Shutting down

I have always known I emotionally shut down, but perhaps withdrawal feels more accurate. I withdraw when my sensory input becomes too much, where there is too much negativity, too many decisions to deal with and too little time to process it all. I’ve been doing it since I was a child.

Having Autism means it’s almost compulsory, it’s easy for me to feel the withdrawal creep up. My mind switches, grows quieter, I hear nothing. I disconnect from the conversation when it becomes too hard to formulate or listen to responses.

I am physically there but I’m not consciously co-operating. As I quietly detach from everything going on around me, I am calm. My environment becomes calm. As a child, shutting down was my coping mechanism.

Even now when I know what is happening, there is little I can do about it to control it, or stop it. The environment I grew up in made shutting down more inevitable. Shutting down is also triggered by anxiety that is part of Autism.

I hate the idea that I struggle to take control but the answers usually lie in what happens before a withdrawal trigger.

Although it’s not easy for me to anticipate or deal with change, I am getting better at reading the signs. Change itself is difficult because there are so many elements that I have to deal with before I can handle anything new. I try to embrace the unfamiliar, although the unfamiliar still catches me out.

It’s easy for environmental sensory overload to blow up into something bigger and those cause me to shut down. It is inevitable, but I must learn to compartmentalise my anxieties so that I can manage those.


26 Apr, 2019

2 thoughts on “Shutting down

  1. Boy, don’t I know that feeling, or actually lack of, when I get overwhelmed. Considering what I went through, I think it’s pretty amazing that I didn’t end up like Norman Bates!

    I had to learn very early on how to compartmentalise my feelings and how to tune out the things that I couldn’t wrap my mind around as a child.

    So many people think I’m kidding about certain things from my childhood, but I have siblings who can attest as to what it was really like.

    I’m pretty much emotionally shut down right now, considering what has happened recently, so I can definitely relate. Everyone seems to think I’m calm but they don’t have any idea of how noisy my head is right now.

    I grew up in a world where we had to ‘take the pain’ and hide our emotions. It’s a very hard habit to break.

    1. Thanks Randy. Yes, I am you are aware that your siblings will have seen what you have seen, but whether they interpret what you have interpreted I’m not sure.

      We all take different things from our childhood. No too siblings will think alike. But you know what you deal with. That’s all that matters. But the right people will want to stay and be part of your life and help you.

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