Friday, December 26, 2014

From the Other Side: Can You Hear Me?

My voice is not in my words. It echoes around in my head, bouncing around, trying to find a way out. When I write, paint, draw, sing, and make film, bits of my voice leak out. And yet, I still feel like no one hears it. I shout and scream inside my mind, wanting to tell someone everything that's trapped in there. But human language cannot capture it adequately.

Society's expectations are like barbed wire surrounding the utopia locked past the gates of normality. By the time I reach the gate, I've spent all my energy, my flesh torn by the wire's edges. To open the gate is another challenge; it's much too heavy for my weak muscles to handle. And yet, I have to push it open by myself... but I can't. So I shout through the gate, at the people on the other side. But they dare not open it, and they dare not cross to the other side.

The people in the utopia know what the other side holds: the mentally ill, the crazy, the criminal, suicidal, bipolar, autistic, deformed, traumatized, perverted, demented ones of their race. Home of the outcasts. My only company is the broken, when what I really want is to be close to people who have enough of their heart left to be kind when I need them. But in this world, wanting things is futile... you can't change who you are and what's happened to you.

Society knows of the other side, and yet there's much they don't know. They don't know that there is still love and happiness, even though it may appear as delusion and obsession. Each citizen of the other side is a real person, even if they are merely shattered fragments glued back together. That guy with multiple personalities might have more friends than you think--within himself. The druggie is going on all kinds of great vacations without leaving the spot he's sitting. The autist is having the time of his life color-coding all the marbles that the schizophrenic lost. The schizophrenic entertains the clinically depressed fellow by repeating the silly things voices tell him. All the NARCISSIST needs to be happy is a mirror and his bipolar companion with delusions of grandeur.

These friends of mine hear my voice. If I'm condemned to stay outside the gate, at least I'll have company.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Let Me Fly

I'm like a bird in a cage. I want to fly and be free, but the barriers of society keep me locked in. I don't understand the other creatures in the cage. All I can think about is flying away.

I need to be alone, but there is no privacy in the cage. I have no choice but to mingle with the others, even though I don't want to. It's scary attempting to befriend them, because I cannot predict what they'll do or say, nor can I interpret all of their language. Sometimes they stop talking to me and I don't know why, even if we've been "friends" for a while. I don't know if it's appropriate to talk to them again if they aren't making an effort to talk to me.

It's exhausting just being around these other creatures, let alone try to connect with them. But I have no choice... this is the cage I have been placed in. This is the world I have to face. But it's not all bad. When I have a break from the mundane tasks the creatures assign to me, and when everyone else has gone to sleep, I find a comfortable corner where I can be myself. Though I can't fly, I can dream of flying.
I can dream of anything!

I hope that one day, I'll be set free from the cage. I hope that my wings are strong enough to carry me. I've done so much work in this world that they might be too weak. But no matter what happens,
I can keep dreaming until the end.

Creatures of the Earth, look at me and try to understand. I am different from you, but I am a living, breathing being like you.
Please let me dream. Please let me fly.

[Neurodiversity isn't a term well-known, but it applies to everyone. Everyone's brain is different, so not everyone fits into the cages society puts us in. People use labels like Asperger's Syndrome and Introversion (with these labels expressed in the analogy of my experience above) to help us better understand each other, but the minds under these labels shouldn't be viewed as a lesser brain type or a "disorder." Do not judge anyone's heart based on their behavior. Take the time to listen to them, in whatever way they communicate best. You may find that you have more in common than you think.]

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My Adventurous Attention Span

Often when I interact with people, I detach from my surroundings, the conversation, and just about everything for a split second. It's like almost losing consciousness, or being stuck in a dreamlike state for a moment. It's really weird; in that split second, my brain seems to zoom waaay out, looking down at the universe and questioning the significance of the tiny speck of space I'm standing in, and the nature of language as I hear the other person talking to me, and I find myself observing the structure of the conversation more than the words or meaning. Sometimes it's so short that I can keep interacting as if nothing happened, but sometimes it's long enough that I missed something, and I'd have to ask the other person to repeat themselves.

