I’ve been otherly occupied…
I haven’t been writing much of late, my mind and heart have been otherwise occupied on personal development and relationships. I have managed to publish a bunch of memes on the facebook page Proud Autistic Living, feel free to wander over and have a look.
I can’t say too much about that here and now but stay tuned and I will be writing about this sometime in the future.
I have more than a few Autistic friends and acquaintances who have issues with noise. Some to the point that a loud noise just in itself is enough to trigger a meltdown. That in itself is not a real issue for me. Unless I am already extremely under stress and pressure a loud noise is not an issue.
What is an issue for me is multiple streams of noise, I find this particularly difficult when those noises emanate all around me. A good example of this is being in an echo-prone place such a shopping centre, a crowded train carriage, a busy cafe. I have had issues in all of these cases.
Tonight I am having this issue in my own loungeroom. I am sitting hanging on with all I can trying not to break, not to lose it and not to go down a road where I may hurt the hearts of others. It’s really fucking hard.
Sitting in my loungeroom on my couch. The Television is talking to itself. Ms 22 is babbling away about nothing. Ms 10 has her iPad going watching some video on youtube. Ms 20 is on another chair, rocking backwards and forward causing a constant creaking noise. Wife is chatting to a visitor, the visitor is chatting with my partner in a different accent. For some reason, accents and other languages in these situations seem to be extremely cutting through my sense of self.
Now the thing is, and this is important, no one in this situation is doing anything out of the ordinary. There is no intention to annoy me, hurt me or upset me. Everyone here is just going about living their lives and going about everyday family life.
Unfortunately, though it’s one of those things where all the different streams seem to individually assault my sensory system and cut to the heart of my ability to function. This situation is really hard.
Just hanging in there…
So I just hang in there. I just hang on to my sense of stability and try to focus in on what I am doing. Hone in on focusing on something and attempt to filter our or the extraneous streams of information.
It’s nigh on impossible. It puts me on the edge. So many times I have managed to lose it in these situations and end up hurting my own emotional wellbeing, but, more importantly, to hurt the hearts of those I love the most.
It hurts my heart that I have hurt their hearts.
As I emerge from the situation what becomes clear to me as I have written this and endured the situation is that these situations are more potent in the times when things have been or are extra stressful, when the routine has been altered or when I have had to change tack on things multiple times.
When I think about this in terms of today it has been, I think, the result of unexpected visitors, and, having no idea how long they would stay and how it makes it very difficult to be myself and feel relaxed and safe in the situation. This is then coupled with the leaving and unexpected return of said visitor and then that situation of not knowing how long they would be here begins all over again.
I emerge on this occasion successful. I have endured the many streams of noise and information unscathed. Well, unscathed n the sense that I didn’t meltdown or explode or say something hurtful or rude to those I love. But not totally unscathed as the effort expended is already beginning to take its toll as I feel the energy dispell itself from my body and the overwhelming exhaustion descending upon me.
Multiple streams of information can be and are at times just as sensory debilitating to some autistic people as loud noises are for other autistic people, as flashing lights are for other autistic people.
This I guess is a call to keep in mind that sensory overload doesn’t just occur from the obvious sensory sources.