Some advice on Managing Sensory overload.

It may be hard to believe, There was a time when I couldn’t even go outside the house at all. Or talk to anyone new. I was tired of being so stuck. Many people have given me tools that I feel deserve to be shared.

This  is mainly intended for people with Aspergers and high functioning autism, written by someone with those things. But the things in here should be helpful to anyone with any kind of anxiety or stress to do with going out and dealing with… People. The horror. First of all, I feel that people don’t really understand what social anxiety is. So let me establish some things first. I’ve gotten into some understandings that might well be considered by many of you to be “pseudoscience”, woo-woo, quackery, or what have you. and in consideration of that, I will try to talk in more down to earth language.

Some people are like canaries in a coal mine, they can pick up the slightest disturbances in the area around them. Even the smallest things can set them off. I for one, can hear silly things like ‘silent’ alarm clocks ticking at night if I listen closely. I can even hear garden gadgets designed to scare away birds/dogs/etc operating at frequencies higher than people are  supposed to not be able to hear. I can hear 4 people talking at once. My mind grabs a word here and there, until I overheat and shut down.And I’m not alone. Why are we that way? I don’t really know. Here a short clip from the latest superman movie: man of steel. I believe it illustrates the feeling wonderfully:


We can’t change the way we are. But we can change how we deal with it. So, Where to begin? I think it might be helpful to establish some basic concepts.  Be it sounds, sensations, sights, feelings, they are all ‘vibrations’. It all impacts you. Your body is like a rock in the ocean, constantly bombarded with stimuli. And the rock is not alone. It sits among many others. We’re all piled on top of one another, all influencing each other. It’s not just the sounds that overwhelm you. Our emotions don’t live in a bubble. We might be feeling fine and then we hear an angry person. And like a dagger shooting though our heart, something hurts. We all know it.

They might be shouting and dropping cluster f-bombs, and it feels like you are sinking inside. “Get out. I need to get out.. I’m drowning. It hurts…” We can feel when someone’s upset, or not in the mood for talking. It just radiates off them. Anyway, as it turns out, these are not just silly feelings. that’s exactly what happens. You absorb or take on

Open and closed circuit, Just like the diagram above.

some of these things simply by being in proximity with another human being. For those interested There should be some information on this in chapter 6 of Science of the heart.¹. But later! Focus. (click the tiny one if you are desperate.)

All that talk about love and magnetic attraction? It’s literal! Our hearts generate giant electromagnetic fields that extend far beyond our bodies. This is important to understand because once you are aware of these interactions, you can start developing strategies to deal with them.

You know when someone has their arms crossed and their legs wrapped around one another and they have closed off body language? We do this instinctively. In doing so, you close yourself off from other influences. (to a large degree.) This works just like completing a circuit does. This is also why people often can feel ‘cold’ to us. They are not connecting with us magnetically.

“I was taught to hone my senses. To see only what I wanted to see.” This is an invaluable skill once you learn it, I promise you. Zod doesn’t take very long at all to cope with what takes clark nearly a lifetime to perfect. He already learned these skills from being a warrior.

‘Normal’ (I know this is subjective) people seem to have a sort of mental filter or sieve that everything gets put through before it is received. People like us don’t have that luxury. We don’t get to be lulled into routines in the morning,  we don’t filter out background noise. But we do have something they don’t: the ability to focus on something to the exclusion of all else. To “Fixate.” I want to tell you a little story. It’s  about the first time went and bought a pie by myself. I knew how to do it. I knew what to say. So I walk in, and wait in line. There are people at the tables, people all around. It’s a little crowded. Eventually It’s my turn to order.

So I parrot off my rehearsed line. And all of a sudden, during this exchange, Suddenly there was nobody behind me. The rest of the world ceased to exist. It was a such a bizarre feeling. I was totally focused on the interaction and nothing else bothered me. But as I took my change and turned to leave, The spell was broken. I chuckled to myself, embarrassed.  Was I standing there super awkwardly? Probably. But hey! I bought it! And it was good!

Don’t let people tell you can’t even do anything. I will tell you it’s never going to be easy. But It will get easier. One of the most helpful things you can do is get your health in order! First, the most important thing: Cut down your sugar intake dramatically, or entirely remove it. Trust me. This is like the holy grail! Also, I have reason to believe that doing the same with dairy products (so try finding another kind of milk perhaps?)  I’ve heard many people say they stopped having panic attacks after doing this. But Seeing as I’ve drunk soy-milk for most of my life, I just know that dairy makes me feel sick. Why cheese, why! 😦  I never understand why nobody ever makes mention of these things when people are talking about inner peace or what have you. I guarantee you won’t find it when your blood is full of sugar and caffeine.  And being well rested certainly won’t hurt. Basically, being healthy makes everything easier. I think you already knew that though.

Easy to say, hard to do. So Ask yourself this question every-time you go to eat ‘junk’ (): “Do I really want this?” or “Am I actually hungry?”  Listen for the answer. And in the unfortunate event you get a yes, is there a healthier option? As you may have heard, I love dried pears. And I don’t feel guilty for eating them.  Some things that are healthy are actually really tasty. Apples, for example (the good ones anyway). But nobody likes hearing about the boring mundane things.

Uh… Mindfulness? Just buy my amazing 200 page book that totally doesn’t shamelessly rip off eastern mysticism… yeah! lets do that. Okay, in all seriousness, What I just said probably qualifies as mindfulness anyway. just without the annoying buzzwords.

The most important thing however, is known as grounding. Anyone who’s into martial arts can tell you that you move with your feet first. Never lose your footing. Ever. Or you’re already lost. I have a question for you. right now, can you honestly tell me that you can feel what your body is doing? When you walk, can you feel the ground’s texture?When you are out in public, what are you looking at? Where you are going? Or  are you wondering if people are staring at you, and oh! what what that noise? I like to think of it like this: You know those garden hose nozzles? you twist them one way and they fan out or focus into a powerful jet? This is what I’m describing. I believe It’s called Pratyahara (5th limb) in yoga (or maybe not?). You need to focus your mind.

Just a camera lens. Instead of seeing everything you just get what you want.

Meditation is one way of doing this. But honestly I find that learning to relax and just slowing down is a important skill to learn before attempting to get into the practice. So turn off your tablet or phone next time you eat and just eat. Taste the food. Don’t watch a video or listen to music.

Someone dear to me taught me something. They told me whenever I was feeling out of sorts, or stressed, to start feeling the ground. Make each step conscious. To be aware of the ground’s texture beneath me. I remember trying it and exclaiming: this is dumb! It doesn’t work. but like most things, It takes practice.I was at a place with hundreds of people recently. I could barely handle it, but because of this technique, I was able to walk out in a reasonably calm fashion. It really did feel like the ocean was battering me into submission. But I withdrew within myself. I was aware of my body instead of the storm. Oh, and one last thing: How you hold yourself is also important. Walking around with your head down and your arms hunched forward is not good for us.

I’m not going to lie. Every single one of these suggestions or pieces of advice will require an immense amount of effort on your part. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. Momentum is your friend. But being stuck is no fun.

Oh, and I nearly forgot: Here’s the link to that thing I was talking about: Science of the Heart





One thought on “Some advice on Managing Sensory overload.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s