Sometimes, this "brain retreat" is inward (makes sense since I'm an introvert), and I'd find it hard to focus on an interaction because I'm examining everything I do, trying to process a billion things, trying to search for socially appropriate responses in my brain's computer, all the while thinking about how utterly ill-equipped I am to be talking to that person. I'd also be putting myself down for letting myself get carried away by this process... and it doesn't help not knowing whether this brain overload is my fault or because of how my brain is wired. Or perhaps it's just my short attention span? I'm not sure if other aspies deal with this, or if it's just an Alyssa thing.

At the end of the day, my thought processes leave me exhausted. :/

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mechanical Metaphor

I'm surrounded by people I don't truly know, even if I "know" them. I want to connect, but I can't find people's brain-ports. I don't want to see their polite greeting program. I don't want their antivirus to block me. I want to know their system. I want to know what's in their documents and let them read mine, give them a taste of my music while I enjoy theirs, watch their videos and show them mine, and share files. 

If only our operating systems were compatible......

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Aspie Underneath

It's days like these that make me feel more like an alien. It's days like these that mess with my head, and cause me to stay in my room. I don't want to go out in public on these days. I shouldn't.

One day I'll be doing well socially and energy-wise, and another day I'd take a few thousand developmental steps backwards and become awkward again. It's not that I wouldn't have confidence to make conversation on these days, it's just that I know better not to. I'm aware that I may either talk too much or too little, or change the subject randomly, or insert humor excessively. My limbs might decide to have a mind of their own and move stiffly or awkwardly, maybe twitch a little. It'd be harder to look {>.>} at people, and I wouldn't know where to focus my gaze {o.o}. I'd be far too disoriented to know how to put on my mask of normality. (._.)

This is when having a roommate isn't as fun... luckily, my roommate is rather accepting, but I still have to try to keep a cap on my awkwardness so it doesn't explode in a way that would bug her. If I was by myself, I'd feel a bit freer to be myself (that crazy lady who talks to herself in different voices, makes animal noises and laughs a lot, and hums to herself whilst pacing about the room).

On these days, I'd rather just be alone.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back to College: My Transition Anxiety Firsthand

JOURNAL SNIPPET (Before the Episode)


Well, let's see... this is my first night moving into college. I go to Judson University. Me and my good friend Stormy decided to room together, and so far we're getting along just fine. Then again, it's been only a day. :P We're nearly all organized/unpacked.

I'm so tired right now. I ought to sleep. But I can't figure out what to write to help me not have transition anxiety. I think the fact that Stormy is here, plus my mind is off it, helps a lot. I've been okay all day. I also took my supplements this morning so that should have helped. Really, overall, things sorta went "according to plan," but anything that didn't I adapted to very easily. Oddly easily...


Recollection of Transition Anxiety Episode

On Sunday night, I fell asleep rather easily, but woke up feeling strangely disoriented. I felt weird and uneasy, and my body was twitching and I was making soft noises in response.

I had experienced this before. Transition Anxiety... or more specifically, the strange "episodes" I associate with it. Usually I'd feel a mixture of intense anxiety and anguish, and there would be a lot of crying. However, I had mastered that portion of the episodes (mostly out of the necessity to not make a ruckus), so all that showed up that night was the physical symptoms that tend occur as a result--or the "aftermath."

Now that I had a sleeping roommate, I couldn't allow myself to release that pent-up anxiety in a way that would wake her up. I had to find another way to cope.

I prepared myself for what I expected to be a night of misery.

I pulled out my phone and messaged James. He's a wonderful friend of mine who I only know through the internet (half of my friends are online ones), but he's very close to me because we've got a lot in common, and he accepts me and tries to help me through stuff like this. During the anxiety, I had a hard time putting words into coherent sentences, though.

Here are some snippets of the conversation:

"Lushia Kyobi: Out of body, limbs float woke up flipped around next to computer, disoriented movement involuntary, spasms involuntary"

James did his best to reassure me until I managed to get up and out of bed. I figured a quick trip to the bathroom should help.

