I’m just going to lay it all on the line. When we as high functioning autistics (HFAs) get hurt, excluded, lied to, screwed over or otherwise wronged, whether intentional by the person(s) involved or just perceived by our brains, it quickly turns into bitterness and we have a hard time letting go of it. We want to let go of it and have the bitterness go away, but as hard as we try, it lingers like one of my autism service dog’s toxic farts.
Let me be clear about one thing. When I said. “perceived by our brains,” that’s something that’s real to us as autistics. I can’t tell you how many times this has affected me over the years, but it’s now 1:46 am and I tried to sleep for the past two hours but couldn’t because the bitterness over something keeps churning over and over in my brain making slumber impossible.
It will sound strange, but alternative music played at a high decibel level will normally help me relax and clear my head but not even a heavy dose of Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, My Chemical Romance, Velvet Revolver and a few others could do it for me tonight. This bitterness has a hold on me and won’t let go, probably because I have to come face to face with it in about twelve hours.
As I sat down and started banging away at the keyboard, a Foo Fighters song I like but rarely hear came on and I thought some of the lyrics were fitting for what I’m writing.
Because you’re not the one but you’re the only one
Who can make me feel like this
You’re not the one but you’re the only one
Who can make me feel like shit
The truth is that, yes, others can make us feel awful but even as autistic adults there has to be some way to put these thoughts that stir up bitterness out of our minds. But how?
The easy way out is to avoid human contact altogether, something a lot of us go out of our way to do. But is that really a solution? Not in my mind. As uneasy as I generally feel in group settings or one on one with people I don’t know or don’t know really well, sitting at home alone with a flatulent black lab isn’t the answer to my problems. In fact, it makes me more depressed and makes me feel like no one cares about me.
We could try talking the situation out with the person(s) who filled us with bitterness but I’ve found often that leads to more bitterness and feelings of anger. To use a sports metaphor, it’s a good option on paper, but when we get on the field, it’s not going to work.
As HFAs, each of us is unique and that means that we each have to come up with a mechanism to get rid of that bitterness and get on with our lives. As I said earlier, for me it’s often loud alternative music that somehow soothes me and gets the thoughts to go away, at least for a while. When that doesn’t work I’ve used meditation, breathing exercises and a combination of hot showers and stretching to loosen up my muscles.
My go-to way when nothing else works is often writing, but generally, the writing is full of the bitterness that’s inside me. Depending on what I’m working on that’s a good thing. Tonight/this morning it was a good thing because I decided to write about the bitterness inside me.
The reality is that our brains are wired differently than most of society and people either don’t understand what they’re doing to us internally or the truly horrible people out there know exactly what they’re doing and screw with us for the sport of it. Neither is good, but when you’re tormenting someone so you can have fun, you’re a special kind of a-hole.
As I bring this to a close, I’ll keep cranking the loud music and hope that between that and the writing I can find the slumber I desperately need because I have a very busy day ahead of me and I need to be at my best.
When you get the bitter feelings that won’t go away and distract you from work or keep you from sleeping, how do you handle it? Share your tips and ideas with us all. Please.
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An Asperger’s Guide To Dating Neurotypicals is out and hit #23 on the Amazon Hot New Dating Releases Chart. You can find it on Amazon and Kindle or get an autographed copy for the same price at the J.R. Reed Author website.
Before I go, I belong to a closed Facebook group, Aspergers Life Support, run by some terrific people. There’s a link on the right or you can click on the words in purple. If you have Aspergers or are a loving NT of an Aspie, I definitely suggest asking to join the group. They’re great people and have helped me on many occasions.
Photos courtesy Pixabay Creative Commons
Foo Fighters, The One, lyrics by Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel and Chris Shiffett.
Foo Fighters, The One, video.