How Lockdown is Changing my Work as a Neurodivergent Artist


So, this pandemic thing. It’s pretty lame. In my city, we’ve recently been locked down for the second time, so I haven’t been able to see anybody in person for a little while, and don’t see the restrictions lifting anytime soon based on the situation my city finds itself in.

Just so I can explain something, I should probably come clean and say I was born with ADHD. This makes EVERYTHING in life a little different to me than those who are “neurotypical”. For example, my emotions are truly impossible to control sometimes and mood swings are a part of daily life, along with the more stereotypical hyperactive brain, forgetfulness, and a whole host of other things. I want to focus on one aspect of it right now, though.

Just one of these things is called rejection sensitivity dysphoria (RSD), and I’m pretty sure this is what’s causing me to just sit in my loneliness instead of reaching out for help among my friends. I mean, they would reach out if they wanted to… right? I know that’s distorted, but when I don’t hear from people, it pains me physically as well as mentally, and I come to these wild, immediate conclusions that nobody likes me. (??? I know it’s unrealistic, but that can’t stop me from feeling the way I feel.)

This is a big part of what makes it so hard for me to open up to others and tell them that I need their help. Actually, just their company. This agonizing pit of frustration and sadness has just been living in my chest for a little while, and I think it’s a mix of regular lockdown feelings, whatever that means, and my exaggerated rejection sensitivity. It’s a lot of gross hurt and jealousy that isn’t anyone’s fault (these restrictions are obviously in place for a very good reason), but I need to release it to stop it from getting too out of hand and really eating at me.

For that, I’ve found my art has been helping-and I think it’s even been changing a bit to show what’s been bothering me, as well. Isn’t art so weird and cool? For the last bit now, when I set out to make something that’s completely abstract, face representation always ends up showing up and interacting with the abstraction. This is fascinating to me, because I was having the same serious trouble making stuff NOT purely abstract over the summer of last year.

In fact, I think my art has been integral in keeping my mental state in check. Honestly, I kinda look at these and get grossed out or creeped out, but maybe this is the way my brain is releasing the feelings I have like this. My art is helping my mental state, no matter what I end up making, and I can’t deny that. I just think that’s pretty neat, and it makes me wonder what’s in store for my work going forward as I continue to change and grow throughout my life.