Update (dec 6, 2014): I realize now that if one doesn’t know what sensory overload is then this post might seem kinda… crazy or chaotic… I dont know how else to say it. Sensory overload is a symptom of Autism, which runs in my family. I am an adult on the spectrum, and this is what a bad day is for me. Click here to learn more about Sensory overload.
I’m not even sure where to begin. Today sucked. Let’s just start there. This is what it is like for me to deal with sensory overload.
So I woke up two hours late. Which, suffice it to say, completely warped my usual morning routine. I rushed to get dressed and got the lil miss to school. Because of rushing to get ready, I ignored how my clothes were bothering me, brushed it off thinking it was a minor thing, I can handle it. But then I get to work, and all I could focus on was how my clothes bugged me. I take orders at work and managed to push the thoughts of my clothes out of my head only long enough to do what I had to do, but the moment each was done the thought’s back in my head and Id have to fidget with my clothes.
It took up a lot of my brain, so much that I started making mistakes, little ones at first. And then the boss had to correct me which only made me feel worse, in turn making me even more uncomfortable. I put on a smile (or what I call a smile which is more of a grimace) and kept on trucking. I started forgetting to do things in the order they were supposed to be done. And I would notice right after, for a while, but then that wasn’t even happening. I started making bigger mistakes and not realizing it and then the boss had to say something again. It just kinda kept going on like that, all the while the intensity of my discomfort grew.
So when time for me to be off came around I spaced and rushed to get my jacket and go. But when I came out of the back room there were customers and the boss’ wifey was irritated and overwhelmed and I only looked like a complete cunt because I was rushing out of there. So then she drew me a friggin diagram of what time I come in and what time I leave, which only made me feel more like an idiot. Although, apparently someone forgot to tell me that I get off at ten after the time, not on the dot.. so I was pissed then wondering why people think Im a fucking psychic, my pants bugging me, I took my jacket off and threw it into the back room, all my stuff along with it. Just on the floor. Fuck it. I didn’t care any more.
I was fuming by then. My fucking pants. I took more orders as fast as I could and focusing all my energy on what the people were saying and not my damn pants. I had to stock a bit more and then I stood there. By then a meltdown was about to happen. I could feel it. I might make it home, if Im lucky, before I explode. I kept thinking. Maybe, juuuust maybe I can make it… plz let me make it because it wont be pretty. My body was aching, my legs felt jerky, my head was throbbing and everything was buzzing past. The lights were too bright, the blinking christmas lights were about to make me start twitching.. Blinking a lot, I focused on the tasks at hand. Which was just standing there without having a fit right in front of everyone. I am an adult, after all, and anyone none the wiser would want to probably call the cops if I were to start acting like a kid who just had their candies taken. I think I slammed the coke fridge door at some point. Fuming still, buzzing in my ears… looking at the clock, it was past the recently unknown clocking out time of ten past and I just stood there. Part of me was thinking Im not going anywhere until someone tells me I can because if I get told off one more time Im afraid I wont react accordingly… and then part of me was thinking that if I were to start trying to get my jacket on now and it not fit right I might end up just rolling around on the floor yelling at my damn jacket and how stupid I think it is..
Anyway, I was allowed to go finally, and when I put my jacket on it squeezed in all the wrong places. That feeling from deep within me, the one that makes me want to start screaming, was beginning to arise. That feeling of irritation and overwhelming stuff… pain? Idk because Ive never had to explain it before. It’s almost like nerve pain, from way deep down, and I have to move or run or yell or something, because the longer I hold it the worse it gets and how the hell am I supposed to stay outwardly normal for the next 45 minutes…
That feeling. That fucking feeling. I expect it’s more emotional, but to me I feel it in my body… that irritating feeling isnt just in my head, I FEEL it physically. Like… guitar strings being plucked way too hard, in the middle of my core, just being plucked over and over and over.. causing this echo towards the outside and I have to do something to make it stop, anything. The outside senses, like sound and lights, turn into a buzzz. My vision gets a bit fuzzy and I feel like I have a serious head cold.. my ears buzz and so it’s hard to distinguish sounds like I normally would (which really, even then sometimes Im not all that fantastic at it… I either hear too well or not well at all, but that is something else entirely). And all that is left is that feeling of horrid plucking of the inner strings.
I stood in the snow waiting on that damn bus thinking as many happy thoughts as I could. Breathe, breathe in and out. I started thinking of things I had to do. When I get on the bus I will sit down. Then it stops and I get off. Then I walk to that office that I need to go to and turn this paper in. Then I will walk the rest of the way home. And then I managed to do all that… All the while in the back of my mind MY PANTS were pushing me towards my limit, it wouldn’t be long…That.. and just the thought of how stupid I must have looked at work today.
The walk home: The cars driving by were too loud, the people looking in my direction I wanted to say WHAT the hell are you looking at? Even though they probably didn’t even notice me. The walk home, somehow it managed to calm me a bit. I still was rushing and trying not to fall on the snow, but the whiteness -and no people- on the trail brought a sort of glimmer of peace that helped quell the frustration. Enough to get to my daughters school, then walk her home.
I walked in and sat down at the comp. I still have the sudden urge to scream but I can’t, my daughter is napping. I’ve gotten up from the computer more than once to move around. I rock back and forth, I fidget with my hands and keep messing up on the keyboard… back space… and then some more. I jump around and kick and push at the wall which helps a bit. Bundling up tight helps sometimes. And as I go back and forth doing these things it is getting better but this shit will last sometimes for a very long time. And sadly if anyone talks to me while I’m like this it isn’t very pretty. At this point a migraine is beginning to set in and my legs have gone from restless to achy as hell. So now I just kinda have to just feel this way until it stops.