I’ve noticed that on bad mornings, or during and after a public meltdown, that I avoid eye contact with pretty much everyone I come into contact with. Some would say that reaction is a clear indication of embarrassment, I guess, but it isn’t — I’m not at all embarrassed by my son and his autism. That’s who he is, and it isn’t going to change. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, because we can’t control it, we can only manage it to the best of our ability. And sometimes that’s not enough to avoid disrupting our lives and those around us.
I think this natural reaction of mine is so that I can avoid reading other people’s emotions about it. Whether they are anxious, judgmental, sympathetic, or they pity us, I don’t really want to know. I don’t have time to care about their feelings about the situation. I have to make sure The Boy is OK, and then keep it together until I can process my own feelings in a private environment, so that I can go about my day and do what needs to get done. I don’t want to have to deal with them, too.
Maybe that seems harsh, but it’s a method of survival and coping that has developed naturally. I can’t take care of everybody else. My son and my owns self are my first priorities.