|Posted by Admin on July 31, 2013 at 11:15 AM|
For the first time, yesterday, I finally understood what it felt like to be someone on the spectrum who is "wandering". My Dad brought me to the fair, but then I had to meet up with my friends. My phone wasn't receiving texts well. This threw my WHOLE plan out the window. My senses were completely overwhelmed. Smells of cigarette smoke, food, and exhaust filled my nose. Sounds of kids screaming, bells ringing, announcers talking, and MORE assaulted my ears. All I could see was MOVEMENT. Rides moving. People moving. Spinning wheels from game tables. Lights flashing. It was enough to make me disoriented and unable to focus on finding my friends. However, it doesn't end there.
The worst part of my "wandering" experience was being stuck. Being unable to figure out how to find a quiet, open space where I could sit and collect myself. I didn't WANT to have a meltdown in the middle of public. I didn't WANT to have people staring at me, a grown woman, crying and hyperventilating in public. I KNEW people would laugh, or give me weird looks. It would be the most embarrassing time of my life. I ALSO didn't want my friends to show up and feel bad for not finding me sooner. (It's not their responsibility. I asked THEM if I could meet them there in the first place.)
So now I get it. Now I understand WHY a person on the spectrum wanders. WHY it's so difficult for them to get help for themselves. How can you get help if you can't even figure out where to move to? What I needed was for a police officer (or SOMEONE who worked there) to come over to ME and ask me if I needed help. But I probably looked like just another person in the crowd.