On Thursday I had one of my autistic meltdowns. These are generally caused when other people are panicking or situations are moving quickly. If my brain doesn’t time to process information it tends to close down.
The situation this week was caused by a water shutdown to fix a broken pipe and I was being told so many things all at once, I got very tense and flustered resulting in me being unable to do or say anything useful at all which is no good when you are on stage and have a room full of people watching you.
The next day my agent called
‘I have a question for you, a nosey question, you can tell me to go away and mind my own business but you remind me of a friend of mine. He plays the piano for hours every day, he is brilliant at it but when it goes out of tune, he really can’t cope. He is autistic, are you autistic too?’
‘Yes, I replied’ I had been waiting for this and been pondering for months if I should bring this up.
‘Well why didn’t you tell me?’
Now that is an interesting question, why didn’t I tell him?
Part of the reason is that I don’t really like talking about myself. It never occurs to me that anyone would be interested so unless it is a fun anecdote about something funny a guest said or what I saw in the street, I keep personal stuff to a minimum.
Then there is something in my head that isn’t sure how people will react. A few months back it felt like there was a series of very serious crimes committed by people with autism and the news always made a big story about them being autistic. Autistic is the new social bogey man, the people to be feared.
I don’t want people tip toeing around me, I don’t want people treating me differently and I don’t want to answer loads of questions about ‘my condition’.
Of course, he didn’t mind at all that I was autistic and went on to change the topic and the remainder of our conversation was spent talking about supplies and schedules.