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I Blame TikTok

On discovering I'm neurodivergent

By Olivia BarkerPublished 8 months ago 3 min read

I, like so many other twenty somethings, have fallen victim to the clock app. Doom scrolling for hours a day just to feel something, joining the Eddie cult, and saving an unmentionable amount of posts that would likely alarm my therapist with or without context. It didn't take long for the algorithm to start putting neurodivergent content on my for you page.

At first I didn't think anything of it. No need to jump to conclusions over a "Put a finger down" video that overgeneralizes symptoms. Everyone knows that relatable accounts get more interactions. Still, video after video I watched on the neurospicy side of TikTok started me thinking about how I operate in the world. The ever-growing pile of clothes on my floor, my sink full of dishes, my mess of an office, my supervisor at work always asking me why certain tasks aren't getting done. I've always been a little disorganized, forgetful, bad at completing tasks. It never really affected my life. Until now.

Being an Early Interventionist has been the hardest job I've ever done. As rewarding as it is to help these families, the paperwork and file upkeep makes me want to rip my hair out. My schedule is a mess. My office is a mess. I forget to complete things. My supervisor is always on me. "Make a to-do list, put it on your virtual calendar, send yourself a text reminder, etc". I've tried all of these things. I have half filled planners collecting dust on my desk, a dry erase board sitting in the corner that was suppose to help me keep up with my visit frequency, half completed to-do lists littering the floor, virtual reminders that go unchecked. Nothing works for more than a week or two.

I cry myself to sleep. I have panic attacks. I beat myself up over how incompetent I am. I ask myself why everything seems to be so hard for me. Everyone else can do this. Why can't I do this? If I focus on anything too much my world falls apart. I'm not able to take care of myself. I have no motivation to do my job. Even the pay isn't enough of a motivator. All the videos say that it's a lack of dopamine that hinders my productivity. If it's not entertaining enough to keep my interest it won't get done.

For years I thought I had depression. I would skip classes in college to stay in bed, go days or weeks without showering or doing my hair or doing my laundry. I practically begged for a diagnosis and insisted I be given antidepressants. They worked for a few months then I began to slip again.

To top it off I've ghosted my therapist because I'm not sure I want to know. I'm not sure I want to go through another grieving process for my lost potential. I'm not sure I want to rewire my brain with another medication just so I can function like everyone else. I'm burnt out and more heartbroken than ever. So I just keep scrolling. I keep scrolling until I find something that cheers me up for a few seconds. Until I find a sound that plays in mind head all day (Chrissy Wake Up) instead of the mile long list of things I haven't done. I scroll instead of folding my laundry. I scroll instead of texting my friends back. I scroll instead of calling my mom. I scroll instead of doing any of the hobbies that used to bring me joy. I scroll instead of completing any of my work responsibilities.

I could blame being born a woman. I could blame society for shaming me into masking my symptoms. Mostly I blame TikTok for making me aware of all the ways that I'm not neurotypical.

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Comments (12)

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  • Kim3 months ago


  • Lindsey Donat6 months ago

    I downloaded tiktok at the start of the pandemic, and I made fun of my husband for so long because he refused to jump on the bandwagon. Looking back, I'm glad he didn't give in to the pressure because I feel everything you mentioned here. The other issue with social media is it reminds me of how screwed up capitalism can be. Some people are making millions of dollars from being discovered on tiktok, and others, like us, are using tiktok as a source of procrastination and dopamine, spiraling further into mental health decline. I hope things get better, friend.

  • Evelyn Winters7 months ago

    Wow! Just…wow. I’ve struggled with the exact issues you’ve laid out and to see there’s someone else out there who’s shares my struggles is affirming in so many ways. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Sam Jamal7 months ago

    I can relate on so many levels! thank you for sharing this piece

  • Joseph June7 months ago

    I feel the mutuality in here Nice words 👍

  • Al7 months ago

    i love this and... I can relate

  • Maervel7 months ago

    I enjoyed reading your work. Sending you lots of strength and hope that you find what bring light to your neurobeautiful soul.

  • Chezney Martin7 months ago

    Extremely relatable, thank you for being brave enough to share in such an immersive way.

  • Stacey Vella8 months ago

    Never have I related to something so much, oh my god. What a great read, thanks for sharing. Also pls, 'neurospicy i my new favourite word. Seriously though, the accuracy of this is astounding. Who needs to be neurotypical??? Besides is anyone??? Maybe we're all wired a little differently & that's absolutely fine! Just have to find a way to navigate this bullshit in a way that works for ourselves :)

  • Harbor Benassa8 months ago

    Excellent work, very well written! You captured and conveyed your feelings in a unique way. I truly hope you can find peace with any diagnosis you do or don't receive. Doom scrolling to avoid painful feelings seems like a way so many of us are coping, and it makes me wonder how healthy social media is overall now that algorithms are becoming so advanced and content is thrown at us at a speed we've never experienced before.

  • Kat Thorne8 months ago

    "Neurotypical" is such a joke though. It implies that there's one way that the brain should be, when we all know that no two people are alike. Everyone has areas that they succeed in, and areas where they fall short. Why do we criticize anyone who doesn't live their lives according to the ideals society dictates? The truth is, no one does, some are just better at hiding the ways in ways in which they diverge from "the norm"

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