New Year, Same Me.

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Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a relatively calm and enjoyable time off. Also hope you all received nice presents (Anyone get any good sensory / therapy toys?)

So I noticed last week that there’s been a lot of New Year resolution’s and ‘fresh beginning’ stuff on the internet. People have been reflecting on 2016 and there’s lots of talk about ‘making everyday count’. That’s all fine and well but all this talk of change has got me thinking:

It’s 2017. But I’m still the same old me.

A new year won’t change who I am or magically improve my sensory problems. I don’t mean for this to sound negative and actually, in fact, I think it’s a positive. I remember always joking with my mum about how many doctors and therapists would ask me ‘If you could wave a magic wand at your problems…’ I won’t bother even finishing that sentence because the reality is that’s never going to happen and would only frustrate me further.

So I decided putting all these thoughts together that my own little unique New Year’s resolution is to challenge myself to embrace who I am more. I shouldn’t have to worry about being judged when I need to explain to people who just don’t understand the way I am and don’t ‘get’ me, and neither should you! So why not challenge yourself? It’s only day 9 of January and it’s not too late to have a go 🙂

To round this New Year’s post off I felt like writing a little insight (which happens to just link nicely with the main image above!):

I am always forgetting and then realising again that I will always be a little bit ‘sensational’.

And do you know what?

It’s more than okay to be sensational. 

(Drawing by  check out her work if you haven't heard of her!)

 

The Electric Toothbrush 🏁

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I bought an electric toothbrush (*shock horror*) and I am slowly getting used to using it. I have always found brushing my teeth particularly hard because it always seems to be overwhelming sensory-wise. I have to brush quickly and I apply a lot of pressure as I can’t stand light touch. My teeth definitely look better as a result of having an electric toothbrush as it really can brush places that I can’t reach so well (just wish it wasn’t so loud!)

If I really think about it I have always been rubbish when it comes to brushing of any sort. Brushing my hair, brushing my body with my sensory brush, I’ve always found it difficult to manage and deal with the odd sensation of brushing. However I have tried lots of different brushes, which others might find helpful in order to help desensitise your body (try googling the list below!):

  • Baby Gum Brushes (these pop over your finger)
  • Baby teething toys (ones filled with liquid)
  • Tangle Teaser Hair Brush (much easier to manage)
  • Wilbarger Body Brush (therapy brush)

Have you found any good brushing coping mechanisms or tools that work for desensitising yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

Change…and why it’s difficult.

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Change is super hard. It messes with routines and structure, it makes me overwhelmed, emotional and generally just feel ‘out of sorts’.

Get ready for a little ramble…

So why am I writing about change?  I want to try and explain how change effects a sensory person (like me!) and I also want to discuss a change that I have had recently.

Change can (and usually is for me) a nightmare. It messes with my mind and my body. I like to know what I’m doing and where I need to be during the week.

Okay so… I have a new job. As I am writing this I have been at my new job for just two weeks. Everyone is super lovely and helpful but I’m finding it hard to speak up for myself and fit in. I feel a bit all over the place inside and just a bit worried all the time. It’s not the job as such that worries me – it’s more the change in scenery, environment and meeting new people (obviously) that worries me.

There are around 50 people where I now work – this means there are a lot of new faces and names to remember 😂 I am also the youngest in the company which is fine but everyone is much more experienced than me which puts me down a little bit (I know it shouldn’t!).

My manager is aware that I am dyslexic but it’s my processing speed that is annoying me – it takes me much longer to do things and my SPD has started to sort of flared up because of the new change and new environment.

I know I will be fine and I really love the job I am doing as it’s in the same field as my degree that I studied and it’s what I am passionate about. The problem I have (and have begun to realise over the years) are that there are two of ‘me’….

  1. The ‘normal’ calm okay Emily
  2. The totally overwhelmed ‘sensory’ Emily

This is a problem because I cannot control which Emily will wake up each day. This is the best way I can explain living with SPD. It can come in waves and there can be good and bad days, weeks, months and sometimes particular years (especially when I was growing up). My mum is always reminding me time and time again to keep on top of my ‘sensory diet’ and she is always right – things like body brushing, chewing baby toys, stretching and gaining sensory input from things like yoga balls, and even walls – definitely helps a sensory being!

Why not check out my DIY Sensory Box post from a while back here

Ps: I know I have been a bit quiet on the blog recently (the new job has been a bit overwhelming!) and I have a few emails to reply to (from some lovely people) which I will get back to soon I promise!

 

The Podcast Debate…

 

I’ve been thinking….(which is dangerous I know) about maybe possibly starting a podcast… What do you reckon? Would you find this useful? I could do episodes on certain topics and answer peoples questions on everything sensory and more. I could maybe even have guests on to talk about their experiences regarding sensory processing disorder, autism, ADHD, OCD, and more?

