I wish I could feel things the way you do, my sweet boy.
I want to understand.
I didn’t know sound could physically, deeply hurt until you showed me.
I see you fold your precious ears in on themselves, an attempt to mute the overwhelming world. That doesn’t usually work though. So, you quietly, nervously, moan. This slowly grows in intensity and frequency until your shrieking blocks out the unwanted sound or it’s removed. Whichever comes first.
I want to explain to others how you feel inside during these moments.
The way your senses hide and seek all the input from the world around you so differently than most of ours do.
Others should know that anxiety and sensory processing difficulties ride shotgun with your autism diagnosis. Together, as a team, they run interference and wreak havoc on your peace. Every hour of every day.
I could tell them that the seemingly small, simplest of sounds are like the proverbial nails on a chalkboard multiplied to the Nth degree to you. But that probably sounds silly to you. I know you feel so much more than my words can describe.
I want them to know in these moments you need space. To let you moan and shriek. That you can’t hear anything else once you feel this way.
You’re practicing wearing your headphones and we’re so proud of you.
But I know this only dulls the sound, and you need it to cease to exist in this world before you feel calm in your heart again.
I remember when you were little, we took the batteries out of so many toys, puzzles, and games because they were so distressing. The things we thought you would love made you cower in my lap at times.
I know sometimes even familiar sounds or music that makes you happy tend to also overwhelm you so much so that you need to block them out just like the other, unwanted ones. I’m sorry it took me some time to understand this.
I see the way you are constantly ready to protect yourself. Like when we visit the horses. They are so big and unpredictable, aren’t they? In those moments of silence, you are ready.
Every day you work on tolerating more.
You do this for your sister, your dad, and me. You practice because you have the most curious heart and you want to explore this big, unpredictable world even though it’s so overwhelming.
You’re so brave.
I’ll never feel the way you do, my boy. But I’ll never stop trying.
Originally published on the author’s blog