(Probably) the most stressful and overwhelming day of my whole life

As part of my autism I find certain situations very difficult to cope with. August 1st 2016 was one of the worst for these things and it was just one stimulant after another.

It all started when I did a bit of shopping at Liverpool Street Station on my way to university. In the shop the card reader on the self checkout failed to read my card and I ended up hyperventilating until it got sorted. While I made my way to catch the train, my iPod fell from my headphones and as I picked it up I accidentally bumped into another lady. She stopped and stared at me for a little while as I repeatedly apologised to her but that didn’t stop her from saying, “excuse me?” in a certain accent. We both smiled it off afterwards, even though I wasn’t overly amused by the situation. I was also genuinely worried she’d step on my iPod and break it.

When I arrived at a different university building from the one I usually attend for my studies to see my mentor for the very last time, a lady entered the room where I was sitting to clean the surfaces and she spoke to me but I could barely understand a word she was saying. Eventually she left and I quite happily continued with my session.

After my mentoring session I went to yet another university building to return a library book only to be told the whole library had moved to the building I had previously visited. Frustrated I went straight to my usual university building to crack on with my studies.

I had a rather successful session with my tutor but afterwards things took a turn for the worse. Another student, who I barely knew and was using the same room as me, had a FaceTime chat with someone and she spoke quite loudly, which really distracted me from my studies. I was so agitated that I slapped the keyboard on my laptop and the screen went funny. I restarted my laptop and entered my password only to get a screen with a ‘no’ symbol on. This really worried me because I thought my laptop had died. I left the animation studio to try and work in a quieter place but on my way up my laptop fell out of my backpack and onto the floor. It turned out I had forgotten to zip up my laptop bag because I was in a rush to find somewhere quieter. When I found a quieter place I looked information up on my iPad about the ‘no’ symbol screen and tried the possible options to try and get it to work but to no avail. I also saw that the USB stick with most of my work on it was broken because it was still in my laptop when I dropped it and while I was very stressed in case I lost all the work on my stick, I was glad I backed up most of the work the night before. Because I was so stressed I decided to leave early only for things to get much worse on the way home…

On my way to the first university building I was at that morning a lady who walked past me screamed and I had no idea why. That gave me quite a shock. When I got off the tube I got out of breath due to walking up the stairs and a member of tube staff asked me if I was okay but I felt much worse. While I waited for the bus home there were a couple of triggers that really set me off. When I got on the bus there were several triggers that I found very overwhelming such as a lady who was standing up when she wasn’t supposed to beside her son who was sitting down (they were on the upper deck with me) and another lady who was talking quite loudly on her phone, which reminded me very much of the other student on FaceTime. At this point things got so overwhelming that I screamed at the top of my lungs for the first time in ages, just about everyone stared at me, which was really embarrassing. I reacted quite strongly to the the woman on the phone and she quite rudely gossiped about me to the person she was talking to. She even said I had a phone in my hand, which I found very hypocritical of her to say although I was only using my phone to send a message but not talk to someone. A man also asked me what I was ‘shouting and screaming’ about. This made me so upset that I began crying very hysterically. Another man told me to calm down and not get upset but I told him I couldn’t help it because of my malfunctioning laptop, other people who were mean to me on the bus and my autism. Despite all this he still told me not to get upset, which didn’t really help at all.

When I got home all I did was lock myself up in my room, lie on my bed and spend hours on social media and YouTube to try and take my mind off things.

If anyone reads this then please be aware that someone who screams or cries hysterically in public could have autism and have had too much information like I did. Please share this post to spread autism awareness. Thank you.

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