So, I left group early today. We had to switch to a new room on the third floor. It smelled of new paint. It also was too bright and too loud and I had an overload and left early to avoid a meltdown. As it is, I started crying and I was spazzing/stimming real bad. I forgot to put a pen in my mouth and started biting down on one of my fingers really hard. I was shaking and I was tearing up/crying slightly. We had two members graduate and had two new people come in.
It was so bad I was thinking that I was going to have to quit group because I cannot be in that room. I can’t deal with all that sensory overload. If I could force myself into a shutdown, I might be able to handle it, but I can’t force myself into a shutdown. Instead of going inside to escape everything, I was starting to lash out. I no longer lash out violently towards others like I did when I was a kid. So there’s that. But I still will hit my head against things or hit myself.
The best way for me to calm down from this sort of thing, to avoid a full-blown meltdown, is for me to get to a dark, quiet place where I can be in a closet or under a desk or something. These things make me feel safe. Sitting on the floor with my knees up to my chest and my hands over my ears, sometimes with headphones in to play music that calms me down. These things work. These things are my safe coping skills. I cannot do these things in public.
I also shower to calm down sometimes, but again, I can’t do that when I’m not home. It’s taken me years to be able to figure out a system of things that work that don’t involve drugs or cutting. And these things work. I know I’m reiterating myself a lot here. I’m still struggling to maintain some ‘wakedness’. To stay present and mindful and not allow myself to shutdown quite yet.
Anyway, so I left early. I left during break and I didn’t tell anyone I was leaving. I just left. Honestly, the first place I’m talking about this is on here. I haven’t told Kuma-chan. I haven’t told Mama Bear or Cthlulu Bait or Neko-chan. Charon had called me as soon as group let out to see if I was okay. I didn’t pick up the phone. She left a message asking me to call her back. I haven’t called her back yet.
I’m planning on calling her first thing in the morning. I’m going to explain to her what happened. I have a couple of ideas of how to cope with being in that new room. I’m going to wear sunglasses. I’m going to try earplugs and headphones to see if that blocks out the noise. If those don’t work, I don’t know what else to try. I’m going to see if Charon has any suggestions too.
I’m fully aware that this is because of my Autism. It’s my sensory processing thingy not processing things like it should. I had also started getting panicky and stuff this morning during Bible Study because old people like to talk over each other. I cannot hear what my godmother is saying if other people are talking. If music is playing and Okaasan asks me a question, I tell her that she needs to turn off the music so I can hear her. I don’t know why this is. I don’t understand it.
I can only explain it like this: There are several different layers of sound to people without sensory issues. They can peel apart the different layers in order to focus on a single one or they can pick a single layer of sound to tune out. These layers are all sounds that are different volumes and types. For me, there is only one layer of sound. All the sounds that are around me mush together into this one single layer. If the sound I want to focus on is the loudest out of all of the sounds, then I can pay attention to that sound. I still hear all the other sounds. The other sounds become even more jumbled together.
I guess an easier way to explain it would be to say that sound is like string. For some people, their string is very organised and easy to pick apart. For others, like me, the string is a tangled up mess that can sometimes be made sense of.
When I get overwhelmed by all the sound, all I can think of is how loud it is. It doesn’t have to be actually loud like volume. It’s just loud as in it becomes more tangled and harder to discern.
I feel bad but I don’t really feel that bad. I feel a bit worn out. I feel very worn out. I am emotionally and mentally and physically exhausted. I am going to go to bed. I wish you all a good day.
-The Sarcastic Autist