Sunday, January 21, 2024

Dead of Winter...loneliness and Sensory Processing Disorder

 Thinking about the coming Spring, I hope for change. 

I can't speak for others on the Spectrum, but being/living alone is really hard on me. If I didn't have my girldog Stella I don't know what I'd do. I tried to explain to someone today that 'relationships' just don't work for me. It is enough for me to manage my own life, and take care of my little dog; but having to mind-read someone is exhausting. Of course 'mind-reading' I mean in the psychological sense, understanding what someone means by what they speak and what I'm supposed to infer.

Alas, I'm in a someone chosen single life.

Any serious relationship I've been in never lasted, because I was too invested in trying to understand the other person that it was exhausting to me.

People think autistics are loners, that we don't want to be around other people, but it's just not true. We have to take socialization on our  own terms, and only so much as we can cope with.

For example; I love my parish, St Tikhon's but by the end of Sunday liturgy it is as if I'm traumatized by overload. One-hundred people in a small space is like being crammed onto an elevator. And, I'm sure some people think I am just weak or overreacting, but they've  not lived inside my skull. I've never felt more welcome anywhere, but it is still a harrowing experience when the Church is full to capacity. 

There simply is nothing comparable to the Divine Liturgy. Christ raises us up to heaven while condescending to us in our humanity. So experiencing it, and the real living flesh and blood presence of Christ, is at the same time both thrilling, and the peace is tangible. At the same time, afterwards, my body and brain react to the  overstimulation   of people, sound, colour. I come home and usually either nap or sit in silence long enough for my body to calm down and my mind to find equilibrium. I only hope people understand; and for the most part they do.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a real thing. It can affect those on the Spectrum, those with a DCC (disorder of the corpus callosum), those with hydrocephalous and others. Some people will treat me as if I just need to 'get over it,' and what they don't get is that I wish I could. It is not a pleasant experience at all.

Lots of things affect my ability to function, sleep, nutrition, alone time... I can hear someone say, 'but that's true of all of us.' Perhaps, but even more so for us. 

thanks for listening,


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