I’m having a bad day. I move slowly. I wash my hands and feel my fingers slide over each over, caught in the fascination of how slowly I am taking things in. I usually flash from one thought to the next, but that’s gone now. I am in treacle.
I keep getting stuck on things. My thoughts catch. I want to do one thing, but as soon as any kind of problem in the routine arises, I am lost. I can’t work out what to do next.
Today I had my first meltdown of the year. I think I need a new word for it, these are not the meltdowns of my youth. When I was a child I would disappear. I would become a ball of fury and lose all rational thought. As an adult my emotions take over, but I can overrule the worst of the drives. Sort of.
I start to cry, and then the howls rise within me. I am conscious enough to think, “I look autistic now,” but not conscious enough to find my balance. I am rage and sadness and aloneness.
I keep having to remind myself to slow my breathing. My heart rate is high. I remember as a child struggling to breathe. That terrifying feeling of suffocating as you breathe faster and faster. The breathlessness will linger for hours, and I consciously slow my breathing to keep from that fear. One more thing to keep on top of.
My hand starts to hurt. I look down and see that I’m gripping my phone so hard that I’ve left deep imprints in my palm. I let it go, feeling disjointed from what is happening to me.
The pain in my head starts to rise. It feels as though my skull is caught in a vice and is squeezed. My nose aches. My jaw aches. I am tense from head to toe. I wail. I hate this bit. I hate myself for coming back here. I hate the unfairness of what pushed me over the edge and I hate that I want no one to ever see this side of my autism.
My words start to go; first they came for the adverbs, and I did not speak out, because no one really needs adverbs. Then they came for the adjectives, and I let them go too. Then the in-between words and the other things and the thingamabobs. Gone. Not know talking.
My head starts to feel like it will explode and I feel really alien. I feel like I’m not a part of the world. I feel utterly different and alone. Everything I look at becomes a pattern in my pain; I could have a cup of tea, but the urge to scald myself rose within; I could make a sandwich, but that knife would be too close; I brave a painkiller and throw the rest from me. The feelings are too much to be close to things that could hurt me.
I want to break something. I want to break something that I love. It has to be something I love for it to have the right feeling attached to it. I sit on the floor instead, and my dog licks my face. I don’t let my dog lick my face usually; I am glad she is.
I message a friend who understands and through snippets of poorly phrased text, she sits with me. She helps me let out the safe urges, and keep back the harmful ones.
What caused it? A perfect storm; overdoing things, not enough sleep, too much change and then a final straw. I was recovering from a busy time. I had planned time to recover. I was just beginning to emerge again from my cocoon.
It wasn’t an enormous straw that broke me, but it was big enough; I was told that I had broken a rule I didn’t know existed, and that my actions were wrong and hurtful. I was told I had behaved incorrectly and it had been noted.
Sometimes I forget how fragile my self worth is. I have built it out of so much love and kindness, but it is a tower built of crackling ice, and all it takes is a gust to widen those cracks. My perfectionism can handle fair criticism, but combine perfectionism and a need for fairplay and low energy and see it all crumble, slowly, downwards like an iceberg shearing off a glacier in a nature documentary.
I am happy and healthy in general, I am not depressed or ill. Today I am overloaded and in pain, but it will pass.
Today is a bad day. I am not functioning. I am not doing basic self care or feeding myself or drinking enough. I keep getting stuck in echolalia loops; repeating a phrase or a sound over and over. Sounds and light bother me immensely and I don’t want to be touched.
This past week has seen me soar and crash. I shall rise again. This week has been the most connected I have felt in a long time. I have spent time with wonderful autistic people, who would never have misunderstood me the way that I have been today, and I am enriched by all of them.
I feel shame sharing this. I don’t want people to see this side of me. I don’t want people to think that I’m out of control, or in some way ‘disturbed’. I don’t want people to avoid giving me work because of some ill-conceived idea that it would be too much for me – I am resilient to a fault. I don’t want people to shy away or fear me, but this is the time I should reach out the most. I need to write about this for people to understand. Don’t I?
Don’t I? Don’t I? Don’t I?