Sorry to hear about SXSW for your DS! I too am worried it's going to get worse before it gets better. I hope he is able to book something soon! I got some encouraging news today that the event was relocated, there just won't be a live audience, so sounds like we're a go, but still not holding my breath. The only reason I'm not more scared financially is because this is a client we've been working with for years, and she consistently goes to the same events every year, but still, can't help it if the events themselves are cancelled.
You're right about the spectrum, I just realized I mentioned almost all of the sensory processing issues and not any of the inattentive/impulse issues. I think because those were the most particularly distressing to me as a young kid, and probably the most "abnormal" things that it seems obvious to me you would want to consult a physician about.
But yeah, basically I saw an infographic about how many women go undiagnosed because their symptoms are masked as anxiety. Apparently girls are more likely to react inwardly to punishment, meaning they shut down rather than act out. So for example, impulsiveness might manifest by talking out of turn a lot. But then when you get yelled at for doing that enough, you stop talking at all, and just hold everything in. I have a very distinct memory of my dad yelling at me that he always felt like I was just waiting to chime in with whatever I wanted to say and wasn't actually listening to him, and that interrupting was bad and I needed to learn to listen better. I learned not to interrupt, because I didn't want to be yelled at, but it's not like my thoughts weren't still all over the place. I still have to talk to myself in my head and get myself to focus on what people are saying. It's part of why I prefer written communication, because there is a back and forth and I can go back and re-read it later if I forget something.
We kids also used to bump into people and things a lot, just because we were so focused on what was going on with whatever we were doing that we weren't paying attention to if someone else was coming down the sidewalk or whatever. I distinctly remember my dad yelling, "situational awareness!" as he yanked us out of the way of someone or something. We kids now yell that at each other as a joke when we do something clumsy, just to fuck with each other. Again, I learned to always be paying attention to every little thing, but to anyone from the outside looking in, that looks like anxiety, right?
Fidgeting too. I am always shaking a foot, biting the inside of my cheek, twirling my hair. Honestly most of the time I don't notice I'm even doing it until someone points it out. I've gotten better at paying attention to it, so I don't do it as much in social situations, or if I'm in an important meeting for work or something.
I also excelled at school, which I'm sure is one of the reasons why they never looked into it. I feel like most kids get diagnosed because they are having trouble in school and the teachers point out that they should be tested. But I excelled because my mom was always on top of me to get stuff done, even when I was in one of my unfocused modes, and then I learned to use my hyperfocus to my advantage. Mom is also OCD and needs things just so, which meant we learned quickly to do things the "right" way. It translates to my work life, I'm very good at getting things done when there are deadlines, but I procrastinate until I absolutely have to do it, then use my hyperfocus to make it all happen very quickly. I'm actually really good at being a self-starter when it is for someone or something else. Like if one of the girls asked for help on a project, I'm there in a second and will help them get it done. Same with work, I'll make it happen very efficiently. I'm basically a living example of the product of the How to Make Your Child Codependent manual.
Oh and my little piles of stuff everywhere. I'll start to clean/organize, make things into piles and then not actually put it away. As a kid that was not allowed, my mom would have had a conniption fit if anything wasn't exactly where it needed to be. But as an adult, I can either stay up for 3 days straight organizing my whole apartment, or I'll go for weeks where my place looks like a bomb went off and I just have no motivation to do anything about it, and yet I still know where everything is. I actually got really good at creating systems of organization simply because I knew that this aspect of myself - the messy person - was not appealing to other people living with me, and if everything doesn't have a place, I won't put it back. When I live with people I am insane about making sure the common areas are spic and span, but my personal space is a shit show.
You mentioned your low caffeine tolerance. I have an insanely high caffeine tolerance. Like, I feel most normal after I've had caffeine. For years I have joked that I could drink an energy drink and go straight to sleep. That's another one of the reasons I started looking into ADHD. I saw someone make a joke about a similar thing, basically that they drink espresso to sleep, and someone responded, yeah, that's called ADHD you weirdo.
