I struggle with this, I really do, and thankfully (most of the time) those in my family understand this. What is this that I struggle with? The “this” in this blog has to do with conversations and the script I go with into it. Script? This isn’t to be confused with “scripting” in terms of reciting movie lines or echolalia, but the script I’m referring to is the long and difficult work I’ve put in to be able to talk about something.
If I’m going to be talking about something that isn’t 100% based in facts and is teetering on the borders of the realm of emotions I struggle. I can’t just simply have a conversation about that subject, but if I do have a conversation about it the timing may seem random to others. However, to myself it is anything but random as I’ve put in a monumental amount of thought on the matter and this may have an hour, several hours, or even days of thought in advance of just how, exactly, I am going to phrase everything. By the time I speak I’ve got it down to well-choreographed script and I know what I’m going to say in the order that I am but this doesn’t always go according to plan and when it does I may come across as angry.
Angry? What or who am I angry at? Often times it will appear as if I’m angry at the other person as my tempo in speech picks up, I stumble a bit, and I may even give a very angry, “What?!” but I’m not angry at any person outside of my own brain. You see, I’ve put a lot of thought into what I was going to say and what I was saying was difficult to say and now the script I have crafted is being altered and now I’m having to process and processing of things that aren’t based in fact can be extremely difficult for me and while previously I had time alone to process and write a script I’m now having to come up with provisions to the script on the fly and I’m not going to say it hurts in the physical sense but the anxiety response and sense of processing panic I experience on the inside if highly uncomfortable and then I have to scramble to try and regain my bearings so I can try and salvage this script which is now no longer the perfect piece of work I had when I went into the conversation.
This is something, along with yesterday’s blog post, that is difficult to understand unless you live with it because it appears as if I am fully able to have a conversation about emotions and if I’m not interrupted on it I can state each word with proper annunciation and stress the words to make an impact, but just one interruption to my flow and I can get lost and panic. One small change and I can become hung up having no idea what I was saying and no idea where I was going with it and I may appear angry and frustrated which, well, I am but it isn’t towards you or anyone; it’s frustration at the sense of anxiety that’s flowing through my limbs and it’s the panic knowing that you’re expecting more words and I know what I wanted to say, or I thought I did, and now I’m flooded with so many thoughts I can’t make sense of it and I knew I had a script but now it’s much like a 100 pages of written words being blown apart by a strong gust of wind.
I’m sure as parents and teachers this is confusing to witness because one minute things are great and if you asked an unexpected question, or even if a loud noise or a distracting event occurred, the whole rhythm is gone and there might be anger. Should this happen I hope this blog gets remembered because odds are the anger isn’t directed towards you but rather the internal strife that is going on. The person on the autism spectrum may need more time to gather their bearings and if you were to then ask another question you may throw more fire on this so if a situation like the one I’ve put forth in this blog today should come up you might want to try and giving the person time to regain their bearings, time to regain the ability to stay on script because if it’s about feelings or emotions it may seem like random timing to you but I know for myself I’m sure it’s the same feeling one would have standing at an open door of an airplane about to parachute for the first time and it takes a lot of guts to take that leap and that, for myself, is what talking about emotions is like and without a script that leap will never take place.