Can I make a confession?
Virtually everywhere I go, I wear my headphones, particularly if in transit, like on a train or walking. (And I do get frowned at; it’s not exactly advisable in terms of road safety, but I just leave it on shuffle, so I can be ‘car aware’.)
You see, this world is a noisy place, and the din is deafening!
With Aspergers comes the hallmark of a sort of noise sensitivity; the dislike of noise, but being unable to seemingly filter noises effectively. Therefore, anything mundane can become overwhelming, therefore having a detrimental effect; my thoughts become blocked, my speech turns into a jumbled mess, it’s impossible to articulate what I wish to say, I become upset, frustrated, anxious.
Headphones help in the nosiest of places; whether I am in transit, they act as a block against the most invasive of noises. (And by that I mean; road drilling, screaming children, the coffee beans grinding themselves…)
But why is acceptable to try and get me to remove them?
Yes, I would remove them when social cues dictate it; such as if at a job interview, talking to a teacher, chatting with a friend, ordering a coffee. But if I’m in a shop, why come and talk to me? I know it’s the job of the shop staff to check if I have everything needed-because, yes, customers make business-but twice in the space of about two minutes? And you saw me back away nervously… (this happens regularly.)
And I love rock. Seems a contradiction, right?
A little while ago, I was basically creating a month by month playlist, as it was what I was usually listening to at the time. But it seems a contradiction, doesn’t it? To love rock-the nosiest genre of music going-yet hate noise. And I get asked about this a lot… The thing is, Rock is probably less invasive, and I can moderate the volume from my phone.
It’s all in the sound!
Although I do not have a formal diagnosis for anxiety, I would describe myself as sometimes feeling this way, particularly if there is a lot of noise, or I worry, I become frustrated, etc. A way for me to cope with this-instead of spewing up my lunch (sorry for those reading this who don’t like this sort of image)-is to mediate it with sound. Because music is just so comforting! I fixate on some sounds-like the lower register note of Anastacia’s Resurrection, the bass introduction of You’re So Vain, Sylvia Plath reading her poetry… it makes me so much happier, leaves me in a better mood, and makes me much easier to interact with.
But please, try not to invade this; I’ll take my headphones out when I’ve calmed down, and am ready to talk to you.