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Sensory Sunday #4

Published: November 17, 2019
Last updated on October 9, 2021

It’s Sensory Sunday! This week’s sensory question is:

What physical or mental symptoms do you get
as a result of being overstimulated?

My own physical and mental symptoms depend in part on what kind of overstimulation we are talking about. Let me address one here.

Sensory overload

Type: sensory overwhelm

When I visit stores, the amount of visual information I process often becomes too much for me to handle, and the details of objects become piercing. Yesterday, Natalie and I stepped into a warehouse, and after half a minute I said, “I am already not feeling well. I will wait outside.”  What happens is that I see so much detail that I am quite literally getting sick. I experience a headache, and when it really gets too much, I become nauseous and start sweating.

There isn’t so much going on mentally in terms of panic or other negative states, except for a great desire to go outside, or to seclude myself in a dark room. Outside, there is more distance between me and other things, more openness, and a lot less piercing detail. A dark room can also be calming to my senses, because when there isn’t as much light coming into my eyes, there aren’t many visuals to process, so my brain won’t get overwhelmed. And in the dark, we see less detail, so that helps as well.

In the post below, I cover two more types of overstimulation.

The autistic experience of overwhelm

What are your bodily sensations and emotions
when you experience overwhelm of any sort?

To explore the whole Sensory Sunday series,
have a look at the Sensory Sunday index:

Sensory Sunday series


This article
was written by:

Martin Silvertant is a co-founder of Embrace Autism, and lives up to his surname as a silver award-winning graphic designer. Besides running Embrace Autism and researching autism, he loves typography and practicing type design. He was diagnosed with autism at 25.

PS: Martin is trans, and as of 2021 she writes under her true name, Eva Silvertant.


Although our content is generally well-researched
and substantiated, or based on personal experience,
note that it does not constitute medical advice.


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