What is Autism (to me)?

Although I have suspected autism in some patients I have seen in my career, I never really knew what it entailed to have autism. I have learnt the symptoms by heart, during my study, but did not understand what caused patients to behave, the way they did.

I had never heard of the debilitating sensory issues that go hand in hand with autism. These sensory issues are my true nemesis. During the most part of my life, they were minor, and I didn’t even notice them.

All changed when I became really stressed out and my sensory sensitivities became major sensory issues. It was pretty confusing to go from a state of ‘being and feeling pretty normal’ to ‘not being able to leave the house’ because sounds would literally hurt on the inside, when I heard them.

Lights became very bright, especially those on cars, or those awful LED lights and fluorescent tubes, which you can find everywhere nowadays. Touch became almost unbearable. Interaction with other humans beings was totally exhausting. Grocery stores became my biggest enemies. Sleep became more and more difficult due to the ongoing  sensory overload, which was sending my body into a continuous state of alarm, and made my cortisol (stress hormone) levels peak continuously.

Fortunately I have found my way out of this hellish sate of being, but I am still sensitive, especially on the sensory ‘side’.

To get an idea what sensory overload is, please check this movie:

To me, autism is mostly dealing with sensory issues and sensory overload. Of course there is more to it. But to me, this really is my core problem.

How about you?

1 comment / Add your comment below

  1. Heel herkenbaar! Ik dacht altijd dat iedereen zo de wereld ziet, met al die sensorische prikkels die (tegelijkertijd) binnen komen. Pas sinds ik de diagnose autisme heb, en psycho-educatie volg, zie ik in dat anderen (niet-autisten) dit niet zo ervaren.

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