Pro-tip for Autistics
When I’m out and about and need to escape being overwhelmed with noise, light, or socializing, and the people I’m with don’t know I’m autistic, I don’t tell them that I’m heading towards a meltdown or am experiencing sensory overload.
I tell them I’m getting a migraine.
Meltdowns and migraines are, from my understanding, neurologically similar events, and for me they often go hand in hand– if I get one, it’s a signal to me that I’m likely to get the other pretty soon and need to take care of myself. The remedy is the same: removing myself from the situation and retreating to a dark, quiet room.
The difference is that NTs often don’t understand and simply dismiss sensory overload if you explain it to them as such, but nearly all of them understand what a migraine is and sympathize. 99% of the time, if I tell a NT that I have a migraine or am about to get one, they treat it as an emergency and help me get away from the source of the overload as quickly as possible. I am then free to recover in a quiet, dark place without anyone trying to invalidate my needs, forcing me to “tough it out”, or thinking that I’m rude for having to leave or to outright avoid certain events or situations in the first place.