Patreon members and YouTube channel members had access to this video on November 3, 2021. The video’s public release will be December 29, 2021.
Why hello, on this rainy morning! Lyric here, and I’m sitting here in my RV.
I am a pale skinned, nonbinary human, with short green and teal hair that is sticking up. I’ve also got shaved sides of my hand and a nose ring, and I’m sitting in front of a blight- white- blue snowball microphone.
Today I’m going to be talking about sensory processing, and the impact that that has on my stomach; because I don’t think a lot of people have spoken about this, and I want to know if anyone else is noticing what I am noticing.
If you’re curious, please do stick around as we dive in.
Unfortunately, stomach problems are something that a lot of Autistic People will deal with. I know because I am an Autistic Person who has dealt with stomach issues off and on throughout my entire life.
In fact, when doctors couldn’t figure out why my stomach was so angry, after trying many failed restrictive diets, that often tend to only make things worse; I was given this fluff diagnosis of IBS that was not particularly helpful.
Though I do have some food sensitivities, and there are some things that I, personally, do need to avoid in food, some things, that people say to avoid, are good for me, and some of the only things I actually eat… so removing things from my diet is something that I am very hesitant to do, and I found, actually, with the exception of the few things that I know really do upset my stomach, hasn’t really been the solution to my sensory issues, as an Autistic Person.
Now that I know myself better, I have learned that a lot of things that irritate my stomach are related to anxiety and stress.
The other thing that has a big impact on my stomach would be sensory overwhelm, and sensory overload.
For example, if there is a very strong smell, or a smell that just lingers for hours and hours all day, that I can’t get away from it; the smell can cause me to get physically ill to my stomach.
If it’s a really bad smell, I’m probably going to instantly be sick or I, for example, I’ve smelled a really bad smell in the past, and instantly you start running… and I don’t even realize I’m running. My feet are running, before I even know I’m running, because otherwise I’m going to be sick to my stomach, because of smells.
Additionally, being too hot is something that will mess up my stomach, and cause me to be sick to my stomach… or that feeling of vertigo, or motion sickness can cause me to be sick to my stomach – which is something I get when I have sensory overload. I also get migraines from fluorescent lighting, which can cause me to be sick to my stomach.
So changing my diet was never going to help solve these issues.
One of the only things that for me has helped remedy any of these issues with my stomach, has been learning to avoid sensory triggers, and things that trigger me to have sensory overload.
So minimizing my time around fluorescent lighting, wearing sensory protective gear when I go into public spaces, that are hostile to my senses, making sure I get enough sleep, I have myself fueled and hydrated, so that I am less likely to get sensory overload. That has been what has helped my stomach massively improve.
Part of learning that I am NeuroDivergent, and the difference between not knowing you are NeuroDivergent and then knowing you’re a NeuroDivergent… because when I didn’t know I was neurodivergent, I didn’t treat myself like I was NeuroDivergent, and I had all of these health problems that didn’t make sense to anyone and they were all a mystery, why I had all of these health issues.
Now I know a lot of this was related to being neurodivergent, being in constant sensory overload, being burnt out, or constantly on the edge of burnout, in survival mode, surviving not thriving, and having no idea what thriving could even potentially look like for my entire life up… until I was discovered- diagnosed Autistic at 29.
And it was like, oh! Oh! It all makes sense.
Ah! It all makes snice! Oh!!!
But I had to have that awakening moment, saying “Beep,beep, beep, by the way, you are not NeuroTypical. Stop acting like one, and forcing yourself to pretend to be one.”
I have had issues with my stomach, my entire life. Many doctor’s visits, for my stomach, and Mooney doctor over the years, when I was growing up saying, “we can’t find anything wrong with this child’s stomach.”
Eventually, at one point, I had a doctor in middle school that told my guardians that I “had nothing wrong with my stomach and was just trying to get out of school” because I kept getting sick in the mornings before school.
Another implied that, perhaps, I was anxious about school, and that was causing my stomach issues. None of the medications, or anything they gave me to settle and relax my stomach, ever helped, or worked.
I was constantly burnt out from a young age, starting in elementary and middle school. Autistic burnout, when Autistic People lose skills, or regress back, sometimes called regression and children. Many of us are burnt out, as children, and I’ve burnt out many times in my life over and over again, from a young age.
