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Sensory and Social Overload at a Wedding Reception

Yesterday evening I attended a wedding reception. Though it was nice to see the bride and groom celebrating, and there were many attendees there whom I like and enjoy conversing it....it still drove home the fact that I'm not the greatest person for others to converse with. Well, I think I did pretty well, I tried to keep from monologuing (it's so ironic that the NT people I love are the ones I'd drive away because I truly find the fascinating and want to collect "data" from them and pour out all of my thoughts) and watch for signs they wanted to continue on to mingle with others. I tried not to cling. It was okay during normal conversation, but as the place got louder, it seemed like it was thundering to me, causing even more strain. They seated me at a table with a wonderful group of people - it's great that they are funny and interesting, but when they get into the group dynamic of being funny together - that "together" dynamic, I just cannot join in, I can only watch, but it made me come off as awkward, like a "stiff", or uncooperative since I wasn't joining in. I don't think these folks thought badly of me, but I do think it was noticed and a bit odd. It is a reminder for me that I just can't do those kinds of things - which I already knew, but I don't really enjoy the reminders, as they make me feel worse about myself.

When people are in group mode, it's like conversation becomes like a volleyball game, and I can only watch from the sidelines. Which can be entertaining, except for when I obviously miss the times the ball flies near me and I am expected to strike it up and over the net.

This is especially true when people are joking around - well, that is generally what I am talking about bonding and joking experiences. When a group is talking about some special interest, then I am fine. I just can't do the jokey thing - and what's more, when it's just general goofiness, I don't even really find it funny, I just find it weird and boring - but I try to fake amusement with this big smile and fake laughs, which make me feel worse.

Then there was dancing....and I again just thought....why don't I have fun doing stuff like that? I actually have learned how to do ballroom and Latin, and did for a few years....but I don't think I ever actually could "let go and enjoy myself" as NTs would say. It just wasn't really fun to me, I felt tense - I could like it in a way, but I didn't enjoy it the way others were, I just was missing some part of the experience that they had. I was glad that there wasn't social pressure on us to get up and dance.

On a positive note, it did make me re-think romance. Lately I have really thought romance was pretty pointless. But now I think I should start focusing more on romance in my own relationship.

Next....I do wish I had thought to apply some things I have learned from this forum. When I stopped to check in with my sensory overload (which I did learn to do from this forum), I realized that the noise was just roaring for me, and it was causing a lot of additional strain that was wearing me down. But I didn't do anything to address it. I'm not the type to meltdown from things like this. But...today I had to virtually do nothing but indulge in special interests to recuperate from yesterday. I should have excused myself for "a moment" and just spent 10 to 15 minutes outside of the reception in silence, maybe look at my smartphone, or a book that I could have fit in my purse. I think that neurologically that would have helped.

Well....these entries aren't going to be finished masterpieces, I'm just using them like a journal just to get some thoughts/feelings out to loosen things up inside. I think I'm done for now.

Just kidding, I have one last observation I meant to note down: when I am trying to relate to these people as they are engaging in behaviors that I just don't jibe with - like the overly goofy stuff, dancing, all the stuff I just can't really do or get - I feel this disturbing feeling inside, as though my identity is being stretched apart or shifted - as though a ghostly version/layer of my identity is beginning to separate from me. It makes these experiences feel more disturbing, painful, and alienating then they perhaps should.

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Ambi
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