Recently someone asked what being Autistic is like. It is different for everyone, so please bear that in mind. My experience will not be everyone’s experience. Also, I swear a lot as a coping mechanism, so I apologize for that ahead of time.
it’s like… I wake up in the morning and everything is so bright that the
sun may as well be in the fucking room with me. Incandescent light
sources are no better, each like its own tiny star shining right in my
Next are the colors, I’m actually lucky here, because I
can’t see all of them. They are so, so vibrant. Beautiful, but they make
it difficult to focus. What should I look at? I don’t know, it’s like a
god damned Van Gogh painting all the time.
Next are the
sounds. I’m actually somewhat shielded from these now, having lost most
of my hearing in 2007. That said, it used to be like waking up in the
subway. The TV, people talking at you, dogs barking, and so forth were
like listening to music through headphones but the only volume setting
My clothes, plush baby fleece and soft vintage cotton,
feel like sand against my skin. Each time I move it’s like that awful
feeling when a cat licks you with it’s tiny barbed tongue. The pressure
of my blanket, which I ironically cannot sleep without, feels like the
weight of a whole other person laid on top of me. Many people also have
sensitivities to taste and smell. I am not one of them.
It’s so easy to become overwhelmed if you aren’t really, really careful.
perception of time is awful. It makes food preparation a nightmare. I
have to set timers for everything or it gets burnt or forgotten about.
One minute? May as well be an hour. I won’t know the difference. I wear a
watch and am surrounded by clocks but Dyscalculia means I can never
trust I noted the time correctly. Autism does not immediately mean
you’re a math/number prodigy, which seems to be the biggest
misconception out there.
Next, do I have something to do today
that requires I follow instructions? Following directions intended for
people who think and process everything differently than you do can be
challenging. There are multiple ways to interpret most instructions,
multiple solutions to every problem. I may take longer to reach the same
conclusion simply because I took the long route to it rather than the
most direct, because the more complicated way of doing it was more
interesting to me. A lot of NT people get hung up on the how, rather than the fact that the ideal result was reached.
setting out to complete a task I must always ask myself: Do I have the
time to complete this thing in a single sitting? Being unable to finish
something is one of my biggest meltdown/shutdown triggers and to avoid
that, I’d rather just put that thing off than risk be interrupted doing
it. So some days I don’t get much accomplished.
Do I have to work
with others? Are people demanding of my time or attention? This is
difficult to deal with persistently. I need to maintain a lot of
personal discipline and outside influences take away from that. Imagine
that you are studying for a very important exam and there is someone in
the room talking about the weather while you’re trying to read. This is
what everyday conversations can be like for me.
This is a
primary reason I’m so fond of text-based communication. I can partake
when I’m capable of it. It comes off as really cavalier and robotic, but
it’s just a way to deal with being overwhelmed from the moment I wake
up in the morning by literally every.little.fucking.thing.
cope with all of the above, I may at random intervals sway, vocalize, or
lose myself to a task that seems trivial to the outside observer
(listening to a song on repeat, scrolling tumblr, stringing beads, etc.)
and not want to do anything else. My disinterest in outside tasks isn’t
because I don’t want to partake but because I recognize I’m about to
reach BS critical mass and need to take a fucking step back before I’m
There are a few things that I am
hyper-interested in. These are commonly referred to as special
interests. You probably assume you have these too, maybe you like BSG a
whole, whole lot. I promise you though, that you do not like it as much
as an Autistic with a BSG special interest does. It’s not the same. I
could talk to you about my special interests for literal days without
pause, whether you seemed interested or not because I’m so intrigued by
it I won’t notice that you aren’t. Even if you tell me as much, I might
continue talking about it anyway because it’s hard to fucking stop. Have
you heard about this thing? IT’S SO DAMNED COOL. You don’t like it?
Well, here are 99 reasons that you should. Cited with sources.
lot of this probably sounds negative, but it really isn’t. I’m used to
it, I’ve been living this way all my entire life and so long as an
outsider doesn’t give me shit, I can lead a perfectly happy day-to-day
life because I know my boundaries. Any bad experience I’ve had in
regards to being Autistic has been because some other person couldn’t
grasp that Autism effects more than 6 year old white boys who love
trains and math.