Author’s Note: Very fittingly, I got overwhelmed by all these emotions yesterday and forgot to post.
RIP me. Onward.
So, I had a plan for the blog today. I was going to type out this whole thing about how forums stepped up where school and my parents didn’t. They knew so much more about what I was going through then and they probably still do now. It was going to be all multi-year little stories, discussions on the topic, real fancy shit.
But nothing goes much to plan on this blog, do they?
I avoided making a blog post about this because I am really awkward about moving into new zones of disability that I’m not sure I apply to. I’m still not even sure. But the point isn’t the fact that I’m spectrum-ish, the point today is a piece of it that’s given me a lot of discomfort and pause.
Let’s talk about sensory overload and the fact it might have officially disabled me from doing something that everyone else does.
My driving saga has always been a long one. I did earnestly try when I was 15; I was driving us on little errands and making sure I could get in hours. Really long drives made me feel exhausted and I did get overwhelmed by a lot of things.
But one day, when I was driving my whole family to the movie theater, my brother (9 at the time) decided to it was funny to scream every time I turned. It was not, in fact, funny. Each time he did it I got tenser and everything started sinking into the dirt, like driving was becoming this sinkhole experience. And on the last big turn before the movie theater? My brother yelled and I hit the accelerator instead of the brake and almost hit the car in front of us.
It took me a really long time to drive after that.
Worse, I was jumpy after that so my dad got more frustrated with me. And when my dad gets frustrated, he yells. It only made me hate driving even more. Every time noises overloaded my senses it all burned little pieces of me away.
And now my chest feels like it’ll seize up when I think of driving, like it’s bracing itself to be overwhelmed at one point or another.
I thought it was just bad experiences, lack of need, mild anxiety, a bunch of little things all mixed up.
But ever since I learned about sensory overloading, I realized it wasn’t the above things. Well, they probably still played a hand in it all. However, sensory overload is the kicker. It was the screaming, the yelling, the too many cars, the exhaustion. Those things were always what made me shut down and incapable.
The thing is, until this moment, my disorders had never made me incapable of doing a normal human thing. I could work, just different. I could love, just different. I could still do everything, just different.
But this is something I don’t know if I can overcome. And even if I get my license, I could still only drive for short bits at certain times when traffic is low. And that’s nothing I’ve ever faced before.
And I’ve derailed my day, thinking about all of this. It’s really hard for me, facing things that make me feel so helpless and out of control. Hell, its hard for any disabled people.
I’ll figure it out. It’s kinda my thing, our thing, figuring it out because we don’t get another choice. I think that’s something people ignore about people with disabilities. We aren’t strong or innovative by choice. We are because we don’t have any other choice. We have to figure out how to survive and be our own advocates or else no one else will, because no one but us really understands how much we need certain things.
Oh dear lord, and now I’m trying not to cry in a coffee shop.
It’s just one of those days, isn’t it? No matter how many great things have been happening lately and I look like I have a handle on my life, there’s still so much there that makes everything so much harder.
I look like a freelance writer whose career is coming together, who just bought a house, with a dog and a boyfriend, with so much creativity bubbling in her fingertips that she just wants to get out.
But I also am a disabled woman facing I can never be like anyone else and having an avenue of independence snuffed out in front of my eyes.
It’s just complicated and we’ll leave it at that. I don’t think I can say much more than that. Wish me best of luck, okay?