1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Flat affect??

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Marshmallow_Dust, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. Marshmallow_Dust

    Marshmallow_Dust New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2019
    Karma:
    +23
    Anyone else when under stress, or times of increased autism symptoms become kind of flat?

    My mother in law asked me this morning if my meds have changed or if I've been taking my anxiety meds more often because she's noticed how flat I've been and at times feels uncomfortable like she's trying to drag around a zombie.

    My anxiety has been on the rise, so I have been taking my meds slightly more, I've also been under a lot of stress and feel my depression acting up. I have felt like I've been stifling a melt down for awhile.

    Today even though very anxious I decided not to take the meds too see if there was a difference, yet I still feel rather flat and overwhelmed. I can tell that my facial expression is blank.


    What do you guys do about this? It's not an all the time thing for me but I feel bad that it's at the point of making someone I live with uncomfortable
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  2. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,822
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    Karma:
    +7,337
    Yeah, it happens to me too. Anxiety, depression and stress all make my affect go flat. My boyfriend tells me I seem cold sometimes.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 3
  3. shysnail

    shysnail Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    170
    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Karma:
    +561
    You seem very self-aware. Do you feel like you could tell your mother-in-law what you've said in your post? Perhaps that could help her understand a bit better what's going on with you.

    I definitely know I become very "flat" when I'm very anxious, and I can feel like I'm being a deadweight around people. It can make it hard on them, but however much I try, I can't be different until the anxiety has lifted a bit. I think it's just a coping mechanism.

    Telling people in straightforward terms what is happening can at least lessen that concern a little.

    Hope things improve for you soon!
     
    • Like Like x 3
  4. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,822
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    Karma:
    +7,337
    I don’t do much about it, but I try to explain to those nearest to me that it’s just the stress working its magic on me that makes me seem so flat and distant.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  5. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    381
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2019
    Karma:
    +902
    Absolutely.

    When I'm going through sensory overload, I usually have a blank, or sometimes slightly confused expression on my face and I can barely register what I look at, or what anyone says to me. If I do register what is being said to me, I have a hard time speaking, as if I'm trying hard to find the words to string together to form a sentence, even the most simple words for simple sentences. My voice also sounds really flat-toned, and I have more trouble controlling the volume of it. If I don't get away from what is making me feel overstimulated, just one little thing can make me go from blank, spacey and distant to explosive, saying things impulsively out of anger and severe anxiety in 0.5 seconds.

    So getting that flat affect is actually a good indicator for those close to me that I'm having trouble with something, and that they need to either give me space, or help me out in the ways that I need.

    I also get like this when overwhelmed about something (non-sensory related), or very tired, or if some event triggers a strong emotion but I can't quite understand what that emotion is and why I am feeling it (a trait of alexithymia, which I do have).
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  6. George Newman

    George Newman Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    376
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Karma:
    +712
    .... for me, I liken my response to “stress” similar to shifting an auto to neutral ...
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  7. Marshmallow_Dust

    Marshmallow_Dust New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2019
    Karma:
    +23
    I think I might just show her this thread. I've been super super stressed over being in a wedding and now that it's over I'm hoping some of the flatness goes away.
     
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 2
  8. TinyTownFamily

    TinyTownFamily New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2019
    Karma:
    +49
    Perhaps off-topic, but my young son has a flat affect most of the time. He gets happy on a swing sometimes, or when the wind hits his face, but mostly playing his tablet. When he is presented with things that typical children get excited about, his face is expressionless.
     
  9. inkfingers

    inkfingers 19 year old Aspie artist and Jesus follower

    Messages:
    249
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2018
    Karma:
    +525
    I don't know if I look "flat" when stressed out. I know that when I was little I was quite medicated (they didn't know I had autism, and I'm guessing they medicated me to help with my meltdowns, but I'm not sure). My mom said that I wasn't myself during that time, maybe like a zombie? But I'm not on any strong doses right now. If I'm anxious today I don't think I look flat. I'd say I probably look anxious.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,675
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,453
    Happens to me as well. Anxiety has really been a deterrent for me in the past.
     
  11. tlc

    tlc The Mackinac Bridge and U.P. is my happy place.

    Messages:
    1,346
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    Karma:
    +1,216
    Yes, for me it's being overwhelmed to the point I start shutting down, stop taking things in, letting everything just pass by.
     
  12. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,310
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    Karma:
    +11,059
    Yes, I tend to withdraw and go flat when stressed, anxious or low mood/depressed. I don't have the energy. I'm quite flat anyway, without these additional factors.
     
  13. H-Kath

    H-Kath Active Member

    Messages:
    104
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2019
    Karma:
    +250
    When my partner's too upset to mask she can't modulate her voice at all. If she's scared she'll shout and sound angry. If it goes on for too long she'll go completely flat. When she's masking normal conversation is somewhat flat but her intonation is exaggerated in emotional speech.