Apparently a lot of ADHD kids have sensory processing issues too, but they have more to do with their not paying attention and then all of a sudden being "surprised" by this new texture or smell or whatever because they weren't paying attention before.
The tactile defensiveness is definitely more indicative of sensory processing disorder. That I can pretty much guarantee I have. If the thread count of sheets is off, I will toss and turn all night. A few months ago I bought a new comforter that I loved in the store, that had all of these cute little stitches on it. Very small, not even out of itchy material, just little cotton thread x's about every 4 inches in a quilt like pattern. I couldn't figure out why I was constantly feeling itchy and uncomfortable and could not stay asleep. Changed comforters, no problem anymore. I'm almost 33 and still cut the tags out of most of my clothes. And I pretty much buy exclusively natural fibers, almost entirely cotton, because everything else makes my skin crawl. I remember XH bought me a fishnet body stocking once, I put it on for him and almost had a panic attack, it felt like there were little spiders crawling all over me. I could literally feel every little cross in the net as it moved when I moved. I said take a good look because you've got 3 minutes of me in this thing before I rip it off! And don't even get me started on the textures of different foods. Oh, and before weighted blankets were a thing, I used to sleep with like 3 or 4 blankets because I liked the weight of it.
I'm also insanely sensitive to sound and smell. I used to be able to hear when something was off with XH's fish tank filter in the living room while I was sleeping in our room. One of our fans made this very faint ticking sound if it was on too high of a setting or if it was twisted too far in one direction, that would wake me up too. Even now, I've been woken up by the very faint sound of my downstairs neighbor snoring. I'm always that person who is like "do you hear that?" and everyone else looks at me like WTF are you talking about? Just last night, I woke up around 4 am, had a dream that someone was breaking into my car. When I woke up nothing was happening, but something just felt off, almost like this pulsating feeling in my head. I was walking around my apartment, everything was fine, just the cats sleeping. Then I opened my front door, and I could hear the sound of a car alarm going off on the other side of my street. I'm at the very back of my apartment complex, and my room is in the back of my apartment, so as far away from the sound as anyone in my complex could be. I shop for a living, and stores can be really loud and overwhelming, especially when there are sales, so I always have headphones on me so I can listen to music or a podcast to drown it out. Smell is nuts for me too. Or maybe I'm just nuts haha.
It's kind of like a weird set of super powers I didn't ask for. My hyper sensitivity definitely works to my advantage sometimes, like, you know, catching my XH in the act, but other times it's exhausting.
So yeah, I've created systems and tools for myself over the years to manage all of this stuff - behavioral, organizational, and just managing my own thoughts. I know what my triggers are, I buy clothes and food accordingly, I avoid certain noisy situations if possible, but prepare myself with alternatives like headphones if not. I create organizational systems to make sure I stay on top of things. I learned from a very young age to talk myself through things, give alternatives to every scenario that runs through my head, not everyone is rejecting you etc. - basically a lot of CBT and DBT stuff before I even knew what that was. Just would have been nice to have therapy or something else to help with that as a younger person, instead of just being yelled at for being messy, or interrupting, or being too shy etc.
I really don't think I need medication. It sounds more chaotic than it really is, and I've learned to manage it. I've clearly become a pretty high functioning adult on my own. And I know I need to minimize my stress, keep to a sleep schedule, eat well, hydrate, all that. Now I just know why I had so much trouble, and it helps put the pieces of the puzzle together a little better. Hopefully your DD comes around as she gets her addiction under control. I know I was super stubborn and resistant to change when I was younger. I only really started making changes when I became inquisitive about how to make my life better and more manageable for myself. Who knows, maybe having help with it when I was younger wouldn't have worked anyway, because I was too damn stubborn.
TL;DR And thus ends my novel about how it took me 33 years to figure out something so obvious - how supremely dysfunctional my brain is! I guess it's a good thing I'm smart and figured out how to make it work for me
But yes, I agree with you completely, a few months of no drama and/or trauma would be sooooo nice right about now!
There's a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. It really sucks that the people we thought we could count on helped put even more unnecessary shit on our plates. It really does feel like up is the new down sometimes. Hoping for a little clarity and peace for all of us right now!