Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism | Tags: AS, asd, asperger's, autism, meltdown, sensory overload
Sometimes I don’t recognise the signs until it’s too late. In retrospect I realise that today I was more than usually sensitive, I should have realised how close I was to the edge when I got rain on my hands and face as I put out my bins for collection. I went and got an umbrella and headed for the bus. I was aware of every sound to the point of irritation which might have given me some clue, but I ignored it just as I ignored that I am running a fever, I just put the physical discomfort to one side to do what I had to. I might have recognised my discomfort with the smell of people on the bus as a warning, but I didn’t, and neither did my sensitivity to the shuddering of the bus, and to every pothole tell me what was to come.
By the time I got to work I was already in a state of overload, but I didn’t realise it. I took refugee in my routines, I set up my desk then went to make my coffee as I always do, only to discover, for the second day in a row (it happened to me last week too) that someone had finished the milk. It may sound trivial, but it was the last straw in an accumulation of over stimulus. That was the point at which I lost control and slammed the fridge door.
Things may yet have been ok had no one come near me, but unfortunately one of our managers spoke to me and I let rip. I should not have done, but neither had I any power to stop myself. With half an hour to go before my shift ordinarily I might have hoped to regain some equilibrium before facing the public but not today. I tried, but the overload coupled with my outburst made it impossible to calm down, instead my overstimulation was getting worse. Every one in the switchroom was shouting, the overhead lights were whining and flickering like strobes on amphetamines, and the place smelt of sweat and decaying flesh. By the time my shift was due to start reason had at least kicked in, and I could see that I had to get away or make things worse.
If anything, the return journey was even worse than the journey in to work because by now my emotions were entering the mix. I almost held together until I got home, I hate crying in public, although better that than screaming I suppose. It was so good to get into my quiet room in the dark, quiet except for the clock, traffic in the street, rain on the window sills, and all the other sounds of a quiet house. The tinnitus didn’t exactly help, but it tends to make it’s presence felt when I seek silence. In the end the dark and the quiet brought me back to a stable point although the key factor was probably giving myself enough pain to override all the other stimuli. The build up started around 17:30, I boiled over at around 19:45, and it’s now 00:32, that’s a reasonably quick recovery, although I’m certainly not ready to speak to people just yet.
2 Comments so far
Leave a comment