I’ve slept for 12 hours and I’m still tired. I wonder why. I am working on a paper which demands a lot of mental effort and concentration but my employers kept sending me ad-hoc tasks in between that disrupts my plan. Yesterday, I scheduled for delivery of pet food between 3-6pm. By 2pm, I was expecting my phone or bell to ring any moment as I wondered what time between 3-6pm the delivery man will arrive. Came 6pm and there was still no sight of delivery and no call whatsoever. Eventually, he came at 6:45pm. My water heater has broken down so I have to arrange to get it fixed and the scheduled time is between 2-5pm on Monday. Great, just another block to keep my mind distracted. My upstair neighbours came home around 1am. I was planning to work on my paper as I have been doing all week since the early morning hours are the quietest but got annoyingly distracted and mad by the noise. Instead of working, I stayed up to write this post to vent my anger. My time is taken up, I’m tired and I don’t even socialise.
My misanthropic tendencies are getting worse.
My sensory sensitivities are getting worse.
As each day passes, I’m feeling more helpless.
When someone needs support through a difficult period, people say things like it will become easier with time or time will heal. Personally, I’ve never found that to be true. Not everything becomes easier with time, it is not a case of practice makes perfect. This may be especially true for someone with autism with a tendency to overthink every situation. I can recall and replay incidents that happened months, years, decades ago and the emotions would still be as powerful like it was just yesterday. Feelings have not all dampened with the passage of time. I get by each day not so much because the memories and the emotions that accompanied them have faded away but through conscious blocking of past memories.
Professor Tony Attwood explained, in the context of bullying and its effects on individuals with autism, which I think extends to other areas in life as well:
“Their main way of trying to understand ‘why?’ is to repeatedly replay the events in their thoughts. This can be a daily experience, even though the incidents occurred decades earlier. As the event is repeated in their thoughts, so are the emotions experienced again. Adults with Asperger Syndrome may require considerable psychotherapy to overcome the deep and entrenched traumas caused by being the target of persistent bullying which often began in early childhood. They cannot easily forgive and forget until they understand why.” (bold my emphasis)
Strategies to reduce the bullying of young children with Asperger Syndrome
At home, I could be cool as ice but in a split second I could be boiling with a murderous rage that sent my heart racing. This is what noise does to me, especially if it comes from the household directly above mine. I get upset for various reasons. First, it is an invasion of personal space. Second, I work from a home office and being hypersensitive to noise, they distract and prevent me from doing my work. Third, the frustration associated with trying to understand why ~ how did I put up with it? What on earth are they doing at this hour? What the hell is that noise? etc. Fourth, the anxiety and helplessness associated with not being able to predict my neighbours’ movement and feeling out of control. Fifth, the anxiety and fear associated with the idea of confronting the neighbours (I had but they claimed they were just walking normally and so the situation was put down to poor soundproofing and my hypersensitive ears). Last but not least, the frustration and discomfort associated with having to wear a earpiece.
These people bring out the mean streak in me, I wish them dead. If only murder isn’t such a messy and effortful crime. I can understand how people go berserk and kill. Not that I agree or approve of their actions, merely saying I can relate to the deep sense of frustration and hopelessness.
What I was trying to say is that having live with the noise for a few years now have not made it easier. Although I could have moved but leaving financial issues aside, I guess my faith in humans and sound-proofing qualities of apartments have reached such a low level that I think chances are I will experience similar issues elsewhere.
You can’t make me a happier or sociable person by force socialisation. Similarly, repeated exposure to noise will not make me used to it. There is no guarantee that repeated and prolonged period of exposure leads to desensitisation. If I have no choice but to live and put up with it, that is not desensitisation, that is not accepting the situation, that is me being helpless, that is learned helplessness.
When people tell me to live with it, that ‘it’ they are referring to is called helplessness.
What people tell me and what it actually sounds like to me:
“Live with it” ⇒ Suck it up.
“You’ll get used to it” ⇒ You’ll learned helplessness.
“Accept it” and all other else ⇒ Fuck off and die.
I know I’m stubbornly inconsolable. Perhaps this is why I love nature because, if anything, it takes a force as strong and powerful as nature to tame and comfort someone like me.