I’m fortunate enough to have been employed by a few people who took into account my ridiculous brain and asked me how best they could deal with it. What could they do to help? What could be avoided?
This is an absolutely lovely thing for them to do and it encompasses so many good intentions. Unfortunately, for my brain, it doesn’t quite work.
Usually when talking to these nice employers, what they would like is a comprehensive list of things that will trigger me; that is, set off an episode of sorts. For me, this is when an external stimulus makes my emotions extra raw and causes my thought patterns to go a little paranoid-funky-crazy, a bit like a sensory overload. I do try to give them a list, I really do, the only problem is, when it comes to listing potential triggers…
Well, there’re just so many of the bloody things.
And when I start to list them, and then continue adding to the list, I tend to come off as not only crazy but needy and deliberately unhelpful. I completely get it; if your mind works differently, it’s very difficult to understand how a thing you consider to be completely innocuous could make someone else’s mind start buzzing like a wasp nest.
To help you understand my predicament, here is a list of things that have genuinely sent me into an unhealthy mental spiral in the past few years. These are not things which upset me every single time, just when my brain decides they should. Note that I never exaggerate in these blog posts – everything I say I have experienced is true. So, here goes. My triggers…
- The sky. Sometimes when I see the moon it makes me realise that we are so tiny and insignificant, too small, what is the point of anything.
- Enclosed spaces. I feel like I’m in a coffin, like the walls could crush me at any moment.
- Open spaces. It’s too big, it’s too much space. Why is there so much space?
- Spiders. This is self-explanatory. Spiders are freaky as hell.
- Lack of spiders. WHERE ARE ALL THE SPIDERS? I CAN’T SEE THEM, WHERE ARE THEY HIDING?
- Elevator music. It is soothing – who is trying to sooth me? Why do I need to be soothed? What’s their plan??
- Ice cream. It is not naturally such vibrant colours; why are the colours added? Why is it so artificial? Why is this practice considered necessary for ice cream?
- Primary colours. They are too bright. Why?!
- Breathing. It makes a noise, but we never notice it? Why not?
- Blinking. WHY DON’T I REGISTER THE WORLD GOING DARK EVERY FEW SECONDS? WHY NOT?
And those are just off the top of my head.
While I have no doubt that the employers who ask about my triggers have the best intentions, it is difficult to look someone in the eye and say that ice cream triggers me.
So, how do I communicate these triggers in a healthy and articulate way for my employers? I don’t have a bloody clue. It’s still one of those things I’m trying to manoeuvre, how to remain employed while finding the entire universe just a bit too much.
I guess what I’m really looking for is infinite absolute patience and understanding beyond that of mortal comprehension – is that really so much to ask?
However, for now, this is a heartfelt thank you to all the employers who did try to work through this list with me – and a heartfelt apology for the fact that you simply couldn’t have foreseen just how crazy I am.