Can you imagine what life is like for someone whose end goal for the entire day is to get off the couch and take a shower? If they just do that, they’ve accomplished a seemingly insurmountable task. Today, they’ve spent several hours staving off a panic attack. Panicking due to (but not limited to)…
– Having to think about leaving the house and being forced to talk to people.
– Pondering the daunting task of processing sensory input outside their safe space.
– Trying to find words. Both written and verbal. In addition to words in their own head to make sense of the jumbled mess there.
– Needing to pick just the right shirt, so it doesn’t grab in the wrong areas and the fabric is soft enough to not be something demanding they focus upon it the entire time they’re wearing.
– Worrying about money
– Too many incoming text messages.
– Too many emails and the email program they use isn’t allowing access, so they’re panicking because accessibility has been removed.
– Hungry, but can’t figure out what to eat, so they haven’t eaten anything more than a bagel this morning.
– Only got about four hours of sleep this morning (yes, this morning, because sleep wasn’t happening last night).
– Feeling like a terrible friend, because self-care (or really bad attempts at it) is taking up too much time and taking too long, keeping them from obligations to friends.
– Feeling like a serious burden to their parent, who continually assures them they’re not a burden, but in reality all signs point to yes, burden status.
This is an enormous amount of things to process all at once. On top of lights, sounds, and the need for a shower (which in itself is painful, because the feeling of water falling on skin is painful).
This person is rocking, petting a cat, crying quietly to themselves, while making clicking sounds under their breath. They can’t get off the couch or a paralyzing fear rushes over them.
Would you consider this person high-functioning or low-functioning?