An illustration on Dissociation and Depersonalisation…🧠

Hi everyone – hope you are all doing okay. Back in February I wrote a blog post on my own struggles with Dissociation and Depersonalisation, I find it really helps to write down things I’m going through (so if you fancy reading that here is a link). I thought I’d do a drawing as I know so many people deal with this daily and i think it’s important to educate others on what it’s like to live with.

My struggles started towards the end of 2020 when I had a one weird moment of disassociation. Then it started it happen more, I’d have sudden moments where I’d disassociate briefly for a few seconds. So to describe the exact feeling I experienced I would look at my arms in front of me and not feel connected to them whatsoever. I was initially quite freaked out by the randomness of these moments but they then became more frequent and started to not seem so new.

It kept happening when I was brushing my teeth. It was like looking at my limbs and I just wasn’t in control of them at all yet they were still functioning and doing normal actions which was really weird. I almost wanted to keep slapping my forehead to feel more ‘present’ almost like I’d zoned out briefly. I think this relates closely to ‘Depersonalisation’ where a person experience a sense of disconnect from their body or a feeling of watching themselves.

It felt like I was sat inside my brain like a visitor but I was looking at myself doing all these things but not really being there, I wasn’t right there in the moment experiencing things. I just don’t feel like I’m in the present and really experiencing things which is quite unsettling and it’s so hard to actually sum up what I am experiencing because I can’t liken the experience to anything else. It’s honestly the weirdest thing and doesn’t sound believable when I try and put it into words. I know that I am in control of my body and it’s mine but in those moments it really really doesn’t feel like my limbs belong to me in the slightest

I know that dissociating is something that can happen as a way of your body coping with stress, trauma, etc by putting itself into this protective state. Mind (a mental health charity in the UK) has a really informative page on dissociative disorders here which I recommend browsing if you are looking for more info on the topic: More info on Dissociation and Dissociative Disorders from Mind UK

When I experience these feelings of dissociating I try to do some grounding exercises to put me back into the present, here’s an example:

👁 Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you 
✋ Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you 
👂 Acknowledge THREE things you hear
👃Acknowledge TWO things you can smell
👅 Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste 

I’m always happy to chat further in the comments and my social media DM’s, and feel free to share any tips you have in the comments below.

The 10 Best Podcasts by Autistic Creators to Listen to this Autism Awareness Month!

Check out this awesome article on Discover Pods website that my podcast featured in!

Also just as a side note (on a topic I don’t really mention but it relates to podcasting)…

If you’d like to support my podcast and its production it would mean a lot if you’d like to donate anything via my Kofi link below. I totally appreciate any form of support (when people like, share and comment on my work that’s amazing!) but if you’d like / are able to support me further that would be awesome. I currently do all of my 21andsensory work in addition to my day job, so I illustrate in my spare time and I liaise with guests, record, edit and produce my podcast on my own.

I am also considering starting a Patreon page in order to share exclusive content like videos, behind the scenes photos, written posts and extra podcast episodes so keep an eye out for that potentially!

Anyway…I just want to say thank you for all of your continued support, I super appreciate it.

The nightmare that is….clothes shopping 🛍👀

Hi everyone, here is a new drawing I did explaining what a nightmare clothes shopping can be for autistic and sensory people! (aka meeeeee)

  • *Needs new clothes* – I have trusty go-to t-shirts, jeans, etc that I find comfy and wear until they quite literally are falling apart. I’ve been like this since I was a child, I could never let go of clothing and really would wear things to the bitter end.
  • Tries searching for exact replacements – this requires much searching online for exact replacements (this is a pain because clothing lines change so frequently and I never think to buy multiples in case I don’t like them…and then I do like them after a while and it’s too late!)
  • They arrive and get put away… so I cut every single conceivable tag, label, instruction booklet out of them and neatly fold or hang them up which is super satisfying and I genuinely feel quite happy that I’ve managed to come across clothing I might be able to bear.
  • 3 years later…still feel too new to wear. DAMN IT. They ALWAYS, alwaysssss still feel way too new to wear. Sometimes washing the clothes a few times helps with this feeling but I am an absolute nightmare when it comes to wearing new clothes (so much so that I prefer to shop second hand a lot as then clothes feel more worn in and after a few washes smell okay enough to wear).

