In this blog post, I want to talk about how I prevent sensory overload from occurring by using prevention methods to make the environment around me easier to deal with. Although prevention methods do not always stop sensory overload from happening, they’ve certainly helped in some circumstances.
One way I try and prevent sensory overload is by carrying around a few items in my college bag.
One of these items is a textured tangled toy, a small plastic fidget toy that helps by giving me one sense to focus on, instead of the many that are going on around me. This also has the bonus of reducing my anxiety in public situations, like crowds, which sometimes has a direct effect on my ability to deal with sensory input.
I also carry hand sanitiser around with me everywhere I go. I’m big on hygiene anyway, but this also helps me with texture. If I touch a texture that I cannot stand, hand sanitiser will help me feel clean. I know that the texture is removed once I stop touching it, but with sensory sensitivities, it often doesn’t feel that way.
I also make sure to carry sensory-safe snacks in my college bag at all times. Though I can—and do—buy food at college, at least from the coffee shop on site, there have been times where this has backfired. I once bought something I thought would be safe because I bought the same item from another shop, only to bite into it and realize the pastry was different, and I hated the kind college used. At least having my own supply means I don’t have to go hungry if I don’t like what I’ve bought.
As well as using other items to help prevent sensory overload, there are other things I try and consider to lower my hypersensitivities.
I always look at the menu of a restaurant before I go, for example, and try to stick to chains I know they’ll have wherever I go. This means I’m guaranteed to like something on the menu and won’t be forced into sitting around eating nothing because I can’t bring myself to try something new. I didn’t do this once, a few years ago, and ended up having to leave a day out early because of a stomach ache I received from trying new food.
I also try and get enough sleep, because I know that stops me from feeling so hypersensitsive, too. It’s not the easiest when I’ve had insomnia for as long as I remember, but I try.
I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank Lydia for giving me the opportunity to raise awareness about a part of autism that is so often understood! It’s been a pleasure writing these posts for her. I hope you guys have enjoyed reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them!
Thank you to Rebekah Gillian for guest posting this week; make sure to visit her blog. Once again, these posts are not intended to inform medical choices; that is your responsibility. To find out more, read the disclaimer.