Sensory Blocking

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.

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Not today Satan, not toady.

To be completely honest I am usually a pretty high functioning person. High functioning autism, high functioning anxiety and when I got sick I was determined to keep this up. To repress all of the pain and the negative feelings along with my mental illness so that I could keep on being productive and break down when I had the time for it.

The thing is sometimes, even for those of us who strive to always be “high functioning” sometimes things get too much. For me that’s this week. This week my anxiety is throwing everything it has at me, almost as though its trying to force me into panic attacks every time I get a minute to breathe. My hypersensitivity is running wild with all the Christmas crowding and the loud noises and obnoxious lights everywhere. On top of all this my endo has decided this week, the week where everything else is messing up, the week I have to revise and do my exams, find an 80 hour placement and still do course work and try to be a good friend, this week of all weeks it has decided its just going to give me all its got. The bloating, the pain, the hormones, the morning sickness, the fatigue, every symptom I do not need right now it is giving to me at its worst.

Honestly weeks like this I want to just make a nest on my bed ( not going to lie that does happen on occasion…) and just forget the world exists for a solid month, maybe a year.But life doesn’t really care for our wants and needs. Our responsibilities don’t just go away because we are sick and tired, if anything they only seem to get worse when we are struggling.I know I am not the only one, I am sure this is going to resonate with a lot of people, because to be honest, sometimes life just sucks with no silver lining or end in sight.

For me this week will not be a good week, but I know I will get through it. If it takes all of my remaining painkillers and all the hot chocolate in the world by god I will get through this week and ace these exams. Life is going to keep on throwing its shit at me but I will sit here with my middle finger up shouting “Not today Satan, not today”.Its important to try to stay positive, what ever your own positive is.For me my positive is being sassy and sarcastic about my situation. God life is pretty bad right now but hey at least it isn’t boring. If this is a bad time for you right now, odds are it will be bad whatever your mindset about it most likely, a mind set won’t change whats happening to you but it can take away some of the pain.

It might seem hard to have a sense of humour about these things but once you find that funny side life doesn’t seem to bad. It often feels like chronic illness and mental illnesses are actively working against us so why not treat them that way? When I give up and sink into bed in the evening I am often found groaning abusive statements about my ovaries and general lady parts as well as my brain. Fucking cortisol, push me to the edge one more time cortisol!Just you wait and see what happens! Sure, if anyone saw me they would probably be more than a little concerned but hey it makes me feel better. If your positive is looking forward to tomorrow then you remind yourself every chance you get that tomorrow is a new day and that day may be all the better. If your positive is looking forward to something good then think about it every chance you get, talk about it, fantasise and put so much energy into bringing that bright horizon a little bit closer. If your a bit of a weirdo like me then bitch and moan your way through, complain about normal people things and exaggerate to make the narrative more fun. Out of hot chocolateĀ ? That’s it shorter episode of game of thrones, Harambe died and now this? Clearly the end of the world. Shout abuse at your body and your hormones as though they were people, what ever gets you through the day.

Sometimes life is shitty and not everyone gets that sometimes there are just bad days and there’s not an awful lot we can do about it. I have a tiny Halloween devil on my tree because I swear and abuse a figurative Satan in my life so often, is it offensive? Probably. Does it make me smile? Definitely. We can smile, and sometimes that makes all the difference, so don’t you ever let anyone make you feel lesser for how you choose to get through anything. You got through. That’s what matters.