Things I have found that help: I get this a lot with shoes. It can take me YEARS to get into new shoes. Again buying them secondhand from places like @depop help but if I do decide to get brand new shoes (a tip my mum came up with) is to take them out of the box and put them in my room so I get used to the look of them and them being part of my life.

It sounds ridiculous I know but it really is an autistic / sensory thing – I am awful with change and new things and I am much kinder to myself now knowing I am autistic and that this is just a part of who I am and how my mind operates.

Do you struggle with clothing? Any top tips you have feel free to share in the comments below!

Two Mystery Fidget Unboxing Videos! 📦

I was gifted* two Sensory ToyBox Mystery Boxes over the past couple of months and thought I’d film a couple of unboxing videos and show you what I received and my honest opinions and reactions!

1st video:

2nd video:

Sensory ToyBox are a UK Etsy shop selling fab sensory and fidget toys as well as mystery boxes.

Check out Sensory Toy Box links below:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sensory_toybox/

Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Sensorytoybox

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@sensory_toybox

*I was sent these boxes for free and was under no obligation to post about them but genuinely loved the contents of the boxes and wanted to film unboxing videos to show you all!

The 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique…

Image ID:

Each section of wording hand drawn in large capitalised text:

5 things you can see with a blue eye drawn underneath
4 things you can touch with a drawn hand outstretched
3 things you can hear with an ear drawn
2 things you can smell with a nose drawn
1 thing you can taste with an open mouth drawn showing a row of white teeth and a bright pink tongue

Hi everyone I’m back again with another lil’ drawing of a very sensory based grounding technique I find useful when I am anxious. You may of heard of it before, it’s usually referred to as the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. I find it useful because I am (obviously) a highly sensitive individual and it distracts me to tune into each sense separately (might be hard to do in a busy situation but I find it helps in most other situations!). It just turns your thoughts entirely to your senses and off cycling and worrying thoughts even if it’s only briefly. Below are some pointers that might help you…

👁 Really look for 5 things you can see: what’s in front of you? Really look and pick out some small details, maybe it’s a wooden surface which you can see the grain of, your own hands and your fingerprints, the fabric of some curtains and the way they hang, the specific colour within something like a hanging picture, what’s pleasing or not so pleasing to look at?


✋ Feel 4 things with your hands or even feet as you walk (please be careful in these COVID times with this though!) the fabric of your own clothes, the seat you are on, if outside the grass or pavement or brick wall you pass by. Even just the sensation of your feet within your shoes, try and really tune into that feeling.


👂Acknowledge 3 things you can hear right now. Can you hear traffic in the distance? Conversations going on a couple of rooms away? What can you tune into? Even if it’s a ticking clock, sound of a pet pottering about…


👃 What 2 things can you smell? Maybe it’s your own deodorant, perfume or aftershave…or someone else’s? Or the smell of a room, cooking smells, air freshener or cleaning smells, etc. Is there any sort of smell to the air surrounding you?


👅 Can you taste anything? Even if it’s a drink you’ve just had or something you’ve eaten is there any taste at all in your mouth?

21andsensory Livestreams…

I’ve been doing regular livestreams over on my YouTube Channel and on my Instagram and TikTok.

Above is a link to a livestream that I am going to be doing this Saturday 27th at 7pm UK time. Please join me in the live chat and feel free to ask any questions!

I really enjoy doing these as it gives me a chance to speak to everyone and answer anything you might be wondering about. Also I get to just chill with my fidget toys and recommend good ones that you all might like!

I was a guest on another podcast! 🎙

Hi everyone! I am just popping on to say I was a guest on @spotlightonfasd and the episode went live today! I spoke about my Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism. Something I haven’t shared here before is that I have an adopted brother who has a diagnosis of FASD and is Autistic.

FASD stands for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. It is a term used to describe the permanent impacts on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol during pregnancy resulting in a spectrum of physical, emotional, behavioural and neurological characteristics. I spoke on the podcast about my experiences growing up with my brother and how he made my parents realise my sensory processing difficulties.

