The anxiety rushes over me like a title wave. Every sound and movement around me sends my heart racing. I feel a strong urge to get away, far away – what am I running from?
I try to shake it off, searching for something to distract myself with. After all, I know that I’m in no actual danger. The crazy is all in my head.
People around me do not seem to notice that I’ve gone someplace else, drifting far away into my mind. I’m still and quiet, keeping my silent torment all to myself.
If they knew what was happening to me they’d stare or try to help. More than anything I want to be alone. Trying to talk or interact only makes things worse.
Keeping my breaths slow and relaxed takes nearly all of my focus. The rest of my energy is used up trying to anchor myself to the ground, fighting a strong urge to run.
Where would I go if could run? To a dark quiet room without any people – anywhere with a locking door and soothing lighting.
I like the dark. When I was a child the sun outside and florescent light bulbs in commercial buildings hurt my eyes. They still do. Being undiagnosed, I was often chastised for my whining. Apparently normal people didn’t have the same complaints that I did.
Reading and writing are relaxing and help to ease my anxiety (that’s why I’m writing now, because I know I will feel better by the time I’m finished).
Writing is one of my lifetime special interests. I’ve had many interests over the years. When I am doing my current “thing” I am happy and all my troubles melt away.
Sometimes, when the anxiety and darkness are really bad, all I can do is my favorite thing. I cling to it, like a person grasping onto a life preserver beside a sinking ship. It keeps me afloat, distracts me from what is uncomfortable, and gives me focus on something good.
My ability to hold things in came from a mother who was not very understanding when I tried to explain my feelings. She couldn’t relate to my struggles and always told me to toughen up, deal with it, and stop complaining. So that’s what I did.
I learned to keep my feeling to myself, learned to blend in with a crowd, learned to be tough.
As a teenager my inability to express myself would often leave me exploding like a violent volcano. I knew I could not act that way at school or in front of my parents, so I kept it in. Sometimes I felt so angry that all I wanted to do was throw or break something but I held back, at least until I was alone – most of the time.
The older I get the less and less of a volcano I seem to become. Now my eruptions have shifted to implosions. I fold into myself, running away, sometimes crying or hiding in my bed. I don’t yell, scream, or hit things – not any more.
Shutting down is far less destructive when you are trying to stay Anonymously Autistic as the anxiety kicks in.