After I got out of bed, something occurred that I can only describe as a sort of "out-of-body" experience. It felt like my soul was trying to float out of my body as my consciousness fluctuated, creating a mental motion blur.
Bad anxiety affects my coordination

After walking into the bathroom, a mental block kept me from leaving and going back to bed. I cannot even explain why, but the very idea of leaving the bathroom paralyzed me.

A fairly accurate example of my
 visual glitches when I'm disoriented.
"Lushia Kyobi: Got up walked around scared into bathroom couldn't leave bathroom dark bad strange compulsion to stay worry"
"James Agbotta: <sitting outside your bathroom> its ok hmm? just relax"

I ate a small snack in case hunger was aggravating the anxiety symptoms. Sometimes I won't notice if I'm hungry when I'm overstimulated or anxious.
When I finally did force myself back in bed, I continued to talk to James, waiting for it to pass.

"Lushia Kyobi: Not in bathroom now forced body to walk into bed, binaural beats to calm because involuntary anxiety no control, only some, body tense. 'twas scary like possess"
"James Agbotta: maybe a hallucination? dream feeling real?"
"Lushia Kyobi: I don't know"
"Lushia Kyobi: Got food. Just followed basic instructions in deep mind, remembered water, food, binaural beats. Motor skills coming back some with some twitching but good"

The weeks before school I had disciplined my mind to take care of my body even when I was experiencing crippling anxiety. It was as if natural survival instincts took over. I'm sure glad that they did.

When the episode began, I expected the worst. Usually these situations last all night the first night of school.

But guess what?

It only lasted one hour.

It was a miserable hour for sure, but I conquered it. James did help me get through it, but it was ultimately my decision to actively seek my coping mechanisms that brought resolution.

For me... this was a huge success. :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Accepting My Own Weirdness

Recently I've been experiencing a LOT of anxiety as the result of a number of things. There's the pressure to finish the video editing for my Asperger's Documentary before I go back to school, as well as the knowledge that I will have to get through another bout of transition anxiety when I do go back. So there's not much time to prepare.

However... today whilst running errands, I found myself feeling strangely happy. It took me a while to figure out the reason why; and turns out this reason was something that might seem minor and insignificant to most people. The reason: Something caught my eye at the craft store. It seems like an ordinary, everyday experience, but my recent anxiety and depression had pretty much killed my interest in most things. It was delightful... it was like a light, bouncy feeling, to be able to look at something I like and actually want it. I had to tell my frugality to take a long walk off a short plank so I could get this item for myself and actually enjoy the lovely feeling of getting something new that I wanted.

It's a pirate bandanna.
Yep. A pirate bandanna. It looks like one a kid might wear, but I liked it when I saw it, mostly due to my obsession with pirates as a teen. And the strangest thing occurred: it didn't bother me that I liked this item that "mature" people probably wouldn't wear. Honestly, I am so paranoid about what people think of me, and I work so hard on fitting in that I often deny myself things that others might not approve of.

But I bought the bandanna.

And I'm going to wear it. :D

Honestly, I think a lot of aspies have a hard time really accepting themselves and all of their quirks. Seems that they'd either love themselves to the point of it being a problem for others, or hate the way they are with a passion... it's hard to find a happy medium. Regretfully, I'm one of those who have been quietly submissive to the influence of society, so I've suppressed a lot of my aspie tendencies out of fear of being rejected.

But I am so tired of trying to be normal.
Haven't I learned already that normal is boring? When I'm at school, I don't make friends with those people. I make friends with those who are weird, nerdy, strange, and/or unique. The odd ones seem to have real personalities, while all the "normal" ones all seem the same to me.

(And in using the term "normal" I do recognize that there is no such thing, but I am referring to how the majority of people behave depending on where I am currently living. Basically those who go with the flow.)

I want to release what's been hidden, to be out there, to be... weird. I want to fight the norm. And I'm gonna do that to the best of my abilities.

...even if my form of protest is as harmless and as silly as wearing a pirate bandanna. :P

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Complexity Overload - OCD Tendencies and Too Many Details

I know that the aspie brain has the advantage of being detail-oriented, but it becomes VERY difficult for me when there is too much information to process! I experience some OCD symptoms and intrusive thoughts, which are intensified by living in an uncontrollable environment, dealing with transitions, or adjusting to a new schedule.

