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Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal by Anna Whateley
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it was amazing

I was lucky to get an advance copy of this book, and dear God, I felt so SEEN. I have the same "alphabet" as Peta and the author (ASD/ADHD/SPD). I deeply understood every single "I have no idea what the social convention is here so I'm going to fall back on what my psych taught me" situation Peta went through, her anxiety spirals, and feeling like she can never quite get it right despite trying so hard to implement the lessons from therapy. Not to mention all the flashbacks with various adults getting exasperated with her just for existing and being herself. That was my childhood too!

The biggest thing in this book for me personally was watching Peta's struggles with masking vs her natural instincts. What most neurotypical people don't understand is that saying "really? But you seem so normal!" or "wow, you can't tell!" to someone neurodiverse is not a compliment. Many well-meaning but misguided psychs, specialists and therapists continue try to push neurodivergent people towards appearing neurotypical by training them to sit still, explaining social conventions and what to do in various situations (ie "people might get upset if you take a long time to reply to them. It's good manners to respond promptly when someone talks to you"), with the end goal being that they'll fit into a neurotypical society. What we're now realizing is that doing that causes stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD and exhaustion from trying to playact neurotypical all day and push down your natural instincts. It's like trying to run a really resource-heavy app (like a game or something) on your phone all day - the battery will go down much faster. This was my experience and I didn't even realize it until I was in my mid 20s because nobody had ever talked about it. I really would have loved to have had a book like this during my teen years - I would have had the language and the understanding of why I felt so angry and exhausted all the time and why I felt like I was a liar and a fake and a nothing person underneath that facade. And I would have felt less alone, and understood that I didn't HAVE to playact neurotypical. The Frankenstein analogy of having various skins sewn over your own to make you appear like everyone else was perfect.

I cried happy tears when I finished reading - it was so good and so validating to feel SEEN; to see someone like me written BY someone like me.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 20, 2020 – Shelved

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Emma Jess I finished this morning and loved this. Glad you like it too and felt it represented your experience so well.

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