The Autism Spectrum According to Autistic People

Autism neurodiversity
Autism neurodiversity

The Hidden Rooms in my Mind

I am Posy. I cannot speak with my voice; instead, I spell out words on a letter-­board. I am autistic, so many people assume I am intellectually disabled, and this is often made worse by my body’s inability to show my level of understanding.

Trying to get my body to respond is impossible. My hands and mouth constantly look to my mind for guidance, but let me down with impulsive, obsessive, and emotional actions. The hardest thing about my autism is what people cannot see. I am constantly thinking, yet no sign of this is shown. It is a waste to make the assumption I am not language capable. I am intelligent, but only in my mind.

I imagine there to be a house in my mind, with each room representing a different aspect of me and my life. There are rooms that I enjoy being in and others that make life extremely difficult for me. On the outside, if you look at my obsessive behaviours, you may not realise I am trapped in a room I cannot escape from. When I am peaceful, you may not see the room I am mentally in but what I am about to describe should give you an insight into the complexity of my autism.

As you enter my mind, the hallway is a visual symphony of colours, lines, and shapes. Everything swims around. It is as if the walls are oceans of colour and imagery, combining and separating all of the time. Seeing this is losing yourself in the swirls so the only way to not visually drown is to turn the lights off and not get isolated in the imagery.

The long, winding hallway, a lot like a maze, leads off to many rooms and narrower hallways. Each door is unique and represents some of the moods, emotions, and challenges inside the room to which they lead. Let me take you on a tour to give you an insight into my complex mind.

First, I will take you to the relaxing stimulation rooms…

In the magnificently large linguistic room, all walls are hidden with skyscraper shelves filled to their limits with books. The beautiful books are knowledge, words, and love for stories, so it is good to escape here.

The linguistic room is the neediest of them all as it relies on visitors to keep it learning new words. Please speak to me with respect for my age and language capability. It needs a consistent stream of mindful words which are interesting, inspiring, and help me to better articulate my thoughts.

When I am not exposed to new words and thoughts, all the shelves start to shrink, with the room eventually turning into an empty shell; what sadness would fill the empty space then? Language feeds all parts of this hungry house so do not forget about it. Talk to me, and know you are helping my linguistic room stay full.

Across the hallway is the general knowledge room. A light as bright as the sun blinds you as you enter, and your eyes struggle to adapt as you look to the floor which you realise is a map of the world. As you take in the information, you notice the light begins to dim, allowing you to see different areas of the room, with photos, posters, and TV screens, showing documentaries, lining the wall.

There is a study table at the centre of the room which expects the visitors to bring new information like current studies and new stories during each visit. All the room wants is to keep learning, no matter what is happening outside, so you can always know that the light is on. It excites me intellectually to be in this room. The poor people that never learn anything must be so bored. Keep telling me new things so I am stimulated.

If you continue along the corridor, you will see the logical room. A hundred locks decorate the metal door, which clinks as you push it open. Immediately, thousands of small computer screens turn on and numbers light up the screens, glowing an electric blue.

The important decisions you need to make reside in the room, such as what you need to prepare for, how to be calm, and thinking about pros and cons. You know you must only use logic to make the decisions; your emotions are left at the door.

Life seems straight forward in this room, and it is easy to forget how complicated it can be, especially in the other rooms. Logic is a beautiful, peaceful sensation, and the more time in this room the better. Outwardly, I should look calm when in this room. To help me stay in this room, talk logically about information and ask any questions that would require me to reason and think logically.

Locks cover the room with all the ideas. They are golden locks that have no key; only inspiration and fulfilment can open the precious locks. When you have fulfilled all of your rooms’ needs, the locks pop open, and promising balls of light escape from the room and race to find you. The needs are to feel stimulated in all of the previous rooms. In order for ideas to come, you must first feel stimulated, creative, knowledgeable, and expressive.

Dotted in between these rooms are other rooms that have a negative impact, trying to get your attention as you walk past. You will be able to see when I am in these rooms as I turn into an emotional and obsessive person.

When you look around the house, you will see many impulse rooms dotted around, hiding in the shadows and lurking in between other rooms. The door frames are as dark as a cave and there are no doors, just pitch black. As you walk past, the darkness sucks you in before you have chance to escape.

It is an empty space full of invisible demands that only let you leave once they have been completed. Anywhere is better than the bottom of this cave, but the impulses grow more and more as you get deeper, so you must try to leave.

Like the obsessive room, once you are in, its impossible to leave without a fight with yourself. Taking repeated hits to the chin is necessary in order to leave the darkness. Once you are out, it is impossible to not get sucked into another hole of madness. Many events take place in these rooms without anyone realising on the outside.

Another room to avoid is the obsession room. Many years have been spent within their walls obsessing over sequences and rituals. Sequences usually have logic to find. However, this room is for emotions only, and it is crucial that you obediently follow the sequences, so you do not get anxious.

Ticking items off one at a time is all that your senses can focus on as your whole system avoids meltdown. It is a completely consuming task that you need to put all of your effort into before you are able to leave. Abide by the rules in order to be calm again.

The message I have for you is to keep teaching my brain in spite of my outward appearance. I need your support to make the most of the learning rooms and reduce my time in the other rooms that, if I get caught in, take over my day.

Author Bio: Posy is 24 years old. She is autistic and non-speaking and has many challenges. Posy spent 21 years being unable to communicate even basic needs and went through her school life being taught and spoken to as a person who could only understand basic concepts. In 2016, her family discovered Unlocking Voices Using RPM and Soma Mukhopadhyay, and it has changed her life!

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5 Responses

  1. Very well written Posy. You communicate well in text. Thank you for sharing some room interiors. Gives me some ideas and impressions.

  2. I have only recently heard of RPM and Soma Mukhopadhyay and am astounded. I am so pleased that you were able to access this and share these words and thoughts with the world. I very much enjoyed the rooms analogy and it reminded me of dreams I used to have of houses with rooms that went forever, hidden entrances and cellars full of treasure – at least what I thought was treasure; though sometimes the house would somehow be in a tree, shrinking to one room with walls falling off and the weather coming in.
    I hope you get to spend lots of time in your rooms of ideas, logic, linguistics and learning, thank you.

  3. You are an inspiration, Posy. Your clear eloquence forms a powerful narrative description that is enlightening for me. Thank you for sharing your new found communication skills. I had not heard of this mode of communication and will follow-up to learn more.

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