Please go have a listen! Available wherever you get your podcasts and on YouTube above 🎉

More info on the Spotlight on FASD podcast:

The UK’s first podcast dedicated to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). We aim to shine a light on FASD and bring conversations out of the shadows.

We’re getting stuck in and chatting about everything from diagnosis to dentistry, education to executive functioning. Combining the latest research with lived experience, our conversations will be real and raw. We believe there us nothing to be afraid of and with open discussion, those with FASD and their caregivers can thrive. Join us on our journey.

Spotlight on FASD Links: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Disassociation and Depersonalisation 🧠

This is going to be a bit of a longer blog post, I wrote this in November 2020. I first started experiencing the things mentioned below in September 2020.

So I’ve been struggling a bit recently and I always get so much out of writing blog posts and really putting my thoughts down somewhere and I think it can be helpful to share my experiences (and you lovely blog readers always comment such helpful ideas and tips under my posts!).

So my struggles started a few weeks ago when I had a one weird moment of disassociation. Then it started it happen more, I’d have sudden moments where I’d disassociate briefly for a few seconds. So to describe the exact feeling I experienced I would look at my arms in front of me and not feel connected to them whatsoever. I was initially quite freaked out by the randomness of these moments but they then became more frequent and started to not seem so new.

It kept happening when I was brushing my teeth. It was like looking at my limbs and I just wasn’t in control of them at all yet they were still functioning and doing normal actions which was really weird. I almost wanted to keep slapping my forehead to feel more ‘present’ almost like I’d zoned out briefly. I think this relates closely to ‘Depersonalisation’ where a person experience a sense of disconnect from their body or a feeling of watching themselves.

Then it started to happen a bit more. For instance when I was driving. I’d be driving with my hands on the wheel in front of me (obviously!) but I wouldn’t feel like they were mine?! It was really odd. It felt like I was sat inside my brain like a visitor but I was looking at myself doing all these things but not really being there, I wasn’t right there in the moment experiencing things. I was obviously there driving but I couldn’t feel it at all…(but was driving fine).

It’s now getting to the point where I feel more and more like I am on auto-pilot. I go upstairs to the bathroom but don’t remember the feeling of taking the steps to get there like I don’t feel the process or the journey. I keep feeling this real disconnect from myself and my body. It’s happening when I’m driving like I can get from A to B absolutely fine but I don’t feel like I experience the journey – the bits in between the start and end of my trips.

I just don’t feel like I’m in the present and really experiencing things which is quite unsettling and it’s so hard to actually sum up what I am experiencing because I can’t liken the experience to anything else. It’s honestly the weirdest thing and doesn’t sound believable when I try and put it into words. I know that I am in control of my body and it’s mine but in those moments it really really doesn’t feel like my limbs belong to me in the slightest.

I know that dissociating is something that can happen as a way of your body coping with stress, trauma, etc by putting itself into this protective state. Mind (a mental health charity in the UK) has a really informative page on dissociative disorders here which I recommend browsing if you are looking for more info on the topic: More info on Dissociation and Dissociative Disorders from Mind UK

When I experience these feelings of dissociating I try to do some grounding exercises to put me back into the present, here’s an example:

  • Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you 👁
  • Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you 👉🏻
  • Acknowledge THREE things you hear👂🏻
  • Acknowledge TWO things you can smell👃🏻
  • Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste 👅

This can also be really helpful when I just feel generally anxious to because it’s a total distraction from my thoughts and feelings. I’m trying to be kind to myself and I think I’ll try and contact my doctor as I have a feeling it might be related to one of the medications I am on (and it’s always best to double check these things if you can, just in case!).

January 2021 update: I’ve spoken to a psychiatrist via telephone appointment which was really helpful and we are working out a plan of action with all the meds I’m on.

Born Anxious T-shirt Review 👚

I was sent this lovely Adult Headphone T-shirt from the team at Born Anxious – it’s designed to alert others that a person may find the world to loud, they may wear noise cancelling headphones and that they may become overloaded with too much noise.

