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ADHD and Autism - why is my unmasking circle a good way to spend three hours?




As we all now know, women are often missed when it comes to diagnosis of ADHD and Autism which in many cases leads to a lifetime of anxiety and depression, sometimes a misdiagnosis of C-PTSD. As an undiagnosed neaurodivergent woman (with a diagnosis of C-PTSD and a personaility disorder), awaiting diagnosis (why is it taking forever), I know how important it is to have wellness spaces where we can just BE, in the knowledge we are surrounded by other people with similar lived expereinces of masking and struggling, without judhgement and in a space curated (to the best of it's ability) for my mind.


Existing in a neuro-typical world is exhausting, absolutely exhausting. The most simple things can spike a fight or flight response meaning we are often in a state of overwhelm and anxiety - which is where I think these circles become invaluable.


My aim for The Unmaking Circle is to help women who feel like this have a few hours where they can share thier stories with people who understand and focus on resetting our nervous system so that we have a greater capacity to cope within the world. Of course I am not expcting us all to just simply unmask, like we haven't spent our whole lives moulding our foundations to the wrong blueprint, but I encourage you to do what makes you feel more comfortable without the need to conform.


Essentially I want to carve out three hours of your day where you don't have to make excuses for who you are and to know that you are enough.


Why is it important? By calming your nervous system in a space you feel safe and heard is so incredibly valuable. When we are in fight or flight we are unable to cope and function - down to a cellular level, our capacity for the curveballs life throws at us is lowered - as is our resilience to virus' and infections. Living in a state of stress impacts our physiology, from digestion to reproduction and ya know it just feels terrible. We are more susceptible to feelings of overwhelm and burn-out and therefore it is more important for us to find ways to pause, and trigger the part of our nervous system that fosters calm and equilibrium.


Sounds pretty fundamental to me. I am not promising to fix you, because you don't need fixing (and I don't ever claim to fix anybody anyway) - but I can help you figure out how to feel better while being you.


The circles run every month at Flavour Like Fancy - the first is Sunday 12th May and you can get tickets here.


What am I doing to make this specifically for ADHD and Autism?


  • the agenda is outlined above, we won't vary from this format

  • you are able to contact me before the event with any questions (at all)

  • operating a non-judgement anti-ableist environment, with the understanding that it is impossible to cater totally to everyone's specific needs BUT I will do my absolute best.

  • giving you the opportunity to share relevant triggers and needs before the session, for me to try to accommodate

  • including sensory activities, lights and sounds

  • background music kept to a minimum

  • a later start and longer transition periods

  • giving clear instructions and consequence explanations throughout

  • allowing you an opportunity to "un-mask"

  • no touch without consent

  • coming from a lived experience of neuro-divergency

  • the group size is kept small to 10 people

What I expect from you?


I want you to come along and have a good time, feel heard, rested and to feel able let your mask down for a few hours. Feel free to bring your own yoga tools, blankets, fidget and sensory aids, loops/defenders - whatever you need as long as it doesn't significantly intrude on other peoples experience. I will expect a non-judgement approach to your interactions with others in the group, and to try to use active listening. If excessive talking is a trait of yours, I may gently guide you to bring what you are saying to a close.  You are also free to keep yourself to yourself - in this space there are no social expectations.


Can I still come if I don't have a diagnosis?

Yes, absolutely - this is a space where you do not need to justify your experiences. If you believe you are ADHD or Autistic, or both - diagnosed or not you are welcome.


Accessibility:


Location - The space is wheelchair accessible from the first floor car park in the Arndale Center. I will send out specific instructions once booked. The toilets are up 3 stairs and not wheelchair accessible.


Physical limitations - We will spend a lot of time seated on the floor on a cushion or block, the sunshine seated flow can be done from a chair but the yin needs to be done from the floor so lower limb mobility is needed. The class will involve some controlled relaxing breathing. If you have specific limitations please contact Ella to discuss how she can modify the practice: hello@thepinkschool.co.uk.


Visual accessibility - the space will be well lit throughout and there will be no adjustment to the lighting if you have a visual limitation affected by low lighting, please inform Ella so she doesn't darken the room for the final relaxation.


Sound - there are no induction loops in the venue. There is no echo, and background music will only be played when there is no dialogue.


LGBTQIA Inclusion - all women welcome, inclusive of trans women and non-binary people who feel at ease in women's spaces

Mental health - Ella is trauma aware, however not mental health first aid trained. She has a wealth of personal experience dealing with mental health crises, however no qualifications to deal with complex mental health. If you have a specific trigger that is relevant to the class and can be avoided please speak to Ella via email before.

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