I’ve noticed a couple of different phenomenon in the neurodiverse/disability community.
There’s a tendency by some to always be the one who suffers more, is more effected by their difference and must always get the most attention or sympathy. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those who don’t feel as if they’ve suffered “enough” to feel as if they can take part in the conversation or share their story.
While people on the severe end of the spectrum should have their stories honored, those on the more mild end also face challenges. In the story lines of our lives, we’ve all suffered at the hands of society and/or our own bodies.
This type of thing is interesting, because it really highlights how people who carry the same label can have such dramatically different experiences and needs. It’s also interesting to see how we internalize what we go through and apply it to how we treat others.
I had a relatively traumatic school experience in comparison to a lot of dyslexic kids, especially those in school today. That doesn’t mean today’s dyslexics face any less hardship than I did. It just means they’re facing different challenges.
By the same token, my grandmother and father had a harder time than I did when they were in school. In those days, dyslexia wasn’t well known. In my grandmother’s case, it was still thought only boys could have dyslexia, and she was seen as just another poor, stupid girl.
Fortunately, those attitudes have changed to a degree, but the scars will linger forever.
We’ve come a long way since then. It happened through hard work, open story sharing and cultural attitude shifts. Those changes are still happening.
Humanity’s filled with a sharp contrast between strife ridden turmoil and beauty filled kindness. As long as there are contradictory ideals, that truth will never change.
It doesn’t matter where you fall on the difference spectrum when it comes to having your experiences validated.
If you don’t struggle as much as others, your story still has value and we can all still learn from it. If you have to fight to work with your weaknesses more than most people, your story still has value and we can all still learn from it.
There’s no monopoly on difficulty.
Those who feel delicate should be given the support they need to function, but that doesn’t mean they should never be challenged. By that same token, those who haven’t experienced quite the same pain as others should also be free to share what they’ve gone through without judgement.
There are no prizes in the Suffering Olympics. We’re all at different points in our personal growth, and when interacting in a huge forum like the internet, it’s wise to remember that.
In talking to others, reading stories from different life paths and respecting each individual as a fellow human being, we may discover we share more in common than we could have dreamed.
We may also discover solutions that will work for a large cross-hatch of the population. What’s not to like about that?