Being an autist – actually, just being human – has ups and downs. And a lot of those times, it’s about good days and bad days. The question is, what triggers it?
For me, it’s energy level. A lot of those so-called people who can’t feel empathy feel a lot more than you do. And you know what? Emotional energy is something that many of us in the autistic community have a limited supply of. Just like how we can’t handle a whirlwind week of social engagements every night, we also can’t handle people crying all over us every few days. Give us some time to recharge! We’re like laptops, cell phones, iPads and every other electronic handheld nowadays.
And that’s what leads us to our bad days. It’s the days when we have our emotional energy depleted. So what can we do that day? We tend to go back to being more like children, thinking about ourselves first and not remembering how to think about how we might affect others. How many times has a drained person on the spectrum heard “Be normal”?
And more importantly, how does it feel to hear that? Does it hurt? Or does it recharge you? Well, for me, it actually drains my energy even further. I’m sorry, but expecting me to be neurotypical when I literally can’t be and expecting a command as such not to hurt me is really, really terrible, especially when the patience I’m running out of causes me to ask how to clean a car impolitely, because I had offered to clean it – it might not be a nice thing to say, but it was because I needed it to do a nice thing.
And that’s what emotional draining does to someone in the autistic community. It completely depletes any chance of masking, being nice when you don’t feel nice, and returns a person to the age where masking was impossible. It’s back to the behaviours you all associate with autism – routine, rules and complete and utter honesty without thinking.
And I guess that’s what I want people to understand. I’m sorry if it hurts, but it hurts more if you won’t understand it, and I don’t mean make allowances. Just be aware that it’s coming up, warn me if you see any signs instead of just getting cross, and then I can monitor myself and make sure I keep myself calm and rested so I can recharge on my own time. See you when I’m ready to take on all your emotional baggage once more!