Patreon members and YouTube channel members had access to this video on October 26, 2021. The video’s public release will be December 1, 2021.
Hey, Humans, Lyric here.
I am a pale skinned non-binary human, with short green hair and glasses. I’m wearing a gray Tate tank, top shirt and sitting in an RV.
This week I’m going to be talking about some of the things that people don’t seem to understand about sensory processing differences, specifically, sensory, overload.
If you would like to know more, please do stay tuned.
What is sensory overload?
Well, for me, that is when some kind of sensory input light, sound, touch, smell, a sensation on my skin, et cetera, and so forth, becomes so overwhelming to me that I either shut down, meltdown, or run away from it; because I am basically sent into almost a panic or, just this need to stop, or get away from and escape something that is currently agitating me, within the environment around me.
Some of my common triggers for sensory overload would be bright, fluorescent, lighting, certain smells, certain sounds, just really get to me.
Before I found out I was Autistic, I thought a lot of this was anxiety and panic attacks, but then I realized there was actually some kind of environmental trigger, causing this reaction inside me.
If I use headphones, or sunglasses, or some other sensory protective gear, or tool, I can prevent myself from being overwhelmed by the world, that doesn’t take my needs into consideration.
The first thing I would love for people to understand about sensory processing and sensory overload is that a NeuroDivergent Person, with sensory processing difference’s ability to tolerate certain stimuli can vary, from week to week, month to month, even day to day, depending on a variety of factors.
One of those factors being how well rested, or how well off that individual NeuroDivergent Person is doing, on that particular day.
If the NeuroDivergent Person is feeling like they are low energy that day, they’ve already got a lot on their plate. Maybe they’re already really stressed out about some personal thing or some change that’s happening in their life, or they’ve not slept well all week.
All of these things add up. Maybe you didn’t eat breakfast and your, your blood sugars bit low. The perfect storm.
These things happening tend to make my sensory overload more likely, or make me more prone to having sensory overload.
So that’s my first question:
Anyone else, who experiences this, what are some things that, for you, can make sensory overload, and sensory overwhelm, more likely to occur?
I feel like when I am well arrested, I’ve had plenty to eat, I’m well hydrated, I don’t have a headache, and I’m not sick, and I am getting enough sensory regulation, and I’m not stressed out,I don’t have as many sensory overloads… but things like repeated exposure to sensory triggers, and all of those other things I mentioned earlier, can make those overloads more likely for me.
What is it like for you?
As we dive into sensory overload, it’s really important for everyone to understand that each individual human being has their own unique sensory profile, and all of these individual settings for sight, smell, touch, taste, how well you feel your sense of balance, and where your body is in space, depth perception.
These things: motor control, senses, being able to control the fine motor control of your hands, or your mouth, my terrible handwriting, some Autistic People who also have Apraxia of speech, where they don’t have the muscle control in the mouth, all of these things can be impacted by having a sensory processing difference and sensory processing differences are not exclusive to, or unique to, Autistic People.
People with ADHD, also may have sensory processing differences, and there are a few other medical conditions that can also trigger people to have sensory processing differences.
As I said, each human’s sensory profile is unique and even Autistic Person, to Autistic Person, there are differences in sensory profile.
What is pleasurable for me, as one Autistic Person, or what is torture for me, as one Autistic Person.
For example, bright fluorescent lights give me migraines and seizures. Those bright fluorescent lights might be necessary for some people to read. Some people love that.
David loves those big, bright, annoying whites. I also can’t stand being cold and David gets hot, easier. So our sensory needs are sometimes in competition with one another, because even NeuroDivergent Person to NeuroDivergent Person, or Autistic Person to Autistic Person, the way the sensory profile manifests is often very, very, unique.
There are also levels and types to sensory overload. There are steps, sometimes in the process to getting overloaded, where I start to feel a bit overloaded, and the lights seem a bit loud and everything is a bit intense. I am on the way to a more intense, complete, overload, where I may shut down, cry, or run out of a room, very quickly.
When it gets to the point where, eventually, like a volcano building up steam and pressure, something’s got to give, and I’ve got to remove myself, or I who crash and burn
Some sensory overload, actually, can be quite pleasant. There are pleasant types of overload. A lot of intentional stimming I do with lights.
I’m light sensitive, but when I can control, the little colored light toys and, led Christmas lights when I control the way the lights present, because blinking and strobing is a problem for me, but like fading, and slower motion, and certain hues of lights are okay. When I have more control of that, it can be a pleasant kind of overload.
Listening to music, or ASMR, as- Asmar? I’m probably said that wrong.
I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m doing, listening to those things, those clicky noises that people make with their mouths, if those give you the brain tingles, intentionally seeking that out, it’s a little bit of an overload, but it’s like, Ooh, it’s an overload I like.
Uh, there are some other things you might could think about and name.
I, I challenge you to name some pleasant types of sensory overload in the comment below, that you would intentionally seek out, Autistic People. I’ll let you get creative. I’m not just going to name all of mine, but I’d love to know.
That’s the thing is this sensory overload, there is nuance to it. There is complexity, but I think NeuroTypicals, don’t understand.
My sensory profile, and my sensory processing differences, are a pain in the butt, sometimes… mostly because of how modern society is set up.
I spend a lot of my time RV being in the woods, away from the modern world, and people, and everything in it, because it is soothing to my overworked senses.
Neurotypicals, don’t seem to understand that, even though it is difficult, I would never trade the way my brain processes sensory information, because that would be giving up the way I feel music in every part of my body, and the way I see things, and visually process in my head, and the way looking at those flip motion, sand toys, or other fun stim toys makes me feel, I love that stuff. I don’t want to give it up.
I just want the world to understand me a little bit better, when I try to speak up for my needs, and not to dismiss me, and say things like “Nobody else is complaining” or “Everyone else’s fine.” Or pressure me into going to places and doing things that I don’t feel comfortable doing.
Yes, maybe it’s only going to be a few hours in this building, doing this event, but I might have a migraine for the next week after this.
What are some things that you wish people understood about having sensory differences, and experiencing sensory overload?
It sucks. That’s what I’m going to say. It sucks. It’s not an excuse. It sucks, but people often think you’re making excuses a lot.
All right, thanks for hanging out with me this week, on this video, talking about sensory overload.
If you enjoyed it, please give it a thumbs up, and if you found it educational or helpful, please hit that share button, and if you would like more hit subscribe, because I put out new videos each and every single Wednesday.
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I will see you all next Wednesday. Later.
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