Tag Archives: Sensory Overload

Fourth of Asperger’s Ten Traits – “We still question our place in the world…”

Brain my World

“4) We have comorbid attributes of other syndromes/disorders/conditions. We often have OCD tendencies (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), sensory issues (with sight, sound, texture, smells, taste), generalized anxiety and/or a sense we are always unsafe or in pending danger, particularly in crowded public places. We may have been labelled with seemingly polar extremes: depressed/over-joyed, lazy/over-active, inconsiderate/over-sensitive, lacking awareness/attention to detail, low-focus/high-focus. We may have poor muscle tone, be double-jointed, and lack in our motor-skills. We may hold our pencil “incorrectly.” We may have eating disorders, food obsessions, and struggles with diet. We may have irritable bowel, Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and other immune-challenges. We may have sought out answers to why we seemed to see the world differently than others we knew, only to be told we were attention seekers, paranoid, hypochondriacs, or too focused on diagnoses and labels. Our personhood was challenged on the sole basis that we “knew” we were different but couldn’t prove it to the world and/or our personhood was oppressed as we attempted to be and act like someone we were not. We still question our place in the world, who we are, who we are expected to be, searching for the “rights” and “wrongs;” and then, as we grow and realize there are no true answers, that everything is theory-based and limited, we wonder where to search.”

Used with permission from @everydayaspergers. Originally published in Samantha Croft‘s -now former- blog, Everyday Asperger’s, as The Ten Traits.

The world…

Big, scary, noisy, out there, too close, too much…

I remember as a child, that most comparative sentences from my environment started invariably with “Why don’t you …” and ended again, invariably with “… like all other children?” And it wasn’t really the question which bothered me after getting actually used to it, but the “all other” part, which left me wondering about my disgraceful, shameful and guilty inadequacy, which sent me on a consequentially disastrous warpath against myself…

And literally no one, not one single soul, ever slowed down their pursuit of “integrating” me into their world, a world which kept asking me to prove my worth before any chances of acceptance, even trying to police me out of the only place I felt safe, the world of my thoughts…

Today’s no better…

You see, “the world” pragmatically feels entitled to the “us” and “them” divide, but practically denies someone’s right to the “me” and “them” existential paradigm. You are accordingly expected to coerce yourself into becoming either one of “us” or one of “them”, either in “our world” or “their world”, of Oceania, Eurasia or Eastasia, always at war with one or the other…

But do you really “have to”?

Samantha brilliantly left her question unanswered, leaving one to literally “wonder where to search”. Well, I’ll go no further; I’ve found my ultimate refuge, my world…

I’m autistic. Which means my self is my world

And in my world, no “they” are welcome.

Because “they” always claimed to come “in peace”, but left me torn in pieces…

 

Advertisements

Sensory Overload, my hidden foe (hearing)…

As I have mentioned before, I am going through a process of discovering newer and newer details about my own condition(s), and as a result, I am learning how to better cope with life’s sometimes fair, but oftentimes unfair demands.

In this process, I notice similarities between what I experience and what others experience, therefore if I find anything worth considering for myself, I think it might be useful to share some of these thoughts, of course never as a substitute for professional help.

For many, many years, or better decades, a very distressing incident kept repeating itself, especially in crowded places like shopping centres and supermarkets, with all that cacophony of loud music (why’s that needed in the first place?), trollies, voices of people chaotically racing always too close to me, children’s tantrums, flood of artificial light and the subsonic vibration of industrial fridges. After a short while, I always noticed first some sort of mind-foggy confusion, when the shopping list became my only reality anchor, which rather shortly started to morph into a very uncomfortable anxiety, followed by an intense feeling of distress. Unfortunately, my family had to witness nearly every time, outbursts of anger for absolutely trivial “reasons”, which I -most of the time- blamed on my oftentimes crippling chronic lower-back condition. But, as I noticed sometimes, the lack of pain in my back, didn’t really change much. And because of the intensity of my distress, and the draining effort of coping without causing what from outside looked sometimes like a petty family argument, I never noticed WHY on very rare occasions, even with some back pains present, I could remain socially reasonable (it turns out it was always when we went shopping either very early, or very late, when the shops were nearly empty).

Since realising that I am living on the Autistic Spectrum, displaying nearly all the symptoms of Asperger’s, I started to consciously experiment strategies learned from specialized literature, but also from other Aspies.

One of these strategies was/is protection from Sensory Overload, especially its Audio aspect, my hidden foe.

A few good weeks ago, I started to look around for some good quality earplugs and ear defenders, and started using them (the pictures display my own protective devices).

And the miracle just happened!

It took some time with my earplugs, to learn the tricks of inserting them and taking them out, or adjusting the ear defenders to the -considerable- size of my head, but the miracle happened indeed: I can go shopping without the fear of another meltdown, without chasing my family out of the shop as soon as possible just to escape the audio nightmare, and without the soul scarring guilt of having done it, “again”. And interesting enough, the earplugs allow me to still hear voices and most of sounds, but without that horrendously painful “vibration” which my brain just can’t take…

One more thing I noticed, and that’s about mornings. I usually get up quite early, giving myself time to go through my precise little routines and rituals. I noticed though, that if any family member joined around, minding their own routines, it made me feel anxious and distressed. First I thought that I might be their interference with my established routes of routine, but for the past few days, I noticed that it may be something else. For some reason, I plugged my ears, and I noticed that the stress started to decrease. I took them out, and had a bit of conversation over the coffee with my wife, just to realize that some of the sounds of her lovely voice, acted like sledgehammers to my brain. I plugged my ears back, and the hammering stopped, even as we continued chatting. And I’m sure this wasn’t the first time in over twenty years of marriage, but it was the first “conscious” occurrence.

What I realized is that probably, early in the day, when the ears adapt from the quietness of rest to the sounds of a new day, there could be a period of transition when they are overly sensitive, especially in the case of individuals susceptible to Sensory Overload.

So, I don’t know how others might feel about it, but earplugs first thing in the morning seem to be working fine for me J

 

More to come about Sight, Touch, Smell and Taste…