Mobiles, Technology and SPD…

shh

I’ve come to the realisation lately that I always have my phone on silent. Like 24/7.

This can bug people.

I miss texts and calls but I literally jump if my phone makes a noise and I never EVER EVER have been able to tolerate it on ‘vibrate’. I have an iPhone and have never had the vibrate feature on and always have ‘Do not disturb’ on. My phone is usually on me, either in my pocket or a bag so it’s not like I forget my phone I just don’t like the noises of notifications (but don’t want to turn them off and miss even more!).

Even if someone else’s phone vibrates on the table next to me its enough to send my heart crazy like a surge of adrenaline releases and I have to calm down without anyone realising by slowing my breathing. As I’ve said before, and I will say it again, I’m rubbish with surprises!

This leads me on to more phone and technology related stuff…

I came across a girl I follow on Twitter talking about how she has ‘hearing motion synaesthesia’. Now I didn’t realise that hearing motion could come under synaesthesia which was the first thing I found immediately interesting… (In case you don’t know according to dictonary.com synaesthesia is ‘A condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when the hearing of a sound produces the visualisation of a colour’.)

The girl tweeted about how she heard motion sounds when looking at GIFs on Twitter and could not control this. GIFs (if you aren’t already aware) are a type of image file that support animated image – without sound. I also struggle with this and have written in the past on this blog about how I can hear motion even from different distances. For example say I can see someone running but they are not near me they are across a park from me, I can hear a kind of pattern that relates to when their feet hit the floor.

This hearing motion type of synaesthesia can get very wearing on a person. Even if something isn’t making a noise like a GIF or people moving my brain substitutes that silence with a noise or sound that relates to any pattern it can find in the moving object. This is confusing to write about and even more confusing to try to explain to someone face-to-face…!

Do you hear motion? Or do you have synaesthesia? How do you cope? Let me know in the comments below…

All of the questions…

Okay so I put out a blog and twitter post asking you lovely people if you had any burning questions you’d like to ask me or if you would like to see a specific topic covered on my blog…so here goes!

M.O asked:

Do sensory difficulties get more intense when you get sick, like a cold, for example? It happens to me and, as I haven’t been diagnosed yet (still looking for the right doctor), I wonder if this happens to other people with sensory issues. Thanks!

Okay lets see..thank you for the question first of all! I think my sensory difficulties definitely 100% get much worse and more intense when I am ill. I have a very low pain threshold even when I’m not ill so when I’m ill everything seems a lot more painful for some reason! I think I drive my family slightly mad when I’m ill as I’m a complainer and I hate being ill because I like to have a routine and be productive each day and being ill messes with that. I think my senses are all over the place and are very heightened when I am ill so someone touching or brushing up against me will take me longer to process and calm down from then it usually would if i felt okay. I’m 21 and haven’t found one doctor yet who thinks that SPD or my sensory problems are ‘real’ they will only ever take into account my medical history and not my occupational therapy that I have had on and off since the age of 8…maybe we will find understanding doctors one day! (Have a read of my blog post when I had the flu not too long ago for more info!)

Tangerine asked:

OCD would be nice to see, maybe even how it can interact with sensory issues…

That is a great question…I find my OCD comes and goes and it seems to be the worst when I am stressed or anxious. For example when shopping I used to have to touch a product I saw or wanted to buy off a shelf with both hands. I also had to touch stair rails or railings with both hands – I think it was to do with having the same sensation / feeling in both hands otherwise I felt unbalanced. I also have found when my anxiety is worse I tend to count windows on buildings to distract myself and wash myself/my hands quite a lot.

I will definitely write a post soon about how my OCD and sensory problems affect me (do have a look in my blog archive at my past OCD posts if you like).

Mikayla asked:

I would love to hear about how (SPD, anxiety and sensory issues) affects your relationships?

Again another really interesting question – thanks for getting in touch. I think I will break your question down into an SPD answer / an anxiety answer.

So from a sensory side of things my SPD definitely affects relationships (family and boyfriend). I’ve always found touch extremely difficult to process especially if it’s when I’m not expecting it (I hate surprises of someone touching me from behind). I also find scents like aftershave and perfumes hard to deal with on people and find that when I leave another persons house I find that I have shower/have a bath as I can’t deal with a lingering smell on my hair, clothes, etc. Its hard having SPD and being in a relationship as a relationship can affect all of a persons senses, sometimes all at once.

Anxiety-wise dating was a nightmare…I found it hard to eat in front of my boyfriend say at a restaurant and would have to escape to the loo to compose myself as the restaurant environment was too loud and overwhelming. I found that knowing my boyfriend as a super good friend before I started going out with him really helped me as I knew him beforehand and slowly he began to understand my difficulties and my sensory issues. I sometimes have to cry when I get overwhelmed which is unexpected even for me and I can’t control when I have a sensory meltdown so that can be hard too. It’s also only natural for people to get frustrated with me when I’m having a meltdown as although they understand what I might be going through they have never experienced it themselves.

Hope I kind of answered your question there!

Adam asked:

How about ordering food in a restaurant? So many competing sensory inputs…

ORDERING FOOD IN A RESTAURANT IS AWFUL. Haha blunt but I speak the truth…its indeed very hard because I cannot hear properly because of all the people talking, I’m dyslexic and never know how to pronounce fancy words and (like I’ve said in a previous post) I never feel full in a restaurant because they are so noisy that I think it throws of my senses and I don’t have the sensation of being full…weird I know!

So what do I tend to do…?

….I suck up all my anxiety and quickly point at the menu and attempt to say the dish! 🙂

Stacy asked:

Why does having a jacket on or weighted blanket make one feel better? What is the cause?

Hmmmm. It’s a great question but super hard to actually explain! I think the weight has a very calming effect like having a tight hug. I find a weighted blanket especially helpful at night – I think I definitely sleep better with one on top of my duvet as its like an even pressure on my whole body which is calming and can help me calm down if I’m overwhelmed sensory-wise.

I’m not sure if there’s any science / scientific explanation as to why a weighted blanket works but I know many people and children who benefit from using one on a regular basis – hope this helps!