By Linish Balan
When my father died, I was so sad … no different than any other son in the world. Yet while taking the traditional bath after the funeral (in India people bathe after funerals), I started to laugh out loud very loudly.
Fortunately, only one of my cousins was there with me at that time. Others took their bath quickly and left. My cousin reacted very quickly to my laughter which was not appropriate for that situation.
“Don’t laugh like this, someone will see!” he said. Still I remember that strange look and judgement in his eyes.
That was not the first or last uncontrollable involuntary emotional outburst in my life. It had happened many times before. I have struggled with uncontrollable laughter through most of my life. Sometimes when people come to talk to me about very serious matters, I can’t control my laughter. I don’t know why I laugh although I think it may have to do with where my mind is. I am a person who lives in a dream world. Most of the time the incidents that happened in past, movie scenes which I saw earlier, thoughts about someone or something come to my mind. Funny fantasies are always going through my mind. Maybe those are like hallucinations which are happening in the life of individuals with schizophrenia.
When people talk to me I connect the words and sentences in their speech with incidents from other times in my life. This is unintentional. Words will bring about sudden recollections of some other incidents or situations. And then I will start to laugh. Most of the time there is no connection between my uncontrollable laughter and what’s happening in the present time.
From this many misunderstandings happen to me. Eventually the fear of judgement has led me to social withdrawal. I now avoid social interactions with people except a few with whom I can talk and be myself without the fear of judgement. When someone smiles after an outburst, I feel validated and accepted.
In the unavoidable social interactions in life I have became more conscious. Because of over consciousness about my uncontrollable involuntary emotional outbursts, I have lost my natural way of expressing myself.
I now am expressionless!
People may consider me as an introvert. That is better than the judgement after an uncontrollable involuntary emotional outburst. Over consciousness about my outbursts and difficulties in language processing has lead me to complete silence.
I would like to be in a circle where I can be expressive in my natural way without the fear of judgement!
Linish Balan resides in India and works with people on the autism spectrum. He is 35 years old and was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at age 33. He is an artist.