So my Asperger’s was ‘playing up’, if you will, at my gaming club last night. A lot of kids on the Autism spectrum struggle with sensory overload, hence why some Autistic kids have enormous meltdowns in shopping centers and whatnot. It could be any one of the senses… I know my niece and nephew hate people touching their hair.
For me, I normally only really struggle with sound. Sometimes my skin can get very sensitive and I don’t like people touching me, but that only happens on rare occasions. Sound overload happens a lot. Last night I was playing Dungeons and Dragons at my gaming club with a bunch of friends. That night there was at least 4 or 5 games going, including mine, so it was quite noisy to begin with. On top of that, the game next to us was easily the loudest in the building. Icing on the cake was that we were playing in a cubicle of sorts, so all the noise my fellow dungeoneers were making was echoing and bouncing back at me… and as much as I love these kids, they are so loud. So really struggling with sensory overload to begin with, but that’s okay cause i’ve learnt to deal with it somewhat.
Unfortunately said overload makes me a bit short tempered. On top of all the noise already bouncing around my brain, while the Dungeon Master was talking about what was going on in the adventure, The other half of the table started varying conversations over the top of him about completely unrelated topics, all really loudly, both conversations overlapping and bouncing around my head… not a happy chappy. I was sitting right next to the Dungeon Master and I barely had a clue what was going on…
Halfway through the game it came to rolling loot, and since i didn’t get any (I failed my roll) I took the opportunity to go stand outside the club in the night air and take some deep breaths. I shook myself out for about 5 minutes, calmed my brain and went back in. I was tensed back up again within 10 minutes.
At the end of the night I apologised to everyone for being tetchy, in case i offended or upset anyone accidentally, and explained I was very tired. Which was true… but I was tired because of the overload.
Sensory Overload sucks.
Hello there!! My name is Poss 🙂
Okay, it isn’t really… I made up the nickname when I was little. And yes, yes I do know that I spelt “Possum” wrong, but what a lot of people don’t realise is that I did that on purpose. I did it because someone who’s different deserves a nickname that’s different.
When I was a kid, I was very weird. I know a lot of my classmates thought I couldn’t see the sideways looks and hear the mutterings (Or they knew I could and they didn’t care) but I remember every one. I never really thought of myself as different until high school and even then, I embraced what made me different. I thought. Truth was though that I admired my best friend in every aspect. She was (and still is) smart, funny, skinny and beautiful. Everyone liked her and wanted to be friends with her and anyone who didn’t, she didn’t care about that opinion. I wanted to be like that. I wanted to be smart, and funny and have people who actively wanted to be my friend rather than just putting up with me hanging about (which is what it felt like people were doing most of the time).
Thing is though, I wasn’t like that. I’m a big scared-y cat and I care a lot about what people think about me. I live by the “Do as you would be done by” motto, which means I will always give second chances and a helping hand to anyone who needs it, regardless of who they are or what they have done to me in the past, because one day I might need their help too.
Also in high school, I was given a new word. One that helped me find myself. “Asperger’s”. That word is very, very important to me, because it reminds me that I will never be “like everyone else” because my brain is just wired differently, and the most important thing is: that is okay.
Unfortunately, in year 12, I developed quite a bad case of Anxiety and Depression. I put it down to exam stress, but the next year I spent studying at TAFE, I got slowly worse and worse, despite having great friends around me, a supportive partner and very limited stress from TAFE work. Finally at the end of that year, when my little sister died, I had to admit I really had a problem. Following advice from all directions, I went for help. I saw a counsellor, I started to take medications and once I had finished my studies I moved back in with my parents for support.
And then I changed medications. And again. And once more because of the hallucinations. And that last time too. I wasn’t getting better…. and unfortunately, being a comfort eater at heart, I was getting heavier! I stopped seeing my counsellor, as she told me she thought I was much better (even though I knew I was definitely worse) and when I went to see a different counsellor she just told me things I already knew… she even asked me for advice at one point!
It’s taken 6 and a bit years to sort my brain out, and discover how it works. Not how it’s supposed to work, how it really works. Last year in about June or July, I started to go to a gym and try and eat healthily. I also tried a Gluten Free diet, not because of the health fad, but because of gastro issues, and other symptoms that seemed to match up. I was off whatever medication I was taking at the time within about 2 weeks. I felt great (albeit physically tired, and a bit hungry).
However a week or so after this came assessments and exams at uni, and along with the stress came the comfort eating. And then it was Christmas, and then it was my partner’s birthday….. excuses, lame excuses, stupid excuses.
Finally, after getting more and more sad and anxious and stressed over the past few weeks, I decided something had to change, and it was going to start with focusing on me. All my life I’ve spent trying to help other people through their problems that I didn’t save any energy or time looking after me!! I realised that I need to stop beating myself up for not ‘being’. For not being skinny, for not being smart, for not being strong…. all of that is rubbish. My new target… I’m going to TRY. I’m going to write up a list of ‘commandments’, if you will, and stick them just inside my bedroom door, so I see them every morning, and i’m going to TRY to stick to them. The fact that we’re all still trying is the most commendable part.
So here we are. Why have I just written my life story into a blog post? I’ve never seen the point in writing journals or diaries… you just end up with books full of scribbles that no one will ever read again lying all over the place. This is my journal. I hope to come on here every day and tell the world how well I managed to stick to my commandments, as well as ‘odd’ Asperger’s thoughts that I get.
If any of my friends or family are reading this, then please know: I didn’t come to you for help because no matter how many times you said I could always come to you, it always feels like you’re just putting up with me. So know that for my own sanity, i’m writing it here so that if you want to find it, you can. It’s not me nagging you with my problems, you’re actually taking some time to find how i’m doing, and that’s awesome 🙂