Patreon members and YouTube channel members had access to this video on August 20, 2021. The video’s public release will be September 22, 2021.
Hey humans Lyric here.
I am a pale-skinned non-binary human with short green, teal, and purple hair. I have short shaved sides as well, that are also neon green and teal and purple, depending on the side that you’re looking at.
My eyebrows are arched. I am wearing a black tank top with cutoff sleeves that says Autistic and rainbow font and has a rainbow infinity underneath it.
This is one of my shirts I have designed, and they are – there’s a link to my shirt store on my website. If you want check that out.
I’m a late discovered multiply NeuroDivergent adult. I didn’t find that I was Autistic until I was 29 years old and I didn’t find out I had ADHD until I was 33. Though it has been suggested – the ADHD had been suggested many times throughout my life, since elementary school.
That’s a whole ‘nother story.
Stop. No tangent. This is an intro!
This week we’re going to talk about my Autistic experience with emotional regulation, and what my emotional experience is like as an Autistic Person. So if you have any interest in this whatsoever, Please stay tuned.
This is one of those videos that I have to start off with a disclaimer, because I’m sharing my unique individual Autistic experience, which is only the perspective of one Autistic Person. If you are an Autistic Person watching this video, and as I share today, you do not relate to my experience, don’t be discouraged. As I said, we’re all individuals.
If you don’t relate to my experience, I invite you to share in the comments below how your experience is different and if you do relate to my experience let me know that too.
I think it’s important that we all understand, that as Autistic People, there is not a unified autistic experience. We all have different opinions and very different experience, and I think it’s great to share those things.
If you’re a NeuroTypical watching, remember that this is just my experience as an Autistic Person, and hopefully the other Autistic People will share their experiences, how they relate, and maybe even do not relate in the comments below.
I encourage you to listen to, and read, as many Autistic experiences as possible to understand this issue more greatly.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’d like to share my experience with you.
It has been my personal experience, as an Autistic Person, that I, in general, experience my world in a very intense way.
That includes sensory experiences being more intense and heightened in good and bad ways. That includes my emotions being a lot more intense.
Because my emotions can seem very, very, intense, from my perspective on the inside, there are a couple ways I tend to react when I am experiencing a very, very, intense emotion.
One of the things that people might expect to someone who is experiencing a very intense emotion is that they might express that emotion outwardly in a very intense way that matches the intensity of the emotion.
As a young person, Not as often today, but yes, it does still happen as an adult, that can look like me having an explosive meltdown with lots of crying and screaming, and not the cute crying. You know?
Have you heard of “ugly crying” with the boogers everywhere and th-th-the can’t breathe through- through all of it. Terrible crying, where you cry so much that you might throw up.
That’s not good and it- it’s-it sucks. It is a very extense- extreme thing, where it’s like, you’re just crying and you just can’t shut off the crying, and it won’t stop.
That’s when your emotion is just overflowing out of you, and you are unable to hide it from the world or anyone else. It feels very vulnerable to not be able to shut that off, or hide it from anyone, to have complete loss of control over what’s going on.
When I was a kid, I would tell my mom, I felt like I needed to explode. I would ask her if I could throw something or break something.
Uh, throwing eggs and breaking eggs was something that I did, that felt really good. I visualize like leasing that pressure in the egg, as I threw it in the egg, like exploded everywhere.
It was a very cathartic experience for me, trying to get past some teenage anger I was dealing with. Justifiable, teenage anger, I might add.
Other than exploding, outwardly, and screaming at people, which I have done, and crying and even hurting and punching myself, uh, and walls.
Once when I was physically attacked, I melted down and hurted the person who attacked me. It became a self-defense, which is what meltdowns are.
You are fight or flight because you are afraid for your safety, and so when I was afraid for my safety, I fight and I don’t really remember fighting. I just -it’s all out. I haven’t- that’s hasn’t happened in a long time.
