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How is that tiring?

How is that tiring? Why are everyday things tiring for autistic people? I know that I can go to a shop for ten minutes and feel utterly exhausted. This can seem peculiar to other people. I have heard many people talk about their autistic child being ill because they are so tired. In some cases there may well be an underlying cause but in most occasions it could be down to autism being exhausting.  Like many autistic people, in those ten minutes of shopping my brain is taking in so much information and arguably too much information. I liken my brain’s processing to 'start stop' animation with each frame being analysed in minute detail. Every single item for sale, the colours, textures, smells. Each customer in the shop how they look, smell, sound. The floor = what is the texture under my feet. If I have a trolley how the wheels move, the amount of pressure required to push it and the focus required to ensure that I don’t run down fellow customers or crash into shelves or product displays (yes I learnt the hard way once, when I came across a massive pyramid of Christmas merchandise!). On top of this processing there is the waiting for the unknown - will there be an announcement, an alarm, will a child start to scream, a baby start to cry or will there be my pet hate of “background” music. My brain doesn’t allow music to be background. Regardless of the volume, it overtakes everything and my brain frantically zones in on it.   The final challenge is the concern that I will meet someone who knows me, and I have phrased that correctly. I have face blindness and when people recognise me and start to talk, until I am given a massive clue, they are strangers.  Next time your child is seeming tired and lethargic for no obvious reason, spare a thought for what their brains have most likely been processing!

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