It’s like my brain is constantly analyzing everything, whether it’s a part of my surroundings or a concept in my head. Even now, my brain is buzzing with theories and contradictions and circular reasoning and paradoxes. It delays my decision making and wastes so much of my time. An example of how this works in the physical realm (aka my surroundings) would be how I handle my family’s messy house.

Keepin’ It Neat = An Impossible Feat

For the most part, I tune out my surroundings fairly easily so my brain doesn’t fry. It’s as if all the things in the house that aren’t mine (or things I don’t bother with) are in grey as if they are “Inactive,” while my belongings (and anything else I use) are in color as if they are “Active.”

Recently my family went on vacation while I insisted on staying home to catch up on my film editing. I also loved the idea of having the whole house to myself for nearly 12 days. I always feel somewhat held back when people are around for some reason, even if it’s my own family. After the first day, I realized something: nothing in the house would be moved or change. Not a single, tiny thing. Every object would stay in one place unless I moved it.

That’s when I let my OCD organizing side go wild on the house.

I cleaned off counters, drawers, cabinets, etc. and labeled a bunch of things, since it had previously helped my family keep everything at least somewhat organized. I tried not to label EVERYTHING so I wouldn't seem too obsessive. I mostly labeled the places that had been the most disorganized, and any particular areas of the house that were strictly for my stuff. For 12 whole days, the house was completely in color for me. Every object was “active,” and my awareness, productivity, and processing speed were greatly increased! It’s as if I had gained superpowers, and the level of my existing abilities was doubled. And it was soooo nice to have that consistency in the house, even though it wasn't for very long.


Once my family came home, I showed them all the new labels so they’d be aware of them. It’s amazing how easily a lot of NT’s can overlook stuff like that if you don’t point it out (no offense to NT’s, obviously there are social things that need to be pointed out to aspies to make up for it). The places I labeled are stayed fairly neat for a while, but everywhere else was free game for messes and chaos.

This caused my brain to overload big time. Since the whole house was still “active” in my mind, I would notice absolutely everything. If an object was moved somewhere else, I’d feel compelled to put it where it belonged. It quickly became apparent that I could not keep up with this, and that it wasn't practical to give in to my compulsions to put every single object in its place. So I allowed my brain to transition back to leaving the house alone, to forfeit mental “ownership” of the house and all that it contains. My brain didn't like this. The OCD tendencies had to be released somehow, so it came out in me googling anything and everything that came to mind when I had a free moment, and processing thoughts over and over and over, while analyzing the complexities of certain situations.

The analyzing was the worst, because I would see nearly every detail and every possibility in each situation.
And what I pondered always varied, from conflicts in religious beliefs, symptoms of particular ailments, why criminals commit crimes, one perspective vs. another, etc. I would also analyze my own thoughts, which often would go in circles again and again, and it would drive me insane… then I would wonder what the heck is wrong with me, and negativity would enter that endless cycle.

One good thing (yet also bad in some cases) is that I can still function enough to get things done in this state, even if it’s a little slower or not as thorough. In fact, I seem so normal during these times that no one notices. It’s as if my body is on autopilot, doing all the things I’ve trained it to do, while my mind detaches to wander off in other dimensions.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Rant With Purpose: Aspie Routines ~ Why I Like School

I really enjoy going to college.
And not just because I get to learn neat stuff.

A major reason is because it gives me a routine.
I live in the campus dorms during the school year, and typically I get a room to myself due to my Asperger's Syndrome. This gives me complete control of my surroundings, and no one would be taking me by surprise by entering the room. But that's not the only thing that helps me... another major element of college that keeps me sane is... the syllabus. Whoever invented it must have had the mind of an aspie.
On top of that, I get a meal plan with my room-and-board expenses. So I don't have to worry about starving to death if I'm too overwhelmed to cook.
But seriously, the routine. I would have classes at the same times on the same days, and the homework is all nice and laid out on the syllabus. Do you have any idea how awesome that is???

