Overstimulation… my favorite part of being autistic… NOT. If people understood what I do to calm myself down and didn’t judge me for it, maybe I could be fine with it. One of my favorite things to do when I’m overstimulated is growl like a bear, meow like a cat, neigh like a horse, or bark like a dog. I think its because I love animals and feel more connected to animals then I do to humans.
Unfortunately these behaviors are unacceptable in the Neuro-typical world and I have to find other ways to stim. I have to stim the “normal” way, whatever that means. Apparently the “normal” way is to fidget with something in your hands where no one can see it. Apparently the normal way to stim is to tap your foot on the ground lightly or tap your fingers on your leg. Apparently jumping up and down and flapping your hands isn’t the “normal” way to stim either.
What’s so wrong with jumping up and down and flapping your hands or making animal noises? It draws attention and God forbid, I draw attention. But what if I need attention to help calm me down. I am still not allowed to stim in anyway that might attract attention. We don’t want “unwanted” attention.
To that I say B.S. Let people stare at me. If a jerk is a jerk then someone else, be kind. In the moment, I’m not paying attention to anything around me, I’m trying to distract myself from everything around me.
I’m hoping someone kind will come play with my hair or give me a back massage to help me calm down because there are too many stimuli. Some autistics would hate being touched so you should always ask them if it’s ok. But my body relaxes to gentle touch.
I also get, what I call emotional overload, which tends to happen more often when I’m excited and/or nervous about something. In this mode, I jump up and down and flap my hands. In my other mode, where my senses are being overwhelmed is when I tend to start making animal noises.
If I’m excited/nervous, you can just let me get all my energy out and I’ll be good, but if my senses are being overwhelmed, come over to me ask me if I want you to do my hair or give me a back massage, and it will calm me right down. Stimming shouldn’t be something an autistic person has to control; the point of stimming is to help them get back into the place where they need to be but trying to make us restrain ourselves can only make it worse. You can teach us how to deal with it in other ways, but don’t expect us to go immediately to a more “socially acceptable” way of stimming. We can get there eventually but until we do, don’t shame us for our special ways of coping.