Feeling not enough AND too much, all at the same time.

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This article explores the neurodivergent paradox of how we can simultaneously feel ‘too much’ and ‘not enough’.

Feelings of not being enough are very common and I often see this in my clients. And neurodivergent clients are no exception. That feeling of not being enough can pervade every area of your life. Not feeling like you’re enough for your relationships, your work colleagues, your family. It can eat away at your self esteem, making you feel worthless.

Existing alongside this though for neurodivergent people, there tends to also be a feeling of also being too much for others.

Perhaps because you’ve tended to have many miscommunications or misunderstandings in your life. Maybe you’ve picked up on the subtle (or not so subtle) eyebrow raises or little sighs as someone expresses their exasperation at you. Perhaps it’s a string of friendships or relationships where you’ve been told you’re too hyper, too quirky, too loud, or too chatty. Over time, all these experiences add up to feeling like you must just be too much for people. You feel like you just need to ignore your own needs, minimise yourself, and be what others want you to be – and then you’ll be more palatable.

It seems hard to believe that both can exist at the same time but I see it time and time again.

Feeling too much and not enough all at the same time can be tortuous. Like you need to tone yourself down and step up all at once – so conflicting. And underneath you end up not knowing who you really are.

What can I do?

Thankfully, this is something that can be worked on.

Firstly just acknowledging this is the case can be powerful. Self awareness is key to start to uncover how you really feel.

Then learning that this paradox has arisen largely because of your view of yourself – you don’t feel you measure up. But, especially if never felt you really fit in, you’ve most likely been measuring yourself against a neurotypical benchmark.

The answer then is to learn more about where you do fit in. Learning more about your neurodivergence, can help you foster a more positive self identity and work towards feeling ‘enough’.

My Neuro cards were designed to do help you do just that. These therapy cards for exploring ND are available on Etsy now and offer a unique way to reflect on your neurodivergence. Can be used by therapists, coaches, teachers, or individuals looking to learn more about themselves or their loved ones. See my Etsy shop for Neuro Cards and more.

Amy is a counsellor specialising in neurodivergence and the founder of Newglade Counselling. She has created a team of neurodivergent counsellors who work online and face to face around Canterbury, Kent. Amy also provides parent support sessions, clinical supervision and delivers training in therapy and neurodivergence. For more information about our services contact us here.

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