What are the messages that you have received throughout your life?
A few that reflect my life:
- Just be different.
- Just try harder.
- Just do it .
- It’s not that hard.
- It’s not that big of deal.
- Stop being so loud.
- Stop scaring me, you are too loud.
- …….etc etc.
So, I’m going to tell those, and all the people who have minimized my struggles or discounted my feelings (family included) to shove it.
Here are a list of things that I WANT to say but can’t. Or WANT to verbally explain but somehow can’t . They might be easy to write but not to get out in a way that makes sense, and me being in the same space as a person. I can’t do two things at a time (explain, express, and be present with you)
When you are dealing with someone who might have difficulty with communication whether it be intermittent, or just when there are feelings triggered-keep a few things in mind.
Take sadness, discomfort, extreme happiness, grief, anything really except for “regular” neutral (flat) feelings. Does it appear the person suddenly is not engaging with you? Have they disconnected? I often feel a wash of extreme difficulty and can’t get words to my mouth and out. This doesn’t mean I’m shut off. Things are much more active in my head (a lot of thoughts, connections, patterns, considerations, etc) and just because I’m not engaged doesn’t mean I don’t care. It means the exact opposite often. It means I care terribly, and hurt, or am upset, or affected, or am experiencing feelings along a more pleasurable level (respect someone, grateful, appreciative, nostalgic, etc).
I feel if people would ask me yes/no/i don’t know questions then there isn’t much “emotion” involved in those answers. I might not be able to manage a “I’m upset right now, and need some processing time, and disconnect from light/noise/people/expectations” but if you ask me if I’m having some feelings, I might be able to say “yes”. I won’t look at you or if you try to get me to stand in front of you while asking me, I won’t answer. I will leave, react angrily, or other and make it so that you stop doing what you are doing to me . That might mean being in my space, intently looking at me, observing me, gauging what is going on, asking me open ended questions, being reactive/defensive, intruding on my thought process…etc.
Keep a comfortable distance. Ask do you want to be alone? Do you need processing time? I can’t always say yes and no, and sometimes I ignore you and shut it out. But the answers are happening inside my head. It doesn’t go down the right path to my mouth to get “out there.” If you step closer I might turn away more as if to hide. If you step away you might see me calm down a bit. I always feel like it’s like being claustrophobic but of people, of their questions, of their being around me, of noises, of smells, of expectations.
When things affect me I don’t want to gauge how or who I am. I want to process and work through how I know best. It means I want you to drop the expectations of me to be however I am supposed to be (what is the social norm or appropriate) and adapt to me and what I need. I want space to be myself without feeling bad that I can’t be just like you or others or what is “expected” of me. It causes anxiety. Remove expectations of me to be a certain way or different. As long as you are around me I feel there is an expectation that I have to hold it together, and I will ultimately do things that are displeasing to you. Just let me be.