Please note: This is how things look like for me. I am just one autistic. These are merely my thoughts. Other autistics may not experience things like this, so this is not a gold standard. There is no gold standard. Also, please note I am an autistic adult. I am choosing to share this part of my life. Other autistics may not want that out there about them, and that’s okay. But when I lock down and when I shut down, this is what it’s like for me, one twenty-nine year old autistic adult.
Without further ado, this is what it looks when when I lock down.
All around me are familiar faces, worn out places, worn out faces. Bright and early for the daily races, going nowhere, going nowhere. And the tears are filling up their glasses, no expression, no expression. Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow. No tomorrow, no tomorrow…
I am scared. Everyone around me looks familiar, and yet everyone looks different and scary. (Hello, faceblindness!)
But yet. I’m trapped. Completely trapped. I want to speak. I want the words to come up. But they can’t. They’re stuck. I can’t just open my mouth and speak. It’s kind of like my mouth is full of silly puddy and like someone replaced my brain with mashed potatoes. That’s what being “shut down” feels like to me!
I try to ground myself. I pull myself into a tiny little ball. Maybe if I can make myself smaller. Maybe if I have my monkey. Maybe if I twirl my hair. Flick my bracelet.
There is no time limit. It’s impossible to know how long it’ll last. Or how quickly it’ll end. I can’t just pull myself out. It’s not simple. It’s not easy. It’s as scary for me as it is for others.
It isn’t always this way… but sometimes it just is.