There’s a series on Twitter about how (we) autistics feel negative emotions right now, prompted by one of Neurodivergent Rebel’s Twitter #AskingAutistics polls. (Which I highly recommend, by the way.) And since there are things going on in my life right now that make this a fairly relevant topic for me, I decided to write a post on it. Or more specifically, write a current post on grief. I’ll probably write about others later, but this is the one relevant right now.
I’ve mentioned alexithymia – the inability to recognize/categorize one’s own emotions, and sometimes to have physical reactions to emotions instead of “feeling” them – before, both when speaking of imagination, and about psychosomatic issues. And there’s also the issue that autistics tend to emote in ways that are not recognized/understood by the neurotypical audience. All of this means that quite often, the neurotypical audience has no idea what we feel, or how deeply/intensely.
One thing I do know about grief, from previous experience, is that I process it very differently from most of my family. (I’m not sure about my dad – we haven’t really discussed that.) Of course, no one processes emotions in exactly identical fashion, whether from the neurotypical or the neurodiverse population… but my way is rather different from most others that I’ve heard of.
I write. I create, actually.
For my biological grandmothers, I wrote poems. My step-grandmother, I’m still working on that. The same with my adopted aunt. They’re rather harder, in some ways, although I saw them almost as frequently or more so than the others.
The act of putting words onto paper (or typing them onto a screen) seems to, in a way, put my emotion to paper so that it lets it flow through me.
I do spend some time crying, but that’s not necessarily the amount of time one would “expect” – if anything about the process of grieving can be “expected”. In fact, there are a series of entries about grieving, and my process specifically (or certain aspects of it) on my Other Blog (note that they are in reverse chronological order – latest first). If you’re interested. Some of them, at least. There are some experiences of grieving that I’ve had that aren’t recorded on any of my blogs.
(A friend of mine in Toronto died last year, two months after I’d seen her during the CAPP meeting period in Toronto. I evidently decided not to post anything on my blogs – I wrote an entry onto her memorial wall, which was the text of a message I sent her via our in-Toronto friends earlier that week.)
Each time is unique, and each time is hard in different ways. Some I’ve been able to prepare for; others have come on suddenly. Some have been family members (whether “adopted” or biological), some have been cats (who are practically family members anyway to me).
At the same time, in every case, there’s a sense of… acceptance. I don’t know whether it’s the acceptance of the inevitability of death, or whether it’s acceptance that the person/animal in question felt it was their time to go. (It’s not religious acceptance, that much I can guarantee.) But… that sense of acceptance seems to mute the grief I feel, at least a bit, in comparison to others that I see. It’s almost as though there’s a part of me that is being logical and pointing out that the process of grieving is for the benefit of the living.
I don’t know, and I don’t know if I’ll ever manage to figure out an answer to those questions about my acceptance. It’s just… the way I feel.
I likely won’t be posting here for a couple of weeks, both to deal with the current situation and with the regular calm-down from December Christmas season.
I’m rambling, it seems, and I don’t know whether I’ve achieved my goal in this post. I suppose I’ll figure it out at some time. Just in case, there may be a subsequent post later, when I’ve gotten thoughts and emotions in a bit more order.
Questions to talk about (which may help the direction of the hypothetical subsequent post):
- Is there anything about the way you grieve that other people find unusual?
- Do your friends/family understand – or at least, try to understand – your grieving process?
- Is there anything that you’re willing to share that helps – or hinders – the grieving process for you?
Intimate questions, but when we get into the questions of emotions, particularly those as personal as grief, they need to be intimate.
As always on the “Let’s Talk About” topics, I welcome any comments, questions, answers to questions, and thoughts you choose to post.