1 bearded dragon
1 African Ropefish
1 green anole
1 angora rabbit
2 guinea pigs
6 mallard ducks
1 Orpington duck
6 Orpington chickens
Without my animal friends my family wouldn’t be complete, they are after all in a way some of my only friends. Some people call them pets, some call them companions, I call them my family. Being autistic means my world is vastly different from the some seven billion other people that live on the planet we all call home. The various stimuli: tastes, textures, sounds, smells, and even emotions, that normal humans process and discard end up like a spiraling tornado of confusion in my mind.
It’s hell trying to find socks that feel right on my feet, or shirts that aren’t too tight against my arms or long enough to cover my hands. While things like these may not annoy or even be a concern to other people it can cause me to have a meltdown. If inseam on my socks rub against the side of my toes, or my shirt is snug or ¾ length, it can push me to a breakdown where I’m on the point of destruction, and I can’t help it.
I tell myself over and over that it’s okay if the line on my socks touch my toes or the shoulders in my shirts can be loose rather than baggy. It is okay two cars in front of me just ran the red light because it doesn’t affect me personally. I tell myself to ignore the screaming children and the mother doing nothing about it, ignore the murmuring of voices as people go about their lives, the humming of electronics, the rumble of vehicle engines…
But I can’t.
The clothing starts to hurt and I have to remove it, it feels like I’m suffocating then I can’t breathe. I can’t think, everything starts to shut down and my mind goes into a panic phase where I have to get rid of whatever is causing the problem or I feel like I’ll die.
The noise becomes so loud it is deafening, and all I can hear is that one trigger noise, everything else fades away. It’s like putting your head between two speakers at a rock concert with the volume on MAX. You can only hear that one specific noise and nothing else.
Problems like these make interacting with people or society in general difficult in a face to face situation. Making and keeping friendships is impossible because most people don’t want to take the time to understand me as I try to do for them.
It is because of these reasons that I am so close to my animals, they don’t care if I’m having a bad day and need to be alone. My upset or meltdowns don’t bother them and they are there to comfort me without any judgment. They don’t blame me for problems that I cannot control, no matter how hard I try. It is funny how people refer to each other as animals when they do or act in a manner considered uncivilized; however, they are more judgmental and cruel than any animal has ever been.