I am a runner.
Not in the athletic sense (much to my track-coach parent's dismay).
But it the fact that usually if it is between fight or flight, I will flee.
It is a problem because if I panic enough, I will just find myself running several minutes later, half a mile away. Luckily, this has really only happened a few times where I was so panicked I didn't remember how I got somewhere. And those times I was on my wonderfully car-free college campus, so I was pretty safe (the lack of cars on campus was one of the main reasons I chose that school, as far as I could tell...decision making is not always one of my strong points)
And I panic rather frequently. Loud noises. Crowded places. Lots of people. Weird lighting*. Strange buzzing sounds. Lots of talking. These things all build up at much earlier levels than most of my family members and overwhelm me. And then I try to escape.
But this definitely has dangerous implications. Running without thinking is really not a good idea. Cars do exist.
I sometimes hide instead. (Sometimes running is not an option because sometimes there are no exits.)
Sometimes then, people come into the rooms I am hiding in and then I have to decide whether to stay hiding or come out. If I come out, sometimes I have to explain why I was hiding (family is good, I can usually say "I was taking a break"). If I don't come out, then I am stuck until they leave the room (or sometimes they find me).
Usually, I can avoid this if I remember to pay attention. If I watch myself, I can usually catch myself before I get to the breaking point. If I am with someone, I can hold their hand to keep me grounded. Or I can follow them around and put all my focus in that, and then not have to make decisions about what to do or where to go or who to talk to or what to say while I process the overload. This is one of the reasons that it is very, very, very important to me to have someone to go places with.
So I understand why people run away.
At some point, the panic just overwhelms everything logical in your brain. And you are away and free and escaping and trying to be safe.
*I really like in-ceiling lights and I do not like poorly lit places that only have awkward lamps that don't light up the whole place
Labels: autism, me, meltdown, my brain, running away