As many others on the spectrum one thing I have long struggled with is my senses. I have hypersensitivity to light, sound, touch, taste, smell and pain. Sometimes all of these things bombard me all at once and it can get too much to handle.I can start to feel sick or I can feel as though I am physically pained by my surroundings. Things get too bright, too loud, too much. Sometimes it takes a lot like a crowded shopping centre, or something small like touching velvet. I remain convinced velvet ,along with cotton wool, was created by God or Satan purely to freak the living hell out of those like me. As a high functioning aspie, you are unlikely to ever see me have a melt down over this, or even express my feelings outwardly at all. I am a pretty internal person with how I cope with my senses and even at their worst I can usually remove myself from the situation or try to block the senses out.
One way I cope with it is by blocking out my surroundings through fully giving all of my far too alert attention to one sense. Giving myself over to just one sense can be enough to block everything else out. This is different from distracting yourself with a stim, a stim can ground you and help make the senses easier, but any autistic will know a stim cannot block out everything. I would liken what I do more to meditation than a stim, I let go of seeing and feeling and being and just focus on listening to music from my headphones. I let the world fall away and the noise and bright lights of it all just fade. When I do this I can ignore the information that floods me, I can avoid all peoples stares and just pretend that I am normal for a few hours. For anyone who hasn’t tried it I really recommend it.
I am sure that when I do this on trains and let my eyes close I must look like I am sleeping, or pretty damn stupid but that doesn’t bother me. Shutting out the world can seem anti social and like I am giving up on trying to assimilate into normal social life, and in many ways that might be the case, but for me this can give me time to recharge and face everything new again.Its not too different from charging the XP on a video game character, when they tire and need to stop for a few seconds they can just recharge then be good as new.
Music is so important and I really respect those who can make it and are talented in that world. I have the musicality of a drunken cat, but I can still appreciate music and the passion in it.