Nothing Compares With The Mental Load Of Being Neurodivergent

The amount of extra invisible work is next level

Jae L
6 min readFeb 14


Photo by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

Just about every week a story about the mental load of something or other drops into my Facebook feed.

The concept of a mental load is solid — it came from a lot of fed-up women looking for a way to account for the relentless but invisible labor performed in looking after children and running a household.

It’s powerfully subversive because it disrupts the mindset that women keeping the home fires burning is just the natural way of things; that it just happens. By breaking down this apparently effortless performance into its constituent parts, it becomes obvious just how much bloody hard work is involved.

It’s also a beautifully versatile concept: I can point you to articles about the mental load of Christmas; of throwing kids parties and even the mental load of selling things on Facebook Market Place (yes there’s a lot involved). Drill down and you’ll find the parenting/running a household mental load is comprised of a plethora of mental load sub-categories: of pregnancy, fertility, breastfeeding, parenting a toddler/school aged child/teenager. It’s become shorthand for I want you to know there’s a lot more to this gig that meets the eye.

But none of that compares with the mental load of being neurodivergent. Actually you can bundle all of those other loads together and multiply them to the power of 10. And while you might be able to delegate various tasks, you can’t outsource the extra work the brain is doing because neurobiology doesn’t work like that.

Being neurodivergent is hard work

I didn’t realise it when I was working and commuting full time while parenting a newly school-aged child and single-handedly running a household, managing a messy relationship, all while trying to have a social life because apparently that’s what people do…

I didn’t realise that the week of a neurodivergent person isn’t just harder than that of a neurotypical person. It’s quantitatively different. It’s a whole other ball game and a fast-paced one at that.

I didn’t realise because I didn’t know I was neurodivergent. I a few years off learning I was autistic…



Jae L

Queer, neurodivergent and in the business of defying expectations. Doing my best to answer the questions I keep asking myself.