When living life as an AuDHD (Autistic and ADHD) person, we often find ourselves falling prey to the propaganda of Western society’s neoliberalism. The enforced belief that one should be self-reliant and contribute to the capitalist machine is one that leads to the victimisation of most, if not all, of us. It’s easy to get caught in tackling the surface level ableism. However, we must dig deeper and fight the roots of our oppression in order to begin building a society we can thrive in.
The politicised existence of AuDHD people
When considering the nature of being AuDHD and/or otherwise neurodivergent, it is necessary to consider that we are not allowed to simply exist. As a marginalised community, most every aspect of our lives is a political matter.
Government welfare schemes decide if you can afford to feed yourself and your family, government health departments decide if you should have equal access to lifesaving treatments, and if so, how much you should pay. If you break the law, the government dictates your experience of the criminal justice system. If you are terminally ill, the government dictates the decisions you can make around the end of your life. When you are AuDHD, much of your autonomy in life is shaped by government legislation.
The weaponisation of our politicised existence
While your life is being dictated by those with no experience of it, we have the proverbial carrot dangled in front of us. Assimilate and be free. To some this might seem like an attractive option. If we were to just give in, less of our life would be dictated. Again, this is a mistruth.
The politics of the pathology paradigm are built upon neuronormativity. That unattainable summit of neurotypical performance that those in power ask us to achieve. Through the political control and oppression of neurodivergent embodiment, we are given the choice to deny ourselves; live inauthentically and be provided for, or be true to ourselves and relinquish our agency over our own lives.
To be neurodivergent in Western society is to accept that you are an afterthought, an anomaly to be corrected. As much as we threaten the status quo, the status quo threatens us. Thus, the spectre of legislative intrusion into our lives becomes a weapon to force us into the neurotypical box.
The paradoxical nature of being AuDHD
Politicised attitudes towards autism and ADHD are paradoxical in nature. The Autistic person should be less rigid and structured, while the ADHD person should stick to a routine. The Autistic person should socialise more naturally while the ADHD person should talk less.
No matter the contradictions we live with as AuDHD people, one thing is clear. Society wants us to silence our neurodivergence. To speak neurodivergently, be it with mouth or body, spoken or written, no matter the medium, society wishes for our silence.
Liberating AuDHD embodiment
One could be forgiven for thinking that to liberate AuDHD and neurodivergent people requires the removal of ableism from government. It’s more complex than that. Neurodivergent people are victims of complex systems of bigotry. Rarely are we only impacted by ableism. We face racism, homophobia and transphobia, ableism, sanism. This is not an exhaustive list.
To liberate AuDHD’ers living in a society built on colonialism and white supremacy, we must form new foundations to our society. We must build a place where all are accepted, rather than the privileged few in our culture whose existence is not seen as a disorder. We must embrace those seen as a pathology of humanity and empower each other to make something better than what we have currently.
It is not a disorder to be human. The world deserves better than that which the privileged few offer us.