How I Feel – Tina Richardson

Emotions, they are such complicated feelings that others usually expect me to be able to verbalise exactly in words what they are. Yet do these words that others use for how they feel actually relate to how I feel?

How I feel usually is an intense mix of things that tumble all in together. I feel something but I’m not sure if I am angry or sad, confused or upset. Maybe I’m hungry or tired, I do not know. My husband asks me am I okay, “What is wrong?” How do I answer that?

I can go many hours without eating or drinking without knowing that I probably should. Some days I start to feel like I can go to sleep and yet it’s only early in the day and remember I have not eaten and that could be why I am feeling sleepy.


“Happiness is a state of mind” is something I hear a lot. Recently for the first time in my whole life I have gotten twinges of this feeling of wellness or at ease. It comes over me in waves. It’s hard to describe. I’ve never had this feeling before. I’ve been depressed for a while and recently started medication. I’m walking more and being out in the sun vs hibernating inside my house. Sometimes I get this brief fleeting calmness and peace in my life of chaos. The first time it happened I was shocked and stunned. I thought “oh, this must be how people feel when they are happy”.


When I think I may be stressed I get a whole body feeling of heaviness and I can’t compute anything anymore. I feel like a flashing red light with a loud siren going off inside. When I was a young girl I would lay on the floor. It used to help me a lot. It also had the bonus of letting my parents or teacher know I had reached my limit, because I cannot speak.


Depression recently creeped up on me. Tears would fall anywhere anytime and I could not control them. I was spending more and more time remembering things I had done wrong socially in the past. I can remember them as if it happened yesterday and it brings back the same feelings of hurt, just as intense all over again.


I do feel an intense amount of empathy and yet apparently Autistics do not. Seeing anyone hurt or injured can leave me in a state of shutdown. I cannot get those images out of my head. There is an overwhelming gut retching despair that takes over me for many days.

It is hard living in my body, so many cues to pick up. Not only from myself but from other people. No wonder I am always so tired and overwhelmed. I’m constantly in ‘switched on’ mode, analysing and computing signals. I find it’s easier to pretend to be someone else. I’m acting with other people. Is there really a me? I’m a collection of other people. Their mannerisms, their speech. I’m not sure who I actually am. It’s like living on auto-pilot.

Tina Richardson