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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Aberdeen chapter.

Today is just one of those days. The frustration is soul-crushing, the anger is painful, and I want to scream and cry. This feeling came from something easily avoided, infantilising. When someone treats you like a little kid when you tell them that you have ADHD, and they start speaking to you like you don’t understand. When you start trying to work through an overwhelming feeling, they start pressuring you saying, “what’s wrong?”, “why won’t you talk to me?”, “break it down, tell me what’s happening?”. Little hint, these never help.

Putting me on the spot like this when I’m already feeling anxious is like being asked a question in class that you don’t know the answer to. It’s so stressful and it’s assumed that something is wrong with me. I don’t need to be fixed. I need to work through my feelings and begin breaking them down myself. And this process could take days.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’m going to pace, fidget, and avoid eye contact. This is how I use up excess adrenaline and calm myself down. During these moments, I won’t be able to pinpoint what I’m feeling, I’ll just know it’s bad. But if someone tries to stop my leg from tapping, pacing, or forcing eye contact, I will only get worse. Some people can’t understand this and it’s incredibly frustrating.

My mentor for my ADHD reacted to my not being able to pinpoint my emotions by showing me flashcards designed for toddlers to learn facial expressions. Please tell me that you see the issue here. She assumed that since I couldn’t figure out my emotions when I was distressed, I needed to learn what different facial expressions meant. Not to mention that I have the attention span of a goldfish, so I will never get through all of them.

What can be helpful? When someone advocates for you. In a club, I was collecting my bag from the checking area. They had made a mistake and had put the wrong ticket onto my belongings, so they yell at me that the ticket I’d given them was for a jacket. I didn’t hear anything after this, I went cold and numb as my heart rate skyrocketed. I felt my friend’s hand on my arm trying to bring me back and saw my other friend yelling right back at them, trying to get my bag back. Finally, they find it and we escape to the street. At that moment, I had someone there for me, yelling when I couldn’t, and someone who understood that I couldn’t respond. I had two of the best advocates I could have hoped for.

So, if you have a friend with a funky brain like mine, remember, they aren’t dumb. They are different and need different kinds of support. The easiest way to find out how to help? ASK! Be their advocate. Being friends with someone with neurodivergence is easy when you learn how to communicate with them.

Pinkie promise.

Kiera Malham

Aberdeen '23

Hi, I'm a 4th-year Zoology student with a love for writing. I have far too many hobbies and love everything creative.