If you don't know why I think it's awesome, allow me to explain.

People with Asperger's thrive when they have a routine and things are in order. This is due to the way the aspie brain is wired.

It takes a lot more energy to process information and external stimuli, so we can become easily overwhelmed with the world, and feel as though we have a lack of control. But with a routine, we at least have control over something. We need constants, repetition, and familiarity to feel secure. We can't just "go with the flow." It takes too much time and effort to adjust.

The reason why I am posting this is because I'm currently frustrated with living at home. Don't get me wrong, I have an awesome family, a nice house, and it's usually pretty quiet around here. But there are a few "minor" factors that can cause me to mentally "flee," or send my brain spiraling into depression and confusion.

1. Despite any routine I set, there are rarely any constants.
Yes, I have taken every day of the week into consideration. I know I have chores on Saturdays, church on Sundays, etc. But even after I've added all that into my routine, things still pop up. Things like appointments and unexpected responsibilities. I want to be able to deal with these like a normal person but I can't! Sure, when a family member asks for a favor I'd do it, like a decent human being. But it's at the cost of all my plans and sanity for the day, because by the time my brain re-schedules the things I'm behind on, the day is over!!!

2. I'm never guaranteed to have solitude at particular times.
Everyone else's schedules vary, so family members would be in and out of the house at random. They don't cause any trouble for me or anything, so I try not to let it bug me. But I can really only be myself in solitude, and if I don't know when I'm getting it, I have to wear my NT mask 24/7. It's definitely not good for my brain. I mean, I can pull it off, but at the expense of my at-home tasks...? They need to get done at some point...

I'm sure there are a few other factors, but that's all I can think of for now.

As a result of these, my motivation to do anything tends to be snuffed out easily. Even the things I enjoy aren't very enjoyable when I'm here. I'm lucky if I get the urge to play a particular video game, even. And even if I try to follow through with that and play that game... someone could be using the TV. So it's just not worth it, seeking anything enjoyable.

Normally I try not to rant online when I feel like this. But I'm so sick of keeping it to myself. So there. I figured people would want to know the bad stuff, and not just the good stuff related to having Asperger's.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I'm Not Making Excuses

One of my biggest issues with my limitations is how I have to make others aware of them sometimes—usually it's professors, employers, or anyone who may encounter my deficits at some point. I often feel like I'm making excuses, even though I'm not... and I talk a bit more about it in this video.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Transition Anxiety: An Organized Rant

I'm on spring break right now, but it sure doesn't feel like a break.

Typically, it takes about a week for me to adjust to being at home again after living at school and vise-versa. And "adjusting" is a massive understatement. It's more like torture...

Due to my Asperger's, I suffer from what I call "transition anxiety." I'm sure other aspies, and especially auties, deal with this often... and the one thing that keeps me from getting help during it is my self-control and seemingly calm demeanor. I want to be appear normal, so I try really hard to hide the depression, mood swings, and occasional dark thoughts that cross my mind... because it's just emotion, just anxiety, and it does not reflect my wonderful life... I mean seriously, I'm blessed with some amazing friends and family, very comfortable places to live, good food to eat, etc.
Why should I complain?

In all honesty, there's a very good reason to complain, though I doubt it'd accomplish anything. Transition anxiety isn't something I can just ignore or "cure" with some miracle diet, counselling, or positivity. Believe me, I've tried. What I feel during transitions is intense and overwhelming, and my habit of burying it just makes it worse, and it can even be physically painful if it's bad enough. I'd often lose touch with reality and my surroundings, so even if I'm doing something fun,
I'm still miserably trapped inside my own head.
Everything and everyone seems scary and abstract, so I can't seek help from people, nor can I find solace in my favorite activities.

