Another on the spectrum realization. Sometimes teachers thought I was lying about needing to go to the restroom so often. Well they were kinda right. I didn’t have to go to the bathroom to pee so much. My bladder was fine. I had to go to the bathroom to regroup or cry or calm down when I would feel overwhelmed for any number of reasons. Too hot in a classroom. Too much light. Too overwhelmed by a fast talking teacher and afraid to ask to repeat slower. So. Many. Things. Overwhelmed me. It was easier to just go to the bathroom and regroup. Cry or whatever and come back better. I used bathrooms all the time to not make a fool of myself in front of people.
At jobs too. I bust my ass at jobs because that’s how I did..I was and am a great employee…but it didn’t matter. If I asked to go to the bathroom so I could regroup when feeling overwhelmed…I was automatically considered lazy and a liar or a manipulator trying to get extra breaks.
I think all the constant wrong assumptions about me my entire life did in some ways make me a bit oblivious to what people said about me. Not that it doesn’t hurt…it always hurts to have people assume the wrong things about you..but I became so used to it..and I needed to survive being who I was and feeling what I felt..it became more important to me that I not break down (meltdown) in front of people and feel the absolute embarrassment of that. I just let them go on with their assumptions.
In reality…I bust my ass at every job I have ever had. Maybe more so to qualm the assumptions a little that would eventually come up.
It was only in very serious overwhelming situations that I couldn’t hide it. But then I still did. I still made excuses about being sick or something. I didn’t even understand it myself..how was I going to tell anyone the truth of what I was feeling when I didn’t understand why I was so feeling it. You didn’t. No one would understand and then they would think you were nuts and not mentally able to have your job. I couldn’t afford that. So I masked it all.
I used bathrooms as a safe place. Bathroom stalls as a safe box to shut it all out and be in a quiet space. My entire life. It was another didn’t understand why but I needed it to avoid further humiliation for something I just thought was a quirk of mine or a weakness. Always so fucking sensitive. Why was I always so sensitive.
Now I know. God dammit now I know. When others started talking about this it was shocking to me. With each new realization I have this odd feeling of how all these private, only I know about these things I do..suddenly being exposed. How the fuck did I walk around my entire life not knowing others were doing this?? Well simple…same reason they didn’t know YOU were doing it..that’s how. You learned to mask hard. You learned to keep many things very secretive. Your own children didn’t know many things about you. They lived with you every day and only witnessed certain things. But even then you explained it away.
I think the work of unmasking is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It is freeing but painful too. Deeply painful. Years and years of hiding truths about your most intimate details about yourself being examined and looked at in such a completely different way. Understanding is hard. Not understanding might of been easier. No thought was put into it because why? It just was and there were no answers. Now that I know…I can’t go back. And it is work. Every day I work now unraveling it all. Bathrooms. My safe place wasn’t just mine anymore. There is a complexity to this realization I can not explain. Joy and loss…every day, joy and loss.