Um, I tend to run away when I have a meltdown and I feel it coming, and I feel like I’m about to lose emotional control.
Now I run. I run away from people, but I have gotten physical with people, when I was like younger and when I was in high school, especially around that age.
Um, but that’s why I run now. I know I may say, or do things I regret, and I just need time to decompress and get through the emotion that I’m going through at that time, the feeling of being overwhelmed, the feeling of being scared, or sad, or hurt, or whatever is triggered this, you know, whatever the final straw was.
I have to get away and recover and often times other people are an obstacle to me, soothing myself and getting myself back under control. Because they are like “you need something, are you okay? Can I do?”
And they’re talking to me and I’m like, “I just need to be alone. I just need to breathe. I just need to… not have anything happened for a minute. Just go away and let me- let me recharge.”
Like, that’s- that’s the worst case scenario, when it’s like that big explosion of emotions, especially if it happens in public. Not good.
Then the other thing that people fail to understand is, when you are experiencing something that’s very, very intense, or you have a very, very intense emotional experience, sometimes, at least it has been my experience that, I can become so overwhelmed by that emotion or that situation, or whatever has just happened, that I shut down, and disconnect and disconnect, discongage- disengage from the situation.
And I, I- it shuts it out. Uh, and so if it’s, I may not process a situation right away, I might process something later and it might come up and I process it later. In the moment I just shut down and, shut in on myself, and just become stuck.
For example, the most recent time I shut down, I’m not gonna explain what triggered it because, I deserve some privacy, but I, I felt it coming, and you only have so much time with a shutdown or a meltdown is coming.
So I plopped myself on the couch and found a spot out the window to gaze and I got stuck there.
I was just frozen. I couldn’t move. I remember thinking, oh, well “at least I picked a spot that got some moving activity, uh, out the window”.
I couldn’t even move my head. I was just stuck staring, like, and I was like, “this is interesting”.
Yeah I was just stuck there. And I, you know, eventually it’s like, you you’re stuck there for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and then you feel yourself start to come out of it. Uh, but it was just that initial shutdown.
When people experienced this from the outside, they sometimes get this impression that I am distant or I am not emotional, or I’m not experiencing emotions. “Like how detached. Wow!” And it’s like, no, I’ve just become completely overwhelmed by the emotion. I couldn’t handle it. And I just shut out. It was just too much.
That that is the other, uh, you know, we’re talking about meltdowns being a response to needing, to protect yourself, fight flight, freeze, fawn. You know, those, those reactions.
Me shutting down is freeze. I froze and got stuck because it was too much for me. So that was another reaction that’s often misinterpreted by other people because they think, ” You should be crying if you get some bad news” and then you just sit in silence and stare, and don’t say anything, people might misinterpret that or if you process things on a delay, and in the minute someone tells you bad news, it doesn’t really sink in.
Like you do take it in, but it doesn’t sink in and so you continue to act happy and normal, for a while, until you have this delayed processing, when all of a sudden something will make that reality sink into you and then it becomes real. Then you’re hit with the emotion and start crying months later, or weeks later, or days later.
I have had emotions and feelings for events that happened to me in childhood, that I didn’t process until I was in my late thirties.
I was like sitting in my room, doing some reflective work on myself, thinking back on a childhood event and all of the sudden I had this realization about this memory, and it unpacked it, and it hit me like a knife in my gut, and then I’m just stuck bawling in my room about this thing that happened when I was like, 8 to 12 years old, you know. This, this time period in my life.
I processed it in my thirties, and it was really intense, and I had a really good cry that day, because that delayed processing.
So that can make people think, oh, you know, they’re, they’re fine, they’re laughing, they’re happy. What’s wrong with this person. They should be so destroyed?
It’s like, gimme, gimme, gimme some time I’ll be destroyed- I’ll be destroyed when the reality hits. And it probably hasn’t sunk in yet, but it’s something people misinterpret.