I've been trying to figure out solutions to this, and so far, I've found something that does help a bit. A major part of the anxiety is adjusting to a new routine, so I thought I ought to make an everyday routine for at home, to refer to in the future. I sat down with my whiteboard and sketched out some ideas, until finally, this is what I came up with:
Simplicity helps.
It has helped my stress levels, for sure. But you know how life works... more stuff happens, and plans go awry. I might be able to get away with this routine for a while, but sometimes I'd need to add something to my schedule, like going grocery shopping or going out somewhere with my family. And It doesn't help that most of these things pop up without warning...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Asperger's Documentary by AHFilms

I would like to announce that I’ll be making a documentary film about Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning autism! We want to raise awareness by interviewing multiple people on the spectrum and by showing life from their perspective in the film.

Asperger’s Documentary Trailer #1: 

Asperger’s Documentary Trailer #2:

Documentary Introduction - What is Asperger's?:

The documentary will be released in Spring 2015. Also, we are now fully funded!! Please click the link below to view our project on Kickstarter!

Like Alyssa Huber Films on Facebook for updates on the project! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Vael - My Inner Realm

Vael is my realm; my inner world. One of the few places where I actually have control, and my dreams run free. A beautiful place where I can be safe.

What is Vael?

It's a fantasy world I dreamed up when I was about 15 or 16. Around this time, I started shifting from my obsession with pirates to an obsession with things like fantasy and angel wings.

The theme of Vael is fantasy because its a flexible genre that allows all kinds of unique developments. And after 5+ years... oh, has it developed! It began with a culture with medieval-style architecture, then became an advanced society with moon folk, technology, and magic.

Images that inspired Vael

How Vael Was Created
Vael originated from a need to express myself... since I have Asperger's, I would often fail at expressing emotions appropriately. I was quite sensitive and had to teach myself not to cry when I didn't get my way. It was very difficult, because I felt emotions very strongly when I was a teen, and sometimes even frightened people by things I said when my emotions got the better of me. I couldn't figure out for the life of me why I seemed ignored by certain friends, so I turned to the internet to make new friends who hopefully would accept me. I found quite a few on a 3-D chat program called IMVU (which I will write about in a future post), and I loved to tell stories with them through roleplaying since I wasn't too great at conversation. My first character was Shira, a cute little angel girl who would tag along on adventures.

Shira on IMVU
 [For those of you who don't know, the term "roleplaying" has several  meanings, and the one I'm referring to is telling a story through IM and  chats, where each person would take turns typing dialogue and actions.]

Mikio and Lushia
However, my emotional problems showed through all of this, and I lost many friends because of it.
But there was one friend who stuck with me... 
his name is Eddy, and he's from the UK. I met him on IMVU, but eventually we switched to Windows Live Messenger for roleplaying. I showed him my world, and he went with me everywhere, exploring the land and going on important missions with me. His character, Mikio, was brave, kind, and ready for just about anything. My new character, Lushia, was fun-loving and eager, though somewhat vulnerable and dependent upon the support of her friends.

My Sanctuary
Aside from the main plotline, I'd occasionally initiate a side-story based on how I felt at the moment. Sometimes, when I would got a creative "high," we would end up in a beautifully ethereal place like my Sanctuary. Here, it was always spring, with flowers dotting the endless hills. I would also describe the sky and water from lakes and streams in detail...

While I often had creative "highs," other times I'd have "lows"... and usually these were a result of my negative emotions overwhelming me. These roleplays were often intense and dramatic. For instance, one of them involved Lushia running through the rain as if to escape 
something—with the concerned Mikio following behind—until she leads them into a shack where Lushia experiences bouts of fear as Mikio attempts to console her.

The fact that Eddy stuck with me not only through the fun and adventurous times, but through the cryptic and intensely emotional episodes, completely blew my mind. He was the first to enter Vael without abandoning me in it, and this split my mind wide open to new possibilities. My world of one became a world of two, and Ed left the door open for more.

^ A past Christmas present for Ed... we'd often talk/roleplay late into the night

He's still one of my best friends to this very day, in spite of the fact that we don't talk as much due to the busyness of college life. He's one of the few—and perhaps only—people who have gotten that close to me without leaving a single negative mark on me.

So thanks, Eddy. I know I've told you a billion times how awesome you are, but I'll tell you again anyway. You're freaking awesome. :D

I may post more information about Vael in the future. I'll have to post about my guardian angel soon anyway, as he dwells in Vael...

