Springingtiger's Blog


Alone in The Dark

I was reading a post on Squidalicious  which threw me right back into my  childhood. It also reminded me of how much of the child I was still lingers within me, both for good and ill. The post was about a child’s violent reactions and their effect on his sister, and indeed for different reasons, his mother.

Hard as it may be for some people to appreciate, in autistic people violence is frequently an involuntary response. Personally I try to avoid violence, however there is not a door in my house that does not bear the scars of my rage, and this is me in my mellow maturity, I used to have a bad temper. I don’t think words are adequate to express how I feel when I explode because it is a state where normal thought has broken down. It feels as if I am in total darkness, in reality all of my senses are taking in information, but none of it makes sense. There is a sensation people have called, “on the tip of my tongue” when some memory is eluding recall; imagine that sensation extended to all your thoughts, imagine not being able to grasp a thought or process any information, but feeling as though understanding is there, but just out of reach; frustration is an inadequate description of how I feel. There is also a strange sense of dissociation as if I am disconnected from myself, and almost a fear that I may not be able to get back to myself, it is a sensation that gradually builds into a sort of frantic desperation. I never know what will happen, I may explode, and when I do I scream, hit out and break things.

If I am lucky and manage any control, the one thing that helps me back is pain, however it must be self inflicted, touch me in any way and that may be the extra stimulus that causes the explosion, as a child my mother tried to calm my rages by holding me tight which only made me worse because I hated it. When I hurt myself the pain pulls me back into my body, I’m not a cutter, I’m a biter and, on occasion, a headbanger. I have put my fist through a plaster wall, more solid walls have caused me the occasional swollen hand. This is not self harm, it is self regulation, and necessary. The alternative looks, from the outside, like insanity, from the inside it is worse. I spent most of my life not understanding why I could suddenly descend into such terrifying loss of myself, I wish I had understood earlier so that I might have tackled my challenges from an informed position. However the comfort I can offer is that over time, and with some effort I learned to, usually, retain control.

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