Socials and Meltdowns: Autism and Socializing

A sort-of meltdown at a social I attended a few months ago confirmed that my struggles on the autism/Aspergers spectrum really suck on a physical level (also, welcome to the early 30s Mr. Parsons). By the way, a social in Manitoba Canada is a provincial slang term for a huge kickin’ party to fund-raise for a wedding! Whenever I feel nauseated, the feeling becomes overwhelming and I go into an internal panic attack where I feel dizzy, loose focus, and have an urgent need to walk around or lie down.
My wife and I made the mistake of visiting McDonald’s after helping set up for the social. Right after dinner, I was burping a lot even after taking two Tums and this lump in my throat just wouldn’t go away. I couldn’t talk. I tried drinking multiple glasses of water. I still couldn’t say a word. I couldn’t cry out for help or call 911. The feeling of nausea amplified dramatically from the smell of the venue bathroom after voiding my bladder so I can take in tickets for the draw without being excused. For some of you reading who were at the social that night, I think it did have something to do with individuals I didn’t like who have attended even though I admit that it wasn’t. But really, I’m not exactly sure. All I remember was that I had to excuse myself to go to the bathroom after said persons dropped in and I was having noisy fits of diarrhea. After the diarrhea finished, I had to lay down somewhere, there was no bed outside so I ran to the back of the venue where there was a field (this was in the country), and lied down on my back out there trying to relax and pace my breathing while praying to God for help when I could start talking again. I then texted my wife and she drove me home. She was asking me a whole bunch of questions and I told her to leave me alone as nicely as I could. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe I’m just nervous being around party atmospheres this people who would potentially make me uncomfortable when they’re drunk. I once was used to that. I guess the party life just isn’t for me anymore.

Ever since I fully decided to accept my 2002 diagnosis of AS in 2015, I’m finding I’m having to sacrifice a lot of things I used to love in my twenties. I’ve sacrificed my love for a hyper-party lifestyle, hip-hop concerts, and unhealthy foods, cut down on coffee, video game marathons, and a constant need to socialize just to feel like I fit in and have a purpose. In a way it was worth it to take the mask off instead of acting like I was all that. It did come with a price though. I’m just about done my term with data entry. With students going to school, it will be much harder to find work outside of online freelancing. Thankfully, the events of the past week help to reconstruct my Christian faith from the ground up without mixing it up with the Americanized “name-it-claim-it” crap-tacular prosperity gospel.

Unless, I’m doing a musical performance or shopping, I’ve been trying to stay away from huge crowds as much as possible. It may just be a fear of man that just seems to be growing the more I browse all the angry crap on social media or see all the news. And yet I’m in Canada, a relatively safe country. Maybe I still have parts of my past I need to work through. Some people think I’m shy, but in reality, I don’t really have anything to say in times I really want to talk. It’s like my wit is a loading bar, and it constantly gets stuck or moves slower than other people’s wits. Or maybe I just feel like I’m a boring person unless I have my DJ equipment with me. The thing is, I love people and I do want to socialize, but once I’m done socializing or enduring a huge crowd of people, my internal battery is at 10% and it takes at least two days to recharge (going to work only makes re-charging longer. It can take up to 4 days). If I socialize too much outside of family, or become overwhelmed from huge crowds on a daily basis, I start to become paranoid, and may even call in sick the next time I have to go to work. Eventually, at one point I had to yell at my entire group of friends at one point to get away from me. They thought I hated them. It even took some time and a few Facebook posts to explain that I needed to some time alone because I was constantly socializing with so many people for a few days at once. And now that these effects started amplifying in my early 30s, I just hope this blog post will be a good resource for others like me who get drained from socializing to know that they’re not alone.

After these kinds of meltdowns occur, Bible reading and meditation always calm me down after a few hours and then I can assimilate myself back into life again. I’m at peace with who I am as a struggling Christian and as a man who continues to kick the bad quirks of autism in the ass daily. I may not be social for long periods of time, eat certain foods or handle certain smells or noises anymore. I will weep from time to time. I will need more sleep. I’m also considering taking the money I made and starting a business. With said business, I’m going to help people as much as I can with a mental health website featuring products from Amazon. With a separate blog, I’m willing to connect and give my two cents with those who struggle with autism, religion, mental abuse, and even some spiritual abuse that is tied to mental abuse. After October, I may not do as many live performances as a musician, but I will use my music to connect with others and share my story.

This is who I am.