Patreon members and YouTube channel members had access to this video on July 25, 2022. The video’s public release will be September 28, 2022.
Welcome back Lyric here, and this week, I’m going to be talking about sensory euphoria.
If this is a new one, and you’d like to know more, please do stay tuned.
My name is Lyric, and I am a late diagnosed, multiply NeuroDivergent human being. Being Autistic means I have sensory processing differences. Many people, and public spaces in the modern world, are, unfortunately, inaccessible to me, because they were not designed with my sensory needs in mind.
A lot of time, we spend talking about sensory distress, sensory overload, and sensory troubles, because these things often are more obvious to people on the outside, or can be more of an inconvenience on our day to day lives… but there’s also a good side to these sensory differences, called sensory euphoria, and I wanna talk more about that with you today.
Humans use our senses to interpret the world. How our brains decode and process sensory information can, significantly, impact how we interact with people, and the environment around us.
Autistic and NeuroDivergent People have sensory processing differences, sometimes referred to as a sensory processing disorder; if those differences cause problems in our ability to live and engage in the world around us.
Every single human being, whether they are NeuroDivergent, NeuroTypical, Autistic, non-Autistic, has their own unique sensory profile, that can vary greatly from person to person, even Autistic Person to Autistic Person.
I like to make things visual, and I’m gonna use a musical reference, because music is a very big, important factor in my life, and always has been.
I like to think of people’s individual sensory profiles as each person having their own unique little DJ sound controller board. We’ve got all of these little sliders on the board that has “sight smell, touch, taste, your balance, and how, how your ability to feel where your body is in space”, all of the different senses are on this board for each and every person.
The NeuroTypicals, or people who don’t have sensory processing differences, tend to be pretty mild, in the middle averages, for sensory processing and all of those unique little sliders that can go up and down.
NeuroDivergent People, and people who have sensory processing differences, often will have their senses in the more extreme ends of things, where their sliders are slid further up, to where they are more sensitive, or less sensitive to stimuli, when compared to air quotes “average” NeuroTypical sensory experiences.
However, that’s not to say that a NeuroTypical person, or someone who does not have sensory processing disorder, cannot have sensory things that will cause them sensory overwhelm, or overload. It’s just typically not going to be too the extreme to which those who have sensory processing differences will experience these things.
Depending on wether someone is sensory sensitive, in a given area, or if they require more sensory input, for the given stimuli, you will see people often we talk about sensory aversions, sensory overload, and things that people need to avoid, because they are sensory triggers.
However, we don’t talk about sensory seeking, and how that is actually a very important part of the sensory experience, for those of us who have sensory differences. Seeking out sensory input, such as movements, sounds, tastes, smells, or other experiences, that those of us may find pleasurable, or soothing.
Sensory seeking, with things that can trigger sensory euphoria, can help someone with sensory distress to block out unpleasant sensory sensations, and recenter themselves on sensory experiences, by grounding and focusing on enjoyable sensory stimuli.
What IS sensory euphoria?
This is a term that has been around for a while, I do not want to take credit for this. I couldn’t find who originally created this term.
If anyone can find, or knows, the originator of this term, sensory euphoria, I would love for you to drop it in the comments below, to give credit where credit is due.
I would like to read the original definition, but since I was unable to find it, I’m gonna make my own definition to the best of my ability.
Thinking about sensory euphoria, it is the opposite of painful sensory overload.
We talk about sensory overloads that are painful, and can cause meltdowns, and overwhelms, and the desire, and urge to run away, because the sensory experience can be so painful, or just too much, to where it completely crashes our brains.
However, sensory euphoria would still be an overwhelming sensory experience, but overwhelming in the best of ways. Pleasurable overwhelming to where it’s like, “oh, I need more of that. It’s all I can think about when it’s happening.”
Think about people who are listening to ASMR videos, and other sensory seeking things.
For me, things that create sense of sensory euphoria can be certain stim tools, or Christmas lights, certain songs, and music that I can feel in my entire body.
These create a very pleasant form of sensory overload that I am always seeking and looking forward to experiencing, which is completely the opposite of other kinds of painful sensory overload, that we spend a lot more time talking about in Autistic spaces.
This is where I would love to invite you, my wonderful viewers, and readers, to share things that create sensory euphoria for you.
I asked on Twitter, and there were some that said they had similar sensory euphoria experiences. Some of you even suggested sex, and orgasms, can be a great sense of sensor euphoria, which I’m not gonna argue with. Technically, I feel this fits the bill. It is a type of sensory euphoria that many people feel, not just Autistics. As a sensory seeker, and someone who has a more intense sensory experience, that’s a good sense of sensory euphoria for me, personally, too.
Those of us with sensory processing differences are constantly trying to keep our delicate sensory systems in balance.
That comes down to sensory avoiding and sensory seeking, sensory distress and sensory euphoria.
It is crucial, if you are someone who works with NeuroDivergent People, or anyone with sensory processing differences, that you provide opportunities for sensory seeking, as well as ways for people to remove themselves if they need to do so.
