I can feel it as soon as I wake up on some days. It’s difficult to explain. As I open my eyes, my heart sinks. There it is. It’s been up before me. Showered and ready to go. My consciousness is its signal to start the day. It begins.
I can feel it. Inside my head. Inside my brain. I can feel it in my cheekbones, my forehead, my jaw, my eyes, my furrowed brow. It runs around my head like a fat little hamster on a wheel to nowhere. I can feel it in my heart, in the way it beats. The rhythm. My heartbeat feels different. Invaded. Taken over. I can feel it coursing through my veins. I can hear it in my voice. Despite how much I try, I can’t quite sound like me. Or maybe this is me and the other guy is the imposter? I try to rationalise with it. To talk myself around it. But I can’t. It’s me. I can feel it in my soul. I can’t escape it today.
I’m not being poetic. I can actually feel it.
I know I’m in trouble. I know today is going to be hard. Exhausting. Every ounce of energy is expended. If there was anything I could do, to avoid these days, I would. But I can’t. The show must go on.
You all look different today. You all seem so much more threatening today. You scare me more. Your voices hurt my brain and your questions panic me. Your proximity puts me on edge. I long to be alone. I have nothing to give today, nothing to say, nothing to ask. I have nothing for you. Looking at you and listening to you makes me want to crumble. I just want to be on my own. It’s not you, it’s me. I keep my head down and pray you won’t notice me.
But I can only take it for so long before I come out fighting. It’s involuntary. I have no wish to fight and no wish to confront. Confrontation is self-harm. I re-live the stress for hours and days and years to come. If I hurt you, I hurt myself 50 times over, but I have no choice on days like these. I am at its mercy. The fear and anxiety manifest as anger. I try to hold on to the fear because I know that’s the right thing to do. The anger is a distraction from the fear, I know this. I guess on some level, I want to distract myself from the fear.
I can feel as I start to meltdown. I can feel the meltdown coming. Wearing pink pyjamas, wearing pink pyjamas, wearing pink pyjamas when it comes. I have to get out. I have to go. I have to run. Trust me. You may have seen the wobble as the clock nears midnight. You may have raised your eyebrow or tutted at the social inappropriateness of me, as one of my edges frayed. But that brusque retort, that steely glare, that manner you were so affronted by, are but the aperitif to the main course. I need to escape. I need to melt.
There are days when I doubt my autism. Days when I think, maybe, just maybe they made a mistake? Maybe I should go for a second opinion? And then I experience today, and I know. I know.
As I sit, alone, unable to cling onto anything or anyone. I know.
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