One of the first signs of this burnout, for me, often is something with my stomach. I will lose my appetite, stop eating, start losing weight, get sick, and start wasting away. My stomach problems were, actually, what eventually, finally, led me to my autism diagnosis when my GP was out of ideas, once again, and said “your stomach is fine” – I had told him them to begin with – and referred me out to a mental health assessment for anxiety; thinking that that could potentially be at the root of all of my issues.
Surprise! A few months later, it’s anxiety and autism! Ooh, it’s my mind being blown! Wow. What?
On this channel. one of the biggest criticisms I get, is that I don’t spend enough time talking about the more unpleasant parts of the Autistic experience; and this, my stomach issues, is my least favorite part of being a sensory sensitive NeuroDivergent human, if I am honest.
I’ll share this with you, but I’m also going to continue to keep talking about the better parts of the Autistic experience.
I feel like, for long enough, there have been enough stories and examples share- shared- shired-, shired-, shorn, shared shorn is for sheep… shared all over the internet about the hard stuff. We don’t hear as often about the good stuff.
If hearing about the lighter side of the Autistic experience gives you a knee jerk reaction, I’d like to ask you to do a little bit of self-reflecting on why hearing about some of the good things about being Autistic is so triggering to you.
I will share some of the harder parts of my life, as I’ve done today, but nobody is entitled to those details about myself, or anyone else on the internet, if someone is out there demanding you share parts of yourself you’re not comfortable with.
Consent is important, and putting something out on the internet means it is out there forever, and there can be real consequences to that.
For example, now that I am openly Autistic, there are certain employers who, when they Google my name, may not be willing to hire me because my medical information is out on the internet forever. It’s the kind of thing you cannot put back.
So think about this carefully before you start sharing your medical information on the internet. I am in a place where I can do this, but if doing so can cause harm to you – do not.
All right. Thank you all so very much for hanging out with me. If you are still here, thanks for hanging out for an entire video. I’m really grateful for your time today.
I hope you will catch me next Wednesday because I do put out new videos each and every Wednesday.
Wrapping up 2021, believe it or not, next- next video will be in 2022, where have the past few years gone, gosh, this locked down, and locked down, and more lock down, in this pandemic, is messing with my head.
A huge thank you as always to the Patreon supporters, Facebook subscribers, and YouTube channel members, of course, who do the monetary subscription… who help with things like web hosting, video editing software, transcription software, and things of that nature, helping to make this blog a high quality that it has become, thanks to viewers like you.
As I always say, I could not do this blog without you, the viewers, whether you’re a monetary subscriber, or someone who is watching, commenting, sharing; you are all equally valued as a member of this community, so thank you so much for being here.
I will see you next Wednesday! Goodbye!
Help me get the word out!!! – If you like what I do, and would like more, please consider subscribing on Patreon. This blog is made possible by support from readers like YOU! (Sharing my content is also, equally helpful!)
5 thoughts on “Autistic Sensory Issues – The Relationship Between Sensory Processing Differences & My Digestive Problems”
When your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, which is where we autistic people live a lot of the time, the blood and energy are diverted from core functions like digestion to your arms and legs. So it’s actually normal to get stomach issues from stress. Your body is saying that it needs all its energy for fighting or running, so it’s going to throw up the food so as not to waste energy on digestion. (Also, this is not “part of autism”–it’s a side effect of autistic people being under too much stress. I say this to all the cure people out there who want us to take probiotics–that might help? But it’s the stress of sensory overload that’s the cause, so lay off us! Let us relax and control our sensory environments!)
Thank you for your insights. My husband has sensory integration issues— and frequent bouts of vertigo. I’d never connected them before. This helps.
Thank you so much for this post. It is really helpful for me with my beautiful daughter. People who won’t hire you once they see you have Autism are not people you want to work for anyway, I know you already know that. But again thank you. 🙂 CH
Love your insight! I’m an OT and receive repeat referrals for the same students regarding limited variety of foods- Most painful and upsetting is when people treat it as though it is a behavior! Using ABA and positive reinforcements 😢
The way I figured out my food allergies was from a diet aimed at autistic children. I didn’t realize yet that I was/am autistic. I saw all of my health issues listed under one title and a light went off.
I never considered that I might handle my food/digestive issues by managing my sensory issues better. I kinda force myself thru things because I want what is at the end. I never considered that I was harming myself so much in the process. I’m going to have to have a major reconstruction of my life I think. 🤔😱