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If you’re neurodivergent, you get to be one of about four things, and all of them suck.

The Faker. Fakers aren’t really neurodivergent. They’re making it up! Probably for attention, or to get accommodations so that they don’t have to study so much. They are taking normal life problems that everyone has and pretending that they’re some kind of ‘disorder’, and they definitely shouldn’t seek accommodations or therapy or medications for it.

A more subtle form of the faker archetype is the idea that neurodivergence doesn’t exist and people who claim to be neurodivergent should have their experiences rounded off to the nearest neurotypical’s. For instance, think about “in my day, we didn’t call that ADHD, we called it lazy!” or “how can you be depressed? There are people out there with real problems!” A lot of advice along the lines of “why don’t you cure your depression by eating oranges and doing yoga?” falls into this category (the rest, unfortunately, comes from depressed people who haven’t quite grasped that not everyone’s brains work the same way).

Complaints about overmedication are usually playing into the Faker archetype (although not always; see Mad Genius). This archetype is one that’s very commonly internalized: many neurodivergent people (including those who are, say, having psychotic episodes) are convinced that they are actually secretly making it up and not neurodivergent at all.

The Monster. Monsters are Chaotic Evil. They are no longer able to tell apart right and wrong, and instead actively value other people’s suffering. This usually results in murder.

In fiction, the Monster is common in bad horror and thrillers whose authors don’t want to have to bother to motivate their villain. The explanation that terrorists and shooters are “disturbed” is an example of the monster archetype. On a more prosaic level, female abusers are often pathologized as having borderline personality disorder. If someone is talking about a disorder leading to lack of empathy, they’re probably using the Monster archetype.

The Victim. Victims are endlessly suffering, endlessly pitiable. Everything about them boils down to their pain. They don’t have preferences or thoughts or hobbies or facts about themselves other than their neurodivergence. They certainly aren’t happy.

I think this archetype drives a lot of “you’re not like my child.” My child is a victim! But you are blogging, you crack jokes, you have opinions, and you generally do things that are totally unrelated to how miserable you are. Therefore, you can’t be as bad as my child– even if you have meltdowns, even if you aren’t cognitively capable of working, even if you can’t speak sometimes or all the time, even if you were exactly like their child when you were five. You are not The Victim; therefore, of course, you must be The Faker.

When the victim sees fit to actually do something, they turn into their cousin, the inspiration. You think you get away from being an endlessly suffering, endlessly pitiable person whose entire existence boils down to their pain because you’ve “gotten a job” or “had a life worth living” or “climbed Mount Everest.” But don’t worry! We will frame all of your achievements as being about Your Noble Struggle To Overcome How Disabled You Are.

The Mad Genius. The mad genius is pretty much the best option you can choose and still come off as neurodivergent, which is maybe why so many people try to pass as it. The mad genius is neurodivergent, true. But they’re also talented, they provide value to other people, and their neurodivergence is intimately connected to their ability to provide value.

The archetypical example is, of course, the great artist who is Nobly Suffering For His Art. But think also of the stereotypical STEM person so consumed with great thoughts about important issues that he can’t be bothered with little things like social interaction and remembering where he put his lunch. Manic Pixie Dream Girls are a common female variation of this archetype: they might be weird, but they’re weird because they’re authentic, and their authenticity allows men to connect more deeply with their childlike selves.

Mad Geniuses are the archetype people are most worried about getting rid of through medication or eugenics– the common worries that antidepressants or ADHD meds turn people into zombies or prevent the existence of the next Sylvia Plath are a product of this archetype.