Neurodivergence

If You Are Autistic with ADHD, You Are a Study in Contradictions

Autistic and ADHD traits often clash

Published in
4 min readOct 27, 2022

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Picture by thommas68 on Pixabay

Ever since I remember, I have always wanted two totally opposite things at the same time — both with equally great passion. To go out with friends and to be alone, to travel and to stay at the places I know, to attend various events, and to stay at home and read.

Whatever I decided, there was a part of me that was always unsettled. As an adult, I realized that other people around me aren’t such a mess of contradictory desires. But it was only after watching this video by Yo Samdy Sam that it dawned on me — this is happening to me because the “autistic part” of me and the “ADHD part” always want — or need — completely different things.

“The inner conflict is maddening”

It’s estimated that at least 30% of autistic people also have ADHD. It’s so common that the neurodivergent community began to create abbreviations for the combination of both conditions: AuDHD, AutDHD, and others. There is so little information out there about people who are autistic and have ADHD — and it’s so necessary for us to understand our contradictory nature.

There are some traits that autism and ADHD share — like executive dysfunction. But there are a lot of traits that are complete opposites. The opposing traits can mask each other, so it can be a problem to get a diagnosis at all.

For example, ADHD demands constant stimulation. On the other hand, autism means you can get easily overstimulated, so you avoid it. You can even get overstimulated and understimulated at the same time.

The first comment on the video really resonates with me. And, apparently, with a lot of others. Vinnie S. wrote:

“The inner conflict is maddening. All the things that make me feel most alive quickly burn me out. Yet, living a quiet little life that avoids burnout triggers depressive episodes through understimulation. When making major life decisions it’s like deciding which kind of

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Neurodivergent, curious, overthinker, overfeeler. Find my thoughts, love letters to life, freebies and other stuff: https://linktr.ee/helenolivier 🧡