Sensory days – when the lights are brighter, sounds are louder, & smells are smellier than normal. Eighty nine percent of my Twitter followers agree that they have them. So let’s talk!
Lyric Rivera, an Autistic self-advocate from Texas, runs the the internationally recognized neurodiversity lifestyle blog Neurodivergent Rebel. Neurodivergent Rebel was opened in 2016, as a way to introduce people unfamiliar with autism to neurodiversity. The blog, which is sometimes released in written format and also via YouTube video, explores the ideology of neurodiversity and the creative expressions of autistic people. Riveras’ blog pushes for acceptance of neurological differences and respect for the autonomy of neurodivergent people. Lyric is also known as the pioneer of the #AskingAutistics hashtag, which is often accompanied by a short question about everyday autistic experiences. This simple hashtag connects neurodiverse people who would not otherwise have a reason to engage with each other to foster understanding of the autistic experience. View all posts by Lyric Holmans
14 thoughts on “Sensory Days”
For me it’s my clothes that start it. My clothes feel constricting. Even if they’re the right size, or a big big. I feel like I’m being confined, and it usually leads to me ripping my room apart trying to find something that doesn’t make me want to cry.
Yup, I get these. Not days but spells; maybe a few hours at a time. Almost always associated with anxiety and/or stress. It’s like the thresholds on what sensations I can comfortably handle get turned down low so all kinds of things–light, sound, touch–overwhelm me. I have to go some place where my senses are not stimulated much: a “clement space” as a dear friend of mine refers to it. It’s that or I get overloaded and risk a meltdown.
Yeah, I’m with you on this – some days you can feel really weirs (well more so than normal lol)
I haven’t experienced this, but it was a really interesting watch for me! I’m glad you educated me 🙂
A really interesting video – thanks! I get those kind of sensory days too, and they often used to lead into a migraine which could last up to a week – yuk! Luckily, since they closed up a previously undiagnosed hole in my heart a year ago, the migraines have stopped, though not the sensory days. For me they can be creative as often my most original paintings come from such intense out of wack feelings. Thanks again.
I have them too! I think what Brittiny said in the comments about clothing was interesting, because I never really associated that with my sensory days, but there are definitely days my clothing just seems too tight, too constricting, too heavy and it just drives me up the wall.
Other than that, when I am stressed I particularly notice the sensory days. It’s like everything is overwhelming. Sights, sounds, brightness – all of it. I feel like I’m crawling out of my own skin and want to cry. If I’m able to, I just shut myself up in a dimmed room and listen to the quiet. Maybe read if I can. Sometimes, I’m honestly just so overwhelmed I want to sleep. I get headaches during this time, and sometimes very lightheaded. Not so much experience with nausea, but my daughter gets nauseated a lot so that could explain that!
If I’m at work I can’t very well put myself out of commission so just have to suffer through. I try to take deep breaths, drink lots of water (water is that answer for everything, right??) and soon as I get home, I’m able to shower, change into something comfy and try to re-set my self with some quiet.
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This is a very interesting topic, and I was surprised that so many people said they had these “sensory days” as you describe them. I certainly have such days. Actually, in my bipolar illness they are particularly common.
I wrote a post only about 1.5-2 weeks ago talking about how light affects people with bipolar, migraines and epilepsy in some interesting ways and that there are similar treatments for all three. I agree with the poster above that people with anxiety may also have such issues. Other increased senses are also commonly experienced in these illnesses, especially as you referenced, smells.
I also feel the poster who mentioned that stress can play apart is on to something. Hormonal changes and sleep changes, especially sleep deprivation, may also be a cause of sensory changes. Given all of the above, I guess it may be reasonable that so many people answered “yes” in your poll.
I also agree that hormonal changes also would have an effect.
I have misophonia and I’d say that sensory days are a thing. Just a general day when everything is a lot harder to process and deal with. Sounds have a lot bigger effect on days like this and I don’t like people touching me and the day often ends with a migraine. Not sure if that’s because the day has stressed me out or a migraine made me more susceptible to stress. either way, sensory days are definitely a thing.
If your sensory issues (and other autistic behaviors) seem to cycle, you may have the same kind of autism as my son and I have. I’ll be talking about this phenomenon on my blog, but if your ASD is glutamate-driven, then positive feedback dominates in your brain, and that means cycles.
I’ve got a few theories as well. 🤓
Oh yes! I have this relatively often. My usual sensory sensitivity seems to blow up even more on days like this, and that’s when most of my meltdowns tend to happen. What helps to avoid the meltdowns are getting into my room, closing the curtains, putting my headphones on (no music, just to drown out any outside sounds) and getting under my weighted blanket. When I’m in public, I obviously can’t do this, but tend to hide out in a bathroom with headphones and dark glasses on until I start to feel a little better. I’ve also got some sensory items on hand that I use as needed.