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Sensory Q&A Answers!

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Thanks everybody for your awesome questions! I got quite a few and I have answered them all individually below:

Which Disney character is your favourite?  What’s your favourite pizza topping.  What’s your #1 sensory nightmare?  #Thanks! From @adam62139
Hi Adam! Thanks so much for your question! Oooooh thats a difficult one. I am actually not a massive fan of disney (*hides from disney superfans*) I find disney films too much to handle emotion-wise because I cry at happy and sad parts! Butttttt if I had to choose a character I would maybe say Pip from the film Enchanted (2007). Pip is a chipmunk who is ADORABLE and I can do a great high pitched squeaky impression of him. I think Pip is small, challenged by the big outside world but is brave and tries to be fearless which is a bit like me…
I love PIZZA! I only eat margarita pizza though so my favourite topping is just cheese 😀
OOOOOOOH. Hard question there! I would say my number one sensory nightmare is being in a loud environment. E.g it could range from a concert environment to a loud restaurant! I am just awful with noise.
Have you used weighted blankets? If so, did you increase the weight of it as you grew?  Did you ever stop using it? From @mikeblair3
Hello! And YES. I love my weighted blanket and have used one since I was about 8ish years old. I got my current one from Sensory Direct (UK) on their website it states that:

‘One of the generally accepted principles of calculating the correct blanket weight is to take 10% of the users body weight and then add a pound. eg – if you have a child that weighs 5 stone this equate to 70lbs (5 x 14). Take 10% of 70lbs = 7 add a further 1 = 8lb blanket’

I definitely increased the weight as I grew as I found I needed more pressure and a longer blanket as I grew! I have done a blog post on my experience hiring and then buying a weighted blanket which might help further here

I unfortunately suffer a lot with night sweats so I find especially in the hotter months I have to sleep without it. I put my weighted blanket (in its own cover) over the top of my existing duvet.

Do you use any other tools or equipment to help? From @sensarounduk via Twitter
Hi! Good question – I have a Sensory DIY box that I use quite a lot. I find brushing my body really helps me and my mum is forever reminding me to do more brushing as part of my ‘sensory diet’. Sometimes I find a real need to walk and bang into walls and interact with the space (with my arms crossed over my chest so it doesn’t hurt) so I find things like walls are great for sensory input. Occupational therapy also works absolute wonders and equipment like awesome hanging swings, yoga balls, etc are also great for spatial awareness and getting sensory feedback. I also adore my ear defenders which are noise cancelling and help me cope in the world.
Hey! I have two questions, I don’t know if you’ve written about these things before here, but here they are: Do you use a time management or task management system? If yes, did it help with SPD? From M.O via comments.
Hi! Thats a great question. I literally LOVE managing my time and using to-do lists, schedules and mobile apps to help me be more organised. I use apps such as IOS Notes, Evernote, To-doist, Google Docs/Sheets, iCal and the IOS Reminder app to name a few! I also love to create mind maps and draw things to remind myself of objects, etc. Let me know if there are any good things you recommend or know of!

Do you feel scared when you have a melt down, not to be in control of your body? xxx From Many of Us 1989 via comments.

Hi! I do feel very scared and also very very alone when I have a meltdown because I cannot explain how I am feeling or acting. I can only express myself in physical emotions which is usually in the form of crying. Crying obviously draws attention to me which means I get asked a lot of questions but I can’t answer them as my body is effectively logging off and shutting down like a computer!If you look on the National Autistic Societies website theres a great quote: ‘If I get sensory overload then I just shut down; you get what’s known as fragmentation…it’s weird, like being tuned into 40 TV channels.’ This is exactly how I feel!

What are you most over and under sensitive to and what are your copping strategies? From Chrissie via comments.

Hey Chrissie! I am most oversensitive to:

  • Loud noises
  • New foods or anything with any herbs or spices
  • Sudden or unexpected touch
  • Most smells that aren’t neutral and I dislikes people with distinctive perfumes, shampoos, etc.
  • Most textures (even underfoot when walking!)
  • New environments
  • Crowded places
  • Bright or flickering lights
  • Supermarkets – they are too colourful with all the products!
  • I have an inability to cut out sounds like background noise, leading to difficulties concentrating.
  • I have a low / no existent pain threshold (even though I don’t think I do because everything that hurts REALLY HURTS to me!)
  • I can only tolerates certain types of clothing or textures.
  • And much, much more that I can’t think of right at the moment!

Under sensitive:

  • To the space around me. I cannot walk in a group of people – I constantly bash and walk into others!
  • I have to have tight hugs and use a weighted blanket because I find touch very difficult.
  • I have the need to rock and swing to get some sensory input.