Have you ever felt like there is something so powerful inside of you that you can’t really express it and there’s no way to get it out so it just kind of lives inside of you? It’s kind of like when you need to cry so much that once you start you can’t stop for a while, only you’re in public so you have to hold it all in. If you can think of that feeling, that is sort of how I feel sometimes only not just with sadness but with lots of thoughts and emotions.
I think a lot of people with autism may feel the same sort of thing, which is why some of us seem really blunt at times. Sometimes there are just so many feelings and thoughts going through us that we just put them out there without realizing that we may need to rephrase them for people to not take it the wrong way. Even if we do stop to formulate our words, we may run out of time and then it can become even more offensive because of how or when we say things.
Sensitivity may also be contributed to by these overwhelming feelings and emotions. When you have something so strong on the inside, everything on the outside seems harsher. A gentle touch can feel like a heavy weight. A brush past you can feel like pins and needles. Sounds can seem deafening. Because your insides are in turmoil, everything on the outside seems hostile and overwhelming as well.
Getting these feelings out brings us back to stereotyped motions. We often use the outside to distract us from the inside. We stimulate our senses to remind us of what is real and to help us feel grounded outside of the powerful forces inside of us.
Another thing that I think has helped me to get out some of these thoughts and feelings is being involved in things. In high school I was involved in nearly every extracurricular activity offered at the school. I was in water polo, I started my own club, I was in the leadership of at least 3 other clubs, and I participated in another 5-6 clubs. Although this may seem like a lot to handle, it actually felt like less to handle because the inner turmoil was dissipated into everything else I was doing. I didn’t feel uncomfortable because I never had the time to be uncomfortable. I never had the time to let my feelings and senses affect me and because of this the feelings basically went away. I’m not saying this is for everyone and I think that this may be a very individualized solution, but I just want to put out a small reflection of why it is so hard to live with autism.
When your insides are not reflected by your outsides (you seem fine, but you’re at war within yourself), it is hard to express those feelings to others and possibly harder to try to figure them out and control them. When you think about these overwhelming feelings, it’s no wonder why people with autism have such a hard time communicating. When your thoughts and feelings are too powerful for words, how can you use words to describe them? And when you have things inside of you that are that powerful, how can you concentrate on anything else?