The last few days I spent a lot of time in loud, crowded places.
I am not very good with loud, crowded places for an extended amount of time. I used to not be able to be good in loud, crowded places at all. I already got a lot better.
However, I still do reach a point when places like amusement parks, arcades, expo halls and water parks just drain so much of my energy, that I get to feel panicky and really have to pull myself together and spend some time alone away from all the noise and lights to not lash out at the person nearest to me.
Thankfully nowadays I know the symptoms of the approaching sensory overload. My brain gives me ample ‘battery low’ messages before I reach the point of no return.
One of the sign is, that the surrounding sound changes. I lose the ability to filter and hear all the surrounding noises at once. Structured conversations around me mix in with all the beeps and bops and plings and weoh weohs to form one thick voice soup.
Another sign is, that I notice people brushing me or my chair and it really upsets me in the true sense of the word. I do not have the ability to ignore it anymore.
Also strong smells begin to offend me.
The weird thing is, that the situation did not change one bit for someone who sees me from the outside. I am just sitting or standing there like I did two minutes before, but inside of me my body is screaming for respite. I am utterly exhausted just from being inside the place.
Let me try to explain this feeling.
It is like when you are in a room full of toys and you need to get to the other side without making a noise. Many people will say: “Easy as pie.” and march right through the place. And if they hit a squeaky on the way, so what?
For me the place all of a sudden looks like a minefield. I have to step over this LEGO, because if I step on it, it will hurt. Oh no, I need to watch out for that duck! So I pick and tip toe through the toys with utter concentration and willpower. I will have to stop and circumvent that firetruck. I will have to make sure I don’t slip on the marbles. And after I reach the other side of the room I am depleted of my energies.
I sometimes wish that other people could see crowded and noisy places like I do.
I wish they could see the minefield and not just the room filled with toys.
I wish they could understand that when I am overwhelmed and getting into a bad mood, it has nothing to do with them, but with the intensity of the inner battle I am fighting.
The more fun and noise and people I encounter, the faster my batteries will go low. And life is not so great on depleted batteries. Let me go recharge and I will be agreeable and entertaining once again.