Sensory issues, please tell if you can relate

Hi Everyone. English is not my first language so I do apologise for my grammar and mistakes.

I’m new here and I think I’ve got Asperger’s. In AQ score 44 and similar in other tests available. 

Self diagnose is the only option for me at the moment so I’m desperate to find out if someone can relate to my story. 

I’m 33 years old, I’m a husband and father also recovering addict. Sober for over 7 months. 

I’ve got loads of questions but for now I’d like to share my challenges regarding sensory overload.

Some smells (specially cigarettes, air fresheners and cleanings products, perfumes even my own or my wife’s) make me so uncomfortable so I have to stop breath, it literally feels like something grabs my throat and won’t let me breath in until the smells disappear or is less intense. I usually end up with head and chest ache.

Noises and sounds, I’m struggling when sounds comes from more than one source for example when watching TV I tend to put the volume up until I can’t hear background noises until I hear them I can’t follow what I’m watching. Many household noises make me jump, I’m not freaking out but don’t feel comfortable. When we’ve got somebody over for dinner usually I’m overwhelmed with the situation when there is more than one conversation. After a "nice" evening with friends I'm exhausted and don't want to do it again.

Noises like knocking pipes etc bothers me while others seems to not notice them, the same with my car I always hear something coming from suspension bearing etc and then go to a workshop and nobody can hear anything it happened some many times so at some point I've replaced the whole suspension in my car all bearings etc spend 3K and still hear noises which bothers me.

Some textures and fabrics make me feel very uncomfortable I get pins and needles, the worst feeling is when I'm dressed smart and start to sweat so when the fabric touches wet skin i'm freaking out and usually sweat so badly that I have to leave the venue and get change.

Cold is painful but I think the worst is the moment of change so I stop breathing had to brace myself and after a while I’m “ok”. 

Hot - shower which is a challenge o its own (all those changes of temperature) water has to be body temperature I wouldn't be able to have a shower like my wife does I would scream.

Hot weather, specially sunshine is a challenge, again I sweat feel overwhelmed can't breathe 

Quite often I hear "Everybody sweats or is tired after shopping" etc but it feels that it affects me more and in so many aspects of life ... 

Thanks for reading.

Janusz

PS All of above can vary so there are moments when I'm less bothered but specially when tired emotionally I literally can't breath at times. Also none of this is new to me but it seems that for quite long time I was automatically avoiding or coping with sensory issues assuming that this is normal... don't feel normal I'm exhausted!!

Parents
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  • Hi Janusz

    What you are describing sounds very much like my experience (I have Asperger's syndrome). Smells, noise and bright lights are the big problems for me. I don't have the problems with heat and cold though - but we are all different.

    It's interesting that you describe feeling exhausted by it. The psychologist who diagnosed me explained that as well as having sensory sensitivities, we lack a 'gate system' to decide what sensory input to process, and to determine what is most urgent / worthy of attention. This tends to result in our brains trying to process every little thing, and that is very, very tiring. This is no doubt why you feel exhausted after a trip into a sensory-overloaded environment. It is also why you can't filter out background noise - what you say about the TV and conversations when a lot of people talk at once I also struggle with.

    It was the effects of this that lead me to seek a diagnosis. I actually thought I was going crazy before I found out what the cause was. The other problem is that if you are anything like me, the more overloaded you get, the more sensitive you get. If I get stuck close to someone on the train with really strong perfume, for example, by the time I get to work I can smell everything as though it is magnified 100 times, which just makes it worse and worse.

    So you are not going crazy, this does happen to us and for us is unfortunately probably 'normal'!

Children
  • we lack a 'gate system' to decide what sensory input to process, and to determine what is most urgent / worthy of attention.

    Thank you for your reply.

    I did find it very helpful and reassuring specially what you said about “gate system” that’s explain a lot to me.