NLD frequently occurs alongside some other condition. Sometimes it is a physical health issue, such as an autoimmune illness. Other times it is a bio-psychological illness, such as depression. Many times it is anxiety. Whether or not someone has a co-morbid condition, we with NLD sometimes experience fluctuations in energy level.
For instance, if one lives in an area without good public transportation, getting places contributes to exhaustion. Or if you take medicines that cause physical side-effects, it’s likely that you require an alternative diet, in which case meal planning can take forever, as can planning out one’s day. During my many months of job searches, I would change outfits three times before leaving. I spend so much energy worrying what other people will think, how to deal with NLD moments, and whether I’m doing the right thing in a social situation or whether I need to adjust.
I’m also struggling with the energy-consumptive effects of job loss. Many now have lost their jobs, but most have not been out of work as long as me, which is somewhat agitating, given my work ethic and marketable training. I’m delighted to be returning to school in a few weeks, but nervous at the same time. I haven’t been in school, save for attending a stray lecture here and there, for three years. I will be balancing courses with an unpaid internship.
One reason I do this blog is to have a space for some of my anxiety. I feel it would be overburdening to express much of it to friends. I am very self-conscious in the aftermath of things I could have done differently, despite knowing I could not have known the things, given NLD’s delayed reactions to certain social dynamics, when they happened. But I am still held responsible for the consequences. This is a very tall order. All of NLD truly is, for those who have it and for those who love people with it.
My advice to myself and others with NLD is not to be over-busy. The stress will backfire. This gets to be very difficult during the high school and college years, not to mention when one works full-time, but it is imperative to cut down on activities if you feel yourself getting too exhausted. When you feel the limits beginning to hurt, cut back. You won’t regret it–some successful activities will serve you better than being all over the place.