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Embracing Sensitivity: A Journey from "Indigo Child" to #ActuallyAutistic Therapist


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As a child, I was often referred to as an "indigo child" by my mother and her friends, a term that carried the notion of having special "gifts" and "abilities." Little did they know that my uniqueness stemmed from being #actuallyautistic (AuDHD, to be precise). Contrary to the mystical associations of the "indigo child" label, I don't possess any supernatural powers. Instead, my strengths lie in keen pattern recognition skills, the masking abilities of a Hollywood actor, and an abundance of empathy. This empathy, in particular, has been the driving force behind my decision to become a therapist.


Recently, I shared my experience on TikTok, delving into the challenges of being called an "indigo child" while navigating the realities of being #actuallyautistic. I likened my journey to the fairytale of "The Princess And The Pea." In this tale, a queen seeks a "sensitive" princess for her son, the prince. She places a pea under 14 mattresses, believing that only a truly sensitive princess would feel discomfort due to the tiny pea beneath the stack of mattresses


In many ways, my life has mirrored this modern version of sensitivity. I feel everything deeply—my brain operates tirelessly, constantly analyzing my environment. I am perpetually immersed in thoughts and emotions, and I can even sense what strangers are feeling, despite knowing nothing about them. Perhaps in a world of royalty, such heightened sensitivity might be admired, but as a middle-class individual trying to survive, it often feels overwhelming. The only way I've learned to navigate this intensity is through an unwavering quest to create a life that aligns with my values and purpose, a life that feels authentic and fulfilling.


Unfortunately, many individuals on the neurodivergent spectrum, including Autistics, ADHD'ers, and others, have faced criticism and marginalization due to their sensitivities. Our society values toughness and the idea of "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps," overlooking the intricate intelligence that sensitivity can bring. Our unique gifts are often ignored and undervalued, leaving us to struggle in a world that fails to support us in the ways we truly need.


However, being labeled as "indigo children" is not the answer either. While sensitivity can be both a gift and a burden, it can be challenging to manage, especially when societal structures do not support us adequately. But there is hope. When we learn to harness our gifts and find ways to live comfortably, we can create beautiful lives for ourselves.


As an #actuallyautistic individual, I have embraced my sensitivity and made it my strength. My journey led me to become a therapist, where I can utilize my profound empathy and understanding to help others on similar paths. My goal is to provide a safe and nurturing space for neurodivergent individuals to explore their emotions, challenges, and unique perspectives.


In therapy, I encourage my clients to embrace their sensitivity, viewing it not as a hindrance but as a wellspring of resilience and authenticity. Together, we work towards developing coping strategies, self-acceptance, and a deeper understanding of their unique minds. It is my firm belief that sensitivity can be transformed into a powerful tool for growth and personal development.


If you are a neurodivergent individual seeking support and understanding, know that you are not alone. We may not be royalty, but we have the capacity to create beautiful and meaningful lives for ourselves. Embracing our sensitivity and celebrating our unique perspectives can lead us to a life of authenticity and fulfillment.


2 Comments


Grace Harrison
Grace Harrison
Jul 24, 2023

Thanks for writing this, Danielle! I have had a dream of becoming an MFT, but my sensitivies and overwhelming amount of empathy as an autistic human sometimes makes me feel scared about becoming a therapist. I found your website through Neurodivergent Therapists, and it has been a joy to read the lists of neurodivergent people who have become therapists and chosen to nurture their sensitivies in their career rather than push those sensitivies away. Thank you for bringing me some inspiration and hope that I too can also become a therapist. <3

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Danielle Aubin
Danielle Aubin
Jul 31, 2023
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You're so very welcome, Grace 🤗 . I genuinely believe that autistic individuals can make exceptional therapists due to our heightened sensitivity and unique perspectives. For a long time, I saw my sensitivity as a hindrance to living a fulfilling life. However, after a lot of self-exploration and unmasking, I've discovered that being an autistic therapist has allowed me to be the therapist I had always needed.


I recently started a consultation group focused on neurodiversity, and I've noticed an increasing number of folks like us coming out as autistic or neurodivergent. I anticipate our community to continue growing, and I hope you pursue your dream of becoming a therapist too 💗. I'll be cheering you on, and if you…


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