I slowly slid down the wall landing hard on the floor.
Recognize Your Own Overwhelm
“What’s wrong?” A woman grabs my arm and stares me in the face. “Are you okay?” I shake my head to answer no. I can’t speak words. I push past her and her friend to the room they just left. I leaned against the wall. They followed me. That’s the last thing in the world I wanted. An audience during a major nervous breakdown.
My entire body began shaking like someone stepping out of glacier water. Then, my body let out a cry that shocked me. A crying convulsion from so deep within slowly crawling out of me through every pore, crevice, and opening. It was enough to make me want to back away from myself.
“Are you okay?” The ladies asked. “Do you want us to call for help?” I shook my head, “No.” My body slowly slid down the wall landing hard on the floor. I closed my eyes and just sat there shaking. More people came, left, then returned. The entire time I just sat, shaking, eyes closed, miserable.
I managed to communicate that I just needed to be alone in the room with the lights off. Everyone left, and this allowed me to regain my composure. It took near an hour for me to finally get up off the ground.
I walked out of the church building and drove home. I was a big no-show in the church music program today. I was supposed to play the piano for the children’s choir and give the prayer. I felt like a failure. One huge embarrassing failure.
There Are Better Ways of Dealing With Life
“I never want that to happen again. I’m done. I can’t care about what everyone thinks of me. I have to do what is right for me.” I sat at my desk and wrote a list. I started with a quick brainstorm of what I believed caused me to have such an overwhelming moment:
Hyper-Sensory Sensitivity, poor health, and Autism.
Too much was happening in the room where I was practicing my songs. It became
crowded, noisy, and chaotic.
I took on more tasks than I could handle. There is only so much time in the day.
Pressure to be liked and perform like everyone else
I have a fear of rejection. I believe I must say YES when I am asked to do something.
My motto of “Always Say Yes” needs to change.
I need to know my own needs and monitor them well.
No one but me knows the difficulties I deal with. I need to take charge of my life and not expect others to be able to understand. Each person’s reality is unique to themselves.
I need to live a life that is more suitable for me, not one designed by others.
The conditioning we all get as we go through life to be and do things a certain way needs to melt away from me. There are better, more healthy ways of living life.
Who Am I versus My Social Conditioning?
Exhausted, I went to my bedroom, laid down, tears rolled down my cheeks. I began to mourn. I felt a loss. “I am not capable of continuing life as I have in the past. My ability to overcome is no longer present. I have changed.”
I let out a deep cry until the tears ran out and the guttural sounds dimmed. “I’ve followed the path someone else designed,” I wiped tears from one side of my face. “I’m glad I did,” I said with a shrug.
“It has helped me to have a successful life,” I wiped the tears off the other cheek. A deep frown began to appear. My lips trembled. Another deep cry began. “I forgot something important along the way. I forgot to honor my uniqueness, strengths, and weaknesses.”
I have spent time analyzing and discovering who I truly am as a person after my little public nervous breakdown. I have been slowly shedding off the many layers of masking and impersonating the image of what I thought success looked like.
I keep wanting to hide from the truth of who I am deep inside. It is quite different than the role I have been playing for over 20 years. It is hard for me to face. “Or is it?” I ask myself. An excited smile begins to appear as I visualize the possibilities of a new life for myself.
If I Had All The Money In The World, ….
“Time to be weird,” I say as I challenge myself to be raw in writing a “Who Am I” list. I giggle as I realize just how ridiculous it is. My 1st question is, “If I had all the money in the world and could only make one choice in what to do with it what choice would that be?”
My eyebrows raised up in self-judgment as I wrote my answer. “I would live in the mountains surrounded by forests, lakes, streams, a waterfall, animals, and only the symphony of nature making sounds around me. My home would be an Earthship.” Should I feel guilty about not including people in this desire?
What do I like to do? “I hate to admit that to anyone.” My foot bounced nervously. “I hide my true self from others.” I let out an anxious sigh as a memory of being ridiculed pinches my heart. “I’m too bizarre.”
My hands fidget. The thought of others harshly judging me gives me anxiety. My chest begins feeling uncomfortable. I can feel my neck pulsing rapidly. “The raw truth? I love paper, clay, rocks, and sticks. It’s true.”
“Should that be my business card?” I laugh. “What does a person do with that?” I wondered. “I roll paper into tubes and create functional pieces with it. I create functional pieces with all my favorite things. It is a joy for me.”
My body beamed with excitement. I visualized the reality of making a living doing what I enjoy so much. “Is it possible? Dare I dream it into a true reality?” I wondered. “Am I a fool? Do I dare try?” I questioned.
“Will it be a more peaceful life for me or is that possible?” I had so many questions about truly walking such a path. The only way to know is to begin.
“They blew out a breath and did the thing all heroes must do—they took that terrifying first step.”
― Chloe Neill, Midnight Marked
Side Note: This was my beginning towards making major changes to my life. This incident had a major impact on me. I realized that I needed to take my Autism into account. I can’t brush it under a rug and pretend it doesn’t exist. It affects me greatly and for me to be successful I need to make changes that will stop the overwhelm and change up my way of making a living to one that is more suitable for my particular Autistic needs. If you are also an Autistic adult who is searching for strategies you may find my Autism Strategies Course helpful. Sign up for the updates on the course here.
Remember the gem you are,
Bobbi Lynn Gibson
Wonder, Explore, Experience