Fight or Flight

by Lindsay

I heard something somewhere (let me know if you know where this comes from) that people on the spectrum are constantly in a state of ‘fight or flight.’  We get so overloaded with sensory or emotional information that subconscious says either “Get out of here!” or “You wanna fight? Let’s go, I can take you.”  When I first read this, it really struck a cord with me, but I pretty much put it out of mind.

However, at a AANE support group last week, we were talking about criticism.  (I am paraphrasing this from Miss Debbie Geheran here.)  People with AS tend to react much more strongly to criticism or to a raised voice.  Yelling tends to make the mind immediately equate it with ‘death.’

That sentiment immediately started to make sense of the way that I react sometimes.  A discussion at work where people start getting excited and speak loudly can ruin a day for me, even if only good things were discussed.  A general company wide meeting where the CEO says that everyone needs to pay more attention to details and stop making silly mistakes can make me feel like crying.  Overhearing the man in our shipping department screaming at the walls in frustration (which he does on a fairly regular basis for some reason) can make me sick to my stomach for the rest of the day.

I have started since paying more attention to this and I’ve noticed that I can’t make the physical reaction go away by acknowledging where it comes from, but I’m able to mentally separate myself from it and, to some extent, not let it completely ruin my day.

Anyone else have problems with this, or any helpful tips?

August 12, 2009       Posted in: Uncategorized
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