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!
The lovely people @stimbox kindly gifted me this box* 😍😍😍 I am honestly so impressed with the contents of it and I think my enthusiasm comes across in the video (and the fact I keep comparing it to Christmas haha!).
The lovely people @fidgipops kindly gifted me these awesome pop-it’s! 😍😍😍 I LOVE THEM! They are super satisfying to play with and really do keep your hands and mind occupied and distracted so I’d definitely recommend them.
I was a guest on the ‘Psychology in the Classroom’ podcast!
The podcast takes psychological research and translates it for classroom teachers so they can effectively apply it to their teaching practice to help improve outcomes for their students. Interviews with leading psychologists and other experts in the field of education, as well as deep dives into educational theory and a little bit of neuromyth busting.
Lucinda is the host and has a BSc in Philosophy and Psychology, an MA in Special and Inclusive education, is a qualified teacher and taught psychology from 2002-2017. Her passions lie in psychology and education and luckily the two are inextricably linked. She now produces a podcast ‘Psychology in the classroom’ and writes a weekly blog summarising psychological research on learning and education.
Here is the episode description:
Interview with Dr Cathy Manning from Oxford University and Emily from @21andsensory.
This week’s podcast covers Sensory Processing Disorder. This is a very varied disorder which affects how people process sensory information and as a consequence how they respond to the environment. Though often linked with Autism SPD doesn’t always go hand in hand with ASD. SPD can be triggered via all senses such as vision, noise, touch and smell and considering your classroom environment can really help to support young people who struggle with SPD.
You can find out about Dr Cathy Manning’s research here.
You can find out more about Emily and her work here or follow her on social media @21andsensory or listen to her podcast here.
The link to Mary Hanley’s research on displays is here.
Autistic and trying to be happy. Happiness is something that I keep hearing a lot about’ but are you happy?’ and ‘do what makes you happy’ but here’s the thing…
I am a natural people pleaser. I care a lot about other people’s happiness and have never really cared for my own. I love to make other people happy and I put others first all the time. But my own happiness? That’s much harder to navigate and for me…and something that is difficult to see in myself. I am someone who struggles with Alexithymia so I cannot always put into words how I feel or what I am feeling inside. This makes happiness very difficult because I don’t actually always know what happiness ‘is’ if that makes sense? Like how do you define a mood?
That was a bit deep. Anyway…what I am getting at is that I am trying to be happier as an autistic person and do things more for my own happiness. I have a lot of very random autistic struggles that seem to pitch up out of nowhere (and I know so many of you too do). It’s flipping hard to be happy when you seemingly cry for no reason or become overwhelmed at the slightest thought, feeling or sense not being filtered properly.
I am still trying to be happy with who I am because I constantly have this thought that I am a ridiculously complex individual. But I think a lot of us are. And that’s what makes us who we are… and super interesting human beings. I’m off to go and find some little moments of happiness. I hope you can do the same too.
(I’ve now said the word happy to many times it’s starting to feel weird and sound different…wah!).
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve felt this statement a lot. I am trying my best each day to muddle on through life in general. I feel like a lot of my life has involved ‘muddling on through’ things that seem to come naturally to other people.
But: I always try my best. I am super dedicated and hyper focused when it comes to producing the best output I can. However…trying my best takes a hell of a lot of effort as an autistic person. It’s keeping up a constant ‘mask’ or ‘act’ in most social situations. It’s suffering from sensory overwhelm and autistic burnout on the regular. But you’d never know it from looking at me. And you’d never know it when looking at others. I think we all just need to be aware that everyone in life is muddling through things and nobody really has it figured out.
That was a ramble but the short of it is: I’m going to keep muddling through. And so should you.
(Also sorry if muddling is a British sort of word to use but it resonates with me! It means to think or act in a confused or aimless way).
Hi everyone – I’m going to start a little text-based 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.
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.
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.