I will do my best to only get on an empty elevator and will take the stairs if there are too many people around so I can enjoy a moment of quiet. I actually enjoy exercise so stairs are often a welcome escape.
When my doorbell rings, my first instinct is always to hide. Then I creep to the door looking for the peep hole. If the person outside is not friend or family nothing can get me to answer. I hate being interrupted by unannounced people at my home, but friends and family are always welcome – it is my sanctuary.
I will never leave the bathroom stall if there is someone else inside the restroom. I will listen and wait to leave the stall until after I am sure the room is totally empty.
When wandering in public I sometimes stare down at my phone, or feet. Sometimes I allow my inner child to surface and I let my eyes dart around wildly, taking in every color and texture before me.
When I indulge in this way, I assume I must look my most Autistic. Joy overflowing as I bounce around and wave my hands excitedly. I’ve been told there is a child like joy in me, despite being almost thirty… my husband brings it out in me. We laugh, we enjoy nature, we have fun on our own, blissful in our private world.
Social situations and encounters with strangers are draining to me. I don’t take any pleasure in small talk, smiles, or eye contact with people I don’t know. In fact – every time I make eye contact with someone I don’t know or trust my heart races as my adrenal gland fires off. It is an unpleasant sensation that I can tolerate but avoid when I can.
Its not that I don’t want to be friendly to other people or to push people away. I am conserving energy so that what I have left I can enjoy with the people I love.
So yes – Autistic Confession – I avoid people, because for me that is self care.