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Autism: Runaway

02 Feb

The conflict came, of one sort or another, and the intensity built within me. It grew and grew, until I felt as if I would explode. So strong was that scream within me, that they would not hear, and I did what I had to do… what I always did. I ran.

I ran through the yard, and over the fence. I ran across the meadow, and around the trees. I jumped over the stream, and kept on running. I ran until I had no energy to run any more. And then I sat. I sat on the fallen log, where I had spent many hours before. Far from people. Far from my family. Far from the noise.

And in that place of silence, with only the birds, snakes, and insects to keep me company, I was able to breathe again. I was able to think again.

Shivering from sadness. Shivering from cold. I thought and thought of all I had known. The world is an evil place, and I don’t belong in it.

Yet there, in the quiet of the forest, with the clean smells of rotting leaves, running streams, things alive, I found my peace. And for hours I would stay there, slightly conscious of my mother’s worry, but too full of stress and pain to return. For what awaited me in that world, but pain?

And so I stayed in the world away from the world. My own private place, where no one would search for me. And I would feel the tension leaving my body. I would sense the unvoiced screams flowing away. I would consider that place that so many called home, though many were so shy I did not see them there – the birds, and owls, deer, foxes, raccoons, rabbits… a world full of life, yet full of peace.

In this world, away from the real world, I could escape all that which overwhelmed me – for if nothing else, their world was that: Overwhelming. The noise, the lights, the smells, the clutter… and it clouded my mind, and wouldn’t allow the peace to come in.

Eventually, when my mind was calm enough to feel the cold and the hunger, I would walk home slowly, in regret. Regret that I had to return to a world that was always too much for me. To people who didn’t know that pain I held, for I could not speak. To the one who caused the pain. To the world that didn’t want me even more than I didn’t want it.

And then I would stay for a little while. Stay because there was nowhere else to go. I couldn’t really live out in the forest alone. I couldn’t really stay forever apart from the only family I knew. So I would stay. Returning to my colouring books, my Lego, my dolls, I would find my place of quiet within their world, and try to block out all of those many things that attacked my peace.

But it would never last. Maybe I could stay a few days, maybe a few weeks, but always I would reach that point again – and I would run, again, because I had to. It was the only way to find peace in their world.

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