Friday, 8 May 2015

Autism and Sensory Processing: When Even the Quiet is Overwhelming

Something written about an experience of today.
Written as it flowed.
Unedited.  Not proof read.
It's honest.  It could be nothing else.
But it's by no means some polished jewel.
Right now, this is my life, or at least a part of it.
And it hurts.
And again, I do not know how to deal with it.
And again, I will begin to learn.
All will be well.
It's just not well now.


I never used to have this problem.

Not like this.

OK, I knew that it existed.

But I'd learned long ago to live with it, to work round it,

To cushion my head against the blows.

Now I cannot escape this problem.

I admitted my autism

And never expected any of this to happen.

I knew there was something.  I always knew.

But this whole thing has taken me by surprise.

Something within decided to show me a series of revelations:

"Here's what you are really like.

Underneath the forty year development of defences, strategies.

Underneath all your learning to focus.

Beyond the skills you learned in tunnel vision, tunnel hearing, tunnel senses.

Here, here, here is what you really are.

Here is the truth."

There was no escape today.

I have lost those skills.  All my learning wiped away.

Without those ways to cope, this is now my life:

The streets were paved with Hell.

So I sought out the sanctuary of a library.

The peace, the near silence of a library.

The only way I could see to cope with that Hell until I was called into life again.

Not so.  No.  Things were too bad for that.

The library.  Too noisy for me.

With quiet noises coming.

Many noises.  All around.  Unpredictable.

Music.  Two sets of music.  Driven to the heart of my head.

Voices, so many voices in so many places, in quiet conversation.

The clicking of computer keyboards.

The intense sound of a soft broom on the floor.

Sudden things being dropped.  Scaring.

Each suddenness a new instinctive threat to be considered.

Footsteps on the stairs.

The overpowering machinery of the lift.

The sound of the building, breathing in air conditioned cool.

So much noise.

So much more than that.

All of it quiet without.

But each sound appearing as an explosion within.

And so much movement.

And so much light.

So much pain.  So much heat inside.

The approach of a kindly man who asked if I was OK

Far kinder than the man who laughed in my transgender face this morning.

Or the two guys laughing and insulting me in the street.

Not that I cared about them.

I am too sure of myself right now to give a shit

When the idiots and ignorant try to rubbish me with abuse.

The kindly man wanted to stay, to chat

Because he heard me say I was artistic.

Until he walked away, with speed and determination

When he realised I was not artistic but autistic.

With all my old defences I would have hardly noticed it.

And that man would have hardly noticed me.

But now.  Undefended.  Naked.

The confusing quiet of library became unbearable.

Every sound, every suddenness a new scream within.

Back to the noise and movement of the more predictable streets.

And home.  Fast.  Weeping on the Metro.

Weeping.  Because I could not escape the feeling that I have failed today.

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