Brain board Nov Notes

Clifton StrengthsFinder – because we probably already know our weaknesses (I changed “flaws” to “weakness” because it isn’t a flaw, just a difference), and this can help us focus on our strengths.

Project intake form

How to find your strengths – know what other people struggle with that seems easy to you. Things that annoy you that other people do/don’t do might also be strengths that you don’t recognize in yourself, so instead you’re judging them based on your self expectations.

Be aware of the purpose of a process, if it loses connection to its purpose, it might stop serving a purpose. – This is a larger topic, think religion and the things learned, taught, delegation of tasks/knowledge maintenance – things science is figuring out that were known and practiced already.

Who discussed, what was decided and why? Decision log

Books: 5 dysfunctions, I don’t have wings, why can’t I fly? you can heal your life by Louise Hay, The dictionary of obscure sorrows

Decision trees, flow chart for visual of decision making – sharing thought process

ACT, Radical Acceptance – becoming aware of what the current reality is so you can move from a place of strength/knowledge

some might call it accepting your limitations

Why not say instead “accept your current limitations”

accept your current challenges/struggles

understand your current struggles

understand your current strengths and struggles

post partum anxiety

anxiety management – reassurance harms, asking ?s and support or encouragement helps

what are you anxious about? why?

cope ahead

avoidance increases anxiety – face your fears

notice the worry, don’t (try to) eliminate (ignore) the worry (ACT)

Focus your attention with intention

sign up for special events opt in role

learn to feel your feelings, emotional granularity linked to better emotional control/regulation

themes of community and support

you have anxiety

no, I’m just stressed

yes, that’s anxiety

Burnout is emotional exhaustion

name it to tame it – naming your emotions – acknowledging them is how you control them

maladaptive means the skill or tool was useful, but isn’t anymore

codependency – people try to fix the other person’s emotions because they are lacking the coping skills to just sit with them

moving from surviving to thriving

Year end review? No – month end review, rate days – or weekly reviews compiled monthly, yearly plan

It’s so hard, to say

I love me.

In my head I had to use the tune of “I just called to say” to help me write that. Breaking it up helped too. Saying I love you is easy.

Saying I love me feels weird and kinda wrong.

I feel so uncomfortable when people praise me. I’m not accustomed to it and my first thought is that I’m selfish because

I helped them to feel good.

Here’s the question I don’t want to answer. What am I not doing by helping someone else? I know that helping someone else is the easy path, so what path should I be on instead?

I think it’s following my routine and trusting the system. So for now, it’s 6am, so I need to take my ADHD meds and go back to sleep.

Thanks for listening Me.

Is Narcolepsy Just…

ADHD? Which I think is just being Highly Sensitive and having impaired sleep?

I didn’t know that sub-optimal levels of arousal could make you tired/sleepy/ or even fall asleep.

I used to hate driving because I’d have to pull over, get out and do jumping jacks to stay alert sometimes. Then I came across something (to link if I find it again) that suggested it might be ADHD. I got diagnosed and now it’s the number one reason I take amphetamine medication – no more getting tired while driving! Caffeine never worked for me as far as alertness.

Turns out driving was SUPER BORING for me. The only thing as bad or worse was trying to read Huckleberry Finn – I kept passing out every time I tried in high school.

If I engaged my brain with interesting stuff, then I wasn’t paying enough attention to driving and could only go somewhere I could get to on autopilot. Short drives were ok, but longer ones not so much.

Neurodiversity Advocacy

Here are some great advocates with amazing communities – though some of them may not recognize that being an advocate for Neurodiversity is what they are doing. Just by being their authentic selves, being neurodivergent (again even if not recognized), and welcoming others to share their diversity of experiences, they are showing that diversity is not only ok, it is beautiful, incredible and resilient.

The Human Animal

Wait, you think humans aren’t animals? We certainly aren’t minerals or plants…..

If we weren’t an especially fancy type of animal, then animal studies and models would be worthless.

This research showed how all temperament types responded to the stimuli the same way, but different temperaments move through the responses at different times. He commented “that the most basic inherited difference … was how soon they reached this shutdown point and that the quick-to-shut-down have a fundamentally different type of nervous system.”[27]

He is known in some fields primarily for his work in classical conditioning.

Ivan Pavlov – Wikipedia

So, ND/HSPs have a fundamentally different type of nervous system (including the brain) is what I would take away from this.

Also, if you have an issue with “Pavlovian Training” and consider it being treated like a dog…. you are choosing for yourself an interpretation that is only going to make your life harder and more painful.

Another name for it is classical conditioning, which is a behavioral procedure in which a potent stimulus is paired with a previously neutral stimulus.

It is used for things like ADHD treatment and in life hacks like Atomic Habits by James Clear who describes it like this: “All habits proceed through four stages in the same order: cue, craving, response, and reward.”

“It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” ~ Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Will Durant

“Change is not popular; we are creatures of habit as human beings. ‘I want it to be the way it was.’ But if you continue the way it was there will be no ‘is.'” ~ Robin Williams

“Man is largely a creature of habit, and many of his activities are more or less automatic reflexes from the stimuli of his environment.” ~ G. Stanley Hall

“We are all creatures of habit. We can do most things without even thinking about them; our bodies take charge and do them for us.” ~ Earl Nightingale

“It is hard to let old beliefs go. They are familiar. We are comfortable with them and have spent years building systems and developing habits that depend on them. Like a man who has worn eyeglasses so long that he forgets he has them on, we forget that the world looks to us the way it does because we have become used to seeing it that way through a particular set of lenses. Today, however, we need new lenses. And we need to throw the old ones away.” ~ Kenichi Ohmae

“I’m a creature of habit and I like to stay in my own little comfort zone, but you have to reach out of that sometimes. And when you do that, you grow.” ~ LaToya Jackson


The shaping of character mimics the smallest detail of habit; humans are creatures that learn from observation. Each little thing you do, and each thing you allow yourself to become desensitized to matters. They create you – whether you know it consciously or not. — Grace Sara

Quote by Grace Sara: “The shaping of character mimics the smallest de…” (

Do overs – Practice the pause

Talking with How to ADHD folks about impulsivity and not having the ability to pause, I was asked what I meant when I said:

You have to practice the pause to develop it. ​If you never do, you’ll never have it.

