Book Review: ‘Almost Adulting’

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So you may have heard my recent check in via the app Anchor (if you haven’t it’s a podcasting app for mobile – I’m going to be doing more recording of my sensory experiences and advice on it, scroll down my blog for the post I did!) anyway on my latest podcast I mentioned that I was going to be doing a book review soon on my blog and I mentioned how I think it might be helpful for others to read too!

So as you’ve probably seen by the heading (and the shiny image above) the book is called ‘Almost Adulting’ and it’s by a super lovely lady called Arden Rose. She is an Actress, Producer, Comedian, YouTuber and now a published author as well!

So Arden’s book centres around how to survive your future adulthood. This is written in the form of ¬†journal-like-sections relating to different topics such as:

  • Self-Care (think eating well, washing regularly, making time for yourself to unwind and de-stress)
  • Making internet friends
  • Dating and Relationships
  • Clothing and how to dress on a budget
  • How to travel alone
  • Moving out and decorating your new space
  • Going on adventures and making the most of life

Arden documents her own struggle with OCD in the form of trichotillomania. Trich is defined as having a compulsive need to pick out or pull out your hair. At the age of 13 Arden realised that after pulling out all her eyelashes and eyebrows she was struggling with Trich and needed help. It became a habit for her in times of stress and she started as a freshman at high school with carefully drawn eyebrows and a cover-up coat of eyeliner. I won’t mention anymore because the book explains it much better than I ever could but the way she copes and distracts herself with other mechanisms definitely makes this book a worthwhile read.

I really do recommend it especially to teenagers as it does give you a heads up of things to come later on in life but even as a 23-year-old I found it useful (I don’t feel like I’m an adult yet but all the little adult things I find myself doing add up I guess.)

The book involves a real mix of essay-like chapters, great advice in the form of motivational lists and also features a lot of quirky illustrations. Arden writes in a very open and honest way which is enlightening but also put me at ease – it’s hard to do adult things all the time!

After reading this book I felt kind of more content because it occurred to me that adulthood creeps up on us all. And nobody knows what on earth to do in the start. It’s all about practice and challenging yourself to go out into the big wide world (and trying to keep up with all the bills, chores and socialising at the same time!).

Image credit: Carolyn Suzuki (whose awesome illustrations are on the cover!)

A sensory experience review…

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I was lucky enough to go on a little adventure a few weekends ago to the Isle of Wight (UK). It’s a lovely little island with loads to see and do – so much so I already want to go back and explore more!

Whilst I was there I went to an AWESOME water show called Waltzing Waters which I thought I would do a little review about.

Here is some more information:

“The world’s most elaborate water, light and music production. “It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before”…a triumph of artistry and engineering. Visitors are overwhelmed by thousands of dazzling patterns of moving water synchronised with music in spectacular fashion.”

Anyways: it was SPECTACULAR. So kind of think of it as awesome music throughout the ages coordinated to a water display. There were hundreds of nozzles spraying ridiculously high-powered jets of water so high and then falling and twirling into phenomenal shapes.

I know these sorts of water shows can be quite popular at resorts in America and especially in places like Dubai in shopping centres and public places. Somehow I had never really come across one before and because this show was based on the Isle of Wight only a handful of people turn up to each set time – which was fab as no crowds and lots of seating to choose from!

I just wanted to do a little write up to almost sort of say as a sensory being how lovely I found the whole show and that I really recommend seeing a show whether you have sensory problems or not ūüėä

One of my next blog posts will be a Q&A on all things sensory! Feel free to comment below with any questions you might have – tweet me or comment on my Instagram!

Awesome Video Resources ‚ú®

So I thought (seeing as I watch a lot of videos and tutorials on Youtube) it might be quite good to put together a list of helpful videos / YouTube channels to share on my blog…

Megan Rhiannon:  Megan is a 19 year old Autistic girl who makes fab Youtube videos and autism talks on her channel. Be sure to follow her for great tips and advice.

Routines can often leave us feeling bored and uninspired. Sonia is a brilliant YouTuber and artist who explores the importance of Escape as part of the creative process. Cheer up after a bad day or week with some of Sonia’s suggestions!

Lucy Moon is a fab YouTuber who openly discusses her battles with anxiety and mental health. She does a lot of chatty videos as well as vlogs and provides some great advice.

Becky (presenting the videos) is the founder of Sensory Spectacle. Sensory Spectacle share lots of information on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and also provide experiential learning environments which can be used in workshops, at events, etc. Becky also is invited to speak at conferences about sensory processing difficulties and the experiential work she is doing.

This video is part of a ¬†‘Homelife’ series is a short video each week sharing information about why we might see some of these characteristics in people with sensory processing difficulties.

Conan Grey is a young creative and Youtuber. In this video he discusses how to deal with mood swings, anxiety and being able to relax (as well as get on with your day) no matter how you are feeling.

Amelia and Grace Mandeville are two sisters who enjoy making Youtube videos about their daily lives, experiences and even film the odd comedy sketch too! This video discusses how to survive school and some top tips.

Charlotte is a lovely YouTuber and also a fashion promotion student and intern, occasional blogger and veggie enthusiast! This is a great video describing her first year at uni. She discusses a range of topics including loneliness, excessive working and anxiety.

