Make it stop

(Note: this isn’t to criticize the people involved; the situation just is what it is, due to differing neurology.) ๐Ÿ™‚

For the cheap seats, the sensory aspect of an Aspie/autistic person’s nervous system is wired differently.ย  This occurs on many levels, with a variety of effects.ย  The effects themselves are complex, too; we experience them in our way, sometimes not knowing exactly what’s going on, but knowing on an instinctive level that we’re not content.ย  Sometimes we have trouble sorting through, sorting out, all of the mushy mess happening inside us, against our will.

The effects of an overtaxed nervous system feel one way to us, and often look completely different to an outsider.ย  What we may feel as some kind of plea to “please–make it stop!ย  I can’t take it” may look like “anger issues” or “moodiness” or “too picky” to others.ย  If we’re biologically female and premenopausal, and it’s nearing that time of the month, the hormones involved do amplify the effect and thin out our resilience that much more.ย  It’s not an overreactive phenomenon, nor is it a misogynist sentiment.ย  Different genders are built…differently.

But that’s neither here nor there, because the phenomenon of sensory overload can happen to anyone, regardless of born or acquired anatomy.ย  Nervous systems “is” nervous systems.

For me, the world has a volume, and it’s turned up too loud.ย  For every person who would say that I’m “too sensitive”, I would retort with, “you’re dull.”ย  Because it’s all relative anyway.ย  We’re sensitive compared to them (those with typical nervous systems), and they’re dull compared to us.ย  Who’s to say what’s “normal” or “ideal”?ย  At best, the neurotypical nervous system is more common, whereas ours is outnumbered, but that’s really about it.ย  Behind the annoying, disabling effects of our neurological wiring may actually lie an advantage in there somewhere.ย  I’m still looking, but I haven’t given up.ย  I’ll let you know.

Everything is meadows and rainbows, no harm done, until you put two (or more) people with different neurological configurations under the same roof, together in the same space.ย  And the needles of contention only grow in length with time.

I can illustrate this with a few examples…

My partner and my friend came home after a grocery shopping excursion.ย  I had been sitting quietly on the couch (you don’t think I’d be foolish enough to play with my sanity by venturing into a grocery store on a Sunday afternoon, do you?)ย  I’d been getting some (blogging) “work” done, and had been perfectly content and comfortably adjusted in harmony with my surroundings.ย  I had my laptop, remote control, a couple of sleeping cats, and my new weighted blanket (!)ย  Life had been grand.

Then they came home.ย  I was glad to see them, of course.ย  But then the banging started.ย  First it was the front door.ย  Three separate times, between two people.ย  Slam!ย  Slam!ย  (Did you really have to–) slam!

OK, that’s enough.ย  I wish I could say that it ended there and that my poor nervous system could go back to its rare dormant state (which might be considered “average” or “normal” by everyone else’s standards), but no.ย  Then came the groceries, out of their bags and onto the glass cooktop stove, which had been co-opted for a temporary countertop.ย  My partner is legally blind, and despite the fact that he’s a big guy, he tries to move a bit more gracefully, having sensitive hearing and failing to see a need to bang around.ย  But my friend is even less graceful, and has profound hearing loss to boot.ย  Even so, this hasn’t always been the case, and both might (“should”?) know better.

Talk about a Neuro-culture clash.

I can only handle so much unnecessary banging around.ย  And I did believe that it was indeed relatively unnecessary.ย  The glass cooktop and counters don’t change height, and we’ve had them for years, so their dimensions should be familiar by now; does everything need to be set down so hard?ย  The cupboard doors always close the same way; do they really need to be slammed?ย  Did the front door really need to be slammed?ย  (Does anything really need to be slammed?)

Stop. Just Stop.

Two people doing all this slamming at the same time was too much for me to handle.

I’m telling you, Make It Stop.ย  Please, just Make It Stop.ย  Sooner would be better.

So I left the apartment for an undetermined length of time.ย  I’ve been outside for over an hour now, trying to keep reminding myself not to clench my jaw, for fear that I’ll fracture a few more EDS-stricken teeth.

