Springingtiger's Blog


Mature Autism – Happy Headbanger

I have written about my head banging before retrospectively, but today I have the opportunity to write immediately after the events.

I had thought tonight was going to be good, it started well, I am not sure where it went wrong. Somehow shortly after I got into work I found the lights too bright and my eyes were sore. There were too many sources of noise – the multiple conversations occurring round about me were particularly irritating – and they were too loud, even with my earplugs in. The smells were getting to me badly, someone had chicken pakore, the smell made me nauseous worse still someone in my vicinity seemed to be suffering a silent and noxious flatulence, but I have a pocket air freshener I like so that helped. Every inch of my skin has been crawling, itchy, every point of contact sensitive. I took Co-codamol to try and dull the sensation and it helped a little, but I was still being wound tighter and tighter by circumstances over which I had no control. Worst of all I had that sensation that I was losing myself and biting my hands and stabbing them with a pencil was not working to pull me back into myself. The sensation is one of building panic and at the same time growing anger accompanied by a sense of powerlessness, frustration and confusion. I was on the very edge of exploding which would may have impacted on a colleague or – more seriously – a customer.

Fortunately the disabled washroom is next to the stairwell and has a good solid wall on that side, it’s a good discrete place to bang my head as it doesn’t reverberate like a partition wall and is distant enough from the switchroom that the sounds don’t carry back. Gradually after a little time of repeatedly striking my head against the wall I regained my connection and felt much calmer. The problem with head banging is that although it helps me regain control, I always feel like sleeping afterwards which is not an option at work. Several times I relaxed back in my chair, closed my eyes and slid gently towards sleep and then after about forty minutes my alertness returned and I could sit up, take off my dark glasses and read comfortably.

I realise that to some people this will sound strange, but it is pragmatic, a behaviour that allows me to continue to function with the minimum amount of disruption to others. It works for me.

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