I get so tired from spending time with other people, especially away from keyboard. It’s always been like this. I can’t completely pinpoint why, but partly it’s because of too much noise, too many sensations to process. However, there’s something more to it. It’s like I actively have to think about not to play with my necklace, what not to say, what not to do. Like I’m performing. Obviously I’m performing well when I see doctors ant psychologists since they claim my body language and facial expressions are adequate and therefore there’s no need to look deeper into the autism question. What they don’t know is how hard I work for it.
I fill out questionnaires about how I relate to other people. Do I find it hard to understand what other people are feeling? No, I claim. But the truth is, how do I know if I find it harder than other people? I can only compare with myself and no, I don’t find it as hard as I did when I was younger. Do I find it harder than some imaginative generic person? I don’t know.
I know that when I seem cold it’s because I’m overwhelmed. Because other people’s feelings and expressions are poured over me like water from a big bucket.
(As some of you probably have figured out, English isn’t my first language and I haven’t written in English regularly for many years. It’s scary to publish texts with errors and misstakes, but I miss English enough to do it anyway.)
Don’t assume an autistic person knows how their experience differs from others but is just unable to put it to words. A lot of us have spent a lot of time being told we’re not different so much that we discount our own perception in favor of what others say is true, and additionally, it’s really hard to realize that others don’t see or hear or smell or taste or touch or otherwise feel the world as you do. The block might be coming at a far more fundamental level – the level of simply not realizing that not everyone finds bright sunlight more painful than a sprained ankle or finds a crowded room fear-provoking, or what have you. Maybe words aren’t where the breakdown’s happening. Maybe it’s happening at the not-realizing-it’s-not-a-moral-failing level.