I have a bruise on the ring finger of my right hand. And it’s all my fault.
Or is it?
The morning rush after a terrible night’s sleep. My daughter has a cold. She was up for much of the night coughing. And I was up with her – feeding her medicine, wiping her nose, drying her tears, cuddling her. Both of us are very, very tired.
The little boy is teething. My husband is up, but my son knows from my state of dressed-ness and ready-ness that I’ll be out of the house soon, and he wants to be with me while I’m still here. He’s screaming with the pain of his inflamed gums.
Daughter is demand avoidant because she is tired and unwell. It’s been a struggle to get her dressed for school. But we’ve succeeded.
And just as I’m about to take her to the bathroom and help her brush her teeth, I open the curtains in her room, and accidentally knock one of her Lego creations onto the floor.
And no matter what I do, I can’t put it back together exactly as it was.
And I need to get to work. My boy woke us far too early, so I might as well get out of the house, start my working day early, and come home early. But the Lego creation is broken. And my daughter needs her teeth brushed. And she’s tired. And I’m tired. And my son is crying. And my daughter is upset. And it’s all too noisy. And I can’t stop people being upset.
And I’m upset.
And something snaps.
I rush out of the room, and hit my hands repeatedly into a nearby wall. The wall is inanimate; it can’t feel pain, it won’t bleed, and it won’t fight back.
Only this time, I hit too hard.
I have a bruise on the ring finger of my right hand. It’s not huge, but it’s there. The finger is swollen. It hurts.
Logical, objective reasoning should have suggested an alternative. Some other way of getting the vestibular or proprioceptive release I was evidently seeking. I could have windmilled my arms; spun in a circle; jumped up and down on the spot. I could have flapped my hands extra vigorously.
But in that moment, my reaction was uncontrollable. Unavoidable. I succeeded in being far less self-injurious than I might once have been. But that violent release still felt necessary.
But now I’m fine.
My day is well-planned. My work schedule has a structure to it. And I’m looking forward to the things I’m going to be doing today. It should be a good day, despite how tired I feel.
Soon my daughter is fine. I brush her teeth. My husband gives Calpol to our son. I give them all enormous hugs and kisses before I leave the house. They hug and kiss me back. But my finger still hurts.
I’m a “high functioning” autistic person. An “Aspie”.
And yet here I am, with a bruise on the ring finger of my right hand.
From hitting a wall in reaction to some broken Lego.