One thing that is very hard for me to deal with is when people discount my feelings. I often get upset or annoyed at things that really don’t matter. I know that they don’t matter and I try not to get annoyed by them, but I do. Generally when this happens I am alone or can go somewhere where I can be alone. However, sometimes people notice when I get upset about something. This is where problems can arise for me.
I know that the things I get upset about are inconsequential and in general there is no reason to get upset about these things. They are things that are easily solved and have no bearing on the rest of my life. The problem is that I can’t control what I get upset at. It just happens. However, I do have some control over what I choose to do after I get upset. And what I do usually has a lot to do with what else happens surrounding the event.
When I am alone I can generally calm myself down. I can reason within myself about the validity of my reaction and think of an appropriate way to handle the situation. When I’m not alone the reaction of others to me getting annoyed or upset can sometimes interfere with me being able to immediately think things through and proceed to calm myself down.
When people discount my feelings by asking why I am getting upset at something so trivial or by telling me to calm down because whatever I’m upset at isn’t important, my feelings take over me. Instead of stepping back and analyzing the situation and allowing my reason to trump my emotional reaction, my emotions take control and carry me to a less ideal end. Instead of calming down and letting the situation go, I get more and more upset until I either outburst or find an escape.
I think my autism is probably most apparent in these times. I usually have the time to think about my reactions to things and can respond appropriately, but in these times I know I don’t respond appropriately. People say “use your words,” but how can you come up with words when the only thing inside you is pure emotion? How can you turn energy into sentences? Especially when you aren’t given the time you need to do that?
So, yes, I can use my words. But no, I probably can’t do it when you want me to. I need a little more time.