When you are asked to think of something that truly terrifies you what springs to mind? Bungee jumping? White-water rafting? Maybe a parachute jump? While each one of those things are probably equally terrifying to most people, for those of us on the spectrum it’s a completely different story. I myself have done some of the things on the above list, and they didn’t scare me half as much as some of the things that the average garden variety NT person might take for granted.
I mean, does the thought of going down to the local shopping mall or out for something to eat and socialising scare you? “Of course it doesn’t, don’t be daft” I hear you say. The reason I bring this question up is that this morning, while getting ready to attend an important meeting I got really anxious. I normally do so with these things, mainly because you only get one chance to give the right first impression. I wondered how an NT would deal with the same situation? I think, but cannot say for sure, that they must get very nervous too, like that adrenaline rush moment on a rollercoaster as it reaches its peak and just before it drops.
Well imagine having that adrenaline type feeling as a base level all the time. That neurochemical ‘fight or flight’ response that we all get as humans when placed in a (sometimes perceived) dangerous situation. For example, feeling that anxiety just at the thought of going down to the paper shop to pick up a paper and a pint of milk. That applies to me, although as an Aspie. I must confess that after many years, I have got better at dealing with this problem through various coping mechanisms and support. In fact, I now only really have problems with strange places or people. This doesn’t mean that every person on the spectrum is the same; in fact, I know some people (one who isn’t Aspie) that are frozen with fear if they get a call from an unfamiliar number, so I count myself lucky. Do please spare a thought for those unfortunate ones that are just trying to get through what is, to you, a seemingly normal situation. To them it might be a living nightmare. Try to put yourself in their shoes, and imagine that you’re about to face your fears and, say, do a 60-foot bungee jump.
We all have different fear factors. Do keep that in mind.
Stay Safe X