ASD Sound Sensitivity Plot Twist

Ya I’m talking about it again. I wanted to explain it a little better and found my words to do so. So here goes.

Being late diagnosed autistic is overwhelming and a mind trip sometimes. I have moments that border on what they call ”imposter syndrome” where I think..” I really autistic?” Mostly when others explain what they experience and I can’t relate. Or…I don’t even realize I relate yet. I’ve only existed in a way where I didn’t have tools to help me so how would I even know there is a…better way.
One example is folks talking about using headphones while out in public for sound sensitivities. I’m over here thinking well that’s not me..I’m not THAT autistic. I do have sound sensitivities that are real and I’ve dealt with my whole life but it doesn’t affect me to the point of it really affecting me THAT much. And I just couldn’t imagine walking around with big ol earphones on. My silly pride wouldn’t allow it as well the idea of giving people a reason to just look at me.
But I do have some sound sensitivities so maybe I will just get me a pair of discrete ear plugs I can have in my purse for moments when there is something that’s too much.
So I get them and on my trip recently while riding in the vintage and loud Winnie I decide to use them. Here’s an opportunity to try them out because I feel so super anxious and it’s loud and why not test them out and reduce the noise I’m hearing but still be able to have a convo.

Well…the second I put them in I realize my “anxiety” was being felt through my entire body..however subtle…suddenly it’s like a switch is flipped. I feel absolute peace and calm. My body unclenches. My brain feels at peace too. I feel focused. I’m sitting there ready to cry it’s such a huge wave of realization that all this time..sound was in fact being felt throughout my entire body and making my thoughts…like fuzzy or static feeling or something. Might I say…almost electric feeling in a way.
I pop them out…I feel the anxiety again…pop them in…clear..birds sing..angels sing for christs sake. I do it a few more times and think…holy crap I’m autistic AF.
I test them again at a crowed bar where we stop to eat and they are having a karaoke night. Oh Lordy perfect opportunity in this setting. I fumble in my purse for my ear plugs as Grandpa Moses starts to sing his favorite song…pop them in and instant relaxed feeling. Instant. Again I sit there in shock popping them in and out to feel the night and day difference with my body alone.
Allan talks to me and I can hear him clearly…but the background noise is all muffled. (My ear plugs just cancel out background noise so I can still have a convo. Genius!) And I feel OKAY. I can hear Allan..something I can’t do without the aid of ear plugs in this sort of situation. All the people talking and laughing is way in the background now and more importantly not making me feel like I want to jump out of my skin.

These are the kind of situations in the past I would of just given up about and left early..snuck out the back door or sometimes not even shown up or just forcing myself to sit there dealing with it. But I had no idea just how much my sound sensitivities were affecting my entire body and brain. How??? 50 years I just dealt with this. Just believing I was overly sensitive and trying not to be a burden on anyone or “a baby”. I was “that kid” a lot. I felt like “that kid” a lot. I suppressed it in a million different ways so I could just try to keep up with everyone and be “normal” and do like everyone else was. All these little moments I just dealt with feeling all that and then feeling exhausted because my entire body and mind was in full coping survival mode. I didn’t know I was hurting myself by just sitting there and taking it. I had no idea. For years and years this was my just deal because everyone else was…stop being a baby, Anne.
Get a grip and knock it off. You’re fine.
But I wasn’t fine. Suddenly I a sense..given a pair of eyeglasses and realizing I had not been truly seeing the world around me and things for what they really were and what they really looked like. It was nothing short of seeing a whole new world for me when I used the noise reduction ear plugs. I may have gone the rest of my life believing I had to just cope with what I felt. That I was just weak and dumb and being overly sensitive in situations where in reality noise for me was being heard TOO WELL. So much so that I was feeling it throughout my entire body.

Life changing. I can’t say it enough. My entire existence and everything I thought I knew before has suddenly changed. For the better. I AM autistic and I was born this way and there are thankfully tools I can use to make my existence not as hard as it used to be my entire life. Holy huge plot twist. Biggest plot twist of my life. All this time..not realizing..not even aware that I was silently dealing with real sound sensitivities and all that stress I was feeling internally and in my body. All those moments when I couldn’t think..I couldn’t focus and concentrate and get it together…a lot of it was due to how I heard the world around me.


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