Last night I participated in Relay for Life – a 12 hour event to raise funds for Cancer Research. I was up all night and, I although I require little sleep, I just can’t pull that off anymore. As I was walking and walking and feeling the soreness and fatigue in my feet and sadly underused muscles, I couldn’t help but reflect that this discomfort was of short duration and nothing compared to the long-term pain and suffering of those facing the battle with cancer.
Nevertheless – today I am tired and feeling out of sync with the world. I had eggs at 3:30 – too early for dinner, and definitely too late for breakfast – or even brunch. I suspect I seemed a bit cranky at times as a few of my comments were misinterpreted by Craig, and his response seemed surprising to me. I expected him to understand that I wasn’t quite myself and cut me a little slack, and amazing guy that his is – he did! However, it wasn’t Craig who was suffering with the feeling of oversensitivity to sound and texture and temperature, or who was struggling with accurately reading social cues, or who was convinced that someone had surreptitiously thrown sand into their eyes. It was me!
I am out of step, but I will certainly find my way again and get back into the rhythm I share with my surroundings.
This, I suppose is the point of this post… although I must admit it has really only come to me as I am writing. I will get back in step. Perhaps it wont be as rapid a process as when I was in my 20’s, but I am confident in the certainly of this. That sense of being in step will return: measuring and anticipating both my actions and the responses of others, and/or handling sensory issues and navigating a world populated by noisy social demands and expectations.
Today – however – I needed to withdraw, pullback, and hide away.
Perhaps this experience and my response is a glimpse into the experience of my child. However, just as my discomfort of the relay was nothing in comparison to the experience of battling Cancer, the same is true for my out-of-stepness. My out-of-sync state will be relatively short-lived but H will always be have autism/be Autistic…
Tonight I began this post feeling I had nothing of great significance to say, but maybe if we can consider our own experiences with feeling disconnected or out of step, we might have a greater understanding of those with social cognitive challenges such as autism. Perhaps this would help us hold and keep their perspective and experience more closely in our own non Autistic minds…
30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.
© Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism, (2011)