Asperger’s Syndrome: My Emotions are a Jackson Pollock’s Painting

My emotional state right now! Convergence by Jackson Pollock. Image property of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

As an autistic woman and contrary to the common belief: my emotions are intense, co-existing, intricated, complex like colors in a Jackson Pollock’s painting. However, when I’m facing an autistic metdown or shutdown, I don’t feel anything anymore and  they can be compared as a Yves Klein’s blue monochrome.

This is my emotional state right know! Convergence by Jackson Pollock. Image property of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

 

When I first discovered Jackson Pollock paintings, I was 25 and I didn’t know I was autistic. when I looked at his art, I was tremendously emotionnaly upset and remaining that way for days without knowing why. Each time, I was looking at one of his paintings, my heart beat ramped up and tears would drop on the floor. I felt a burst of emotions inside me I couldn’t explain. It was like suddenly, I could catch the meaning of the all universe and like someone understood my deep inside and put it on a two-dimensional canevas showing it to the whole world without my permission. This experience was so intense I had to stop looking at them to slow my heartbeat down. At that time, I thought I was crazy!


Fifteen years and an Asperger syndrome diagnosis later, I finally understand this passion for Pollock’s work. It translates so well how my emotions are entangled all the time. I can be furious at someone then forgiving him/her for good one hour later. I can feel deep sorrow and great joy during the same day. I can switch between moods several times a day. There is there entanglement, texture, splashes. It was like J. Pollock could see in my heart, my daily emotional state and painted it all over the floor before hanging it on the wall to show it off.

My emotional state during an autistic metdown. Yves Klein blue monochrome.

Nevertheless, I also discover that my emotional state can be as flat as an Yves Klein’s blue monochrome. The loss of dimension occurs when I am experiencing an autistic meltdown or shutdown triggered by two many external stimuli. During that time that can last a couple of days, I can not feel any emotions or even my own body. I am in a kind of deep sorrow, my mind is dazed filled with blue fog and the connections between my brain and my mouth that usually allow me to verbally communicate are cut off. I hae to think in order to convince myself that the arms attached to my body are actually mine.


Fortunately, since I got my diagnosis, I know how to avoid those terrible and invalidating autistic shutdowns. I listen to my body, move forward at my own pace (that is much slower than everyone else) and avoid tiring social situations in order not to reach mental exhaustion So that I don’t have to face a dimensionless monochrome painting anymore.

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