I used to respond very poorly to important stuff.
If someone took issue with something I said or did,
If something happened that took me by surprise,
I’d respond badly.
I would not know how to feel, not be able to think; to process or work through the experience.
I’d force a ready response.
And because it was forced, propelled by pressure and anxiety,
It would not be a fair representation of who I am, or how I think or feel about the world.
Many people believe autistic people are over reactors, over responders, that we can’t let something be.
I feel so deeply and my processing never stops.
I ruminate on events for weeks, months, years.
When I force a response, it will be over the top.
When I force a response, I will respond in a way that is not thought through.
When I force a response, I will continue an ongoing, open dialogue and add to it as I unravel and process because I didn’t have the space to in the first place.
These days, when I can’t make sense or pinpoint my emotional or cognitive or physical or energetic response to a situation, I let it be.
I let it unravel in its own time.
When I am forced, when I feel pressured, I shut down.
I need time.
I need processing time.
My thoughts, my feelings, my response to the world is huge.
It needs time.
When an autistic person does not respond immediately, or not in a way you’d expect, it may be that they need time.
We think differently.
Patience, time and space will allow you to get to the heart of who we truly are.
Image: Broken isn’t bad.