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.


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