ASMR / Relaxation videos: I can’t not mention them! If you search on Youtube for ASMR videos (and google their definition) they are some of the most relaxing videos out there!

So there you have it – 8 brilliant YouTube channels which I have found super helpful – let me know of anyone I should be following and that I can add to my list!

21andsensory Podcasts!

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So I went and bit the bullet as you can probably tell by the title…and my brand new podcast is live! My podcasts are on a site/app called Anchor – it’s a free podcast and audio platform. Feel free to sign up and create an account and you can download the mobile app and listen on the go (you can also listen without signing up!).

The Anchor app will allow me to record on the go (without a computer) so I can create podcasts anytime anywhere and add new content regularly! I’m hoping to use it as almost a form of an audio diary and share my sensory experiences as and when they happen! Tips and advice will definitely feature so watch this space…

You can search for my username on Anchor which is simply: 21andsensory.

Or listen here: Anchor FM: 21andsensory

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 ūüôā

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 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!

‘Making Sense’ Book Review

I was given ‘Making Sense: A Guide to Sensory Issues’ as a birthday present in May. I’ve finally had the chance to properly read it as I’ve recently finished and graduated from uni. The book is written by the lovely Rachel S. Schneider from Coming to My Senses (www.comingtosenses.blogspot.com) and here is a little bit of background on her:

Rachel always found herself particularly sensitive to light, sound, and movement, and she frequently felt disconnected from her body and anxious about the world around her. After years of misdiagnosis, she was found to have SPD in 2010 at the age of 27. Since 2010, Rachel has become an advocate and leader in the adult SPD community’ (Excerpt from Amazon ‘About Author’ section)

I always ALWAYS in the past have got my hopes up when I have been bought or given a book to read regarding Sensory Processing Disorder. However I usually find I end up disappointed as many books are based on toddlers and children and I just can’t relate to anything they say or suggest doing.

BUT…Making Sense is SO so different. This book is PHENOMENAL (This is not a word I use lightly or usually know how to spell!)

Rachel just ‘gets it’ she writes in a beautiful, comical, simple and engaging way that is easy to understand. I have learnt a huge amount from this book including…

  1. We have 8 senses?! Not 5!
  2. There are 3 sub-types of SPD – who knew?
  3. We have sensory organs (Interception being the ‘internal sense’)
  4. Our brains are fully developed by the age of 25 and what ‘neuroplasticity’ means and how important it is.
  5. The difference between a sensory meltdown and a sensory shutdown.
  6. Interesting studies that have / are going to research in SPD and links to neurology and possibly genetics.
  7.  Awesome treatments, therapies and tools for coping with SPD (weighted sleep masks and tinted glasses might just change my life!)
  8. How to stop bad thoughts from whirring around your head.
  9. How amazing ‘hitting the deck’ as an exercise really is and how to recover from a sensory hangover.
  10. What a ‘handler’ is and how important they are to anyone with SPD.
I have learnt so much that I had never come across before and I was diagnosed with SPD aged 8 (meaning I’ve read most sensory books, articles and websites out there!) and I promise you this book is just one of a kind. I don’t want to spoil or mention to much about the contents of the book in my review but I super dooper recommend buying it! It’s worth it and you’ll find yourself returning to it again and again.
One of my favourite quotes from the book is:
Someone with sensory issues doesn’t just merely end one task and begin another. We don’t simply leave the supermarket and step out into the street – we change sensory environments.

This is just SO true and something I relate to so much. I am constantly changing sensory environments and this is what’s super difficult about living with SPD. This is all invisible to everyone around me and Rachel just summed this up so well.

The book can be read cover-to-cover but also equally can be read by jumping to chapters you would like to read. One thing I want to just mention is that I found this book hard to read because of my SPD as things I read triggered feelings and my sensory problems. If you do have SPD don’t let this put you off at all just read it in chunks (which I did which turned out to be ideal).

However if you are a neurotypical or parent/guardian/therapist/etc you’ll have absolutely no problem reading it. I would recommend the book to SPD teenagers and adults but also parents of SPD people whether they are children or older. Rachel really provides an insight into everyday living with SPD that I feel everyone could benefit from reading and understanding.

The book has the most amazing illustrations done by the super talented Kelly Dillon from Eating off Plastic (https://eatingoffplastic.wordpress.com) I found I could relate to each illustration as they were so funny and true which made me laugh quite a lot…!

This book also touches on SPD in relation to mental health but also Autism (ASD) this was insightful. I learnt that SPD can mimic mental health disorders and although Autistic people have sensory difficulties, a person can have SPD and not be autistic (like myself).This was a super interesting read too as my brother is Autistic (he is a sensory seeker though, whereas I am a sensory avoider!) but I learnt so much about the similarities and differences between both ‘disorders’.

Okay so let’s wrap this review up nicely…This book is the most informative book on SPD that I have ever come across. This book sums me up as a person and I will be lending it to multiple friends and family because it really is so informative. This book really is phenomenal.

‘Making Sense: A Guide to Sensory Issues’ is available to buy on Amazon for ¬£11.95 (totally worth it – treat yourself!)