My friend is extremely sensory sensitive

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alobaby
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05 Jul 2020, 5:34 pm

My friend is having really bad issues with sensory. He says that the only way he can feel okay and not overloaded is if he were in an empty room with no color. He says he is overstimulated just waking up and everything overwhelms him. How can I help him block out as much sensory as possible? It's driving him crazy and I'm really worried about him. I let him borrow my ear muffs until he gets his own so we already have that and I have suggested he get sunglasses as well.



starkid
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05 Jul 2020, 10:39 pm

It depends on which of his senses is/are overstimulated.

If he is visually overstimulated first thing in the morning, he can sleep with an eye mask or with the blankets over his head.


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AceofPens
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06 Jul 2020, 10:05 am

I went through a phase like that. Nothing helped until I figured out what in my life had triggered the increase in sensitivity and dealt with it - a common culprit is anxiety, but it could be any number of things. One thing to note is that shutting out input can increase sensitivity in those who have more severe cases of SPD. I became intensely sensory avoidant for a few years in my teens and it only made things worse - even colorless rooms became intolerable.

The best short-term remedy I can suggest is finding pleasant sensory input and using it to concentrate your mind away from the aggravation. Or, and this is temporarily harder but more beneficial, you can schedule regular periods for exposing yourself to "challenging" sensory input. The point isn't to desensitize yourself long-term. The point is that once it's over, you can feel your brain start to relax, and it can handle the lesser input more easily. When I was at my worst, the sensory overload was so bad I felt like I couldn't breathe until after my self-imposed challenge (I used showering). I'm not sure why this works, but it does. I spent every day looking forward to those few hours after showering when I felt okay.


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alobaby
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06 Jul 2020, 4:18 pm

starkid wrote:
It depends on which of his senses is/are overstimulated.

If he is visually overstimulated first thing in the morning, he can sleep with an eye mask or with the blankets over his head.


It seems like it's everything for him, so I'm trying to get as many ways to block out sensory as possible. I'll let him know about the eye mask!



alobaby
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06 Jul 2020, 4:20 pm

AceofPens wrote:
I went through a phase like that. Nothing helped until I figured out what in my life had triggered the increase in sensitivity and dealt with it - a common culprit is anxiety, but it could be any number of things. One thing to note is that shutting out input can increase sensitivity in those who have more severe cases of SPD. I became intensely sensory avoidant for a few years in my teens and it only made things worse - even colorless rooms became intolerable.

The best short-term remedy I can suggest is finding pleasant sensory input and using it to concentrate your mind away from the aggravation. Or, and this is temporarily harder but more beneficial, you can schedule regular periods for exposing yourself to "challenging" sensory input. The point isn't to desensitize yourself long-term. The point is that once it's over, you can feel your brain start to relax, and it can handle the lesser input more easily. When I was at my worst, the sensory overload was so bad I felt like I couldn't breathe until after my self-imposed challenge (I used showering). I'm not sure why this works, but it does. I spent every day looking forward to those few hours after showering when I felt okay.


Thank you, I'll let him know!!



PoseyBuster88
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06 Jul 2020, 11:04 pm

Finding something pleasant to focus on helps. Like a fuzzy blanket that feels really nice. He could carry a small square of the fabric in his pocket and pull it out to pet to help him chill. (That's just an example; his preferred sensory item might be different.)

And some people find that releasing tension/anxious energy helps...like rocking, going for a run, punching a pillow. Just try to come up with things that aren't self-harming.

And sometimes just hiding under a blanket for 5 minutes helps. Set a timer if you have stuff to do after.


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alobaby
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08 Jul 2020, 12:39 am

PoseyBuster88 wrote:
Finding something pleasant to focus on helps. Like a fuzzy blanket that feels really nice. He could carry a small square of the fabric in his pocket and pull it out to pet to help him chill. (That's just an example; his preferred sensory item might be different.)

And some people find that releasing tension/anxious energy helps...like rocking, going for a run, punching a pillow. Just try to come up with things that aren't self-harming.

And sometimes just hiding under a blanket for 5 minutes helps. Set a timer if you have stuff to do after.


Thank you so much, I'll let him know!