narrative.

Yes, we do have a lot of discrepancies and many of them will last for life, unable to be fully solved, but this must not prevent us from making efforts to find our fit, and focus on finding common grounds with the typicals rather than focusing on the narratives.

Why is being diagnosed a reason for slow success?

The power of a name.

The power of naming a variable in our life is a double-edged sword. It adds a form to the perspective or an idea, giving it more form to exist and be seen.

When you see most successful neurodivergent people, when it comes to those who have contributed via entrepreneurship mainly in this economic world, these people are those who discovered the label after they reached very close to the heights they have reached.

And we have not heard of many of those kind that are at the top of the pop culture, financial scale, those who have been identified as neurodivergent and labelled by the current terms (which are emotionally  biased as I will keep saying).

A clear sign of where this is leading us is to a paradox, we can say, which applies to many across the spectrum, that “diagnosis also has its own disadvantages” or “it slows down our well being”.

Do you remember the phenomenon where you want to go by a road and, coz it’s the first time, you just go and don't realise how much time it takes? However, the next time you do know how it ends and hence your mind is busy making comparisons rather than enjoying in the now, and feel that the time is stretched? This is what we neurodivergent people experience, many a times, after being labelled. Though it helps us feel safe and belonged, it helps us stay with our negative perspective of “we will remain a misfit… we mess up when we talk to people… my executive function is not good, hence I am going to be a mess here and it's okay.”

It's a paradox that we experience. Acceptance with current traits (biased) and reality does bring us some mental relief but also prevents growth and happiness in the long run many a times. This has to be balanced.

How can it be balanced?

By realising the truth that “those who get up and move, rather than whine, are happier.” Here, I don't mean having high aims, it could be some small and humble lifestyle. I just mean to say move forward to a life that we feel we deserve, instead of staying for long int the short-term, in-the-now happiness of just staying with our defects.

The other dangers of labelling:

The medical field is fishy. What I mean by it is just like the police earn because of thieves, same way the therapists to psychiatrists earn from making us feel we have a defect. Drug us or even pretend to be good but also see their benefit. Afterall, we are all humans trying to survive longer than the other.

Conclusion:

I remember myself being less “autistic”, less draining, less focused on how bad I feel and how messy my life is, being overly self-conscious in social situations a few years back, before the label introduction.

I was able to socialise better and focus on how much we have in common over where I am messy and scientific reasons for them.

We must realise the label is psychologically  not entirely good and we must realize how similar we are. We also feel bad when we are emotionally hurt, we also depend on survival instincts, we also can be street-smart finding our own ways.

Rather than believing that the label is chained down all our life.

Remember, it was given by a team of neurotypicals, and when it comes to psychological labels, it's deeply biased whether or if it is a discomfort for the examiner or not.

In the same way, when we advocate about how neurotypicals must not treat us and how they don't understand us, we must realise that, in a way, we have based ourselves on a half-truth that they have stated themselves.

~ Keshav Porwal

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