Today I published my 50th 21andsensory Podcast episode! (Available wherever you get your podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc!) It’s a celebratory episode with just me doing an update and catch up so make sure you have a listen (link below this post!)
I started my podcast in August 2017 and it was literally just me talking into my voice memos on my phone. No fancy equipment whatsoever. I just decided to start chatting about my own life and my sensory struggles (little did I know I’d find out I was Autistic in 2019!)
It’s grown massively since then and from episode 17 onwards it wasn’t just me rambling on my own. I have had the pleasure of talking to a huge amount of people from all walks of life who have been so open and honest with me about their own journeys. It’s been an absolute pleasure and a joy to talk to so many people and I am constantly fascinated by what they have achieved. Also: I love nothing more than when my guests info dump about their hobbies and special interests when they come on!
I get a lot of email requests from people asking to ‘speak to my team’ about coming on my podcast and those sorts of emails always make me laugh because…it’s just little old me! I approach potential guests, create a personal podcast outline of questions each time, record, edit and publish the podcast on my own – and I absolutely love doing it. I really do love the audio format (and am a big podcast listener myself) there’s just something that feels really personal about chatting to someone in an informal and chill way.
Anyway! Here’s to more podcast episodes in the future…
Hi everyone – I thought for the next post in my Sensory Series I’d discuss a few everyday things that are sensory hell…
In my ongoing Sensory Series posts 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 and tips and tricks along the way. Feel free to scroll back over other posts in this series too over on my Instagram here.
Please do share this post and feel free to comment down below how you cope with change and any tips you have!
Tags and seams in clothing.
Someone brushing up against you as they walk past.
Loud unexpected noise when walking near roads (especially motorbikes and sirens on emergency vehicles).
Electrical appliances that hum, buzz or vibrate.
Forcing yourself to brush your hair and teeth despite hating it.
Socks that won’t stay up or that roll down and come off in your shoe.
Strong distracting smells like air fresheners, scented candles, perfumes, aftershaves, detergents.
Clothing sleeves that get all bunched up and roll up under your coat sleeves.
Someone lightly touching you on the arm when they are talking about you in a conversation.
Bright colourful places like shops, classrooms and workplaces that are visually disorientating and distracting.
Finding holes in the only comfy clothing you have and stressing out about finding the exact replacement.
Anything that flickers or moves too fast like: candles, lights, screens, etc.
Cooking smells and getting your hands messy when preparing food and constantly having to wash them.
Worrying about access to your safe foods constantly when out and about and when you need to stock up at home.
Keeping up a mask and an act of ‘I’m doing okay, I’m managing’ until you can get home, be yourself and stim freely.
Not listening to music and avoiding online videos because songs get stuck in your head for hours on end and this causes overwhelm.
2 years ago on 8th November 2019 I was diagnosed as Autistic aged 25 (I posted this illustration I did above on Instagram on the day…but forgot to post it on my blog!). I can’t believe its been two entire years since then but everyday I am SO grateful to know that little bit more about myself.
Did I walk out of the assessment thinking that the whole world was going to look, feel and just BE different now that I knew this about myself? Yes.
Did it? No…but that’s okay. It’s such a life-altering thing to know about yourself that it’s natural to think like this. But what did happen was a hell of a lot of things slid into place in my mind about all the struggles I’ve gone through and how they are all pretty much down to the fact I had no idea I was Autistic.
Also episode 16 of my 21andsensory Podcast is an entire episode dedicated to just me discussing my entire diagnosis journey if you prefer to listen rather than read. Just search 21andsensory wherever you usually listen to your podcasts!
I thought for the next post in my Sensory Series I’d discuss why I struggle to use make-up & beauty products (and don’t anymore!).
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 how you cope with change and any tips you have…
I’ve been seeing lots of Instagram posts today that are so genuine and honest, people explaining the struggles of living with mental health issues. l did this drawing to explain how mental health affects sensory people (and how the two can become quite intertwined to the extent that it’s hard to tell what’s responsible for what feeling, thought, etc).
I’ve explained before that my mental health is confusing to me because my issues can randomly intensify and l also struggle with episodes of depression which can be really debilitating. Obviously everyone’s mental health is very different but I do think it’s important to be supportive to each other both online and in the real world.
I do think it’s great that self care is becoming more a ‘thing’ now and it really is important in order to keep functioning in life. I find that my mental health mixed with my sensory issues (and now knowing I’m autistic) is always tough to deal with but having a community of neurodiverse and like minded people here on Instagram has really helped me to understand not only myself but to understand how others cope in the big wide world.
(Doodle is my own view of mental health and sensory issues and I totally understand that not everyone may agree / relate to what I’ve said and drawn as we all experience things very differently.)
On my latest episode I have special guest Ella Willis! Ella is a 21 year old Newcastle-based Autism advocate who creates amazing and really informative educational videos on her TikTok (@ellaellaw) where they have almost 120,000 followers!!
Ella is also a fab illustrator and shares work via Instagram @_ellawillis and via an Illustration IG @illustratetothepoint. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you usually get your podcasts.
I thought I do a drawing on an issue thats always been close to my heart: the nightmare that is open plan offices. Here is some of the reasons why I struggle…
People bringing in their own smells constantly: ARGH. So many smelly lunches! Strong coffees. Overwhelming perfumes, aftershaves, deodorants.
Everyone chatting: I cannot filter a conversation happening in front of me if there are also many going on around me. I find it super hard to tune into the closest person to me because i hear everything all at once.
Desks are too close: I need my own personal space (who doesn’t?) and I find open plan offices can sometimes be set-up like call centres where they squish as many people as physically possible into the space. I know this can’t always be avoided but by being so close to other people it can affect how well i work (they might wear strong perfume or aftershave, chat too loudly, have hot smelly lunches at their desk, etc) and this grates on me.
Strong lighting: Strip lighting can be super harsh but also really distracting.
Random desk visitors: FILL ME WITH UTTER FEAR. Please email me! I am super responsive via email I promise. Don’t ring me or visit me at my desk….I know this is easier said than done but I work a million times better if I someone emails me in detail about the work they’d like me to do or schedules in a meeting I can prepare for. I hate it when people just ‘pop’ by my desk even if it’s for a chat…I’m at work and I really (really) don’t want to chat. I just want to do my work and do it well. I know that sounds very anti-social but I am quite anti-social and need structure to my work and day in order to thrive.
Bright clothing: I’ve said it before (in previous posts and in my podcasts!) PLEASE DON’T HANG UP YOUR FLOUROSCENT JACKETS in the office. Cloakroom / changing room = fine but in and open plan environment it is honestly sensory hell. They are beyond distracting and physically upset me (which sounds ridiculous but they take my my entire head).
Also I saw @innocent did a post recently about Disability Pride in July and they mentioned that they don’t employ many people with disclosed disabilities at the moment and they’d like to change that.
They were encouraging people to chat and feedback with input in the comments and I think this drawing is my little contribution as to how companies (especially larger ones) need to be aware of how overwhelming open plan offices can be. It’s great to hear so many companies are moving in the right direction and encouraging the conversation around how to be more accommodating for neurodiverse employees.
Follow me below for more illustrations and content:
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
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.
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.
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.
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!