Emotional Whiplash of Autism

369H (1)So much for tranquility. Couple days ago, we were visiting with my lovely wife’s grandparents. Salt of the earth people. Up to that point, tranquility I had experienced upon arriving at the beach, hard largely remained.

Before proceeding further, a little background is necessary. In about 3 or 4 weeks, a milestone event will occur in our special Aspie’s life consistent with the religious tradition we have chosen to follow. (In my case, and I don’t want to brag but, I am one hell of an accomplished sinner, who needs all the assistance available to navigate the razor’s edge on which I have traversed much of my life). The milestone event is kind of a big deal, the first significant religious milestone for any person in our religious tradition.

So, I was visiting with ‘Papa’ as my wife’s family refers to their dad / grandad / great-grand dad. I asked Papa, if he would be willing to record a video of his thoughts and feelings to be played at the milestone event for our special Aspie. Thought it would be a keepsake and connection for our special Aspie with his great-grand dad. As the words left my mouth asking Papa for the video, I felt a gut punch as I simultaneously realized my parents would not be participating. Since then, I have been a growly grizzly bear to be around.

A person on autism lacks capacity for emotional regulation and when one is diagnosed as “high functioning” all that means is that we were fortunate not to lose some communicative ability through autism. While we might be able to speak, write,  point, grunt, or otherwise engage in some form of intelligible communication, emotions can come bursting out in the raw, unfiltered, and with an intensity that is uncustomary for neurotypicals. We may appear to swing from one emotional extreme to another, and often feel as if I do. One of the other effects of being born with insufficient emotional reglulatory capacity.

What’s more, often a person on the spectrum struggles to maintain some sense of emotional equilibrium. Not to suggest that neurotypicals do not likewise experience such struggles. It is to suggest that Aspies and Auties, due to how their brains are wired / developed, may experience more difficulty with achieving and maintaining emotional equilibrium.

So much concentration, on my part, was / is necessary to do so, I have perma-scowl (short, for permanent scowl) which, is really my thinking hard expression on my face – perpetually. The only difference with neurotypicals is that intense concentration never ends for me, I can’t shut it off, hence, perma-scowl. Needless to say, I have been struggling to shut off the growly grizzly bear the last couple days with the side-effect that the perma-scowl has grown more menacing and my patience has been nearly non-existent. So unfair to my family who have to adjust to the absurdity of growly grizzly bear dad.

It’s funny, nearly two-years have passed since the estrangement which, was years in the making through mine and their decisions colored, in hindsight, with no knowledge of autism / asperger’s in the family. Though, they don’t see it that way, casting all blame toward me because, on my view, their (parents and siblings) uber religious worldview is starkly right or wrong.

Autism just is. The right / wrong dichotomy is insufficient as an interpretive and analytical framework by which comprehension, let alone understanding or even knowledge may be developed regarding Autism / Asperger’s. Too much contextual ambiguity in right / wrong frameworks for a literal thinker to process.

Somewhat frustratingly, hadn’t sufficient time passed that residual feelings about the estrangement had largely dissipated? Then, unintentionally I triggered those very feelings when asking Papa for the video!?! Guess the trigger indicates that regrettably, sufficient time had not passed and, may never. Needless to say, I started this blog for my own health, as one of several means to manage the emotional whiplash of Autism. This post helped. Now, we’re off to see Wonder Woman. (I still have a boyhood crush on Linda Carter)….

6 thoughts on “Emotional Whiplash of Autism

  1. Very powerful words. Thank you for expressing these thoughts
    so clearly, you hit two nails right on point. The intensity of thought,
    & equally finding that equilibrium. Once we get settled we are fab.

    I never understood how people could brush things off so quickly &
    completely forget events, when they were still in my mind as fresh
    as the day that they happened. Situations were unresolved & I
    would still processing those feelings, but they couldn’t remember.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your insights! It is always amazing the
        synchronicity that can be found in our online community,
        it is a real gift to find such articulate & simple explanations
        of things that were just so hard to put a finger on, & knowing
        you are not alone is really wonderful & allows one to take
        a step back, breath, & process. Small little break-thoughs.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for kind compliment. Yes, I agree completely, my blogging experience has introduced me to a community from which I derive much support. Happy and hope you continue to experience same. Cheers, OD

        Liked by 1 person

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