Friday, February 7, 2014

My Anxiety Solution = A Cozy Corner

I am so calm right now, it's almost freaky.

A solution that helps with my anxiety/overstimulation: small spaces.
I've noticed in the past that when I'm either overstimulated or having an anxiety attack, I am rather intimidated by larger rooms, especially if they're filled with people. I would gravitate towards a smaller space—such as a public bathroom stall, or under a table somewhere—to deal with the anxiety. So I'm pretty much the opposite of claustrophobic.

Today, I was talking to my suitemate and another friend of mine in my dorm room, and while I loved the company and conversation, I was having a hard time focusing because I had just gotten back from lunch in the cafeteria and was overstimulated. I excused myself to change into my "chillin' at home" clothes, which consisted of a baggy t-shirt and sweat pants since I have sensory issues with clothing, and sat down in my computer chair to re-join the conversation. Their voices buzzed a little in my ears, but I ignored it because I wanted to enjoy my time with them. Eventually I picked up my stuffed deer named Gigi and curled up in my chair, closing my eyes to mentally recover while still listening to the conversation between my friends.

I zoned out a bit and started to think about small spaces, and how nice it'd be to have one. Then I remembered the space between the end of my bed and the wall. I used it as a storage area last semester, but now there was nothing there. Then I thought of a bed that dogs slept in, and how small and cozy they look.

I knew what I wanted to do.

I got out of my chair and started putting pillows back there. I told my friends what I was doing because I was so excited about it, and because the idea of having my own "doggy bed" was so appealing that I wanted to try it out right away. We continued the previous topic as I put it together, and by the time it was finished, we concluded the conversation and my friends left the room. I had it all to myself now.

My Doggy Bed
I curled up in my makeshift hiding place with a soft blanket, and pulled my bed rest pillow over me to make sort of a cave around my head and shoulders.

After a few minutes, all the buzzing in my head stopped and I was perfectly calm. When I got up again, I wasn't even drowsy... rather, I was just pleasantly mellow. I think I should try this again when I'm having a more severe anxiety attack, to confirm whether or not it works for me in those situations.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sensory Overload... the Unpleasant Details of My Case

I wrote this in class.
For the record, it was an excellent class.

This is the main reason why I struggled so much while getting used to college. I didn't know how to deal with my sensory issues, and I'm actually still getting used to my new solutions. I thought I might as well describe what it's like to those who might not get it.

During sensory overload (SO), I suddenly feel hyper (particularly under florescent lights), and I become less aware of people and more aware of other sensory stimuli, like the sound of a computer humming or the designs on a piece of furniture. I also have trouble correctly articulating what I'm thinking or feeling, and sometimes I won't speak at all because it's so hard to. 

In My Shoes...
Have you ever had your eye dilated at the optometrist? It's really unpleasant, as it makes your eyes so sensitive to light that it's unbearable to be in brightly-lit places. Being under florescents is akin to that for me (After the SO-induced hyperactivity subsides); though it first affects my eyes, and then my brain. It starts with voices seeming louder... then my vision is a little hazy, and there's motion blur when I look around, along with floaters here and there.


If I were to look at the carpet in the classrooms (which have a pattern I'd describe as colored TV static), it would appear as if the "particles" in the pattern are moving and glitching. Then I find myself focusing on small, particular things like objects and textures because it hurts to listen to voices and look at people, and I can't process what they're saying quickly enough. This makes it extremely aggravating when trying to respond to someone talking to me directly. Eventually I get so drained that I can barely keep my head up...

Don't take your normal senses for granted. For me, it would be a blessing to be able to function in all/most environments.

However, that doesn't mean I'm just going to sit there and take it. Now I have ways of blocking out sensory input to avoid overload. I wear sunglasses in most public buildings, and earplugs wherever I know there will be certain tones or voices that will aggravate me. Under extremely bright lights, I may even wear a hat with a visor, in spite the fact that I hate hats... but hat hair is a small sacrifice to keep my brain in check. I also don't like the feeling of things in my ears... but same goes for the earplugs, a bit of discomfort is preferable to sensory overload.