I like how modern the design is (nice headphone icon) and generally the black and white design feels quite slick (it’s available in 12 fab colours and in sizes S-XL). It’s super soft and feels of a good quality. The ‘I don’t like loud noise’ design is on the back of the t-shirt along with the Born Anxious website and the front has a small Born Anxious logo on the chest.

What I absolutely LOVE about their clothing is it is all TAG / LABEL FREE! Yes completely label freeeeee. Which means nothing to have to cut out awkwardly! I can’t get over it not having a collar or side label like it’s honestly revolutionary. To know I can grab this t-shirt and just wear it without worrying about my mood is huge!

In replacement of removing the labels, they provide a recycled information postcard with each product, that holds the care instructions and information of who they support through donations from each purchase. They have chosen to keep our donations as local as possible to spread awareness within their little corner of the UK and to support each other in smaller circles and communities that will then help those to connect to the bigger ones.

In time Born Anxious will be expanding the range and will remain organic, as they feel this is important for people with difficulties surrounding skin irritations or sensory difficulties. They are aiming to be Planet friendly and fair trade.

Buy the T-Shirt here

Note: This is an honest review (I wasn’t paid or sponsored in anyway).

Vestibular System and Sense of Movement Drawing 👟

Hello! Here is drawing number seven (part of a series on our 8 senses, scroll back in my feed to see my previous drawings!) ✏️ which is all about our vestibular sense. The vestibular sense contributes to our ability to maintain balance and body posture. It provides information through the inner ear that tells us about our head position and how (or if) we are moving. Our understanding of movement and balance helps us to coordinate the movement of our head with our eyes, enables ud to use both sides of our body at the same time, and tells us which direction we are going and how fast, and helps us to remain upright!.Explanation behind my drawing…

  • Motion: I love being in motion! I enjoy swinging, rocking, skateboarding / penny boarding, jumping and generally moving…the list is kind of endless. I can be quite a restless person sometimes and I find I need to move quite a lot to stay self regulated.
  • Clumsy: I am CLUMSY. Like beyond clumsy. I fall up stairs (not down oddly), walk into furniture and walls regularly and have unexplained bruises on my legs where I must have walked into something and have forgotten. While I was writing this caption I genuinely hit my elbow on a table… that’s how clumsy I am!
  • Sports: Like I said I find I need to move regularly in order to self regulate but also it helps me sleep so much better when I have exercised. I’m enjoying doing HIIT workouts at the moment as they are high intensity and the different sets of exercises target my whole body which I like. Also it’s fun to be challenged with different exercises and finding my strength is growing!
  • Timing: Lifts and escalators. I am NOT good with escalators. I love the motion of them but can I co-ordinate my feet? NOPE. Train stations, shopping centres/malls, you’ll always find them in busy places and I find I either trip off escalators (or zoom straight off them because the floor is very much static and the moving staircase is not…)
  • Rocking: I love a good rocking chair or wobble board they are just sort of relaxing as well as being distracting
  • Tripping: Again as I mentioned I regularly trip up stairs and again it’s trying to co-ordinate my feet in time with the rest of my body!.Do comment down below if you can relate to anything in my drawing or anything I’ve said, I’m always keen to hear how everyone copes with these things. One more drawing to go in this little series!.

IMAGE ID (White post background with 6 categories listed and little drawings above each)

  • Motion – drawing of a sensory hanging swing seat, a skateboard in motion, a see-saw and a bouncy floor pad – Green Tick icon above to show Emily likes Motion
  • Clumsy – a green cup of tea spilling and a baking bowl spilling dough out – Red cross icon above to show Emily dislikes being clumsy!
  • Sports – a football, a purple sneaker, a bicycle and a ping pong bat and ball – Green tick above to show Emily likes Sports and being active
  • Timing – A grey lift with up and down button and an escalator – Red cross icon above to show Emily dislikes using lifts and escalators
  • Rocking – A wooden rocking chair rocking back and forth and a wobble / balance board – Green tick above to show Emily likes to Rock back and forth to relax and whilst stimming
  • Tripping – A woman with black hair, green jumper and blue jeans tripping down a set of stone steps – Red tick above to show tripping is not a nice experience!