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Autistic Traits That Make My Life a Stru ...

Autistic Traits That Make My Life a Struggle

Jun 17, 2023

Struggling as an autistic in everyday life is both challenging and difficult. I find myself filled with anxiety most of the time because I have not learned to process properly if I have a meltdown. Sensory overload seems to be the biggest trigger for meltdowns.

A meltdown is where a bunch of situations, problems, or any senses get overloaded in the brain, causing a short circuit. Suddenly the world around is swirling out of control and being able to function all but stops.

I find myself during a meltdown not being able to convey verbally what I am thinking or feeling. I become fidgety and my breathing becomes rapid. My brain shuts down and anger starts to rise because of my brain shutting down.

Meltdowns typically happen to me when one or all of my senses cannot handle an overload. An example is when someone plays loud music with a lot of bass and I can hear it.

I try to tune it out, but my brain concentrates and focuses on the noise. Most neurotypicals do not understand the noise from the bass causes autistic internal pain. It is hard to describe if a person never experiences it.

Another struggle is certain smells can trigger sensory hell. If I come near a person wearing heavy cologne I immediately get a massive headache. And it isn’t always perfumes, certain overpowering smells cause not only headaches but almost the sensation of wanting to throw up.

Tastes used to be a big problem for me as a child. Food could not mix or touch, otherwise, I would not eat it. If bread was soggy, I would throw up. If I ate too much tomato-based food, my face would swell up. I would cry because my mother kept making me eat tomato-type dinners and my eyes would swell shut. To say I was a fussy eater was an understatement, but I legit had sensitivities.

My sense of touch was no better. I could only wear cotton clothes due to breaking out in rashes in anything else clothes were made from. My mother was not pleased because buying cotton clothes in the 1970s was not cheap. The family doctor warned her she better comply because allergies were nothing to mess around.

A big struggle I cannot handle or learned to overcome is being around too many people at one time. If there are tons of people talking and we are all smooshed in one spot, it triggers me nearly every time.

It is an even worse nightmare in a working environment. The jobs I excelled in were ones where I worked by myself. Usually, the jobs where I did filing, search records, or bookkeeping, and did not have to talk really to anyone, I enjoyed and did well.

Every job I tried that requires me to interact with the public or with other co-workers, on a non-stop basis, I would experience a meltdown within two weeks of starting the job. I could not handle all the endless talking, noises, and people yelling at one another that would drive me to quit. Again, my brain would fritz out, and I could not calm down quickly enough to go back to the job.

I realize all people go through struggles daily. It is not a unique thing specifically for an autistic to deal with struggles. The issue, at least for me, is the overcoming of the struggles in life when meltdowns occur. I need help in the processing of overstimulation. There are little to no resources in the area I live.

There is an autistic center that opened up recently where I live, but it is for children. I have researched online and come across resources for adults with autism who struggle with processing overload. It is still not the same as being able to go to a therapist in person or through a Zoom meeting. I need a licensed professional willing to work with me as an autistic adult.

I am thankful some of my sensory overloads have not hindered me as badly as when I was a child. I can mix certain foods without throwing up, some smell I do not notice as much, and I can wear clothing other than cotton every so often.

The struggle that has evaded me all my autistic life is functioning in society, ie….working and holding employment. As time goes on, and things become increasingly expensive, I worry how I will be able to afford necessities if I cannot learn to overcome my meltdowns so I can work, and hold a job.

The struggle for me is real and with each passing day, it becomes more bleak for me as an autistic. I am hoping I will get the help needed soon. Otherwise, the struggles will overcome me, and I am not sure I will survive another day.

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