Imagine you are flying in a 2 engine prop plane, about to make your first jump.
You’re scared of heights and you don’t have a reserve chute.
The mother of all thunder storms is crashing all around you and one of your engines has caught fire.
This isn’t Ohio either because you are flying over the middle of the African continent and you are going in!
Below you is a raging war, you don’t have a gun or even a knife and you have no military training.
You have no food and you haven’t eaten in over a day.
Actually Autistic, actually anxiety
This is how I often feel when interacting with people.
It doesn’t even have to be a ‘social’ event, where at least a modicum of verbal reciprocity is expected/demanded.
At the grocery store I don’t have to socialize or even interact very much but there’s always the anticipation.
Will it be crowded, will there be a long line at the checkout, will I feel like taking a baseball bat to the speakers spewing out that ‘dumb them down’ elevator music. Will it be too cold (should I carry a hoody)
The Mall is much the same only amplified and there is a tidal wave of people and the conversation is deafening.
Nobody at the grocery store or the Mall has the slightest idea how I am feeling or what I am thinking and it’s not their fault.
Most happy shoppers are not hypersensitive to noise or averse to crowds (more than 3 other people in the store) and it would never occur to them that ANYONE would be freaking out the way I do when purchasing food for the week or making a commando raid on a retail entertainment stadium (a pilgrimage to most) to purchase non-food items.
It isn’t meant to be this way.
Taking off the mask
When I reach my threshold, I can assure you, that the mask is OFF!
It isn’t so much me taking off the mask as the mask falling off, as I just lose it.
They come as a pair.
In a restaurant my order arrives and it doesn’t look like the picture in the menu…….you’d think they’d tried to poison me. Again, not their fault, that’s just the way I am wired.
I’ve left full trollies at a grocery store, before checkout for reasons that I can’t even remember now and I’m not even including my #Bipolar responses…..that’s the subject of another video.
My coping strategies are quite simple.
I minimize social interaction/human contact.
There are situational exceptions, which I’ll cover in a future post.