I'm here to propose what I believe to be the Neurodivergent Song of the Summer for 2023, and I'd love to get you on board. If you aren't familiar with the artist AURORA, she is a Norwegian singer and songwriter whose voice you might recognize most from Disney's Frozen II, as the mysterious spirit singing to Elsa. She has had three albums, each of them coming across my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist, much to my joy. In addition to her ethereal sound and creative look that speaks to the theatre kid within me, her songs frequently tackle topics that speak to the counselor in me, like identity, mental health, and social issues.
Whitney Storey Blog
In the online communities I am a part of, there has been an increase in the conversations happening related to growing up in the church as an autist. For my entire adulthood, I have been actively processing the experiences I had in the church growing up, the experiences I now attribute to my autism, and my sense of self - but always separately. It's only recently, at least partially because of the community of other adult autists who have been on the same journey, that I have started to consider the intricate overlap between all of these experiences and parts of me in a way that actually makes much more sense.
Working with parents has been my niche for a long time now, and I have been a parent myself for nearly ten years (which blows my mind). Over these years I have really found myself relating to and working particularly well with certain groups of what I consider to be "forgotten parents." These are parents we (as a society) tend to either not notice or purposefully ignore. The first of these forgotten parents is a group I happen to be a member of: neurodivergent parents.
I have been having so many conversations lately with friends, family, and clients about neurodivergence. Neurodivergence has become my latest special interest (more on that in a later blog), and one of the questions I keep hearing from others is: how do I learn to unmask?! I have to admit that I have not been the most helpful counselor in those moments as I, too, have been wondering that very thing. Up until very recently, the answer has been a very distressed, "I don't know!" I have some good news, though - I think I finally have some real advice.
I can count on one hand the number of times I, as a cis-White woman, have been a minority in any space I have been while in the United States. Growing up in this way means that while I was aware of some differences that exist between myself and my non-White peers, I never really came face-to-face with the ripple effects of this way of living until my young-adult years.
Once a week I prepare to go to a place that most people probably never imagine themselves choosing to go - my local jail. I have been going to the jail once a week for over a decade, and it is so much a part of my normal routine that I often forget how unusual it is - that is, until I see looks of surprise, confusion, and concern from people after hearing me say, "I'm on my way to the jail," or ,"I just got out of the jail."
October of 2022 was a huge month for me. It was in this month that I finally earned my certification in Perinatal Mental Health, which was really the culmination of a decade of work in mental health and in my own journey as a mother. Naturally, I have been wanting to celebrate with the folks around me, but I have noticed one important barrier to this - people just aren't quite sure what a perinatal mental health specialist even is! Let's break it down.