The struggle of buying and using new (and second hand) products 🛍

  • Black and white icon of two shopping bags 'The struggle of buying and using new products'. The a pastel green line with '@21andsensory' underneath and in the top right hand corner of the post there is a pastel green box that says ' SENSORY SERIES' in to show what series the post is part of.
  • Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it: I recently bought a new mobile phone as my current phone was practically a landline and needed to be plugged in multiple times a day to stay on. It’s something I had put off countless times as I hate buying new (and even second hand) things because they feel new to me no matter where they have come from. I’m finding it almost upsetting to use, as it feels ‘too new’. I keep putting it back in it’s box to keep it safe.
  • Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it: Dealing with new things is something I have always struggled with and I find it is hardest with new clothes and especially new shoes. For example I was bought a pair of Converse shoes by my family a while back. It took me around 4-5 years to physically wear them because they just felt ‘too new to wear’. I stick to wearing the same clothes or using the same electronics until they fall apart or don’t work anymore.
  • Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it: I’ve tried things like unwrapping and unboxing new things and putting them out in my room to make them feel less new and different or trying them on briefly...I haven’t found it helps much. I like to buy second hand if I can because then it helps to know that things have already been worn or used and I am not the first person that’s owned them (although for both new and second hand clothes they need multiple washes in order for them to smell right for me to wear!)
  • Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it: If you swipe to the end slide you can see one of my previous illustrations I did on struggling to wear new clothes. I know that it is the way I am, and there’s very slow ways of coping with it, but I am trying to be proud of the tiny steps I manage to make. Do feel free to comment down below if you also have difficulties with change and newness (if you’d like to!) and maybe we could share our struggles and any top tips too!
  • An illustration with a main title and a comic split in 4 sections Title: Clothes Shopping (Autistic / Sensory Edition) Four sections: - *Needs new clothes* Drawing of a pale green t-shirt with threads coming loose and holes in it, a pair of grey drawstring shorts with a large stain on them, a pair of blue skinny denim jeans with threads coming loose at the bottom and rip on the knees, and a pair of orange and white socks with a hole by the big toe. Text saying ’DAMN IT’ next to them to show how annoying this is! - Tries searching for exact replacements: A woman with black hair sat at a white desk with a blue and white tangle fidget and cup of tea in a mug with her grey MacBook laptop open in front of her. Text says *SCROLL* and *CLICK* next to her to show she is searching online for new clothing - They arrive and get put away… a folded pile of t-shirts in pale green, orange, blue and pink next to a pastel purple jumper hung up on a black coat hanger. Next to the jumper there are two ‘sparkle’ emojis to show the jumper is brand new - 3 years later…still feel too new to wear. Shows a brand new pale green t-shirt, blue denim skinny jeans, pastel purple jumper and grey pair of shorts hanging up on a black metal clothing rail which are still brand new and have never been worn. A woman with black hair and a pale blue t-shirt is next to the clothing rail sighing and her hand is resting on her forehead in disbelief.
  • 21andsensory logo (person holding up a white board with '21andsensory' on it. Underneath it says: If you like my work and you are able to, please consider supporting me via my Kofi page (link in bio). Or why not have a listen to my 21andsensory Podcast! With social media icons underneath.

Hi everyone – I thought for the next post in my Sensory Series I’d discuss the struggle of buying and using new (and second hand) products.

In my Sensory Series I’ll be sharing text slides on different aspects of Sensory Processing (in between my regular posts of illustrations) so I can share my own outlook on all things sensory.

I thought it would be interesting to share my own experiences, tips and tricks along the way, feel free to scroll back over other posts in this series too! Please do share this post and feel free to comment down below.

Alt text in Image ID.

Why it can be very difficult to manage change ⁉️

Hi everyone – I thought for the next post in my Sensory Series I’d discuss how difficult it can be as an Autistic person to manage change.


In my Sensory Series I’ll be sharing text slides on different aspects of Sensory Processing (in between my regular posts of illustrations) so I can share my own outlook on all things sensory. I thought it would be interesting to share my own experiences, tips and tricks along the way.

Slide 1: Why it can be very difficult to manage change


Slide 2:

Changes can be big or small. Yet they still feel totally overwhelming and life-altering…even if they aren’t really.Something as small as not being able to find your normal shampoo or your favourite brand of cereal at the supermarket can honestly feel like  the end of the world in that moment. 

So imagine how big things like social occasions let alone life events can be to an Autistic person. They can be utterly huge and hard to process.


Slide 3:

It’s very difficult to describe how scary change can be as an Autistic person with sensory issues. I strive for normal, sameness and routine and when this is messed with I can’t cope.

The thing is…I might look like I am coping well with change. But I (and many autistic people) have mastered the art of ‘masking’ where we are very effectively able to keep up an ‘act’ or ‘front’ of managing when inside we are extremely distressed and overwhelmed. It’s so draining.


Slide 4:

This is something that can come flooding out once we reach our own safe environment like home. This might look like a shutdown or meltdown which can be worrying for surrounding family, friends, etc.

