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Sensory Sunday #4

To promote our sensory differences—and by extension a greater understanding of autism—we are asking a weekly question on Sunday about your sensory experience. We are calling it Sensory Sunday. Here is last week’s question:

Sensory Sunday #3


This week’s sensory question is:

What physical or mental symptoms do you get
as a result of being overstimulated?

My own physical and mental symptoms depend in part on what kind of overstimulation we are talking about. Let me address one here.

Sensory overload

Type: sensory overwhelm

When I visit stores, the amount of visual information I process often gets to be too much. Yesterday Natalie and I stepped into a warehouse, and after half a minute I said, “I am already not feeling well. I will wait outside.”  What happens is that I see so much detail that I am quite literally getting sick. I experience a headache, and when it really gets too much, I become nauseous and start sweating.

There isn’t so much going on mentally, except for a great desire to go outside, or to seclude myself in a dark room. Outside, things are more distant, there is more openness, and a lot less detail. And in a dark room, there isn’t as much light coming into my eyes that needs to be processed, and we see less detail in the dark. As such, there is less to process, and I can breathe again.

In the next post, I will cover two more types of overstimulation.

What are your bodily sensations and emotions
when you experience overwhelm of any sort?

To explore the whole Sensory Sunday series,
have a look at the Sensory Sunday index:

Sensory Sunday series


Sensory differences, Sensory experience, Sensory overload, Sensory Sunday

Martin Silvertant

Martin Silvertant

Co-founder of Embrace ASD, autism researcher, writer, ironically silver award-winning graphic designer, and type designer. I am also autistic, and I fight dodecahedragons during sleep onset.

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