I use “do overs” because the first step is being able to notice when you do it. So if I say something impulsively and realize after, I come back and ask for a do over. ​So they say the same thing again, I pause, make sure I understand (repeat in my own words or ask questions) and then speak. We also use “raise hand when you have something you want to say” instead of blurting it out – so you can signal to the person you have a question or response and they can pause or wrap up sooner. And now we’re trying finger to lips or chin if we’re still talking but pausing to think, finger to ear to remember that we’re listening and to raise a hand before speaking.

You need to build/reinforce the neural pathways by practicing and roleplay is a great way to do so.

Having friends who are willing and able to hold you accountable and help you catch yourself can speed up the process. We also use code phrases like “yes dear” – which we never say except when the other person is being unreasonable and anything else is likely to upset them more.

Wood Fidget Working

Discussion on woodworking and needing to sand something:

the best way to do it was honestly just to run my fingers all over it and feel for burrs and rough spots. Doing so was deeply satisfying


I just got into woodworking because of this, I’ve been picking up little bits of wood and either using a small file, fingernail, rock, stick, whatever I have available to work on them. I figure I can make a “fidget wood” (driftwood) mobile when I have enough of them. 😀 It’s so satisfying!

I have been trying to do it outside so I don’t have to worry about dust, but now I’m thinking a mini pouch – like a drawstring bag that opens flat – to store the wood & tool in and catch the dust when working it indoors would be good. I think I recall research about touching wood vs manmade stuff that I’m going to go look for now that I’m thinking of it…..

I also like to use pet nail grinders, nail drills or a Dremel (heavier, so that’s why I like the nail ones) for when I want to work on something, but my fingers or hands are too tired.

I’m thinking I might try making some worry wood, like a worry stone, just to carry around in a pocket to rub.

Identifying Autism

Recognizing something is the first step towards understanding & acceptance.

In infants:

  • Doesn’t play the drop game (drop something – often a utensil at meal time – a hundred times for you to pick up one hundred and one times)
  • Doesn’t throw their food (I thought we were so lucky to not have to deal with those stages…. oops!)
  • Doesn’t crawl which is needed for cross body organization (look into ATNR reflex) – rolls, scoots or skips to walking or climbing (ours was climbing before they could walk!)
  • Doesn’t point (see below)
  • prefers tummy time – again thought we were lucky, more likely avoiding eye contact
  • gets overstimulated and calms down when put down (often with either a swing for vestibular input and/or mobile for visual stimulation)
  • I want to do some reading on distractibility while breastfeeding norms

In toddlers:

  • Knows their name… but doesn’t turn to look or otherwise respond or acknowledge when you call it (this video reminded me of this one and why I missed it, other ways it gets described can make it sound like they don’t know their name, it’s more that they don’t know to respond to it
  • Doesn’t point to direct your attention (and if you aren’t looking at them to see them pointing…. you might want to get evaluated), and/or doesn’t look at you when you say things like “look at that!” or “it’s over there” to see where you are looking/pointing – if the person is verbal they might even ask “at what?” or “where?” without looking since you didn’t give any verbal location information
  • instead of running around with other kids, they are arranging/lining up/sorting things
  • they can get very upset about cleanup – taking photos can help (forgetting something can feel like it then never happened, photos help release the anxiety that if things are put away, it will be like it never existed)
  • sensory differences – they hate getting wet or messy or they are sensory seeking (spinning/merry-go-round, water obsessed, etc.), won’t wear certain clothes or only wears certain clothes, specific sounds/smells/tastes/textures are upsetting (others can be soothing)
  • Difficulties with transitions – doesn’t want to get in the bath, then wants to stay in for hours and not get out

In females:

  • “Shy” – can be any combination of social anxiety, lack of interest in peers, introversion, overwhelm, sensory issues
  • collects things (shoes, purses, dolls, books, can be anything – I used to say I collected collections because I had so many different ones)
  • hyperlexic (teaches themselves to read before 5 or 6, obsessive reading) And Next Comes L – Hyperlexia Resources
  • extremely considerate (anxiety, worry around what others think/feel – it doesn’t come naturally so extra effort gets put into it)
  • can’t stop talking (this link is so-so, I’ll look for better….eventually: ADHD in Girls: Symptoms, Early Signs, and Complications (
  • has ADHD – see above for how that looks different in females
  • has more male friends, or closest friends are male, is a “tomboy” (NT female social conventions and skills are way too hard, males tend to make more sense to ASD females)
  • has an immediate family member with ASD
  • extreme fatigue during puberty – masking gets WAY harder and takes more energy
  • have to self diagnose because of how much they mask
  • are “ok” until a life change puts too much strain on their ability to cope/mask (many females getting diagnosed after their kid(s) are or other major life changes lead to burnout and the inability to mask anymore)
  • seem “fine” to all their friends but secretly struggle with anxiety and/or depression
  • I loved certain counter-culture clothing styles, but didn’t feel comfortable wearing them myself, I just realized this week that it was because I was masking an thus couldn’t allow myself to be so obviously different
  • friends are mostly older and/or younger, not the same age