Dangerous Compassions

not malfunctiony exactly

Two dogs are barking like crazy, next door, at the neighbor house to the west.  The sick guy coughs more of the worst coughs I ever heard.  A woman yells.  Sounds like a bad night over there, but it always is.  They’re reminding me how ineffectual I am.  Suffering so terrible and so near, but I’m not helping.

And they remind me how horrible life can be.  But I can’t say, “At least that’s not me,” because it’s been me. 

I was hurting a lot in my abdomen from my cycle and went to sleep to try to escape the pain, too tired to find Tylenol.  Then Ming came home from the Day of the Dead celebration, and I was having a brain difficulty, talking to him and having a dream at the same time.  It was uncomfortable.

Today was the rock workshop.  On the way there, I told Ming how I have these sensory issues that I’ve never talked to almost anyone about, let alone a psychiatrist.  It would never occur to me to complain about that.  I was saying how some people start screaming, but I don’t scream about anything.

My whole life I’ve been told “don’t be so sensitive,” since I was little, as if I chose to be sensitive?  So I took all that and translated it to “don’t let people know you’re sensitive,” and hiding all my reactions to everything became another thing to do.

Also, psychiatrists hear whatever and stop listening–they hear the magic words, think they got me figured out, and it’s over.  Next!  They hear a huge problem and don’t want to listen to other problems.

When light is painful from brightness, the wind blowing on my head feels like it’s hitting me like a mean hand, I taped a cord down on my desk so it could never touch my leg again, too much sound feels like it’s killing me, and all the stress that comes from the nights all my nerves are freaked out–all itchy, but no rash–like my skin is attacking me.  Taking a shower can be overwhelming because it’s too much sensation, or it can help with some kind of reset other times.

Tags are removed from almost all my clothes, and I’ve worn my underwear and socks inside out for more than 30 years because the seams bother me.  I didn’t know that was a thing, but Ming told me it’s a thing.

I was telling Ming it feels weird to realize that having a high sensory sensitivity, I have something in common with some people who have autism.  I think of myself as the opposite of autistic because I thought autistic people were socially out of it, while I’m socially the opposite–overwhelmed by paying too much attention. 

I thought that was a club I’d never be near, but now I’m like oops.  I knew we were all considered crazy, but I thought I was in a totally different camp.

Ming was saying it can be like a circle–like anarchism and then it loops around until the anarchists to the far left are saying the same things about guns that the libertarians on the far right are saying.  Same with sensory stuff.  He said it was all a mental malfunction.

Then I said, “Hey hey!  Malfunction!?”  I want to love myself and minimize the pathologizing.  Yeah, it’s hard work being me, but everyone has challenges.

We were at a meeting the other day–there was music playing quietly, so that was sucking the life out of me.  A space heater was on near me, and the uneven warmth was very distracting and felt like it was killing me also.  Tons of bright colors there and visual stimulation.  So there was the social exhaustion, which we were there for, then the noise problem, a warmth issue also on my skin, and the colorfulness is cheerful but hard too.

I felt like I couldn’t ask them to turn off the music or heater.  Being totally not understood is really a pain–I get considered fussy, overly demanding, or whatever.  And then I need energy to ask for what I need, but if I have no energy, how am I supposed to ask.  So I suffer, but by the time we came home, I was out of my mind.  It was horrible.

I need to ask for what I need, but it’s hard to speak up when what I need is considered inappropriate and unreasonable to 95% of people.  Asking for help stresses me, so how am I supposed to do that, when I can’t even do the thing I’m trying to do.

Thank god for the knock off instant pot someone gave us.  I cooked some small white beans–just beans, water, and salt.  Then we added garlic tahini to the individual servings as a delicious added fatty creaminess.  I used to put butter or plant-based pretend butter, but tahini might be even more lovely.  So we had the rock workshop then ate beans together and talked.  Thank god for beans.

It was a beautiful day, and I felt safe at our picnic table.  I felt I could sit there forever, in my special chair.  It was five years since the last rock workshop.  I forgot how funny the book was.  She gave us some little rocks also, and I gave her a zine.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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