Perhaps I’m a bit different from my autistic peers in that I enjoy physical touch. Hugs, cuddles, even a friendly peck on the cheek. I love it all and I’m single. I enjoy it equally from both sexes. I find it reassuring in a way.
So today at work I went into total sensory overload (which happens semi-regularly with me) and just broke down and cried out loud. Yes, this is what happens when I finally get overloaded. I just can’t control it. So let’s just talk about how my day went, why don’t we?
Well it all started within about the first 10 minutes at work. The person who usually answers incoming calls hadn’t arrived yet and I was right by the phone so I went ahead and answered it. Well, my postnasal drip decides to strike in full force just as I answer the phone and I go croaky just as I start answering the phone and so it’s kind of like “*croaky*tha–ah-ah-ahem–thank you for calling (company name) this is Lynn.” Just my luck it was upper management and I was chastised for not saying “excuse me” after clearing my throat. Uh, sorry I guess. So now I’m already on edge.
Then I get more shit piled on me that I thought I was fucking done with. In a fit of rage I popped off at my boss and said “If you fucking wanted this on here you should have fucking said so in the first place.” Yes, I was raging mad over it. It turned into somewhat of a pissing match between my boss and I and I’m fully expecting to get written up for the incident, but oh well. I was mad.
So if that wasn’t bad enough, I start having computer issues and our IT department at my company is absolutely useless. I could have fixed my own computer myself but oh no, they don’t let us have administrator passwords so we have to go through them. Lost another couple of hours of productivity.
Well by the time all was said and done at the end of the day I had all I could handle and went into meltdown mode. Well, as I was leaving the office all teary eyed and bawling a passerby happened to notice and offered me a hug, for which I was very grateful. We stayed locked in each others’ arms for probably 5 minutes as I cried away on her shoulder (sorry, didn’t mean to ruin your cute dress lady!). After we had released each other I had managed to check the tears and calm down enough to drive home. I don’t think I’d have been able to without that sort of support.
Ultimately sensory overload is just part of being autistic. We can only handle so much. Overstimulation can take many forms – not just frustration or anger. Even happiness and/or hilarity can trip sensory overload. It’s gotten me fired from a number of jobs because my bosses just didn’t understand. Luckily my current boss does understand to some degree and has a leash with me. Nonetheless, I have my days like today.
Anyway, I digress. I write this to show how a hug can impact another. Of course, not everyone likes being hugged and I don’t recommend you go up and just hug people randomly without asking if they want to be hugged, but don’t be averse to offering. You might just change their entire day. It’s a powerful symbol of emotional support, affection and even just a friendly bond.
Perhaps I should start standing on street corners on my days off displaying a “Free Hugs” sign just to see how many people take it up. Maybe it’s a way I can make a difference in the lives of others. Also, if in the highly unusual even we cross paths, dear readers don’t be afraid to hug me. It’s perfectly OK. I should be pretty easy to spot – just look for the tatted guy in short shorts. It’s probably me. 😛
At any rate, thanks to whoever you are. If by some chance you’re reading this, you made my day. I just want you to know that.