Experiencing Social Overload? Here’s some ideas on what can cause it and what can help.

What can bring it on?

We have a lovely friend visiting for a few days. He’s a very quiet, gentle, understanding gent. A perfect guest. And we want to show him the delights of where we live as he’s never been here before. Absolutely no problem for my husband who’s 95% neuro-typical.

But I’m way over the other end of the spectrum.

Two days ago we went on the Snowdon Mountain Railway. The young lady at ticket collection could not understand that I needed to know exactly where our seat allocation was. She just kept telling me to ‘queue 10 minutes before departure’. My husband went in twice to check with her for me.

I don’t do queueing

Into the carriage. So far, so good. We were all told not to stand while the train was on the ascent. I follow rules. I have to stop myself from getting too distressed when others don’t. I concentrated on taking photos from where I was knowing that I could take photos of the views on other side on the way down. Lots of people didn’t seem to understand that. Especially the young man on the side of our compartment who thought it perfectly reasonable to lean over my head to take more pics. The first time he did this his camera neck-strap touch the back of my head.

I don’t do close contact, especially from strangers

Yesterday we went to a local cafe for lunch. A really nice place, excellent food, and very helpful staff. We had to move our table though because of a crying / screaming baby.

I don’t do high-pitch noises

After that things became blurred, events merging. A visit to Caernarfon Castle, a drive to see the two famous bridges across the Menai, a stroll around the harbour. I was beginning to feel the effects of way too much input.

I don’t do excessive sensory input

Last night in bed I began to be aware that I was dissociating. I’ll be writing about that in a future blog.

This morning I’m in the throws of Social Overload.

So, how to Cope?

  • Writing this is helping to ease the feeling – or non-feeling.
  • I’m also rocking and humming to myself, tunelessly, in an effort to regulate my thoughts, ready for today.
  • Go with it. Take time out.
  • Talk about it. Lots of people won’t understand. But those closest to you – the ones who matter – will at least try. And that’s important. That’s special.
  • Remember – You’re Special.

Being creative is the mainstay of my life, and poetry, prose, and photography is where I express my deepest emotions. I also enjoy the challenge of design and create jewellery, fabric bags, and garments and home items in yarn. Diagnosed with ASD at the age of 68 after fifty years in and out of the mental health system, I now aim to explore and share my experiences over these years. Apart from blogs and short articles I'll share my life in my verse and images.

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