autism · journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Massive Sensory Overload

Today’s just one of those days. Way too anxious, way too tired. Sensory overload came over me this morning in full swing. Even the power of headphones did not stop all the different senses getting too much. I’m putting it down to lack of sleep, alcohol and medication.

I was supposed to go shopping. I was supposed to buy food for the week ahead, buy some envelopes and post a letter. I forgot to get off my stop on the bus not once but three times…so I decided to get off in town. I forgot completely about what I needed to do. I made it to tesco (a 5 minute walk that consisted of too many voices, too many cars, too many tapping feet on the pavement, construction guys throwing tools around and my own breathing) but my shopping list consisted of just mushrooms because I forgot all that I needed. I wandered around the shop for a bit before realising I had to pay. I then caught the bus back…

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The entire time I couldn’t breathe. The minute I left my flat this morning I felt like a boa constrictor was perched on my throat. My chest was so weak and hollow, my breaths were fast. All I could focus on was every single noise, every single image and person. Everything but my mind. It was like walking through a dream. I completely forgot the reason why I was going out in the first place. However, I made it to a to b and eventually back to a…but my goodness. What a morning.

Sensory overloads are horrendous. Sensory overloads or meltdowns occur when one or more of the body’s senses experiences over-stimulation from the environment. Examples include; crowded places, noise, people, too much information, visual overload.


Oversensitive Sensitivities

Sound

  •  Noise can be magnified and sounds become distorted and muddled.
  • May be able to hear conversations in the distance.
  • Inability to cut out sounds – notably background noise, leading to difficulties concentrating.

Touch

  • Touch can be painful and uncomfortable – people may not like to be touched and this can affect their relationships with others.
  • Dislikes having anything on hands or feet.

Sight

  • Distorted vision – objects and bright lights can appear to jump around.
  • Images may fragment.
  • Easier and more pleasurable to focus on a detail rather than the whole object.

Helping someone in Sensory Overload

If someone is having a meltdown, or not responding, don’t judge them. There are things that you can do to help. This can make a world of difference.

Often, small changes to the environment can make a difference. Creating a sensory profile may help you to work out what changes are needed. Three points to remember are:

  • be aware. Look at the environment to see if it is creating difficulties. Can you change anything?. Watch the person closely – changes in behaviour or indicators of distress may be small. Watch breathing patterns, especially.
  • be creative. Think of some positive sensory experiences.
  • be prepared. Tell the person about possible sensory stimuli they may experience in different environments.
  • be calm. People in sensory overload are feeling very distressed and anxious so staying calm may help them relax. Offer comfort if the person wants it (touch or words) and move away from the area that is causing distress. Be patient and wait for the sensory overload to finish.
autism · journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Sometimes you fail…

I was supposed to go to work today. It wasn’t even a hard shift – just 4 hours. But I didn’t. I didn’t go. Not because I’m lazy or tired, and not because I just didn’t want to. I couldn’t. I don’t have the strength to turn up to such a positive, bubbly, colourful place or to plaster a smile on my face. I don’t have the strength to engage in social interactions with adults and the children. I don’t have the strength to smile or to laugh.

I don’t have the strength to be okay. Not today.

And I feel absolutely awful about it. I wish I’d gone to work. I wish I’d had the power to get over my weaknesses and be strong. I wish I’d had the strength to shake off the anxiety, the depression, the inability to be ‘normal’. I wish I’d tried…but I didn’t and theres nothing I can do about that but to start afresh.

I did wake up early. I did go to the gym. I did do my essay. I will be going swimming…My day is not unproductive but I couldn’t help but feel a small amount of failure for backing out of a reality that most adults do every single day.

This is just one downfall in a journey and it’ll be fine tomorrow…today will become another day in the forgotten past and things will work out okay in the end…

Sometimes you fail. Sometimes you succeed. That’s life really isn’t it.

On a plus note, heres a funny picture that sums up the aftermath of a meltdown 🙂

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