That need to withdraw from painful and overwhelming sensory stimuli, and the need to ground and soothe one’s self, through sensory seeking, and engaging in sensory euphoria, mindfully, are a great thing to support, and help us to regulate our senses, in a way that can keep things in a delicate balance.
As someone with intense sensory issues, whenever I plan to engage with others, or venture out into the world, the sensory environment, and space, is one of my first considerations. I have to weigh the risks, pros, and cons, and decide what sensory gear I’m gonna need, as I pack to go out for the day.
As I head out into the world, I’m also planning for the exhaustion, crash, and recovery, that will follow time spent in spaces that are often hostile to my senses. I have to think about these things, because ignoring them poses a great risk to my health and safety.
If you are someone who does have that privilege of not worrying about sensory experiences, and sensory overload, I ask that you, please, get in the habit of thinking carefully about the spaces around you, the areas you work in, and even the stores, and public spaces you enter. Think about ways these environments could be adapted, so that they can be more inclusive to people of varied sensory needs… so that we can all engage equitably.
There are some sensory things that are overwhelming in a very bad way, but I love the overwhelmingly pleasant, sensory euphoria, sensory experiences, that I have. It’s part of the reason I would never want to give up my Autistic brain, even with the numerous health issues having sensory overload, and the bad kind of sensory overwhelm does cause me. I still wouldn’t give it up, if I had the opportunity.
I’d love to thank everyone, today, for hanging out, for spending your time, for sharing your comments, and sharing the videos, and watching, and hanging out every week.
This channel is what it is because of you, the viewers, the readers. So I’m really grateful for every single one of you.
Thanks, of course, to the Twitter Super Followers, the Patreon Subscribers, the YouTube Channel- Channel Members, the Facebook, everybody.
Thank you to those of you who do that little monetary subscription, to help pay for things like website hosting, transcriptioning software, the technology, with which the blog is filmed on.
None of this would be possible without the help and support of you, my viewers. I’m so grateful for all of you. Thank you so much!
I will see you next Wednesday. Bye!
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!)
Support on Facebook or Subscribe on Patreon to get access to more unreleased videos NOW. (At the time I am scheduling this post, May 11, 2022, I have videos scheduled through most of July already). Subscription is “pay what you can” starting at $1 a month (less if you subscribe annually).
I would love to have you.
2 thoughts on “Autism & NeuroDivergent Sensory Euphoria – My Autistic Perspective”
Sensory euphoria, music, oh—yes! How many times could I play my sister’s copy of Led Zepplin IV and get away with it? I’d be in the bedroom with the door closed, volume up, jumping up and down on the bed. (I was a little kid, 6-7 years old when she brought it home from college, this music was so powerful it was hard to contain myself.) I also loved Beethoven’s symphonies, Ode to Joy in particular. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with cannons, I was wild for it, headphones on turned up loud. Bolero, so transcending, I completely understand why figure skaters use it in their competitions, it’s so intense. As long as I have control of the volume, music can put me into sensory heaven. Concert venues scared me for the most part, I don’t do well with the chaos of crowds, but once the music starts, I’m in the safe sensory groove and the crowd being part of that experience, flowing with it is wonderful. (I saw Prince at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, that was so awesome, they have released that concert recording recently, it is epic!)
I’m very visually stimulated. As a kid, picture books were the best—especially anything with horses. Dr. Seuss with the surrealistic creatures and landscapes, he always had these little nooks and crannies where I could put myself into and visually rest there. (I swear that The Sleep Book is narcotic, it cures insomnia, and I do keep a copy on my nightstand.) Books like the Encyclopedia, dictionaries, and bibles, with their skinny columns of words, were stimulating, I didn’t have to read the content to absorb it visually, the rivers of spaces between words. World Atlases, maps, and pictures of our solar system were very appealing. Sparkly things, jewelry, and stones with crystals were mesmerizing. As an adult, my artwork is all about the process of creating, the use of color and texture, illusions of surfaces, and how ink or watercolor flows, bleeds, and stains, it’s magical. I have a thing for paper, some paper textures make me feel like wrapping myself up in it. (BFK Rives is one of my favorites!) I can’t go to an art supply store and behave in the paper aisle; I must touch the paper. Before I retired from my day job at an art collection, the works on paper collection were my favorite. I could get lost looking at June Wayne, Helen Frankenthaler, Minna Citron, Karl Schrag, or Robert Natkin, and photographs by Olivia Parker, and Ansel Adams. I was in visual heaven.
Your posts are a comfort to me, being an undiagnosed neurodivergent person I’m connecting the dots more than ever, you’ve helped me, thanks. Take care.
I’m delighted to now have words for something I recently discovered–thank you! “Sensory euphoria” was what I experienced when reaching out to touch a tree when hiking a few weeks back. The touch of the bark sent waves of pleasure flowing back and forth between brain and fingertips. It lasted for minutes, so that now, I try to brush my fingertips along bark often while hiking. It is magical.