Springingtiger's Blog

Inside I’m Shouting

Yesterday was one of THOSE days, they don’t happen often, but when they do they happen big time. It began as a day should in the early morning when I woke with a general myalgia – I was aching all over. On top of the muscle pain I also had a rash extending from the small of my back to my shoulders, so I was not only sore but itchy too. On top of the itching and aching I was – am – worried about a family situation. I went out shopping with my wife and so was late taking my pre-work nap which was shorter than I like.

I awoke from my nap later than intended so my schedule was out, this added to the still present aching, itching and anxiety. I arrived down stairs and rushed into preparing my tea and sandwiches for work, as I did so my wife informed me of the recent deaths of two old family friends.

I arrived in work to find someone sitting where I would have sat. However the adjacent position which I had reported faulty some time ago appeared to be back in use, I cleaned the desk and keyboard, I logged on only to discover the fault had not been fixed. my neighbour asked me what the problem was and having told her twice, the third time she asked I did raise my voice. I moved position and tried to regain control by the time honoured methods of biting my hand and slapping my head – I no longer bang my head against the wall because of the real possibility of concussion.

Somehow I was just about holding things together when my manager called me away, by the time I reached the office things had fallen apart. I suspect I might have had a catharsis, but to me it was rather painful and embarrassing, screaming and shaking and hitting myself until stillness returned. Worse still I had one of those disconnects where my mouth becomes totally incapable of expressing the thoughts in my head. I was asked questions, I formulated answers in elegant sentences and out of my mouth came nothing. At one point I managed a word, but it was not part of the answer I was trying to give, and left me wondering. It is so frustrating to have things to say and yet have no way of saying them. In my head I was shouting, screaming the answers to questions, but no one could hear me. My wife came and took me home.

The next morning when I woke I felt exhausted but as if a spring had been unwound in my head. My voice was back, so was the aching and the itching, but I was too tired to really care. What I need now is a strategy to ensure I never explode at work again, jobs are not easy to come by.

6 Comments so far
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I’m sorry you had such a terrible time. I hope peace is restored inside and outside your head now. Forgive me, but your head banging and hand biting are so interestingly familiar to me. As you know my daughter, Anna, is an Asperger’s person. She hits her head with her fist in moments of despair and, I suppose, frustration, anger. I find this incredibly distressing. She also chews her finger ends, no nails, and pulls all eyelashes out.
What’s your feeling when you bang your head? What is it doing for you ? And your hand biting. I know it’s not necessarily to cause pain and Anna is getting better and better at explaining it to me. But I would be so interested in hearing your take on this.
Love and peace to you, Rory.

Comment by Judith Vaughan

I long ago ate away the knuckles of my index fingers, now they are just hard, ugly lumps. I still bite the thumb side of my index finger. I wouldn’t say it’s to cause pain, but it is to provoke an intense sensation which helps provide a single point of focus. A strong enough sensation in one place helps to counter the fragmentation caused by too many simultaneous inputs. I have compelled myself to give up banging my head against the wall because of the possibility of concussion, but it used to bring about a wonderfully soporific sense of calm. Hitting my head with my fist, again helps me focus and to some extent pauses the jumble of thoughts that are confusing me, it’s a way of grabbing a moment of stability from the panic caused by a flood of ill defined thoughts, voices, sounds.
Metaphorically, I would compare it to a drowning sailor in a high sea grabbing a piece of drift-wood to gain moment of respite.

Comment by springingtiger

So sorry to hear of your bad day. Hope you boss understands. Best wishes.

Comment by Barbara Lester, LCSW

Phew! That hurt me and I am miles away from you, never even met you… but that hurt.
I have known so many people who smash their heads on walls or mangle their finger nails and hands, chewing them till they bleed; apoplectic and glued in place at the same time. I can’t live my life by society’s time table – my sleeping periods wander across all times of day – it depends what I do as to when I will sleep – as you can tell as you have seen me awake in the small hours of morning on FB … as well as the other times of day too. I live in relative poverty but I am balanced in my own way finally because of choosing my own rhythm and not society’s. One of those who used to rant, rage, rip hands and smash heads was me. I haven’t done anything like that for many years now – since I allowed my own flow to be more important than ‘theirs’

Comment by WorldWright

Hello. I am an Aspie and I have two autistic sons. I am all to familiar with the frustration of trying to fit the entire world in a box. After becoming so anxious and confused, I then feel defeated and less confident in myself. I have also had issues at work to the point that at meetings my colleages describe me as disconnected and insensitive. My routines comfort me in a world that is chaotic and makes no sense at times. I find it interesting that you mention not being able to produce the words in your head. I have the same problem. No matter how hard I try, the words won’t come out and people just stare at me and sometimes laugh. My sons have similiar issues. Like you, it isn’t everyday but when it does happen I call them “A” days for Autism days. I have learned to avoid decisions, confrontations and other difficult situations on these days. As far as work is concerned, I try to keep to myself and avoid lengthy conversations with people. For me, as soon as I get back to my quirky routines, my head clears a little. The worst thing for me is to take a nap during the chaos because when I wake up, I become anxious and feel guilty for taking a nap in the first place. I am learning to calm myself by paying attention to the physiological signs like increased breathing, raised voice, rapid heart beat, etc. When I focus on my breathing, I calm down and then I can logically find the cause of my anxiety and deal with it. Honestly, the best thing that I have found is blogging. I can type what’s in my head better than I can speak it and it’s good to go back and reread it later. I hope some of this helps you. Best wishes.

Comment by Sabrina Robinson

I am a firm believer the being able to read what I am thinking helps me make sense of it, I would much prefer to converse with people by typing, but that would appear odd to other people as I am perfectly able to speak – most of the time.

Comment by springingtiger

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