In My Room

Some fern branches against an unfocussed background

By Allison Kramer

My bedroom is my safe place. It has always been my refuge from a sensory hostile world. There was a time two decades ago when it was also my prison.

I was first diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in October 1998, when I was nineteen. I was always autistic. I had auditory sensitivity before I was born. When my mom played the organ, I kicked her violently from inside her womb, she was six months into her pregnancy and it was visible. She could play quieter songs and treat her patients at the hospital. My mother’s womb was my first safe place.

My sensory sensitivity to noise worsened in my middle teens. My meltdowns – raw, external and harmful – amplified as well. I was hospitalised several times on different psychiatric units in different hospitals. The temporary rooms I had were not safe spaces; there wasn’t white noise or room darkening window covers, there was often no bedspread, no weight on my legs. Semi private, I couldn’t rock on my knees, my head bumping the wall, like I always do at bedtime. No glider rocker; those all went to nursery.

My night-owl sleep schedule meant laying out pajamas, brushing teeth and turning down the blankets before visiting hours.

I’ve lived in my room for forty years. In four decade’s time, it has gone through a few facelifts; all of them soothing and warm tones of paint. Currently, the walls are a deep, reddish-brown – a high light-absorption hue.

My twentieth century television and stereo are in here along with my laptop. My faded, Pier 1 wicker dresser holds, in part, headphones, earplugs, earbuds, my old Alpha Stim therapy unit and stimmy things.

My closet is full of clothes that are both fashionable and comfortable – both are of importance to me, but preference goes to the latter.

I’m a hobby nature photographer and this is reflected in black collage frames bolted onto the reddish-brown painted walls.

There is a faux fern on top of the media cabinet that serves as another light blocker, where my shades part between two front windows. I light soft Christmas lights and add fabric, handmade snowflakes in winter. I do enjoy warm, soft light.

I only have neighbors across the street from my room. Thank you, Lord Jesus, the same couple who were near middle age, cat lovers and whose kids were in high school by the time I came along. May it always be the same script after the cast moves on.

Two forces;  one inside and one outside. Both are vital for the survival for my refuge, womb, safe place – ROOM.

Portrait photo of Allison

Allison is 40 and is from the U.S. She has spent 2 decades trying to find supports and raise awareness with little luck. She suffers from hyperacute hearing, chronic anxiety and depression. When she can, Allison enjoys photographing nature

Published by florence neville (she/her)

PhD student

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