Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The After Effect

There is one thing I've known for a very long time, even before my diagnosis, and that is I experience an after effect on events. In my second and/or third yet to be published books I refer to this as the "time lapse" in which an event of any kind, often times, will show up well after the fact.

This happened to me on Friday when I had a meeting of a magnitude which I may never have had before. It was new, it was exciting, and the internal emotions beforehand were nothing short of a total lockup. As nervous as I was before the event the feelings that evening were much, much greater.

I wish I could've described this after effect earlier in my life because when something would happen, say at school, I often would not express an emotion until later that evening and because the emotion had be festering for so long when it would finally be expressed it was often entangled with other events which made the root cause often remain a mystery.

As the years have gone on I've learned that I do experience this and it is important for me to note when my emotions get overloaded. Perhaps the reason why there is this after effect is that there's a processing time. Also, perhaps, a person can only run from emotions and feelings for so long before they are going to be felt. Friday evening, about four hours after the meeting, I felt as if all my energy had be sucked from my being. Would I still have had that meeting? You bet I would! I think anyone would have had some effect after the fact as getting emotionally tuned for an important meeting would be intense for anyone.

Another aspect of this is what happens after the after effect. During one of these times I am often exhausted and, unless I need to express my emotions, I often will want to be alone. Calling this a recharge time wouldn't be that far of a stretch as that's what it is. On top of that, this is the time that the emotions will get worked through and, hopefully, purged.

I will take this line to remind you that, "If you've met one person with autism then you've only met one person with autism" because with this after effect the differences can vary greatly. A couple years ago I spoke to a family and the mom of the child, well, teen to be more precise, explained this same phenomenon but it would take about a week before there would be a reaction to an event. The next person you may see may have a shorter time-span than myself as I'm usually 3-4 hours after an event.

This can also go into more than a business event like a meeting or a emotionally traumatic event and this can also play into the physical aspect of life if we are involved in something greatly. Many times I will have no idea what the state of my body is in terms of tiredness, thirst, or even hunger if I am heavily involved in something. Of course, these things do catch up eventually.

The main thing with this post is to understand that, if you are a parent or teacher, you may have an event at 10AM and won't have the emotional response until later that day. This can be confusing because most people can move on shortly thereafter but being on the autism spectrum you may see that response later than you would think. And on top of all that you've got to keep your wits about you because I was good at wrapping up other events between the trigger and the time I expressed emotions to try and deflect the actual cause because, after all, I hated talking about emotions and would do anything to talk about something other than the actual cause.

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