Sometimes our bodies can have so much stimulation that our bodies start to revolt and we become overloaded similarly like a laptop does when it's unplugged and used up until the battery dies. We may feel over heated, anything to touch us may hurt, noise and light are irritating and we become irritable. During these times, I personally have been known to snap. It's not something I'm proud of and honestly I'm also ashamed of how I've handled it in the past, so my friends and I came up with some steps that I’ve found works for me, and I thought to share it in case someone else could find them helpful too.
Talk It Out
Brainstorm- write out all the times you've experienced it and find out what they have in common. Was it something in particular that set it off? Is there a pattern in how it starts? What makes you feel better during these times? Would you be able to feel one coming next time and help settle it? Do a little research to see what's most common
Discuss. Remind your family/friend/coworker that you will in the near future have a day where you're experiencing sensory overload. Explain to them what that means and how to identify it as it started to happen
Come up with a plan. I had an issue yesterday where I was on sensory overload and I went downstairs to tell my mom but I couldn't find her. I decided to write down something on the fridge’s white board when she surprise hug me from behind. I was in so much pain and fear I screamed and had to shove her off me. I have not shoved my mother off me since I was a small child and I was so embarrassed. We came up with a plan today on how to deal with it.
When it happens, be prepared for where to go. If you have a safe space where you can go to ride it out, make sure it's available. If you're planning on going out somewhere, have a back up. Example- if I'm going to the cottage with friends and I start to feel like that but I'm sharing a room with someone, I’ll take the couch for the night or ask them if they could. Or if I'm at the mall, immediately the one bathroom where no one goes too because it's in a random location becomes my temporary place of relief.
Recover. After all is said and done, make sure to drink some water, eat a little something and shower. Your body just was in so much distress it tried shutting itself off. The best you can do for yourself is to recharge with sleep, nurrishment and showering. You'll feel a bit more human after
Talk about it. If not with someone you trust - say you were alone when it happened - then there are plenty of free online and telephone options to reach out too. You need to talk to someone. It s a part of the healing process. Come up with how to handle it better next time with someone you trust. It takes more than one way to do something
In the link above, I've created a downloadable chart with an example of a situation and all the steps written out. It's important to address what causes us to be in sensory overloaded state, and even if we can't always stop it from happening, having a plan and trying to implement it gives us a slightly more elevated feeling of being in control. If you can't be in control of your body, at least feeling like you have some control in how to take care of it after helps.
Until next time my peeps