That is the problem that I’ve learned, since finding out I’m NeuroDivergent, is every single human assumes that every single human experiences the world as they do.
So NeuroTypicals think everyone’s NeuroTypical and has their same experience, and I thought I was NeuroTypical, and everyone had the same experience as me, for 29 years of my life, and I was often told I was too much or overreacting or making a big deal of things and…
I thought everyone felt the way I did, and just had better control over themselves than I did.
I thought the lights must be so painful to everyone, but everyone else knew how to deal with the pain and I didn’t.
I didn’t know I was Autistic. I didn’t know my brain worked differently and it was hard for a long time, not knowing, but now, I have a lot more understanding of myself and I hope these videos help you learn and understand a bit more as well.
All right, humans, thank you so much for hanging out with me this week. I hope this video was helpful. I’m trying to change the format of my videos a bit so that my natural mannerisms and natural speech patterns come out a bit more clearly, which means less scripting, which may also mean more rambly videos in the future.
So if you like these rambley videos, give me a thumbs up, and let me know if you like the new format. I am trying to do a more accurate and honest portrayal of an Autistic Person, and I may have been unintentionally..
My light just died!
Editing things out.
That’s my cue to go.
Thank you to everyone. I will talk to you next week. Bye.
Help me get the word out!!! – If you like what I do, and would like more, please consider subscribing on Patreon. This blog is made possible by support from readers like YOU! (Sharing my content is also, equally helpful!)
With gratitude, – Lyric
4 thoughts on “Autistic Emotional Responses – Autism & Emotions”
I like the rambly more authentic self, so it’s a big thumbs up from me.
I’ve never had meltdowns, although I have had shutdowns – less often over the past decade since discovering I’m autistic at the age of 60. Being strongly alexithymic means I am not conscious of my emotional state(s). Learning to be mindful of stressors has helped me recognise when my emotions might be leading me towards a shutdown and I can take preventative measures – usually removing myself from the present situation.
Thank you again, so much for this. I relate to everything you say here, so much.
I love that you reminded people that every autistic person is an individual and experiences their own mind, emotions and the world. That alone is SUCH an important bit of education, especially for neurotypical people who way too often expect total uniformity in the way autistic traits represent and refuse to believe someone is autistic if they don’t match their incomplete understanding of those traits. We’re every bit as unique from one another as neurotypicals are from one another despite sharing a neurotype. That’s such an important message and I’m so glad you’re out there giving it!! I, too, experience my emotions in a very intense way as an autistic person, PDAer and ADHDer. When I’m already overstimulated it’s so much harder to regulate my emotions, especially when they’re quite strong, and I’m then much more prone to meltdowns. I’ve broken my own wrist before during a meltdown, if that’s any indication of how explosive my emotions can be in moments of overwhelm. Since I know I’m prone to very intense emotions, I do everything I can to manage my stimulation levels so that I’m not reaching the point of overload/meltdown as often. But I also experience positive emotions really intensely and that makes things like listening to music absolutely euphoric and moving, so it’s not all bad. I know other autistic people who experience more shutdowns than meltdowns (I have experienced both… on the whole I would say I’m more prone to meltdowns under high stress but definitely have had my fair share of shutdowns) You’re so right in that it does just depend on the individual, their unique thresholds for stimulation and stress, their environment etc. Thank you so much for being out here doing the advocacy work that you do. I know it’s not easy with all the comment moderation and all the work that goes into content creation but I’m so grateful to people like you. Your videos helped me even discover the possibility that I might be autistic a few years ago and led me to even seek diagnosis. So thanks and keep kickin ass! 💜🙏☺️
Wow. I relate so much to this post, I have never known anyone who processes so similarly to me! Even my autistic partner has never gotten my emotional process/regulation. I get stuck staring at the ceiling for… ??? Hours?? Idk.
And I had a meltdown and tossed some watermelon in my living room not too long ago 😫 I appreciate you sharing this, I often feel so alone.