Navigating Mental Wellness: Understanding Neurodiversity and Self-Kindness

5 mins read

Presented by BetterHelp.

In the mental wellness space, neurodiversity can sometimes be overlooked. Although neurodivergent diagnoses differ from mental health concerns, there are often aspects of the diagnosis that can present mental health challenges for some people. 

For anyone diagnosed with a condition or disorder, self-esteem challenges can arise. Coping with a diagnosis and understanding how to navigate life in the face of feeling different can affect some people’s self-concept.

When addressing self-esteem as a neurodivergent person, self-kindness can be helpful. Let’s explore how embracing neurodiversity and cultivating self-kindness can significantly impact our overall well-being.

Understanding Neurodiversity

The term neurodiversity refers to the diverse range of neurological variations among individuals. Although neurodiversity encompasses the entire range of neurological variations, it is often used to refer to diagnoses that include autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and more. 

According to an article published by The Chicago School, the term was coined in 1998 by a sociologist in Australia named Judy Singer. Singer referenced neurodiversity as a ‘’disability and social movement’’ spearheaded by people with autism. 

Since then, it has become a term that describes the spectrum of ways human beings differ neurologically.

The Strength Of Neurodiversity

It’s important to note that many people with neurological conditions possess skills and perspectives that make them an asset to society and the workforce. Certain traits associated with autism spectrum disorder such as mathematical ability and pattern recognition, memory, and hyperfocus can lead to great success in certain roles and positions.

Despite these potential strengths, people who feel differently may experience challenges interacting in society. This could include difficulty obtaining a job, engaging in social activities, maintaining romantic relationships, and navigating a life that can sometimes feel overstimulating and overwhelming. 

Additionally, because some traits associated with neurodiversity may interfere with the development of what the University of Bath termed ‘’positive social identity,’’ there may be a link between neurodivergent conditions and self-esteem.

While every person diagnosed as neurodivergent experiences the world very differently, the feeling of otherness may create some self-esteem challenges.

Impact of Addiction on Mental Health And Neurodivergent

The way people cope with stress and difficulties can make a significant difference in their overall mental health. Those aware of and choose healthy coping mechanisms may experience greater success in managing life’s challenges.

For many individuals, addiction to substances like alcohol can become a coping mechanism for both symptoms of neurodiversity and self-esteem issues that may arise from the effort to cope with their diagnosis. 

Coping with stress and things that feel out of control can be challenging for people under any conditions. When neurodivergence and stress combine, however, there are some potential particular concerns.

Specifically, those with impaired executive function can experience impulse control differently than otherly abled individuals. This may be because of the role executive function plays in the processing of information

Although some research suggests that people with autistic traits are less likely to start drinking, it did find a link between vulnerability to alcohol dependence and those who started drinking.

Tips To Foster Better Self-Esteem

Whether you are looking to increase your self-esteem to feel more confident and secure in life or whether you want to be kind to yourself while giving up alcohol, there are some tips that may help foster greater self-esteem.

Mindful Self-Compassion: 

Engage in mindfulness practices to develop self-awareness and compassion towards oneself. 

Seeking Support: 

Connect with supportive communities and seek professional guidance when needed. 

Healthy Coping Strategies: 

Explore healthy coping mechanisms such as journaling, exercise, and creative outlets to manage stress and emotions effectively. 

Love Yourself More

Embracing neurodiversity and practicing self-kindness can be valuable aspects of nurturing mental wellness. Individuals can embark on a journey toward improved mental well-being by understanding the diverse range of neurological variations and prioritizing self-compassion. 

When extra help is needed, reaching out to a mental health professional may help guide you to feeling better than ever.

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