Ever noticed that you make a heap of plans and then the day they are meant to go ahead you just can't? It's not being sick, or not wanting to it's that you just can't. As a result, explaining it to the friends you have just broken another commitment too, feels awful. We might text them and tell a white lie, 'sorry not well, another time' or we might simply not respond.
The fear and shame of them judging or worse being nice offering to help when you ' couldn't' catch up. Then the hours giving yourself a hard time that they won't like you anymore and you have lost another friend.
This all may feel heartbreaking, which is why after working with lots of people who are AuADHD'ers, we have developed scripts to help in this situation.
What is a script?
Your script can be created as text or practiced and delivered in person there is no wrong way to do it. You can also modify it as you need. For some people who are neurodivergent or have a late diagnosis the script practice has been life-changing.
An example of this was during Covid when I tried this with a friend. Her response, "This happens to me too. I just didn't know how to explain it." It completely changed our friendship and made it easier to be honest and genuine.
When we talk to people about creating a 'script' to help explain their experience it sometimes feels like we are asking people to hide their authentic self. That is not the case rather we want to work with individuals to help them verbalise their experiences. We hope that it allows others to see the challenges they face and how this invisible disability impacts on every facet of their life.
Knowing that it's hard to explain experiences and verbalise the challenges we have spoken to our AuDHD'er friends and have some examples to share (with full permission and informed consent of course!).
Maybe you have a similar experience and haven't known how to explain it? Maybe you have a loved one or a co-worker who experiences challenges and you want to understand why 'simple things' are so challenging. The hope is that this blog allows others to find examples of similar or the same experiences to share and help begin the discussion on normalising neurodiversity and provide a framework for the script for those that need additional scaffolding.
Examples of Scripts
I couldn't sleep because the cuticle skin on my nails was too long and frustrated me. "I couldn't sleep because I was feeling really sensory, that happens to me sometimes"
I hadn't moved in hours but then my teeth started to annoy me I had to floss immediately.
"When I get irritated by my teeth I have to fix it immediately or I can't focus on anything else. I'll be right back"
I'd like to be in a relationship but I have a list of things I must complete on the weekend like cleaning my house.
" I'd love to go to the movies but if I don't mop I'm going to be so agitated that the house isn't "clean that I won't be able to enjoy myself. Can we go tomorrow?"
Yes I was mopping at 11pm on a Saturday night, it was big shower day and I had to wait until it was late enough that I'd be tired after the big shower to go to sleep
"I need to work myself up to wash my hair and shave my legs, so I need to plan my shower time so I can make sure I do it at a specific time so I can go straight to sleep after" All my shoes still need to go to the shoe repair, all my shoes are annoying me and the only pair I like need to be resoling yet still can't convince my brain to get me there during open hours.
"Hey friend, can you take my shoes to the shoe repair shop for me? I can't get it done and it's becoming a problem"
The teaspoon just doesn't feel right, can't use it.
For me, if I have something on at 7pm I'm stuck and can't do anything else for the rest of the day, like ok so I have to be there at 7, but it takes 30 minutes so have to be ready by 6.30, but the train timetable and walking means 6pm but I'll give myself extra time, 5.30, must be ready by 5.30. Have to shower, make up dress, ok that shouldn't take longer than 1.5 hours, I'll give myself 2 just to be on the safe side. Great must start getting ready by 3.30. Become super overwhelmed that I'm going to be late that I get paralysed and end up spending hours on YouTube, watching videos in a towel on the side of my bed, I'm completely useless for the whole day. "Hey, can you help me write out a plan to make sure I am on going to come out on time tomorrow night. Can you text me at 3pm and gently remind me what tasks I need to do"
Drive to the supermarket, can't find an 'easy' carpark, just leave, groceries aren't that important.
"When I get frustrated or overwhelmed will avoid doing everyday tasks. Using online options is an accomodation that I sometimes need and helps me save spoons for other tasks".
I lost the pen I was using and I didn't move, how the heck does that happen? Script to myself "Losing things does not make me a bad person, I just need more pens"
Goblin.AI has an AI tool called Formalizer. Add in what you want to say and this tool uses AI to make the text more formal. A great hack for asking for workplace accommodation.
Hopefully, these examples will resonate with you, if you wanted to share your story (de-identified) our friendly team would happily accept a DM. We will make sure you're not identifiable and add it to our list of experiences.
It's important to know you are not alone and that these experiences for neurodivergent individuals are normal. If you want help developing the language to explain your experience we would love to chat.
Reach out to us here if you would like help creating and planning how to use scripts.