AUTISTIC NICK – WHAT IT’S LIKE TO OVER PROCESS AND BE STRESSED
You hear that? That’s them attempting to evacuate every thought about this past week from your brain. So, it’s just you and me It’s just us here. Okay?
The voices are getting closer louder. Autistic Nick is panicked.
Someone has taken control of the remote control and has all the past week’s events playing on a loop.
The stressful, rise of an imploding explosion of stress, the bewildered reaction of being lost in the moment and not seeing an escape route.
An evacuation plan is needed but one can’t be worked out quickly enough.
The realisation of mistakes being potentially made unintentionally but nevertheless an explanation awaits.
The thought process isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
The relentless revisiting those events inside my head, are constant.
Inside my head it feels like it’s been taken over by police officers who are screaming
Armed Police! Armed Police! Get down on the ground! Put your hands on your head and get down! GET DOWN!
I want to get down and place my hands in the air, but I simply can’t.
For punishment I must replay all the previous week’s events, over and over and analyse each section of conversation, gesture, reaction, response, tone, until I lay down to sleep and it begins all over again.
It feels like a hostage situation or a threat from a scene on a TV drama.
But I simply cannot go through that process every time I have an interaction or conversation with someone, my Autistic brain won’t allow me to process things or events any other way.
I wish I didn’t have to go through this, it’s a tiring, exhausting process.
Being Autistic is like having a full-time job, it’s a twenty-four-seven, 7 days a week role.
Daily I am dealing with the following:
Who will speak to me today?
Will I remember to maintain eye contact?
What will they say?
Who will say hello?
How will they say it?
Will the smile?
Will they hold a conversation with me?
What will it be about?
How will I respond?
Will I say something offensive?
Will they let me know?
I remember some funny things that I watched last night on the TV.
I think should I repeat them?
Would anyone laugh?
Would they/ do they care?
Do they want to know?
I am surveying my surroundings, I am taking in a lot of environmental information, sensory wise I feel like sometimes I need a separate memory storage device to just house all of the above that’s going on for me.
“When your brain cannot simultaneously integrate information, it has to sort through the information sequentially…this sequential reasoning slows down the processing, leaving me the Autistic individual missing much of the rapidly changing information…this is very draining and often leaves me struggling to keep up”.
On top of overthinking, replaying conversations on a continuous loop, over processing and then having difficulty in processing events/conversations I have also been stressed.
Stress and over processing are both joined at the hip for me. They are both doing battle with each other to see who comes out the victorious one.
I know that I am not a winner here.
In fact, during that particular match both stress and over processing both won. It was a tie.
It was a week from hell when both stress and over processing took centre stage inside my head and went in for the bloodiest battle that could have occurred.
Back and forth they went, flashbacks were over processing’s preferred method in the beginning, stress just decided to tag onto what over processing was doing – stress was being very lazy to the outsider, but stress had a game plan.
It would just see what over processing was doing and simply pile on as much stress as it could in the form of headaches.
Over processing then decided to take each section of any conversations that had happened during the week and slow them down and force me to over analyse them bit by bit, section by section.
Because over processing and stress wanted to punish me, so they simply sat back and enjoyed a beer and watched on as they replayed all the previous week’s events, over and over and force me to analyse each section of conversation, gesture, reaction, response, tone, until I lay down to sleep and it begins all over again.
A week of this is what I had.
A full fucking week of it.
Any attempt to rid myself of this continuous loop from hell was a worthless experience.
I gave up and allowed it to happen.
I am now sitting in my air-conditioned bedroom writing this, headache free, stress free, but not over processing free, that will never not occur.
It’s part and parcel of what comes with being Autistic.
And nothing I can do can alter that fact.
CARRY ON THE CONVERSATION
Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.