Sometimes we just need the space and time to decompress and process what has or is going on. And that is okay. It sucks in the moment when you can’t manage what is going on but I’ve learnt…the feelings do pass and life does carry on.

Slide 5:

If you like my work and you are able to, please consider supporting me via my Kofi page. Or why not have a listen to my 21andsensory Podcast – there’s a new episode every two weeks

Please do share this post and feel free to comment down below how you cope with change and any tips you have!

Change…🙅🏻‍♀️

A square digital illustration with a white background and a large title and subtitle at the top. The main title says ‘Change’ with ‘Autistic / Sensory Edition’ underneath it.

The main design is broken up into 8 sections with the following titles below each:
Organising and labelling: drawing of a stack of messy paper with an unhappy face above it on the left and on the right a stack of organised ring binders with a smiley face above it to show the change. A green tick is shown above this to show it s a positive thing.

Products that change: A drawing of a pink shampoo bottle, a roll-on deodorant and a packet of digestive biscuits. There is a green ‘new’ stamp in the middle of the three drawings and the words ‘ingredients and recipes’ around it to show the sorts of changes to these things that can occur. There is a red cross above this design to show it’s a negative thing.

Cleaning up at home: A drawing of a bucket with a spray and bottle of cleaning fluid, a washing up bowl with running tap and bubble and a hand cleaning with a sponge. A green tick is shown above this to show it s a positive thing.

Last minute change: A drawing of a February calendar month with some days crossed out completely. There is a red pen beside the calendar and a large ‘cancelled’ stamp over the top to show last minute plans being cancelled. There is a red cross above this design to show it’s a negative thing.

Decorating and painting: A drawing of a paint roller, a paint can, a grew tableside lamp, two blue and green colour paint swatch samples and a light blue sofa. There is a red cross above this design to show it’s a negative thing as change in scenery can be difficult to deal with.

New special interests: A drawing of a book with lots of page markers in it open at a double page spread of information, a magnifying glass, a red love heart, a tangle fidget toy and a google internet browser tab opened on a computer. A green tick is shown above this to show it is a positive thing as finding new special interests can be exciting.

Change in smell/ scent: A drawing of a perfume bottle, a lit candle, a washing detergent bottle and an air freshener hanging from a car interior mirror. There is a red cross above this design to show it’s a negative thing as change in smell /scent can be difficult to deal with.

Seeing growth: A drawing of a brain above 3 potted indoor pants with wording mental and physical surrounding them. A green tick is shown above this to show it is a positive thing as growth can be a good form of change.

Hi everyone! Here is a new drawing I did explaining how change can affect autistic / neurodiverse people and those with sensory issues. Below I’ve summed up some positives and negative parts about change. So here’s the little explanation of each doodle!

• Organising and labelling: I LOVE TO ORGANISE. It makes not only my space feel tidier but my mind too and I am able to more freely think. Also when it comes to paperwork I have dedicated separate folders for life admin, finances, freelance stuff, autism research, etc and although it took me a while to set-up it’s totally worth it in the long run! Now I don’t have to frantically search through paperwork to find things and dividers and my label maker = my best friends.

• Products that change: OMG do not get me started on thisssss. I will rant. Here goes. WHY DO PRODUCTS HAVE TO CHANGE? My safe foods get changed in the form of packaging or recipe and it just causes absolute chaos in my head. Also my shampoo changed its ingredients and branding / look and feel a while ago and I was NOT OKAY. I know many people like to buy products and clothing in bulk or multiples because they know it works well for them and they don’t want to find them gone the next time they go back.

• Cleaning up at home: Again a bit like organising things this gives me a sense of purpose and it’s a nice change to see in your house when everything has it’s own place and you know where to find things. I like dusting and cleaning my shelf’s and workspace regularly just to keep it clean!

• Last minute change: UGH. I hate when plans change last minute or something or someone cancels on you when you’ve sort of worked yourself up for something social. I know this is probably happening less as a whole due to the pandemic but even if one one cancels an appointment or video call with me its really unsettling.

• Decorating and painting: I am TRULY AWFUL when it comes to this. I find a change in my immediate environment HUGELY distressing. It took me ages to liking our family bathroom once it was renovated and it didn’t feel like my comfortable space anymore. I just hate visual change and I cannot describe my emotions or feelings (alexithymia) at all it’s just complete shutdown / meltdown inducing.

• New special interests…ARE THE BEST! It’s a good sort of change as you become deeply focused into a new topic and dive deeper into random wormholes and research avenues and truly loose and immerse yourself in information!

• Change in smell / scent: Again this is not cool. I can’t use an air freshener in my car because it’s so overwhelming to have such a strong scent in such an enclosed space and I stick to one detergent religiously because I can only stand that smell when it comes to my clothes (I even take it on trips with me I’m that rigid with it).

• Seeing growth: This can be both mentally and physically. If I try and challenge myself with a small bit of change I do see some growth in terms of succeeding at something I found difficult.