My Top Stories from August & September

My five best-performing articles from the past two months


I am very excited to share that one of my articles was selected as a Staff Pick right here on Medium!

This is particularly timely and important because I spent the entire summer camping (therefore not working, therefore not earning an income), so I’m working really hard to try to replace that missing income with earnings from my writing.

I’m so grateful to have been selected, and am grateful for everyone who supports my writing. With that happy news, I will share with you my top five stories from August and September, 2022.

5) Most Social Norms Are Arbitrary

Social expectations and making room for people to just be themselves

Somewhere along the line, people have invented arbitrary ideas about what constitutes polite behaviour, and it seems people largely accept these as standards by which to live (and judge others) without much critical thought.

Being polite means not holding people to your individual ideals, and respecting that everyone’s needs and experiences differ — some may differ significantly from your own, but that does not mean one is superior to the other.

Being polite means not holding others to your individual ideals, and respecting that everyone’s needs and experiences differ.

Some social norms are perhaps helpful, but many are entirely arbitrary. Worse, some are borne of classism, ableism, and neuronormativity.

4) Autism “Levels” Are Still Functioning Labels

Both are inaccurate and useless at best, harmful at worst

The Autistic community has explained (and explained some more) how and why functioning labels are unhelpful, inaccurate, and often harmful.

Many just ignore us, but those who do listen seem to understand the words, but not the concept. Instead of using labels like “high functioning” and “low functioning”, we moved on to phrases like support needs and autism levels.

They’re the same damn thing.

This puts the spotlight on the wrong problem (as usual): the Autistics. We’re the problem because people can’t put us into neat little boxes or diagnostic categories.

We’re the problem, not the fact that Autistics (along with many other disabled and marginalized groups) can’t access the supports we need, and aren’t given the same opportunities as the majority population.

Yes, let us argue amongst ourselves about who gets which label, while the institutions which continue to oppress us continue doing so unfettered and unaccountable.

I’m sure they won’t mind.

3) Something You Should Know About Effexor

Speak to your primary healthcare provider about the possible side effects of this SNRI

A few important points before you read:

  • I am not a medical professional. Please speak to your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about your medication.
  • I am not anti-medication. I take medication for anxiety and ADHD and they have improved the quality of my life significantly.
  • I do not wish to fear-monger. I still take venlafaxine daily and still believe it helps my anxiety.

Everyone will respond differently to SSRI and SNRI medications, however it is the responsibility of any prescribing physician to ensure their patient is making an informed decision.

My doctor did not do this. He did not discuss with me of the risks and benefits of my medication before prescribing it.

2) Why OCD Is (Thought To Be) Highly Comorbid With ADHD

What Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, ADHD, and Autism have in common

O.C.D. is not always “I have to wash my hands and check locks constantly”, although these can be compulsions people feel compelled to perform.

O.C.D. is also:

  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Needing things to be a certain way (i.e. symmetry, order, checking)
  • Feeling as though one’s thoughts or actions will cause bad things to happen

OCD is believed to be a common co-occurring condition in people with ADHD and is associated with persistent thoughts and urges that cause marked anxiety or distress.

Although more recent research is beginning to challenge these assumptions, my article describes some of the similarities and differences between ADHD, autism, and OCD, and explain how they overlap.

1) Why ADHD And Autism Can Look Like Trauma

They are more connected and similar than you might think

Near the end of last year, I wrote an article outlining many of the ways in which we understand ADHD to be primarily caused by genetics. My writing was sparked by Gabor Maté’s insistence that ADHD is caused by trauma.

It’s not.

There’s no evidence of a causal link, but there is a correlation.

My article explains why someone might conflate ADHD, autism, and trauma: Why there are so many similarities, and how one can look like the other.

Honourable Mention

As I mentioned, one of my articles was selected as a Staff Pick right here on Medium!

Screen shots provided by author

My Hearing Loss Is Also My Gain

Deaf culture, Deaf pride, and Deaf gain

Why it’s inappropriate to ask a Deaf person to “use their voice”.

One summer, a friend invited me to go to a Deaf hockey camp where I experienced a mixture of emotions. At first, I was overwhelmed. ASL was the first language of most of the campers. Their signing was so quick, and I had been learning for less than a year.

Once I adapted, I was enthralled. I had originally registered to stay at the camp for one week but volunteered to work the following weeks when the younger campers attended and ended up staying the entire summer. And the next, and the one after that.

I very quickly became fluent in ASL and fell in love with the Deaf community and Deaf culture. It was a relief to not have to speak, to strain to read lips or to strain to hear something that wasn’t quite loud enough. Everything was loud. Everything was visual. Everything was beautiful.

Deaf Gain has allowed me to learn a beautiful, rich, complex language. I have made amazing friends in the Deaf community and have been privileged to experience the joys of Deaf culture.

Sure, I will use my voice. I’ll use my voice to speak out against ableism, eugenics, oppression, and language deprivation.

When you join medium, as a member you’ll have access to unlimited reads for only $5 per month. If you use my referral link, I’ll earn a small commission, and you’ll earn my undying gratitude.

If you’d prefer give a one-time tip, you can support my writing on Ko-Fi.

Published by Neurodiversity MB

Jillian has Child and Youth Work diploma as well as a BA in Psychology. Jillian worked on the front lines of Social Services agencies from 2003 - 2012. Jillian has taken numerous continuing education courses and has attended various workshops focused on supporting neurodiverse children, in particular children with ADHD.

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