Everything – A Poem

For dVersePoets: OLN

A slammed door
changes everything

The pain itself is
nearly crippling


Every sound that
follows feels like
crashing bolts of
internal lightning


Two trembling hands
can only keep out
so much sound-
to pacify these moments


I feel every muscle
tense, in defense
Teeth, tightly clenching
grinding, waiting for
the soft sound of silence


Shallow wheezing
Weakly leaning
against the enemy

A slammed door
changes everything

Gretchen Leary 2013

I wanted to give the reader here a chance to possibly understand, even if just for a moment, how an invisible disability like ASD can feel. There are certain sounds that if I don’t cover my ears fast enough can leave me in pain for over an hour after it stops. A fire drill once sent me into a complete panic attack and in tears of the physical pain. But it doesn’t stop with sound, bright lights and rough textures can send my body into panic mode. I wanted to write this during one of these moments to see if the tone is understood by others on and off the Spectrum.


About Gretchen Venters

I am 36 years old and I live in Montana. God has set my soul on fire to serve others through writing.
This entry was posted in ASD, Aspergers, Autism, dVersePoets Prompt, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Everything – A Poem

  1. brian miller says:

    i feel you here…the aspie kid i worked with for several years was very much the same…there were certain noises…and in particular if his mom raised her voice that would set him off completely…it took a lot of work to get her to understand…nice pacing in this gretchen…

    • Thank-you Brian. It is so easy to think that a simple door slamming might hurt for a moment, but for me and so many others its hours. One simple slam can ruin my whole day if I don’t shove my heels into the ground and force myself to refocus, breathe, and fight through it until the pain passes.

  2. I think we may have been close to the same page this week. Exceptional writing once again. If that was your goal to share these symptoms, then you did a tremendous job!

  3. Gretchen – this opened my eyes to some of what you must go thru – a noise that would momentarily startle me, would cause such lasting panic – I had no idea. Thanks for this perfect vehicle for understanding – your honest and moving poem. K

    • It is so hard to convey the pain unless I am feeling it when writing it which made it hard to type at all. I just wanted to cry, kick my feet, and cover my ears and scream. All because of a door and I wrote this over an hour after the sound itself. Had to take a PRN to calm down again. Thank-you for listening, not everyone cares to listen.

  4. Beth Winter says:

    I once tried to write during a panic attack. I was less successful than you. I felt the anxiety and the panic. I’m learning so much from you. Your strength is enviable.

  5. danadampier says:

    Thank you for giving us a peek inside your world. It is difficult for others to really understand.

    • Thank-you Dana. I do my best. Sometimes I try to write about it but it doesn’t come out poetically, which is when I switch to plain blogging about it but somehow I guess I was able to capture a little bit of it on the page.

      • danadampier says:

        It looks as if you were really able to tap into that moment… your feelings and thoughts, which is what poetry is.

  6. I didn’t know this, and thank you for sharing. I really like how you focus on breathe, that tells a lot about the panic and pain you must have, though rare and triggered by other things I can connect to that.

    • Hello Bjorn, I would hate to say I’m glad that someone can relate to this pain, but it does make me feel a little less alone in it. Thank-you for sharing your thoughts.

  7. Gretchen, what I see here, underneath the panic response is an incredible strength, a determination to hold together despite the sensory overload tripping and triggering a lot of bombs. Sending you another electronic hug.

  8. Rowan Taw says:

    I could to relate to this definately. I don’t suffer so much from it now, but in the past I’ve had an over active sense of smell. The pain from breathing someone’s perfume would feel equivalent to having a blinding white light shone in my eyes. I haven’t had it happen for a while, and I can even wear a little bit of gentle perfume..but I’m cautious.

  9. aprille says:

    I have those symptoms virtually non-stop.
    Be grateful you still have some moments of relief.

  10. ladynyo says:

    Gretchen, you write so close to the bone, and we all benefit from it. Whether we have knowledge of Aspergers or not….you bring us into a world that needs compassion, understanding and most of all: support.

    This went straight to my heart. With migraines, I had some of these but not every time.

    Bless you, Gretchen. You do good and necessary work.

    Lady Nyo

  11. Thank you for letting me know and understand you a little bit better ~ I like the breathe, repeating with each verse, like a call to calmness with the chaos outside ~

  12. Anna :o] says:

    Thank you for showing me your world in words – understanding comes with knowledge and I am grateful to you for giving me this.

    Anna :o]

  13. Tony Maude says:

    This gave me shivers and made me feel a bit sick … is that something like the right response. I can only imagine what life is like for you; through your courageous words, I can imagine a bit better.

  14. Linda Rogers says:

    I commend and thank you for sharing your story. I was breathing right along with you as you courageously wrote this poem.

  15. MarinaSofia says:

    You have very successfully conveyed that moment of panic and pain. I used to get something resembling that whenever my parents had an argument when I was a child. And I will go out of my way to avoid arguments even today.

  16. kthorpe says:

    You definitely communicated your feelings, physical and mental, here. It was a powerful little poem that left me feeling the echoes of your anxiety. Great writing. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s