Was I being over-sensitive?ย  Was I being anal retentive?ย  Was I being too persnickety?

Was I overreacting to a benign, everyday situation?

I only wanted to Make It Stop.ย  I don’t want to get crabby.ย  I don’t want to snap.ย  I don’t want to dive off the deep end and plunge into churning waters where I’m swirled beyond my control.ย  I don’t want to say or do things I’ll regret and have to apologize for afterward.

Or did I simply trust my instincts?ย  Did I simply oblige my screaming, desperate nervous system and leave an assaulting environment?ย  Did I simply preserve my sanity?ย  Have I merely recognized this aspect of my Asperger’s/autistic neurotype and answer my personal need instead of trying to “just deal with it”, denying my instinctual desires and remain submerged in an environment in which, several times a second, without any knowledge of a light at the end of the tunnel, a loud crash, boom, or bang would ring throughout every fiber of my system?

Sometimes it seems as though nobody understands.ย  And that, in turn, creates a confusion within as well.ย  I cease to understand them, too; I don’t understand them either.

When it’s just my partner and me, he bangs around at times, but I feel free enough to tell him to simmer down.ย  My friend, on the other hand, is extremely sensitive to comments like that.ย  Even a simple, forcibly-lighthearted “that’s really assaulting my system right now, do you think y’all could be a bit more gentle?” might as well have been a tirade of personal attacks.ย  Thus, since I don’t want to cause drama or catch the Silent Treatment of brusque “I’m fine” when you know damn well that something is not fine, I don’t want to add water to waves.

When my space isn’t safe or conducible, or it’s temporarily incompatible with my nervous system, or I need some much-treasured Alone Time, I do what I always do: I go outside and Just Be.ย  And I might be out there for a while, Just Being.

It’s all I can do.ย  If I can’t “Make It Stop”, then that’s the only survival strategy I have left.

Facing my realities and putting the situation through a Logic Filter illuminates the absurdity of my self-consciousness and self-skepticism.

But those self-directed thoughts didn’t come from nowhere; they were leveraged on me by the people surrounding me.ย  Thus, facing those realities and putting that situation through that Logic Filter also illuminates the absurdity of my having to be self-conscious and self-skeptical.ย  Nobody should be made to feel that way simply because they follow their instincts and act on their need to preserve themselves.

Being in nature, however, is a giant reset button for me.ย  It’s my antidote to a world that insists upon fraying my nervous system with a volume set too high.ย  It’s my answer to the cumulative chaos that threatens my equilibrium.ย  It’s my secret weapon, a weapon of mass defense.

It’s mighty peaceful out there ๐Ÿ™‚

***

This is one of my more popular posts!

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16 Comments

  1. Oh, my. I always say this. But, understand so well. The world can get so loud for me. It can be interesting navigating a house with five other people, that is for sure. Funny enough, though, if I am on my own, I like my music turned up. It’s like it envelopes me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh wow! Five other people? โค๏ธ Man, I’m having challenges trying to manage my partner and a good friend who’s staying with us right now lol. You’re amazing!! That’s gotta be challenging at times ๐Ÿ˜˜ But if your family is anything like you, it’s probably worth it ๐Ÿ’œ Especially if you can smooth out the atmosphere with music – what an awesome idea! I bet that would help; I’ll have to try that ๐Ÿ˜Š Thank you for sharing that! ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww. Thanks ! Most times, my kids are fairly quiet, or respectful enough to take their noise downstairs, so it’s not too bad most days. My husband kind of alternates between quiet and loud, depending on the day. Yes, I find music can carry me away from a lot of stressors. Glad to give you an idea that might help. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    2. Oh yeah! ๐Ÿ˜Š Music is also one of my “special interests”, so it’s particularly helpful (bonus!) ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ˜˜

      The world is incredibly loud; it’s almost like the volume is turned way up. And I even have a mild-to moderate hearing loss! And I still have issues lol ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’˜

