Autism: Noise hurts me. But not like you’d think

A lot of the “problems” of autism – or, more to the point, autistics trying to operate in a neuro-typical world – could be put down to timing rather than incapacity or incapability. I see that I react in much the same way as other people and I feel the same things as everyone else but I feel I’m operating on a different time scale. Processing can take a while if there’s too much to take in – it’s not a fault: I think I am taking in more so I see it as a blessing but it can make us look weird or unresponsive because we’re being distracted or over-stimulated while we take in detail.

Empathy is a good example of this confusion about whether or not we’re reacting “correctly” and I think I’ll save that for another post.

What I’ve noticed about myself is how sounds slow me down. Other autistics talk about sounds hurting them. To me they hurt emotionally, they hurt my operating system; they don’t hurt my ears in a physically painful way. Many other sounds don’t offend at all they are simply distracting. But some sounds irritate terribly. An irritating noise to an non-autistic can be magnified in my ears. Certain pitches are overwhelming. I am disturbed by scratching noises or skin rubbing together for example. Being distracted slows me down and I find when I’ve recovered I’m out of step. I’ve spent my life avoiding holding my hands over my ears and drawing attention to myself but now, at home, if I’m upset I will cover my ears.

So I wrote this thing

I Hear That Too.

‘Yeah, I hear that too. It irritates me too.’

Yes but I am consumed by it.
I am paralysed by it.

It taunts me.
It prevents me.
It upsets me.

I have lost my concentration.
I have lost my train of thought.

I feel under attack.
I feel hurt.
I feel offended.
It feels deliberate.
It feels cruel.

When it stops, it will haunt me.
It will ring like bell
It will repeat like an echo.

I will wonder ‘Why?’

I will wait.
I will try.
I will feel bruised.
I will lose time.
I will give my all to get back to where we were.

I will be waiting for it to happen again.
I won’t be the same.

No matter what you say.

‘It was just a noise. It’s over.’

Is it?

Maybe in your world.

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