Being late diagnosed..at 50 yrs old…I can’t count the number of times now where I experience things and understand it in an entirely different way. It is nothing short of a rebirth in a way. A rebirth of understanding myself. The other day I was at a public place and experienced something I had experienced a million times in my life…sound sensory overload. A lot of people talking at once and two different sources of music going on at once. I felt like I was going to explode. I literally felt like crawling out of my skin and felt the STRONG need to get away from all of it. But this time..I knew exactly why I was feeling what I felt. This time I knew without a doubt what was happening and the best way I could take care of myself was to remove myself from the situation. As I had done all my life. But this time..I didn’t beat myself up about it. This time I walked away kinda feeling sad that this was something not allowing me to feel okay and forcing me to leave earlier than I had planned but knowing I was doing the best thing I could for myself and knowing as soon as I got away from the sound overload I would feel better and calm.
I haven’t gone the route of using ear plugs yet. I’ve heard and have read they help. But I just haven’t tried this option yet. I think something in me is still questioning my diagnosis. Still questioning if I really need something and maybe these things are for people who are REALLY autistic. Something in me I guess still in denial that I actually need them. But last Friday it occurred to me..I wonder if they would help in these kinds of situations. Maybe…I do need them and maybe I wouldn’t have to always leave a party early or leave a situation like this. Maybe…there is something that could help me stay and enjoy myself with others.
Wow. What a concept. As soon as I research the crap out of what earplugs would work best for me…I’m going to invest in this tool. I’m going to keep a pair in my purse and maybe..maybe for the first time in my life..I won’t have to remove myself from having fun and feeling like my head will explode. And not feel angry because I feel so many layers of frustration. Not ask someone over and over to repeat themselves because I can not make out what they are even saying with so much background noise. Maybe it is time I admit and be okay with my admitting I do need help.
For most my life I was taught over and over to suck it up and deal. Like everyone else was dealing. Or find ways…like leaving a party or place that was triggering the fuck out of me. Or if at work (bartending) control what I was feeling by focusing on something else. Like washing and cleaning the hell out of the bar where I worked. That bar was spotless while I worked there. Wow. Another realization. I really used changing my focus to deal with all I was naturally feeling.
Now that I’m thinking about this…how the HELL was I a bartender?? How??? And I was a good bartender and I guess again..people either loved me or hated me when I was a bartender. The folks who hated me were the trouble makers but still…I wasn’t the most chatty bartender. How the hell did I pull that off? I guess it helped that it was a small town place but still. My ADHD and age must of been in the lead with that role. I definitely was not the norm there either. I never drank while on the job. I was the only sober person in the place. Wow. Kinda amazing now to think about how I managed a position like that. How I adapted and did things to accomplish that while being incredibly triggered in that position.
But anyway..where was I? Sound sensitivities..and tools. Wow I need tools more than ever. Whatever it was that allowed me to deal when I was younger..is not there anymore. I couldn’t imagine being a bartender now. Absolutely no. There must be something with age..something with being worn out from a life of not taking care of myself in the way I needed to that makes a lot of things I used to deal with..just not an option anymore. I need help. And it’s okay to need help.
Again…I am in a weird kinda half acceptance mode. I am in the lightbulb moments of realizing and seeing who I am from a different perspective. I am seeing I have choices now. I have tools now. What am I waiting for?? Why am I hesitant to use some of these tools available to me? Why do I keep having these realization moments but still feeling this “oh I’m not that bad..that’s for people who really need it” kind of mindset? Trained to not be a burden? Trained to not admit I’m any different than anyone else and just need to try to deal harder? I don’t know. But surviving in the way I have is kind of a hard habit to break. Understandably hard.
Ya…I’m going to invest in some earplugs.