      Autistic hugs to you, girl ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “(you donโ€™t think Iโ€™d be foolish enough to play with my sanity by venturing into a grocery store on a Sunday afternoon, do you?)” ~ hahaha I can’t help but laugh when I read this. Oh yes, I know it all too well, everything is planned, even a trip to the grocery store.
    I went out for a hike during a weekday last week (and I thought I was being clever going on a weekday.) It was very foggy but it wasn’t the fog that dampen my mood. Even with the wind blowing loudly, I could hear hikers talking behind as I was climbing up the hill. Hence, I just kept on climbing in the hope that I could distance myself from the humans behind as far as possible, even though I was a bit short of breath. When I reached the top and had barely sat down for a minute, three young lads came up and were yelling excitedly, leaving me no choice but to continue my journey downhill. I, for one would be happy if someone wishes me RIP as I see no reason why people should wait till I’m dead to tell me so.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh no! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™ (the autistic hug octopus ๐Ÿ˜Š) Here you are, on a peaceful hike, banking on having some alone time, and ugh – people! That bites ๐Ÿ˜–๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’ž

      Yep, planning makes life easier for me too – gotta do it or I’ll get sidetracked and come home with a bunch of stuff I hadn’t planned on buying, and having forgotten the stuff on the list! Lol ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’œ

      Hehe I’m happy you got my humor; my sense of humor is there but it’s so awkward and quirky that I bubble inside with goofy happiness when someone else gets it ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes yes yes! Managing (failing to manage) this aspect of ASD is massive for me. Live with 3 others, husband and two teen kids. All of us either ASD or high in traits (especially sensory sensitivity). Practical and personal things around the house that create noises, smells, draughts (I have a mega temperature sensitivity!) are a constant source of stress. Some of us are sensitive to others’ noise for example, but like to make our own (!) We spend a lot of time using headphones and in our separate rooms with closed doors. We do love each other but a cluster of separate hermit dwellings would suit us better than a single home!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow! Sounds like a really cool family! Challenging, sure, no doubt ๐Ÿ˜˜ I’m guessing that the good news is that since all of you have some sensory sensitivity, nobody makes a lot of noise and you all sort of get each other without having to explain the basics? (Just supposing here; am I close?) ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ’“

      My own partner has a lot of Aspie traits, although I’m not sure if he’d meet the criteria or not.

      I’m betting your family is really cool! ๐ŸŒŸ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™

      Like

      1. Well sometimes it works but often our needs don’t match up: e.g. Some larks, some night owls, some teens who are more self-focused at the moment, done with stims that irritate others! Often we pair up in different ways rather than all 4 trying to rub along. We do all watch Star Trek together though ๐Ÿ˜Š

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    1. Omg what a lovely thing to say, and what a lovely gift to wake up to this morning! Thank you so much, from every corner of my being ๐Ÿ˜Šโค๏ธ

      Like

  4. Your mention of the countertop always being the same height really struck home for me. I’ve slowly come to the realization that I have almost no muscle memory, which accounts for a lot of problems in learning to do certain things, or in how clumsy I am. When I put something down that might make a lot of noise, I have to pay strict attention to what I’m doing, or it’s as likely as not to get banged down. So there’s another “disability” for ya. Aspie? Who knows? I’ve never seen it mentioned. It’s particularly annoying when I worry that the noise may bother the tenant in the apartment next to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, I hear you. I experience something similar, especially when I’m tired ๐Ÿ˜Š Sometimes, stuff like that is the only way I even know I’m tired lol โค๏ธ And yep, it concerns me that I might be annoying others when it happens. It’s irritating to me when anyone does it in my house, including myself ๐Ÿ’“ I don’t hear anything from the adjacent apartments on our level, though. Sometimes I drop things, and I get annoyed at myself because I’m pretty sure the people in the apartment underneath ours can hear that. ๐Ÿ˜– I feel so bad when I do that ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œ. But it happens; I hear stuff like that from the apartment above us, and it jolts me but it’s life ๐Ÿ˜Š๐ŸŒบ๐Ÿ’ž

      Autistic hugs to you, dear ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

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