Wow, yesterday was a day with such a severe swing. Of course it began with the circus of me trying to make that video blog. Oh, if you could have seen me staring at my monitor with my hand poised to press record only to stop, think, and repeat the process. And then I would start, and then hate it, so I went right back to square one.
Once that circus was over I drove to the Crisis Intervention Team Training Committee meeting which I am a part of and as I sat down I was given the recap of the evaluation and I noticed something odd. The recap is the ratings of each presenter in the CIT 40 hour training. I always am the 2nd or 3rd highest rated and have accepted the fact that I will never be on top because the guy that is always first is a 30+ year SWAT tactical expert and is an amazing presenter. This time though, on this sheet, on the expertise side of the column was my name, on top! ON TOP! 1st place. He got me on the presentation side and I got 2nd, but for once I was first.
I am somewhat competitive with my scores and I don't really compete per se with the others, but rather with my own score. The system is 1 bad to 5 good and my average was a 4.88! Needless to say I was elated for a while. Then reality happened.
For lunch I made the customary trip to Taco Bell. I haven't written about a trip there in a while as nothing worth writing has happened, but yesterday one such event did happen.
As I walked in I noticed that it was busier than I am accustomed to it being. In the waiting line the density of people, or rather the personal space one had was much less than normal. When I am in lines such as this, or confined areas, being around people creates an anxiety that is tough to explain; I try to breathe less and I try to make myself smaller in the space I am in. I know there is an expression on my face; I try to hide it but the level of discomfort is so great.
Once I got to the counter I was already frazzled, and then I was asked the most fearsome question I know, "Hello, how are you today?" In my presentations I talk about my struggles with this and it was one of my first blog posts. Once again I had trouble coming up with an answer to this question as I was wanting to be anywhere but there. If there was a hole in the ground outside I might have just left there and crawled into that hole and hid for 12 hours because I was at my limit and after 10 seconds I finally said, to answer the question, "I'm here." Typically I ask this in the form of a question, but yesterday the only polite way to answer that question was to explain it as factually as possible.
I ordered and I noticed that the price was different and as I looked at the receipt the amount of volcano tacos was off by one so I had to speak up which was highly difficult. I did it, and then I walked to the waiting area and, well, waited.
Once again the confines were tight and no matter where I stepped I was in the way. It was awful and every step I made I walked in the path of where someone else was going. Then two people walked by and one person said, "Hello, Aaron" and I swore I had never seen that person before. I'm sure they work at TouchPoint, but I couldn't place who they were. Perhaps if I wasn't in the state I was in all would have been fine, but I was in that state and this "hello" just added to the confusion I was enduring.
What was going on? I don't think I have ever had such a reaction in public; it felt as if I were falling in the literal sense as there was an extreme physical reaction going on within me. Perhaps panic would be the only word to use that would fit what was going on within me.
Time was dragging on and there were so many orders in front of me. I wanted to leave right then and there and forget the food, but then that would be $4.86 wasted and then I'd still be hungry. I had to stay despite every thing within me telling me otherwise.
When my numbers were called I grabbed the food, truly grabbed in a rude way, and proceeded to storm out of the Taco Bell shaking shaking my head at in disgust. I couldn't believe the way I felt. This is something I never experienced before, well, maybe I have mildly, but the close quarters in that Taco Bell yesterday, and the prolonged exposure to that environment created a true fear and panic within me.
So that was my yesterday. It started off with such an amazing event, but as I said reality set in. Of course, I don't want this to depress you! However, I feel it is vital for those not on the spectrum to understand the nature of what happens within. The physical experience of this event is something that I am shaking just thinking about as it was that bad. Why did it happen yesterday? I'm not all that sure, but as I always say I'm glad it did as it allows me to translate the events and paint the picture of the challenges that we face. Sometimes the challenges are small, and other times they can be a deep chasm that evokes a true physical response. Through understanding of these events I hope those around us have a better understanding of what we face and through that, yes, through that understanding I hope better choices and decisions can be made and to know that we aren't trying to be evasive, defiant, or disobedient, but rather there are times when our world is too much, and yesterday I experienced that.