As someone with autism, I live in a world of extremes.
Extreme emotions, extreme sensitivity to sound, itchy fabric and social situations.Extreme generalized anxiety, and all too often, extreme depression.
There’s more; Extreme agitation when someone sits too close to me on the bus, and extreme anger if I think that someone isn’t playing by the rules, does not listen to what I have to say or calls me stupid and childish.
I could go on….. but it may get boring for the reader!
I thought about all of the things that upset me and others on the autistic spectrum, and began to realise that most of the items on my list also apply in some degree, to Neuro typicals – people without autism.
For example, I have spoken to many NT’s that hate being in crowded places, speaking at social gatherings and going on buses in the rush hour. I also know NT’s that do not like noisy environments, suffer from anxiety, get depressed and have a strong sense of justice.
So what make some people autistic and others not?
Could it just be down to extremes?
I accept that the diagnostic criteria for autism, states that specific boxes must be ticked in the areas relating to social and communication difficulties. This is known as the triad of impairments.
I also realise that it’s unlikely, a Neuro typical would be troubled to the same extent by all of the things on my list.
But in practical terms, is it just the case that people with Aspergers syndrome and High functioning autism struggle with extreme versions of the same everyday issues faced by everyone?
To most of us on the spectrum, our interactions with the world, are blown up out of all proportion, as we view them with intensity through our mental microscopes.
We over react, we get upset and angry. Some of us may even jump up and down or lash out, as we struggle to contain our emotions and anxiety.
Life to me, is full of extreme and debilitating, but normal, interactions. The sort that most NT’s would treat as routine annoyances.
The challenge for people like me, is finding a way to curb my extreme reactions to these ordinary events. If only I could see things, as no more than mundane bumps in the road. Temporary blips in an otherwise happy life.
Unfortunately I can’t. My memories of each over reaction, pile up on top of each other, and drive me headlong into the next bout of depression.
Medication has helped a little, to bring some calmness to my overly dramatic emotional states. But this is not the complete solution, and no more than a medical cosh that does nothing to retrain my thoughts.
For those of you that have read my blog post entitled; Autism-my solution, will know that I have had some success over the years using meditation to find some calmness and balance.
Perhaps if I continue to practise meditation and relaxation techniques, I can, one day, reach a level of calmness and contentment that will allow me to navigate the autistic extremes that flood my thoughts with negativity.
Thanks for reading-Steve