Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why I am Scared of Crying, by Noah X. Smits, age 10

Guest Writer:
Noah X. Smits
a.k.a. "Smitty" or "Xavier"
age 10 1/2

Forward by his mom, Rene Smits:
Noah was born terrified of the sound of crying. As a baby, he cried every time another baby cried. As a toddler, he cried AND attempted to push over the crying child. As a preschooler, he cried AND yelled at the crying child. As he got older, he cried and yelled at the crying child's parents to "shut her up."

Now at nearly 11 years old, he is still terrified of the sound of crying. It can send him instantly into tears. He also gets angry at the sound, as if he is being personally attacked. Visits to stores and restaurants (and especially DisneyWorld) can be very stressful.

Now... for the first time anywhere, here's what goes through Noah's mind, in his own words:

When I hear crying, I go into an immediate panic. I find it hard to control myself. I get tense and my brain spins. I feel stiff and weird. I don't know why. I can barely control myself. My fear is indescribable. Since my brain is spinning, it begins panicking and I can barely hold in this fear.

I get hot, anxious and nervous. I forget all I know. I think it's like being little again maybe. The crying gets loud and rings in my ears. All other noise gets softer. Crying gets louder and louder and sounds a bit like an ear-piercing fire alarm. After the crying stops, it takes awhile for my head to stop panicking and spinning, and for my ears to stop being a fire alarm.

When the cry happens, I can barely talk and my senses get less functioning - except hearing, which takes over me. Crying controls. Meanwhile, an amazing discomfort overcomes me. I feel small, scared, shy, useless. My ears continue to ring for about 10 minutes later. I am weird and tense for about 30 more minutes.

This crying has taken over my life and ruined it, even if it's an adult or a cartoon. In the next 30 minutes, my brain thinks everything I hear is crying. It goes into Stage 1 Panic Spin mode. Even baby laughing can put me in full "AH!" mode.


It's Rene again. Noah has wholeheartedly agreed to help me with this blog. People have told him that he is skilled at describing how he feels and thinks. He believes it might be helpful to share these writings with other moms and kids dealing with autism. Maybe your son or daughter is feeling similarly, but isn't as able to articulate it. We hope in some way our site can help you.

Rene, The Autism Mom

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