Ok so this is very much a case of wanting to get something off my chest and to see if this is at all relatable for others especially as I am yet to get an official diagnosis (I am on the waiting list)
I frequently find myself feeling disturbed and interrupted not just by other people but also sensory stimulation such as noise and smells. I sometimes like to zone out a little, maybe even imagine scenarios or conversations in my head. In short I enjoy daydreaming. I have always felt like doing so allows me to have my own perspective on the world around me.
The problem of course is that life in general doesn't always allow it. If I am walking down the road in my own bubble and so much as a car comes past, or someone wearing perfume my train of thought can be completely ruined and I feel like I have to start again.
How does one find a way to live like this?
Hi - I'm also on the waiting list.
I definitely relate to this. I used to imagine scenarios so much that I'd create incredibly elaborate stories in my head; I think it was a kind of coping mechanism for the challenges I was facing at the time. I did end up reaching a point where I was missing out on real-life conversations because all I wanted was to get back to my daydreaming.
Noises and smells can be a real problem too. Some days, I'm fine; other days, the sensory stimulation is overpowering and everything seems too loud/smelly/bright.
Have you tried listening to music or podcasts? That sometimes gives me something to occupy my mind while I'm walking around (as well as helping with noise sensitivity), without me getting too caught-up in daydreaming (don't get me wrong - I love daydreaming and still do it, but not as much as I used to).
Thanks for your reply
Wearing headphones out (the full size noise cancelling type) is almost a necessity for me now. Of course some things are so loud that they cancel out my music but yes for the most part it's very helpful!
I definitely relate to what you say about missing out on real life conversations. I have become increasingly isolated from friends because I have been having all the conversations and experiences I want to have with them in my head. I'm not entirely sure if this fantasy world I've created is a symptom of ASD but I guess I could echo what you said about it being a coping strategy after all real life social interactions are often exhausting for me.
Having said that I have recently become aware of what a detrimental affect this isolation is having on me and so I have made a date to get myself out and see friends. Wether I will actually manage it when the time comes though remains to be seen!
I'm not sure whether it's a symptom either - interestingly, I haven't found anything about it when I've looked up symptoms of autism, but a few autistic people seem to have mentioned doing something like this (either in books I've read, videos I've watched, or forums like this one).
I found that too. It felt helpful when I first started doing it, but I became increasingly withdrawn (and irritable when someone interrupted the story that was going on in my head).
My best advice is to try and keep your mind occupied with other things, like your music. When I was trying to get myself out of the daydreaming habit, I actually tried writing about it (as a story) and for some reason, this helped. I dedicated a bit of time each day to writing the story and when fantasy stories started popping up in my head, I'd note the ideas down and revisit them later.
It takes some practice to tune yourself back in to reality, but you'll get there. Try and take care of yourself too - if it's a coping strategy, you might find you need it less when your stress levels are lower.
I've been doing that as long as I can remember - my dad thinks I have my own planet, and that's where I go. I guess it kind of is, an alternate reality where I can control everything, I definitely agree that we use it as a coping mechanism to survive in a world that is so often out of our control. I almost completely stopped for a few years when I was determined to focus on the real world, which has allowed me to actually improve my living situation rather than just imagining it better, but found it has come back (like other ASD-related things) since I started my research. I'm actually quite gald because it makes me happy.
It's so annoying to lose your thread though, like being halfway through a book and your bookmark falling out. I tend to snap at people who interrupt me, too. I find 'oh sorry, you pulled me out of a lovely daydream' usually smooths things over though, as they assume you were thinking about your latest crush or something rather than a complex fantasy life.
It does seem a bit like having your own planet, especially when you can imagine things in such detail (it's like watching a film in my head).
That sounds like a good way to smooth it over
I've found that being generally vague about pretty much everything is usually the easiest way to get along!