It’s a loud world
This world is not meant for autistic people. We are aliens released on this planet for god knows what reason and have been left here on our own to defend ourselves.
Hi, I am an adult with Asperger’s Syndrome, I am an adult with mild autism, I am an adult with high functioning autism, I am an aspie, I am the boy who grew up as an aspie and I don’t feel part of this world.
The reason why I am writing this is that after two years of therapy I have finally started to talk about such issues which have always made me feel like an alien. I look around myself and I see a world which is carefree, easy, enjoying every bit of it, living each day with so much of ease and then I look within myself and all I can hear is a loud scream.
I can feel the world spinning around me, the movement of day to night, the sun rising from the east and setting in the west, the change in weather, the shift in the climate, the earth grumbling under my feet. I feel everything.
I can hear the sounds which the neurotypical world easily avoid or don’t even observe, I can see small movements, and I notice them and process them unknowingly and unwillingly. For you it’s just a random noise, a random movement which will not catch your eye but for me it’s important. I can’t avoid it even if I want to. For this reason when I work or I interact with someone, it is too much for me, I have to work on side-lining the external factors so that I can focus, that is why a sudden conversation catches me off guard and I forget my answers.
When I say loud I just don’t mean the auditory way, it’s loud visually, physically and emotionally. For the neurotypical world any task becomes easy as compared to a similar task being performed by an autistic individual like me.
Let me try and explain what I process on a normal day. Any regular day starts with me getting up from a not so deep sleep where I am hyper sensitive and can feel movements around me happening, like my mother shifting in the bed, my cat playing outside the room, the wind outside the house, the humming of the fan and the AC, the car going past our house, the traffic on the road outside our colony, a low flying plane, the distant rumbling of a train almost 1 km away from my home.
After hearing and feeling these I am still able to grab some sleep. My mother is always proud that I don’t have to be called again and again to be woken up, I can wake up on my own using the alarm, we never realised why it was like that.
After getting ready I usually leave on my own vehicle and rarely use public transport. Traveling on my own is always better as I don’t have to touch anyone but the traffic and all the honking and loud motor noises around me have to be managed well or else I will snap. I hate that part, I know it becomes unbearable to control the anger and rage. But like I said, traveling on my own alone is much peaceful and I can even zone out while doing so without having any memory of how I managed to reach my destination.
At my place of work, it’s nice, my boss knows about my condition and he doesn’t mind as long as the work is being done properly. The salary is okay, I would prefer something more as compared to the international standards and my work experience but I am in no place to negotiate much. For me the idea of working somewhere else is difficult because of my loyalty towards my organization and that other work environment are not so autistic friendly. I have to travel often which is not easy as it sometimes eat through my me time but like I said, I can’t negotiate much, it’s a two way street, you have to give equally to take those benefits.
The only issue that I sometime face at work is when I have to be there in meetings, especially in loud places where I can’t even hear my own voice and the excruciating task of socializing with new people. The only thought that runs through my head at that time is why are they being so friendly and how can they do it so easily? I wish it was easy but it isn’t.
My travel back to home is similar to my travel to my workplace, I usually zone out but when I don’t I am still much better as I don’t have people around me touching me or breathing on my neck.
At home, I rarely talk, I do but mostly I listen and that too after I have settled in. I wish I could explain how difficult it is for me with all the unnecessary socializing and I need to revive myself just to be with my family. There are days when I snap without even knowing and the only thing that could calm me is some silence and someone special to physically rub my head and my back while I curl myself into a blob of skin and bones.
Right now all this is missing, my routine has shattered, I am traveling
a lot in plane, bus, metro and train and I am tired of the unnecessary physical touches I am experiencing, I am tired of sleeping in unknown locations with new sounds and new physical experiences. I am not getting “me time” and I desperately need that. I am on a verge of collapse and I can see that happening soon.
I told my therapist about this recently and she rarely says anything, sometime I want to hear something, some answer, some reasons to why I am like this or why I am feeling like this and she finally said something, tried explaining me my feelings, my condition in my own words and in my own way. The answer does come as a fresh cool wind in a hot summer evening but it doesn’t ensure rain nor does it ensure it will be alright. I guess sometimes an answer is enough and I will have to make peace with that.