Trigger words, we all have them it’s not just an Aspie thing. Everyone has certain things, places, people, dates and words that cause a reaction inside. Most people will feel this and be able to adjust themselves accordingly to the environment they are in and people they are with.
Those of us high functioning on the spectrum learned to conform, hide, become very good actors. This started to happen at about 7-8 years of age with me. I learned to internalise while out of my comfort zone, to act shy. Eventually my overload would be released in the form of a meltdown or shutdown at home.
EFD plays a big part in my inability to understand and control what I absorb and how I react. Sometimes within comfort zones I can’t control. I see now that many times I will react in overload and say, do, write things I haven’t processed properly, or filtered at all. Things that don’t make sense but seem so very real to me at the time. Once I am coming out of this state I then go into a state of panic or guilt, embarrassment and shame. I can and have been extremely negative on myself because of this.
I read this yesterday, it seemed important
(Excerpt from the post)
We have discussed the “all or nothing” thinking style of many people on the spectrum. This trait is represented in many areas of the person’s life (sensory, cognitive, emotional, and social). They often fluctuate from one extreme to another, having difficulty staying in a moderate range. They have difficulty regulating their cognitive and emotional responses, to stay in a level range that matches the demands of the setting. It’s as if there processing has an “on and off” switch, but not a volume control switch. Most neuro-typical (NT) people have a “volume switch” that allows them to regulate the intensity of sensory stimulation, emotional reactions, and behaviour responses to match the demands of the current situation. This allows them to “regulate” match their cognitive and emotional reactions to the current demands. From moment to moment, for a person to stay regulated and “in sync” with his surroundings, he has to be able to turn the intensity up and down, depending on the current situational needs.
Today I witnessed this in me first hand
I was happily chatting with friends when something triggered in me. I suddenly went into a state of confusion and didn’t know why. They went quiet no one was there to validate my irrational response and show me it was ok. I knew in my mind and heart that it was ok, these friends know me and accept me for me, but it was like my body decided otherwise. I spiralled and switched off completely.
I had a hot shower and tried to pray it out
It was making no sense at all. Mr Locoman came and lay on the bed with me and held me while I babbled away trying to find a root. But nothing! He went to cook some food for us all and left me alone to cry it out in prayer. A poem came while I was writing but it is such a sad poem I have wrestled about sharing this. But I need to be true to myself if I’m going to find healing.
Memories came while writing my poem I found a trigger
Silence is one of my triggers, I’m not talking about silence through choice I actually love solitude. I mean when people suddenly go quiet. It makes me analyse everything that I have said and done.
The memory I will share is of school
That’s correct school again, the awful social situations I was so ridiculously hopeless at. There was more but I am not able to share that at the moment.
This part is of a bullying situation that I chose at the time to ignore. I knew my Mom would go down the school and I was so afraid it would make things worse. I chose to just sort myself out and get on with the day.
I was about 14 and in with the wrong crowd
In a way of protecting myself I became part of the hard knock group. This wasn’t hard to do I was in bottom group for everything and pushed into this group anyway. Me and another girl who I thought was my friend were skiving off a few lessons and hiding in a lift. The lift got stuck and we were both terrified.
I wasn’t open about my faith back then, Mom being a Sunday school teacher was a big enough joke. I did however carry a Bible in my school bag and wear a silver cross, it somehow made me feel safer. The girl I was with in the lift started to cry and I was scared too so I shared some scriptures from my little red Gideon Bible. She was lovely and we sat cuddled together waiting for the school caretaker to crank down the lift and get us out. We were stuck for 2 hrs all together.
Over the next few days I noticed something
The “friends” I had were quiet, they didn’t seem to giggle with me like they used to and I noticed a few times that they were hiding their conversations. They started to skive off lessons and not tell me where they were hiding. On this particular day they disappeared and I had to go to dinner alone. After eating I sat out in the courtyard where we used to meet and waited for them but they didn’t turn up. It was getting to the end of dinner so I went back to class. When I got there my bag had been raided and my books were all over the classroom. One of them said, “Where’s ya sandals Jesus freak?” I looked at the floor and picked up my book. They were all laughing and then the same girl shouted, “We hid your Bible we don’t wanna get bashed!” I then noticed my make-up and hair brush on the teachers desk and my sanitary towel stuck to the blackboard. I quickly picked up my things and pushed everything into my bag. I held back the tears and looked at the girl who was stuck in the lift with me. She didn’t know where to look. It wasn’t her fault, this group had a way of getting information and she was trying to survive too.
I am only sharing this because I know that others will relate
28 years have passed since this incident but still it triggers such hurt, betrayal and fear. I believe that this one act of nastiness has played a massive part in the way I have let people mistreat me. I can never tell who is true and who is not and even with my first marriage I could never tell. I want to trust and be close to people, I try so hard to always see the good in all people. I know this post is part of a healing process for me. I probably will go into shutdown after publishing it, but I know that God will bring me through.
As a teen and a Jesus freak I never doubted this
I knew my saviour would get me through and today I know He will lead this post to whoever needs to read it. If I do shutdown He will meet me there, hold my hand and bring me back out of the darkness.
Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
My poem… Tears of confusion
Weeping eyes, aching heart
Suffocating in confusion
Fears and tears mingle
Entwined with unknowing
Frantic loops of emotional turmoil
Reality or figmentation?
No answers, more questions
Brewing thoughts on forgotten years
Recaptured heartbreaks and sorrows
Rejected, alone, aching, yearning
Passing voices, only shadows
Void of touch, prisoner of silence
Forgotten yet still alive.